Senator Dan Laughlin E-Newsletter

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Harrisburg Happenings

A report on the Legislative Session from the week of October 21, 2019

Dear Friend,

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 October 21, 2019.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatorlaughlin.com for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the page. If you would like to contact my office, please go to my web page and click the “contact” button. Please do not “reply” directly to this e-mail.

Sincerely,

Dan Laughlin

Bill Repurposing Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion Advances

The Senate unanimously passed legislation on Wednesday to repurpose the Lieutenant Governor’s Residence at Fort Indiantown Gap to support veterans and active duty military personnel. Pennsylvania is the only state that provides a residence for its Lieutenant Governor.

Senate Bill 750 requires the Department of General Services to transfer the Lieutenant Governor’s mansion to the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs to be used for the purposes of supporting Pennsylvania’s veterans programs and supporting the National Guard.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Votes to Provide Security Grants to Nonprofits

The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday to provide security grants to faith-based institutions and nonprofit organizations. House Bill 859 would make grants available to faith-based institutions and any nonprofit that services individuals, groups, or institutions included within the FBI’s bias motivation category for hate crime incidents.

The $5 million Nonprofit Security Grant Program would be administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Grant awards would range from $5,000 to $150,000, with larger amounts contingent upon the organization committing matching funds.

Similar to the recently enacted Safe Schools Grant Program, faith-based institutions and nonprofits could use the funds for a variety of security planning, equipment, and technology needs — including metal detectors, surveillance cameras, emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, threat assessments, and building upgrades.

House Bill 859 returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Approves Bill Clarifying the Role of School Police Officers

The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday clarifying the role of school police officers.

House Bill 49 clarifies that school police officers may exercise the same powers as the police of the municipality in which the school is located. House Bill 49 also extends the deadline for school police officers, school resource officers and school security guards to receive training required by the National Association of School Resource Officers or an equivalent course until the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

The measure amends the Public School Code to allow students to receive credit for the successful completion of a personal financial literacy course and it extends the deadline for the Public Higher Education Funding Commission to issue a report of its findings to November 30, 2020.

The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Sends Legislation to End Child Marriages to House

The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday to ban child marriage in Pennsylvania. Senate Bill 81 would eliminate all legal exceptions that allow marriages of children under the age of 18. Pennsylvania is one of 18 states that does not specify a minimum age at which a person can be married.

Current Pennsylvania law allows those age 16 and 17 to marry with a parent or guardian’s consent and those under 16 to marry with parental consent and a judge’s approval.

Senate Approves Bill to Strengthen Oversight of Proposed Regulations

The Senate approved a bill on Tuesday to strengthen the review process for government regulations and provide for better oversight by lawmakers. Senate Bill 398 would ensure state agencies deliver proposed regulations to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and to lawmakers in a timely manner to ensure a thorough review. The bill also extends the time period for review to coincide with days the General Assembly is in session.

Currently, state agencies can submit proposed regulations at a time when the General Assembly is in recess, preventing lawmakers from undertaking a comprehensive review and scheduling hearings to air concerns about how those regulations could affect Pennsylvania families and businesses.

The legislation was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. Seven additional Senate Bills were also approved this week and sent to the House.

Senate Bill 61 expands the list of organizations eligible to receive a wine and spirits auction permit.

Senate Bill 114 requires the removal of snow and ice from vehicles before driving.

Senate Bill 413 amends the state Constitution to eliminate a provision requiring a separate ballot or a separate column on voting machines for the retention of justices, judges, and justices of the peace.

Senate Bill 690 increases the public bidding threshold from $1,500 to $6,000 for Incorporated Towns.

Senate Bill 691 increases the public bidding threshold from $1,500 to $6,000 for Second Class Townships.

Senate Bill 692 increases the public bidding threshold from $1,500 to $6,000 for Boroughs and Third Class Cities.

Senate Bill 790 creates a Conventional Oil and Gas Wells Act.

In addition, the Senate approved House Bill 1085, which repeals the obsolete State Personal Property Tax Act, and sent the measure to the Governor for enactment into law.

Committee Roundup

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee approved Senate Bill 798 on Tuesday. The bill removes a loophole relating to dangerous dogs from the Dog Law.

Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved 17 bills on Monday.

Senate Bill 61 adds to the list of organizations eligible to receive a wine and spirits auction permit.

Senate Bill 94 ensures all active duty volunteer firefighters, fire police, officers or directors of a volunteer fire company, and integral members of a volunteer fire company are covered under the State Workers Insurance Fund.

House Bill 227 clarifies that school director candidates will be required to submit 10 signatures for nomination.

Senate Bill 320 enacts the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.

Senate Bill 332 increases the service charge for bad checks.

House Bill 375 eliminates state veterans’ benefits from the definition of “income” for PACE and PACENET eligibility determinations.

