A report on legislative actions from the Session Week of June 10, 2019
I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features events and legislative activities from the Session Week of June 10, 2019.
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Local Boy Scout Serves as Senate Chaplain on Tuesday
I am pleased to report that a local resident, Scout Chaplain Andrew Rugh, served as Guest Chaplain of the Senate on Tuesday and offered the opening prayer for Session — on the day that the Boy Scouts of America presented their annual report to the Commonwealth.
Andrew has been a Scout since first grade, joining as a Tiger Scout. During his time as a Cub Scout, he worked to earn all of the Academics and Sports belt loops.
He was the first scout in French Creek Council to earn the Supernova Award. He is currently a Life Scout with Troop 28 in Rocky Grove.
Andrew is currently a sophomore at Franklin Area Junior/Senior High School. He is involved with the school’s soccer and track teams, as well as being a member of the Senior Band, Jazz Band, Stage Band, and Outreach Bands. Andrew is an active member of St. Patrick Church in Franklin.
He also blends his faith and Scouting, having earned three of the religious emblems available to Scouts. He will begin working on his final religious emblem in the fall. Andrew is the oldest son of Chad and Christina Rugh with two brothers and one sister.
Resolution recognizes ARIPPA’s 30th anniversary
I am pleased to report that the Senate approved my Resolution recognizing the 30th anniversary of the Anthracite Region Independent Power Producers Association (ARIPPA). Audio
Senate Resolution 155 designates the week of June 10 through 17, 2019, as “ARIPPA – 30 Years of Producing Environmentally Beneficial Alternative Energy – Recognition Week” in Pennsylvania.
Senate Finance Committee Approved Four Bills on Monday
The Senate Finance Committee, which I chair, approved four bills on Monday. Video
House Bill 330 amends the Taxpayer Relief Act making editorial changes to incorrect references.
House Bill 538 provides an income tax exemption for prizes or medals from the Olympic or Paralympic games.
House Bill 615 expand the definition of enforcement officer in the State Employees Retirement Code to include full-time Pennsylvania Game Commission officers and other commissioned law enforcement personnel employed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Senate Bill 724 amends Title 24 (Education) and Title 71 (State Government) to make technical corrections to certain sections added or amended by Act 5 of 2017 and adds provisions for nonparticipating employer withdrawal liability under the Public School Employees’ Retirement Fund.
Senate Passes School Safety and Security Measure
The Senate approved a measure on Tuesday that addresses two issues raised since the passage of the comprehensive School Safety and Security Law (Act 44) last year.
School districts across the Commonwealth found themselves out of compliance because sheriffs and deputy sheriffs were omitted from the definition of “School Resource Officer.” This was followed by the Department of Education issuing its own interpretation of Act 44 claiming security guards did not have the authority to carry firearms. In addition to correcting the oversight pertaining to sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, Senate Bill 621 provides direct authority for school security guards to be armed.
The legislation establishes a baseline of training for all school security personnel – whether armed or not – to ensure that school police officers, resource officers, and security guards are qualified to work in a school setting and around students.
Senate Bill 621 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. Other bills sent to the House this week include:
Senate Bill 314, which creates the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Authority and the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Fund.
Senate Bill 543, which provides a rate increase for the River Pilots who navigate trade vessels along the Delaware River and its navigable tributaries.
Senate Bill 593, which designates a bridge on Interstate 79 northbound over West 16th Street in Erie as the Thomas J. Kennedy, Jr. Memorial Bridge.
Senate Bill 633, which provides the Governor with the power to declare public health emergencies.
Senate Bill 695, which reauthorizes certain provisions of the Human Services Code before they sunset on June 30, 2019.
Senate Bill 698, which amends the Medical Practice Act to let physicians use a designee to input information about written agreements into the Department of State’s new online PALS licensing system.
Senate Bill 699, which amends the Osteopathic Practice Act to let physicians use a designee to input information about written agreements into the Department of State’s new online PALS licensing system.
Senate Bill 700, which implements recommendations from the Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction (PlanCon) Advisory Committee.
Senate Bill 701, which provides for the conveyance of the former Allentown State Hospital property.
