Pa. House ends exemptions for parties to labor disputes

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The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted Wednesday to end exemptions for parties to labor disputes in the state laws against stalking, harassment and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction.

The bill passed 115-74, with all Republicans in support and most Democrats opposed, after an amendment Tuesday to allow an exemption to remain for “constitutionally protected activity.”

Republicans and business groups had argued for the removal of the exemption.

“In cases of harassment and stalking, as with any criminal activity, law enforcement needs to be afforded the power to pursue cases as they see fit,” Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, said in a statement after the vote.

Labor officials had argued that the exemptions protected members engaged in lawful picket lines or the distribution of pamphlets.

The legislation now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said Tuesday members have begun to look at it.

“Once the bill gets here from the House then we’ll have a more detailed conversation,” he said.

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