Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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Week of October 22, 2018 

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House for Further Consideration

All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.

Senate Bill 689 – revises the composition of the State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers;

Senate Bill 899 – updates the Older Adult Protective Services Act;

Senate Bill 1006 – amends the Consolidated County Assessment Law relating to building permits;

Senate Bill 1069 – provides for voluntary municipal dissolution in counties of the second class;

Senate Bill 1157 – gives the Auditor General authority to audit the Statewide Radio System;

House Bill 104 – provides greater transparency over municipal authority acquisitions and establishes more annual reporting requirements;

House Bill 285 – (48-1) increases crime victims’ restitution from criminals;

House Bill 864 – (42-7) allows international airports to conduct 50/50 raffles;

House Bill 1469 – (31-18) changes municipal third party code enforcement requirements;

House Bill 1497 – (40-9) amendments to the Liquor Code;

House Bill 1843 – (40-9) creates a Financial Watch Program under PA Treasury;

House Bill 2638 – (39-10) redirects state tax revenue to the newly created Military Installation Remediation Authority to eliminate local surcharges for removing contaminants from drinking water near former military installations. 

Bills Pass Senate, Go to Governor for Further Action

All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.

Senate Bill 6 – (37-12) changes welfare benefit eligibility (Public Assistance Integrity Act);

Senate Bill 403 – changes to the Municipal Police Officers Education & Training Commission;

Senate Bill 554 – human trafficking child victim safe harbor;

Senate Bill 748 – requires public input before closing public safety facilities;

Senate Bill 796 – waives change of address fees for certain CDL licenses;

Senate Bill 888 – prohibits the obstruction of access aisles for disabled parking spaces;

Senate Bill 897 – expands restitution to include government agencies and non-profits;

Senate Bill 915 – extends the filing time for post-conviction relief action challenges;
Senate Bill 916 – updates the DNA testing law;

Senate Bill 961 – (45-4) increases penalties for those with prior DUI offenses and who are then convicted of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence;

Senate Bill 1005 – modernizes the County Code;

Senate Bill 1090 – Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law;

Senate Bill 1095 – alternatives to Keystone Exams;

Senate Bill 1098 – allows school bus arm cameras to enforce violations when meeting or overtaking school buses;

Senate Bill 1171 – replaces the Nutrient Management Advisory Board with the Farm Animal Advisory Board to give animal farmers greater input;

Senate Bill 1172 – (42-7) amends the Price Gouging Act;

House Bill 26 – (48-1) allows firefighter and special organization motorcycle license plates;

House Bill 44 – implements Task Force on Child Protection recommendations to the Protection from Abuse Act with respect to the Child Protective Services Law;

House Bill 83 – seeks to improve PA’s bond rating by accelerating repayment of the General Obligation debt while decreasing interest paid;

House Bill 99 – codifies a procedure for boroughs to make emergency purchases;

House Bill 149 – addresses cameras in courtrooms;

House Bill 163 – eliminates driver’s license suspensions for crimes related to drug offenses (see House Resolution 76 below for further information);

House Bill 270 – increases the maximum income limit for PACENET;

House Bill 353 – mandates the electronic prescribing of opioids;

House Bill 504 – enables Self Storage proprietors to sell content insurance;

House Bill 544 – amends the Recreational Use of Land Liability Law to expand protections for landowners;

House Bill 645 – increases allocation of the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program;

House Bill 927 – (34-15) eases municipal curbside leaf pick up mandate;

House Bill 983 – (46-3) spares domestic violence victims from paying alimony to their abuser;

House Bill 1013 – reimbursement for non-transport services to emergency medical service agencies;

House Bill 1216 – prohibits the confinement and endangerment of a cat or dog in an unattended vehicle (the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act);

House Bill 1228 – amends the Public School Code to allow for the use of sun protective clothing and sunscreen;

House Bill 1233 – new standards for court-ordered assisted outpatient mental illness treatment;

House Bill 1284 – allows the PA Department of Community and Economic Development to develop a business one-stop-shop online permitting portal;

House Bill 1511 – (43-6) clarifies collection of the hotel occupancy tax from online travel companies;

House Bill 1539 – helps grandparents assume guardianship of grandchildren;

House Bill 1822 – requires higher education institutions establish student mental health and suicide prevention plans;

House Bill 1840 – (34-15) Workers’ Compensation amendments to address a court decision;

House Bill 1884 – requires significantly abnormal diagnostic imaging summaries be sent directly to the patient within 20 days of the results being sent to the ordering physician;

House Bill 1885 – grants Register of Wills the power to increase the amount of a probate bond when needed;

House Bill 1886 – requires Clerks of Orphans’ Court to quarterly transmit a list of guardians who are delinquent in filing required reports to the Court of Common Pleas;

House Bill 1936 – technical changes to Act 136 of 2017 regarding youth safety standards and sound emissions of snowmobiles and ATVs;

House Bill 1951 – limits the sale of over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan to minors;

House Bill 1958 – allows the use of automated work zone vehicles by PennDOT and the PA Turnpike and allows for the platooning of motor carrier vehicles;

House Bill 2049 – (48-1) creates the Assistance and Service Animal Integrity Act;

House Bill 2052 – provides support services for children of deployed military service members;

House Bill 2075 – (48-1) allows regulated water and wastewater utilities to replace lead distribution pipe water laterals and damaged sewer laterals;

House Bill 2124 – (39-10) requires higher education institutions send students’ annual letters with student debt information;

House Bill 2133 – establishes a Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program within the PA Department of Human Services as a source for grandparents raising grandchildren;

House Bill 2138 – (30-19) promotes work and community engagement among Medical Assistance beneficiaries;

House Bill 2157 – (46-3) codifies an existing pilot program of instructional programs;

House Bill 2453 – amends the Check Cashier Licensing Act;

House Bill 2476 – allows the PA Department of Corrections to institute policies permitting state correctional officers to store personal firearms securely in their vehicles;

House Bill 2557 – (46-3) updates the City of Harrisburg’s Act 47 receivership (Municipalities Financial Recovery Act Tax).

