A report on the Legislative Session from the week of
November 13, 2017
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 November 13, 2017.
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PACE COLA Exemption Extension Sent to Governor
The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday extending protections to seniors enrolled in PACE and PACENET who would lose eligibility for these programs due to increases in income from Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLA).
House Bill 425 now goes to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law. Act 91 of 2015 provided for the COLA exemption through Dec. 31, 2017 and protected the eligibility of 16,500 senior citizens. House Bill 425 continues the exemption until Dec. 31, 2019.
A bill adding two new decorations to the list of awards conferred by the Commonwealth for heroic civilian and military service and another bill expanding the permitted use of golf carts for recreational and maintenance purposes also received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor for enactment into law.
House Bill 165 creates the Pennsylvania Achievement Medal and the Pennsylvania Veterans Service Award and adds those two new decorations to the list of awards that the Governor may present in the name of the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Medal of Achievement would be ranked fifth, under the Pennsylvania Commendation Medal, and the Pennsylvania Veterans Service Award would be ranked 13th, under the Pennsylvania Outstanding Aeronautical Achievement Award.
Senate Bill 785 would allow golf carts on highway crossovers for recreational purposes and allow golf carts and low-speed utility vehicles to be used for maintenance purposes on public highways.
Also receiving final legislative approval this week was House Bill 1019, which establishes procedures for the sale and purchase of a cemetery and reasonable access guidelines.
Senate Approves Bill Allowing Local Police to Use Radar
The Senate approved legislation on Tuesday that would allow Pennsylvania’s municipal police departments to use radar as a means of speed enforcement. Currently in Pennsylvania, only the State Police are authorized to use radar.
Senate Bill 251 sets the following conditions:
The measure is supported by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, the Pennsylvania Municipal League, the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, the Pennsylvania Association of Township Commissioners, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and the Pennsylvania State Mayors Association.
Several other bills were also approved by the Senate this week and sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 113 would allow family members to have access and visitation rights with regard to a family member who is incapacitated and under court-appointed guardianship.
Senate Bill 540 allows students who are performing at events and funerals honoring our veterans to be excused from school, and allow that time to be counted toward volunteering or community service requirements.
Senate Bill 629 updates the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act.
Senate Bill 826 is a land conveyance bill.
Senate Bill 837 is a highway renaming bill.
Senate Bill 877 amends the Insurance Department Act to allow producers and insurers to spend as much as $100 in marketing insurance to a client or prospective client.
Senate Bill 878 amends the Insurance Company Law to allow producers and insurers to spend as much as $100 in marketing insurance to a client or prospective client.
Senate Bill 894 renames roads and bridges.
House Bill 1009 releases Project 70 restrictions on properties. The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Panel Would Study Health Needs of Women Veterans
A resolution adopted by the Senate on Tuesday would establish a special panel to address the needs of Pennsylvania’s growing female veteran population. The Women’s Veterans’ Health Care Task Force created by Senate Resolution 5 is intended to improve the delivery of health care services to the state’s nearly 71,000 female veterans.
Pennsylvania ranks as having the seventh-highest population of women veterans in the U.S., following Texas, California, Florida, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. The task force would review issues such as PTSD, alcohol and drug abuse and sexual trauma. It would also serve as an advocate for all of the Pennsylvania women who have served in uniform as the Commonwealth shapes new health care policies and reviews existing ones.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.
House Bill 411 amends the state Bingo Law to increase the monetary limits for payouts and jackpots.
House Bill 425 provides for a COLA exemption for PACE/PACENET recipients through December 31, 2019.
Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure
The Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee approved Senate Bill 764 on Tuesday. The bill creates a recreational vehicle (RV) specific law which would govern RV dealers, manufacturers, and salespeople.
Health & Human Services
The Senate Health & Human Services Committee approved three bills on Tuesday.
House Bill 478 requires outpatient psychiatric clinics to have a psychiatrist on site for two hours of psychiatric time per week for each full-time equivalent treatment staff member employed by the clinic.
House Bill 644 removes the cap on funds which can be obtained by federally qualified health centers.
House Bill 1234 amends the definition of ambulatory surgical facility in the Health Care Facilities Act to reflect that surgical procedures in the facility may not exceed 24 hours.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved three bills on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 196 allows judges to order an electronic monitoring device on a defendant in a protection from abuse order.
Senate Bill 313 provides victims of domestic violence with certain exemptions when terminating a shared telephone plan contract if it is with an abuser.
Senate Bill 500 ensures that law enforcement protection is available to a victim before or while the petition and PFA orders are being served.
Labor & Industry
The Senate Labor & Industry Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 21 promotes the employment of people with disabilities.
House Bill 1597 increases the time allotted for parties to appeal the determination of an Unemployment Compensation (UC) Service Center and the decision of a UC referee from 15 days to 21 days.
Law & Justice
The Senate Law & Justice Committee approved Senate Bill 959 on Wednesday. The bill amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) regarding the purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages by minors.
Rules & Executive Nominations
The Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee considered Senate Bill 785 on Monday. The bill would allow golf carts on highway crossovers for recreational purposes and allow golf carts and low-speed utility vehicles to be used for maintenance purposes on public highways.
The Senate State Government Committee approved three bills on Monday.
Senate Bill 263 eliminates the requirement that disabled voters with permanent absentee voter status submit a written statement every four years.
House Bill 1009 releases Project 70 restrictions on a property and structure in Westmoreland County.
House Bill 1175 amends state law relating to lobbying disclosure to provide for an electronic registration filing system and to increase fines and penalties for violations of the act.
The Senate Transportation Committee approved two bills on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 266 provides for vehicle registration plates for recipients of the Soldier’s Medal.
Senate Bill 729 provides for vehicle registration plates for veterans of an allied foreign country.
For more information on issues of importance to Pennsylvania, please visit my website at www.senatorlaughlin.com and connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/senatorlaughlin/) and Twitter (twitter.com/senatorlaughlin).