Senate Approves Martin-Baker Bills Addressing District Attorney Vacancies

HARRISBURG – Three bills that would provide uniformity and consistency to the process of filling county district attorney vacancies earned Senate approval today, according to the bills’ sponsor, Senator Scott Martin (R-13).

In current practice, succession plans for the office of district attorney vary from county to county. Some counties mandate that the first assistant district attorney is appointed to the position, while other counties allow county commissioners or judges to appoint new district attorneys.

Senate Bills 84, 85 and 86 would make the process more consistent and transparent by mandating that any vacancies in the office of district attorney are filled by the first assistant in Second through Eighth class counties, including those with home rule charters. The legislation would also require that the office of District Attorney be on the ballot during the next municipal election so the voters can make their voice be heard.

“The first assistant district attorney is the logical choice to fill a vacancy since they are already familiar with the cases, the community and the office,” Martin said. “Providing a clear, consistent process for filling these vacancies will ensure the office continues to function without politics coming into the equation.”

The bills are sponsored by Martin and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Senator Lisa Baker (R-20). All three bills were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.


CONTACT:   Terry Trego (717) 787-6535