Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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Week of November 5, 2018

Constituent Highlight:  Michael Webster Earns First Place in School Bus Safety Competition

Congratulations to Michael Webster, of Lebanon, who earned first place in the Transit Class category during the 42nd Annual Statewide School Bus Driver Safety Competition sponsored by the PA Department of Transportation as part of National School Bus Safety Week (October 22-26).  Scoring was based on a written test about the laws relating to driving school buses, as well as a multiple-station driving test.  Keep up the great work!

PACENET Income Limit Increase

House Bill 270 was recently signed into law as Act 87 of 2018 and increases the maximum income limit for PACENET effective immediately.  This legislation provides a $4,000 increase for both single and married Pennsylvanians.  Total income for a single individual can now be between $14,500 and $27,500, and total combined income for a married couple can now be between $17,700 and $35,500.  Current PACENET applications can still be used, but will be considered under the new income limits as new applications will likely only become available in the New Year. 

Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence Applications

The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) invites PA individuals, schools, non-profit organizations, businesses, farms and government agencies who have recently worked on successful environmental projects to apply for the 2019 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence, the state’s top environmental honor to showcase the best of PA’s environmental stewards.

DEP will evaluate projects based on seven criteria:  degree of environmental protection, climate change, sustainability, partnership, economic impact, innovation and environmental education and outreach.  Projects don’t have to meet all criteria to merit an award.  Projects must have been completed before October 17, 2018 to be eligible.  Past winners may submit applications for new projects.  The application deadline is 5 p.m. on December 17thClick here for guidelines and further information. 

2018-2019 Senior Community Center Grant Opportunity

The PA Department of Aging announced a grant funding opportunity for PA’s Senior Community Centers (SCCs) totaling $2 million to be awarded for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.  The grants are intended to provide funding to enhance PA’s SCCs by increasing participation and programming, attract a new generation of older adults, and enable SCCs to provide a safe and healthy environment for participants.  The grant application period is currently open and will close at 5 p.m. on November 30th.  Questions can be directed to or (717) 772-2551. 

Bills Recently Vetoed by the Governor

Veto #2 – House Bill 2138 – would have established work and community requirements for Medical Assistance beneficiaries;

Veto #3 – House Bill 83 – would have sought to improve PA’s bond rating by accelerating repayment of the General Obligation debt while decreasing interest paid;

Veto #4 – House Bill 2157 – would have codified an existing pilot program of instructional programs;

Veto #5 – Senate Bill 1172 – would have amended the Price Gouging Act. 

Bills Signed into Law by the Governor

Act 91 – House Bill 26 – allows firefighter and special organization motorcycle license plates;

Act 92 – House Bill 44 – implements Task Force on Child Protection recommendations to the Protection from Abuse Act with respect to the Child Protective Services Law;

Act 93 – House Bill 126 – gives facilities more flexibility relating to epinephrine auto-injectors for emergencies;

Act 94 – House Bill 149 – addresses cameras in courtrooms;

Act 95 – House Bill 163 – eliminates driver’s license suspensions for crimes related to drug offenses (see House Resolution 76 below for further information);

Act 96 – House Bill 353 – establishes electronic prescription requirements for opioids;

Act 97 – House Bill 504 – enables Self Storage proprietors to sell content insurance;

Act 98 – House Bill 544 – amends the Recreational Use of Land Liability Law to expand protections for landowners;

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

Act 100 – House Bill 645 – increases allocation of the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program;

Act 101 – House Bill 927 – eases municipal curbside leaf pick up mandate;

Act 102 – House Bill 983 – spares domestic violence victims from paying alimony to their abuser;

Act 103 – House Bill 1013 – reimbursement for non-transport services to emergency medical service agencies;

Act 104 – House Bill 1216 – addresses issues related to cats or dogs in unattended vehicles (the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act);

Act 105 – House Bill 1228 – amends the Public School Code to allow for the use of sun protective clothing and sunscreen;

Act 106 – House Bill 1233 – new standards for court-ordered assisted outpatient mental illness treatment;

Act 107 – House Bill 1284 – allows the PA Department of Community and Economic Development to develop a business one-stop-shop online permitting portal;

Act 108 – House Bill 1294 – allows the display of Purple Heart/Combat Wounded Veteran license plates on motorcycles;

Act 109 – House Bill 1511 – clarifies collection of the hotel occupancy tax from online travel companies;

Act 110 – House Bill 1822 – requires higher education institutions establish student mental health and suicide prevention plans;

Act 111 – House Bill 1840 – Workers’ Compensation amendments to address a court decision;

Act 112 – 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;

Act 113 – House Bill 1885 – grants Register of Wills the power to increase the amount of a probate bond when needed;