Senate Bill 703, which addresses the promulgation of regulations by joint committees.
Senate Bill 712, which extends the authority of the State Treasurer to invest funds according to the prudent person investment standard until 2024.
School Choice Scholarship Expansion Bill Sent to the Governor
Legislation expanding educational opportunities for students in failing schools received final legislative approval on Tuesday and was sent to the Governor for enactment into law. House Bill 800 would expand Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program with $100 million in additional tax credits for scholarship organizations.
Two additional bills received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor’s desk.
House Bill 223 conveys land in Asylum Township, Bradford County, to French Azilum, Inc.
House Bill 619 establishes June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.”
Senate Passes Bill Authorizing Full Practice Authority for Nurse Practitioners
The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday that would give full practice authority to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses-Certified Nurse Practitioners (APRN-CNPs).
Senate Bill 25 would allow APRN-CNPs to practice independent of a physician after they fulfill a three-year, 3,600-hour collaboration agreement with a physician. Current law requires nurse practitioners to practice under a collaboration agreement at all times.
The bill is intended to make healthcare services more available and affordable to all Pennsylvanians, especially in rural areas where the needs are greatest. Senate Bill 25 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Agriculture & Rural Affairs
The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee approved Senate Bill 661 on Wednesday. The bill creates the Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Fund.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved 13 bills on Monday.
Senate Bill 25 modernizes the Professional Nursing Law for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.
Senate Bill 93 makes delivery or distribution of an illicit drug that results in “serious bodily injury” to the user a second-degree felony.
Senate Bill 118 creates a “Recovery to Work” pilot program.
Senate Bill 223 allows Emergency Medical Services providers to leave a dose of naloxone with a caregiver of a patient who overdosed on opioids.
Senate Bill 432 allows Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to have access to information in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
Senate Bill 536 creates the Public Higher Education Commission.
Senate Bill 575 creates a nutrient procurement program.
Senate Bill 621 amends Act 44 of 2018 to clarify language regarding armed school security guards and regarding sheriffs and deputy sheriffs who serve as school security officers.
Senate Bill 675 provides for the licensure of office-based Suboxone prescribers and ensures that patients receive addiction counseling and treatment.
Senate Bill 695 reauthorizes certain provisions of the Human Services Code before they sunset on June 30, 2019.
Senate Bill 700 implements recommendations from the Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction (PlanCon) Advisory Committee.
Senate Bill 712 extends until 2024 the authority of the State Treasurer to invest funds according to the prudent person investment standard.
House Bill 800 makes changes to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs concerning definitions and limitations.
The Appropriations Committee approved eight bills on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 314 creates the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Authority and the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Fund.
Senate Bill 321 gives municipalities the option to ban gaming establishments.
House Bill 619 establishes June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.”
Senate Bill 633 provides the Governor with the power to declare public health emergencies.
Senate Bill 698 amends the Medical Practice Act to let physicians use a designee to input information about written agreements into the Department of State’s new online PALS licensing system.
Senate Bill 699 amends the Osteopathic Practice Act to let physicians use a designee to input information about written agreements into the Department of State’s new online PALS licensing system.
Senate Bill 724 amends Title 24 (Education) and Title 71 (State Government) to make technical corrections to sections added or amended by Act 5 of 2017 and adds provisions for non-participating employer withdrawal liability under the Public School Employees’ Retirement Fund.
Senate Bill 733 provides for the Pennsylvania Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund Capital Budget for 2019.
The Appropriations Committee approved six bills on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 91 requires the Department of Labor & Industry to collect and disseminate data about emerging and projected future employment sectors.
Senate Bill 200 establishes a new trauma-informed system of education.
House Bill 384 increases the fine for driving a vehicle without the proper endorsement for that particular type of vehicle.
Senate Bill 456 allows private licensed schools to create branch campuses in counties outside the county that houses the primary site.
Senate Bill 669 reinstates the permanent legal custodian and adoption assistance subsidies to children from 18 to 21 years old.
House Bill 1172 establishes an endorsement process for boards and commissions for the issuance of licenses to applicants who are licensed to practice in another state.
Banking & Insurance
The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee approved four measures on Monday.
