State Senate Advances Yaw District Attorney Modernization Bill

HARRISBURG – As legislators continue conversations about criminal justice reform, a state Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), Vice Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would clarify the statutory requirements for individuals who hold the office of District Attorney in Pennsylvania. 

Senator Yaw’s bill, Senate Bill 420, focuses on a District Attorney holding a valid license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from the time of election throughout the term of office.  On Monday, the full state Senate unanimously advanced the bill to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“Currently, there is no requirement that a person elected to the office of District Attorney possess an active license to practice law at the time of entering office, which SB 420 will require,” Sen. Yaw said.  “My bill would also establish safeguards so that the office of District Attorney would continue to operate uninterrupted in the event of a suspension of the law license or disbarment from the practice of law of a sitting District Attorney.  It would provide needed uniformity and efficiency to current law and for those who discharge the duties of the office.  It will assure the citizens that the integrity expected in the office of District Attorney is maintained.”

Senate Bill 420 would cover situations when a District Attorney’s law license is suspended, or they are disbarred.  In a case of suspension, the First Assistant District Attorney would become the Acting District Attorney pending reinstatement of the elected District Attorney, or until the end of the elected District Attorney’s current term.  Disbarment would create a vacancy, which would be filled under current law or prospectively by pending Senate legislation currently under consideration in the House of Representatives.  

For more state-related news and information visit Senator Yaw’s website at or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.


Matt Osenbach
(717) 787-3280

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