A report on the Legislative Session Week of May 26, 2020
I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features events and legislative activities during the Session Week of May 26, 2020.
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Senate Game & Fisheries Committee Approves Five Bills
The Senate Game & Fisheries Committee, which I chair, approved five bills on Wednesday.
House Bill 1003 empowers the Fish and Boat Commission’s to issue citations for failure to mark head or run-of-the-river dams.
Senate Bill 1074 amends the Fish Code regarding fishing licenses.
House Bill 1185 increases and/or clarifies penalties relating to damage to Fish & Boat Commission property; littering; boating education; boating under the influence; and aggravated assault by watercraft.
House Bill 1188 removes the restriction on the use of infrared, thermal, and similar night vision optics for hunting. The bill does not automatically allow the use of such optics, but rather allows the Game Commission to permit their use by regulation if it deems appropriate.
House Bill 1584 removes restrictive language that bars Fish and Boat Commission Waterways Conservation Officers from being included in Act 111 for the purpose of seeking collective bargaining.
The bills were sent to the full Senate for consideration.
Erie County to Receive $24.3 Million in COVID-19 Relief Funds
I am pleased to report that Erie County will receive more than $24.3 million from the state for its COVID-19 relief efforts from a bill approved by the Senate and sent to the Governor on Thursday.
Senate Bill 1108 directs $2.6 billion in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) funding for critical needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, including $625 million for counties that did not receive a direct subsidy from the federal government. The measure will provide a block grant of $24,358,827 to Erie County.
We have certainly endured a rough Spring and this money will help the county invest in efforts to restore our economy and assist community organizations and small businesses in recovering from the impact of the pandemic.
Under the bill, counties can use the funding to: cover increased costs due to COVID-19; provide small business assistance; provide tourism industry assistance; aid municipalities; expand broadband access; and support behavioral health/substance abuse programs and non-profit organizations
We recognize that COVID-19 had an unprecedented and varying impact on counties and municipalities across the Commonwealth, straining services and draining vital resources. That’s why we built in a wide-ranging menu of eligible uses for these funds. I know one thing for sure, the Erie County Council knows our local community much better than the vast majority of officials in Harrisburg or Washington D.C. That’s why provided this federal money in a way that I believe will ensure the best results for everyone in Erie County.
Senate Bill 1108 also provides an additional $8 million for ventilator care, an issue I have championed in the Senate. Even before the pandemic, a number of providers indicated that they might have to limit or even eliminate ventilation care if the Medicaid reimbursement issue was not addressed. Pennsylvania’s ongoing war against COVID-19 has only amplified the need to maintain – if not increase – the availability of ventilator care in the Commonwealth.
The Senate also approved on Thursday and sent to the Governor House Bill 2387, a $25.8 billion short-term budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21 that provides five months of funding for most state agencies and services. The appropriations in HB 2387 are based primarily on current funding for agencies and services in the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget, but allocated at a five-month level. Full-year funding is provided for a few select line items in HB 2387, notably for education and food security programs.
We also took a major step to protect property owners by authorizing in the budget the use of up to $300 million to help make up any potential shortfalls in state taxpayer relief payments created by the pandemic.
Bills in the FY 2020-21 Budget and CARES Funding Packages
Senate Bill 166 is the 2020-21 Capital Budget.
Senate Bill 1027 amends the Administrative Code.
House Bill 1083 amends the Fiscal Code.
Senate Bill 1108 appropriates a portion of Pennsylvania’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) funding.
Senate Bill 1122 provides $50 million for grants to fire companies and EMS stations.
House Bill 1210 amends the School Code to provide for spending across multiple programs.
House Bill 2387 is the General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2441 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for Pennsylvania State University.
House Bill 2442 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for the University of Pittsburgh
House Bill 2443 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for Temple University.
House Bill 2444 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for Lincoln University.
House Bill 2445 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for the University of Pennsylvania Center for Infectious Diseases and Veterinary Activities.
House Bill 2467 provides Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2468 provides for Workers’ Compensation Act funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2469 provides Office of the Small Business Advocate funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2470 provides Office of Consumer Advocate funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2471 provides Public School Employees’ Retirement Board funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2472 provides State Employees’ Retirement Board funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2473 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
House Bill 2474 provides Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2475 provides for Gaming Control Act funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2510 provides for the distribution of federal funding that was provided through the CARES Act.
Seven Additional Bills Sent to Governor
In addition to the budget and the CARES package, seven additional bills received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor.
House Bill 102 provides for expanded availability of hunter education courses in public schools.
Senate Bill 275 ensures that a strangulation conviction would be considered in sentencing for subsequent crimes and in custody proceedings.
Senate Bill 863 addresses campground owners’ rights.
Senate Bill 1030 amends the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Act 537).
House Bill 1036 amends the Borough Code to address ballot questions for a decrease in size of a borough council.
House Bill 1048 eliminates the $700 application surcharge for renewal of liquor licenses by national veterans’ organizations and volunteer fire companies.
House Bill 1907 designates a bridge over U.S. Route 11/15 in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County, as the “Senator Hal Mowery Memorial Bridge.”
Four Bills Sent to House of Representatives
Four bills were approved by the Senate this week and sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 377 increases the fine and the penalty for killing or unlawfully taking a bald or golden eagle.
Senate Bill 594 requires employers who have a certified safety committee as part of their workers’ compensation program to include information about the risks associated with the use of opioids.
Senate Bill 915 sets standards for the application of fertilizer to turf.
Senate Bill 1076 removes the sunset provision for the Military Family Relief Assistance Program.
In addition to Senate Bill 1076, House Bill 2387, House Bill 2441, House Bill 2442, House Bill 2443, House Bill 2444, House Bill 2445, House Bill 2467, House Bill 2468, House Bill 2469, House Bill 2470, House Bill 2471, House Bill 2472, House Bill 2473, House Bill 2474, House Bill 2475 and House Bill 2510 the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 995 on Tuesday. That bill increases the width of multipurpose agricultural vehicles that are allowed on public roadways.
House Bill 584 provides an exemption from fishing license requirements for therapeutic recreation programs.
Senate Bill 987 requires Senate Confirmation of the Fire Commissioner.
The Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 5 requires General Assembly approval of all regulations with an economic impact or cost exceeding $1 million.
Senate Bill 609 provides for a one-time automatic review of all economically significant regulations.
Senate Bill 1034 ensures effective use of state grants.
Health & Human Services
The Senate Health & Human Services Committee approved Senate Bill 430 on Wednesday. The Measure requires carbon monoxide detectors in child care facilities that use a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance or has an attached garage.
Labor & Industry
The Senate Labor & Industry Committee approved House Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution 1 on Tuesday. The measure prohibits the Department of Labor & Industry from publishing Regulation #12-106, which addresses Pennsylvania’s minimum wage and overtime exemptions for administrative, executive and professional employees. The bill was adopted by the full Senate on Wednesday.
Rules & Executive Nominations
The Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee approved Senate Resolution 310 on Tuesday. The measure adopts a temporary Senate related to amendments to the General Appropriation Bill and other appropriation bills for the 2020-21 Fiscal Year, including any amendments offered to/or for supplemental appropriations for prior fiscal years. The Senate adopted the Resolution on Wednesday.
The Senate Transportation Committee approved the nomination of Yassmin Gramian as Secretary of Transportation and three bills on Tuesday.
House Bill 30 allows contributions of $6 to the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund when renewing a vehicle registration for two years.
House Bill 1510 renames several bridges and highways.
House Bill 1710 creates the USA semiquincentennial registration plate.
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