Senate Resolution 49 urges Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act.
Senate Bill 66 grants stage IV metastatic cancer patients access to the medications and treatments prescribed by their doctors.
House Bill 195 allows pharmacies to synchronize monthly medication fill dates for a patient so all of their prescriptions are filled on the same day of the month.
Senate Bill 332 increases the service charge for bad checks.
Communications & Technology
The Senate Communications & Technology Committee approved two Resolutions on Wednesday.
Senate Resolution 47 establishes a bipartisan, bicameral legislative commission to recommend improvements to the deployment of high-speed broadband services in unserved and underserved areas.
Senate Resolution 48 directs the Joint State Government Commission to conduct an in-depth investigation and audit into the compliance of non-rural telecommunication carriers.
Community, Economic & Recreational Development
The Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee approved House Bill 826 on Tuesday. The bill expands the Sports Raffles Charity Act for 50/50 athletic event raffles to include collegiate teams.
Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure
The Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.
House Bill 64 authorizes state professional and occupational licensing boards to allow the carryover of excess continuing education credits.
Senate Bill 325 officially recognizes Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) under Pennsylvania statute.
House Bill 751 makes technical and editorial changes to the Public Utility Code.
The Senate Education Committee approved five bills on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 200 establishes a new trauma-informed system of education.
House Bill 297 requires the Department of Education to develop materials outlining workforce needs including training opportunities and future earning potential.
House Bill 522 establishes the Career and Technical Education Investment Incentive Program.
Senate Bill 723 would allow students to apply personal finance credits towards satisfying graduation requirements.
Senate Bill 729 requires all public schools to create at least one threat assessment team.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved seven bills on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 60 addresses human trafficking.
Senate Bill 81 raises the minimum age for marriage to 18.
House Bill 235 allows a correctional facility employee to serve as a witness to the consent to an adoption by an incarcerated birth parent.
House Bill 276 adds a victims’ bill of rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
House Bill 315 addresses female genital mutilation.
Senate Bill 320 enacts the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.
House Bill 502 protects a victim’s rights to be present at a trial.
House Bill 504 provides that past sexual victimization and allegations of past sexual victimization may be excluded from evidence in certain criminal trials.
Labor & Industry
The Senate Labor & Industry Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 94 provides workers compensation coverage for volunteer firefighters.
Senate Bill 601 provides members of National Guard and Reserves who serve on active duty, as well as their spouses, preference for placement into job training programs for one year after discharge.
The Senate Transportation Committee approved nine bills on Wednesday.
House Bill 65 designates the Route 3047 bridge over the South Branch of Blacklick Creek in Blacklick Township, Cambria County, as the Private First Class Steve L. Klosz Memorial Bridge.
Senate Bill 607 allows municipal police to use radar for traffic speed enforcement.
Senate Bill 742 exempts gas-powered passenger cars, vans, and light-duty trucks from the emissions testing program for the first eight years after manufacture.
Senate Bill 743 replaces the annual vehicle emissions testing mandate with a two-year testing requirement in counties where testing is required.
Senate Bill 744 exempts Blair, Cambria, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, and Westmoreland counties from vehicle emissions testing.
Senate Bill 745 replaces the tailpipe test in Pittsburgh and the two-speed idle test via a dynamometer/treadmill in the Philadelphia region with a gas cap test and a visual inspection for model year 1994-95 vehicles.
Senate Bill 746 extends the transition date for existing emissions inspection stations to obtain new emissions testing equipment by November 1, 2019.
Senate Bill 748 designates a portion of Route 50 in Independence Township, Washington County, as the Lt. Col. Juanita L. Warman Memorial Highway.
House Bill 1065 designates the Route 3033 bridge over Redbank Creek in Brookville Borough, Jefferson County, as the CPL James Slagle 2nd Ranger Battalion Army Ranger WWII Memorial Bridge.
Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness
The Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee approved three measures on Tuesday.
Senate Resolution 140 urges Congress to implement the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018.
House Bill 233 amends the Second Class County Code to provide for the decoration of deceased service members graves with flags on Memorial Day.
House Bill 859 authorizes the 911 emergency communications program until June 30, 2023.
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