A report on legislative actions from the Session of April 15, 2020
I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features events and legislative activities from the Session of April 15, 2020.
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Legislation Addressing COVID-19 Sent to Governor
Two bills addressing the COVID-19 outbreak that provide flexibility for local officials and set guidelines for the recovery process received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor.
Senate Bill 613 requires COVID-19 mitigation plans to be developed by the Wolf Administration based on guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia follow CISA guidelines. Businesses that are able to operate safely under the new guidelines would be permitted to re-open so long as they comply with mitigation strategies.
Senate Bill 841 allows local governments to provide greater flexibility on property tax deadlines; permits local governments to conduct remote meetings; and, give notaries emergency authorization to notarize documents remotely through the use of communications technology.
Bill Empowering Local Control of COVID-19 Reopening Sent to House
A measure giving county governments more control over reopening their local economies was approved by the Senate on Wednesday and sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
Senate Bill 327 gives county governments the option to develop and implement individual plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, following CISA guidelines. The bill gives counties the authority to develop plans to reopen some industries shuttered by the Governor’s statewide closure order — if they can do so in a safe manner.
We are by no means completely abandoning the mitigation steps that are in place. This outbreak is far from over. However, we need to look to the future and establish a recovery process for the Commonwealth. This process should not be dictated from the top down, but rather be a collaborative effort that relies on the expertise of our local officials. They are the ones who know their communities and therefor they should play a major role in the recovery process.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved six bills on Wednesday.
House Bill 752 removes the current price per acre restriction on Game Fund money used for the purchase of land to be used as game lands in a Second Class County.
Senate Bill 1027 extends the sunset of the Geospatial Coordinating Board by four years – from June 30, 2020 — and makes minor adjustments to the authorizing statute.
Senate Bill 1097 allows for the electronic notarization of documents.
Senate Bill 1106 amends the Heart & Lung Act to provide law enforcement personnel and firefighters with their continued salary should they contract COVID-19 and are unable to work or ordered to quarantine.
Senate Bill 1108 amends the General Appropriation Act of 2019 to add Federal appropriations to the Executive Department of the Commonwealth for the fiscal year July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020.
House Bill 1869 provides an exemption to the staffing requirements for a BLS ambulance for 6th Class through 8th Class counties.
Rules & Executive Nominations
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