Senate Bill 412 amends the state Constitution to repeal a provision that excludes federal, state, county, and municipal employees from serving as poll workers.

Senate Bill 413 amends the state Constitution to eliminate a provision requiring a separate ballot or a separate column on voting machines for the retention of justices, judges, and justices of the peace.

House Bill 684 excludes the principal and interest accrued from savings bonds in the determination of eligibility for PACE and PACENET.

Senate Bill 693 amends state election law.

Senate Bill 750 requires the state to repurpose the Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion to support programs for veterans and the National Guard.

House Bill 754 provides that PACE and PACENET enrollees will not lose their benefits if they exceed the maximum income limit due solely to a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.

Senate Bill 790 creates a Conventional Oil and Gas Wells Act.

Senate Bill 819 updates and revises the Older Adults Protective Services Act.

House Bill 859 authorizes the 911 emergency communications program until June 30, 2023 and creates the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

House Bill 947 sets the hours of operation for breweries, distilleries and limited distilleries.

House Bill 1085 repeals the obsolete State Personal Property Tax Act.

The Appropriations Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.

House Bill 49 requires public schools to allow students to apply personal finance credits towards satisfying graduation requirements and clarifies the role and training requirements for school security officers.

Senate Bill 491 provides for the appointment of two Certified Pennsylvania Evaluators by the Governor to the State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers.

Senate Bill 492 clarifies that revaluation company personnel who are directly responsible for the valuation of real property must be certified as a Certified Pennsylvania Evaluator.

Education

The Senate Education Committee approved three bills on Monday.

House Bill 49 requires public schools to allow students to apply personal finance credits towards satisfying graduation requirements and clarifies the role and training requirements for school security officers.

Senate Bill 331 creates three grants of $150,000 which would be distributed to three community colleges or State System of Higher Education universities to establish fire training programs for students in high school during the school year.

Senate Bill 836 amends Act 59 to require information be provided to student athletes regarding electrocardiogram testing and that they be notified of the option to request an electrocardiogram in addition to the standard physical examination.

Environmental Resources & Energy

The Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee approved four measures on Tuesday.

Senate Resolution 191 urges Congress to reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund.

Senate Bill 726 provides more clarity regarding permit appeals from decisions made by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Senate Bill 727 shortens the term a judge can serve on the Environmental Hearing Board from six to five years. It also restricts judges from serving more than two terms unless they began by filling a vacancy on the bench.

Senate Bill 891 establishes a mechanism for expedited review of permits issued under 25 Pa. Code Chapter 102 and Chapter 105.

The Environmental Resources & Energy Committee approved two bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 919 establishes statewide uniform requirements restricting the use of Class B firefighting foams containing added PFAS chemistries for training, restricting their use in testing, while also allowing for continued sale and use against real-world fires.

House Bill 1410 amends the Transit Revitalization Investment District Act (Act 238 of 2004) by providing for military installation remediation and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances remediation.

Finance

The Senate Finance Committee approved two bills on Wednesday.

House Bill 17 establishes a 10-year time period for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to collect assessed personal income taxes.

Senate Bill 74 allows companies to apply for a tax credit after making an eligible donation to a Pennsylvania pediatric cancer research hospital.

Health & Human Services

The Senate Health & Human Services Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 842 allows for the omission of health care workers’ last names from their identification badges.

Senate Bill 906 institutes a moratorium on the closing of the Polk and White Haven State Centers.

Local Government

The Senate Local Government Committee approved eight bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 917 repeals Act 598 of 1929, an act authorizing municipalities — other than townships — to acquire, operate and maintain a hospital.

House Bill 1034 amends the Consolidated County Assessment Law to more precisely define changes to real property that could occur without authorizing the assessment office to adjust an assessment, and to increase the value of other improvements that may occur before the assessment office is required to be notified.

House Bill 1035 allows political subdivisions and authorities to enter into contracts for services when two consecutive advertisements fail to receive bids.

House Bill 1036 amends the Borough Code regarding ballot questions for a decrease in the size of a borough council.

House Bill 1174 repeals Act 49 of 1933 which prohibits baseball or football games on Sundays before 2 p.m. or after 6 p.m. in certain circumstances.

House Bill 1180 repeals the Sunday Motion Pictures Act of 1935.

House Bill 1379 repeals the Sunday Polo Act of 1935

House Bill 1405 repeals the Sunday Tennis Act of 1935.

Urban Affairs & Housing

The Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 329 strengthens blighted property code violations when an owner has received state funds.

Senate Bill 334 bans spot appeals of property assessments.

House Bill 1578 amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) to make technical changes and clarifications.

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

The Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 908 transfers the administration of the Fire Relief Program from the Auditor General to the State Fire Commissioner.

Senate Bill 910 reauthorizes the Fire & EMS Grant Program until June 30, 2024.

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