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Senator Don White

Harrisburg Happenings
A Report on the Legislative Session of
March 27, 2017

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features legislative activities during the Session Week of March 27, 2017.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website 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.


Don White

New Bills Would Strengthen Protection From Abuse Laws

3/28/17 - Protection from Abuse (PFA) Reform


Senators Camera Bartolotta, Tom Killion, Tom McGarrigle and Randy Vulakovich held a press conference in the State Capitol on Tuesday to announce four bills designed to offer greater protections to victims of domestic violence and their children, as well as hold abusers accountable.

Last year, Pennsylvania assisted more than 89,000 victims of domestic violence.

The legislative package reflects recommendations of the bi-partisan Joint State Government Commission staff study on protection from abuse orders (PFA) in Pennsylvania and is in alignment with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s priorities of improving the safety of victims, their children and the community as a whole.

The bills in the package include:

Senate Bill 449, introduced by Senator Bartolotta, would allow Magisterial District Judges to use a risk assessment tool when determining bail in domestic violence cases.

Senate Bill 500, introduced by Senator Vulakovich, ensures that law enforcement protection is available to a victim before or while the petition and PFA orders are being served.

Senate Bill 501, introduced by Senator Killion, addresses the relinquishment of firearms in PFA cases.

Senate Bill 502, introduced by Senator McGarrigle, allows courts to extend an existing PFA order or issue a new order in certain circumstances.

Senate Approves Four Bills, Two Resolutions

The Senate approved four bills and two resolutions this week. The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Bill 30 gives the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission the authority to establish the fees that it charges for licenses.

Senate Resolution 36 urges Congress to renew the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to prevent the Department of Justice from spending funds to interfere with implementation of state medical marijuana laws.

Senate Resolution 44 condemns the recent acts of hate against the Jewish community in Pennsylvania and across the nation.

Senate Bill 133 repeals the REAL ID Nonparticipation Act (Act 38 of 2012), which prohibits Pennsylvania from complying with the Federal REAL ID Act.

Senate Bill 171 requires Senate confirmation of the Chief Executive Officer of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Senate Bill 192 gives the Pennsylvania Game Commission the authority to set hunting and fur-taking license fees.

Senate Bill 250 authorizes a $15 million transfer from the Unemployment Compensation Fund to the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund.

Committee Roundup


The Senate Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 133 on Monday. The measure repeals the REAL ID Nonparticipation Act (Act 38 of 2012), which prohibits Pennsylvania from complying with the Federal REAL ID Act.

Rules & Executive Nominations

The Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee approved Senate Resolution 44 on Monday. The measure condemns the recent acts of hate against the Jewish community in Pennsylvania and across the nation.


The Senate Transportation Committee approved three bills Tuesday.

Senate Bill 289, which I introduced, designates a bridge on the portion of old State Route 22 over the Conemaugh River in Blairsville Borough, Indiana County, as the Blairsville Area Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Senate Bill 435 would require all motorists to clear snow and ice from the top of their vehicles before driving. 

Senate Bill 553 provides for chemical testing and other measures related to driving after imbibing alcohol or using drugs.

Local Government

The Senate Local Government Committee approved three bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 5 prevents local jurisdictions from imposing ordinances more restrictive than laws passed by the General Assembly. 

Senate Bill 365 updates the Second Class Township Code regarding the selling of township personal property without requesting bids.

Senate Bill 399 clarifies the Second Class Township Code to stipulate that township supervisors shall not hold any other elective township office or appointed position in the township that is prohibited by the code or any other state law.

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

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

House Bill 165 creates the Pennsylvania Achievement Medal and the Pennsylvania Veterans Service Award and adds those two new decorations to the list of existing medals, badges, and awards that are authorized and presented by the Governor in the name of the Commonwealth.

Senate Bill 552 redirects funds to a new Pennsylvania Veterans' Monuments and Memorial Trust Fund and would require those funds be used for the operation and maintenance of monuments designated by Department of Military & Veterans Affairs in consultation with the State Veterans’ Commission.           


The Senate Judiciary Committee approved five measures on Tuesday.

Senate Resolution 32 directs the Joint State Government Commission to study the use of youth courts in Pennsylvania’s education and juvenile justice systems.

Senate Resolution 35 directs the Joint State Government Commission to establish an Animal Abuse Prevention Task Force to conduct an analysis of laws for the prevention of animal cruelty and abuse and report its findings and recommendations to the Senate.

Senate Bill 108 prohibits the discrimination of any potential organ transplant recipient on the basis of a physical or mental disability.

Senate Bill 554 immunizes child victims of human trafficking from criminal prosecution.

Senate Bill 560 amend the Wiretap Act to allow police officers to use body-worn cameras.


The Senate Education Committee approved six measures on Wednesday.

Senate Resolution 34 directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study and issue a report on the long-term sustainability and viability of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Senate Bill 363 updates Act 168 of 2014, Pennsylvania’s “Passing the Trash” law.

Senate Bill 406 amends the Public School Code to require all millage tax increases be approved by a two-thirds majority vote by the board of school directors.

Senate Bill 494 would bar public school teachers from working full-time for their union while remaining on their district’s payroll. These teachers are commonly referred to as “ghost teachers.”

House Bill 202 eliminates the statutory requirement for the development and implementation of Keystone Exams in English Composition, Algebra II, Geometry, U.S. History, Chemistry, Civics and Government, and World History. 

House Bill 224  provides civil immunity to trained school bus drivers who administer epinephrine auto-injectors (epi-pens) to students.

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