Act 114 – 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;

Act 115 – House Bill 1936 – technical changes regarding youth safety standards and sound emissions of snowmobiles and ATVs;

Act 116 – House Bill 1951 – limits the sale of over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan to minors;

Act 117 – 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;

Act 118 – House Bill 2049 – creates the Assistance and Service Animal Integrity Act;

Act 119 – House Bill 2052 – provides support services for children of deployed military service members;

Act 120 – House Bill 2075 – allows regulated water and wastewater utilities to replace lead pipe water laterals and damaged sewer laterals;

Act 121 – House Bill 2124 – requires higher education institutions send students’ annual letters with student debt information;

Act 122 – House Bill 2453 – amends the Check Cashier Licensing Act;

Act 123 – House Bill 2476 – allows the PA Department of Corrections to institute policies permitting state correctional officers to store personal firearms securely in their vehicles;

Act 124 – House Bill 2557 – updates the City of Harrisburg’s Act 47 receivership (Municipalities Financial Recovery Act Tax).

Act 125 – Senate Bill 6 – revises welfare benefit eligibility (Public Assistance Integrity Act);

Act 126 – Senate Bill 31 – establishes the Spinal Cord Disability Research Grant Program;

Act 127 – Senate Bill 299 – changes the ballot signature requirements for incumbent magisterial district judges;

Act 129 – Senate Bill 403 – changes to the Municipal Police Officers Education & Training Commission;

Act 130 – Senate Bill 554 – human trafficking child victim safe harbor;

Act 131 – Senate Bill 627 – changes air freight companies’ tax treatment;

Act 132 – Senate Bill 676 – addresses ongoing funding deficiencies in the Workers’ Compensation Uninsured Employers Guarantee Fund;

Act 133 – Senate Bill 748 – requires public input before closing public safety facilities;

Act 134 – Senate Bill 764 – establishes a recreational vehicle law;

Act 135, 136 and 137 – Senate Bill 771, Senate Bill 772 and Senate Bill 773 – provides for concise newspaper notices of required annual financial reports of certain municipalities;

Act 138 – Senate Bill 796 – waives change of address fees for certain CDL licenses;

Act 139 – Senate Bill 798 – updates the PA Military Community Enhancement Commission;

Act 140 – Senate Bill 801 – allows boroughs or third class cities to make purchases from volunteer emergency service organizations without competitive bids;

Act 141 – Senate Bill 802 – allows townships of the first class to make purchases from volunteer emergency service organizations without competitive bids;

Act 142 – Senate Bill 803 – allows townships of the second class to make purchases from volunteer emergency service organizations without competitive bids;

Act 143 – Senate Bill 804 – allows incorporated towns to make purchases from volunteer emergency service organizations without competitive bids;

Act 144 – Senate Bill 888 – prohibits the obstruction of access aisles for disabled parking spaces;

Act 145 – Senate Bill 897 – expands restitution to include government agencies and non-profits;

Act 146 – Senate Bill 915 – extends the filing time for post-conviction relief action challenges;

Act 147 – Senate Bill 916 – updates the DNA testing law;

Act 148 – Senate Bill 919 – relocation of domestic and sexual violence victims in public housing;

Act 149 – Senate Bill 945 – allows those renewing vehicle registrations for two years to double contributions to the Veterans Trust Fund;

Act 150, 151 and 152 – Senate Bill 947, Senate Bill 948 and Senate Bill 949 – increases the threshold for certain municipal bid advertisements for selling personal property;

Act 153 – Senate Bill 961 – increases penalties for those with prior DUI offenses and who are then convicted of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence;

Act 154 – Senate Bill 1005 – updates the County Code;

Act 155 – Senate Bill 1007 – increases training and qualifications of assessment appeal board and auxiliary appeal board members, changes the assessment appeal process and provides for certain notifications to property owners as well as penalties;

Act 156 – Senate Bill 1078 – Sunshine Act amendments to allow security and safety matters to be discussed in Executive Sessions;

Act 157 – Senate Bill 1092 – creates an offense for domestic violence in front of children;

Act 158 – Senate Bill 1095 – alternatives to Keystone Exams;

Act 159 – Senate Bill 1098 – allows school bus arm cameras to be used to enforce violations when meeting or overtaking school buses;

Act 160 – Senate Bill 1127 – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) trafficking penalties;

Act 162 – Senate Bill 1171 – replaces the Nutrient Management Advisory Board with the Farm Animal Advisory Board to give animal farmers greater input;

Act 163 – Senate Bill 1205 – corporate governance disclosure requirements;

Act 164 – Senate Bill 1209 – addresses the backlog of untested rape kits.

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