House Resolution 76 Adopted by the Senate

A concurrent resolution, House Resolution 76, to remove the federally mandated driver’s license suspension for individuals who are convicted of a drug offense, was adopted by the PA Senate 48-1.  The federal mandate prohibits flexibility to courts that assist in recovery and rehabilitation goals while also balancing public safety concerns.  HR 76 begins the process provided by federal law for states to be relieved of this mandate without risking the loss of federal highway funds.  Over 30 states have opted-out of this federal mandate.

Bills Signed into Law

Act No. 78 – House Bill 1346 – regulates unlawful use of unmanned aircrafts (drones);

Act No. 79 – House Bill 2060 – restricts the possession of firearms for persons convicted and served with Protection from Abuse orders.

Executive Nominations Unanimously Confirmed by the Senate

PA Board of Probation and ParoleCharles James Fox, III of Mount Gretna and the 48th Senatorial District and Leo L. Dunn, Newport

PA Council on Aging – Joseph J. Volk, Jamison

State Board of Dentistry – Godfrey Joel Funari, Glen Mills

State Board of Medicine – Nirmal Joshi, Mechanicsburg and Mark B. Woodland, Philadelphia

Bloomsburg University Council of Trustees – Amy B. Brayford, Berwick, Barbara B. Hudock, Williamsport, and Nancy Vasta, Southampton

California University of PA Council of Trustees – Anthony H. Amadio, Monaca, and Stephen M. DeFrank, Harrisburg

Clarion University Council of Trustees – Donna Oberlander, Clarion and Larry C. Pickett, Pittsburgh

East Stroudsburg University Council of Trustees – Edward P. Abraham, Effort, Bruno S. Klaus, Stroudsburg, Tina L. Nixon, Harrisburg, and Paul E. Shemansky, East Stroudsburg

Edinboro University Council of Trustees – Mark A. Bellini, Cochranton, Barbara C. Chaffee, Erie, and Dennis R. Frampton, Meadville

Indiana University of PA Council of Trustees – Susan S. Delaney, Indiana, Mark A. Holman, Alexandra, and Laurie A. Kuzneski, Indiana

Kutztown University Council of Trustees – Thomas H. Heck, Wyomissing

Lock Haven University Council of Trustees – James N. Gregory, Lock Haven

Mansfield University Council of Trustees – Susan P. Kefover, Galeton

Millersville University Council of Trustees – Brandon W. Danz, Washington Boro, Kathryn R. Ross, Lancaster, and Holly L. Trego, Mountville

Shippensburg University Council of Trustees – Andrew D. Alosi, Shippensburg, Doug P. Harbach, Chambersburg, Bryan W. Lowe, Harrisburg, Antoinette L. Marchowsky, Enola, and Matthew J. Steck, Harrisburg

Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees – Joshua B. Young, Coatesville

West Chester University Council of Trustees – Christopher A. Lewis, Philadelphia

Penn State University Council of Trustees – Abraham Amoros, Harrisburg and Terrence M. Pegula, Boca Raton

Recorder of Deeds, Lebanon County – Daniel K. Bost of Lebanon and the 48th Senatorial District

Clerk of Courts, Carbon County – Francine A. Heaney, Nesquehoning

Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts, Lawrence County – Jodi A. Klabon-Esoldo, New Castle

Treasurer, Forest County – Stacey L. Barnes, Tionesta

Senate State Government Committee Public Hearing

The Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, held a public hearing to discuss proposed amendments to the US Constitution through a Convention of States as provided by Article V, including Senate Resolutions 133, 134 and 254.  No votes were taken as the public hearing was for informational purposes only.  Agenda and testimony can be found here, while the full hearing can be watched at the link below.

10/17/18 – Proposed Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

Veterans’ Trust Fund Grant Opportunities

The PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is accepting applications for 2018-19 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grants.  Up to $800,000 in VTF grant funding will be competitively awarded for programs and services benefiting PA Veterans.  Up to $150,000 is available to counties for new, innovative or expanded programs or services operated by County Directors of Veterans Affairs or the PA Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs.  Applicants in this category may request up to $20,000 per county with a priority focus on Veterans’ outreach and Veterans’ court programs.  Up to $650,000 is available for 501(c)(19) veterans’ service organizations and 501(c)(3) non-profits that have a mission of serving PA Veterans.  Applicants in this category may request up to $50,000 for programs focusing on Veteran homelessness, behavioral health initiatives and Veterans’ court.

Grant applications must be received by 3 p.m. on Friday, November 30.  The VTF is funded by generous Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs, or motor vehicle registrations, purchasing Honoring Our Veterans license plates, or making private donations.  Tax deductible donations can be made online at or mailed to: Veterans’ Trust Fund, Bldg. 0-47 Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003-5002.

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