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Senator Don White

Harrisburg Happenings
A Report on the Legislative Session of
June 12, 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 June 12, 2017.

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

Don White


Welcoming Guests from Murrysville to the Capitol

It was a pleasure to have Katie Backfisch (left) and Barb Legal (right) from Murrysville visit me in Harrisburg on Tuesday. They were able to take in a tour of our beautiful Capitol building and see other sites during their visit.

Senate Banking & Insurance Committee Approves Five Bills

The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, which I chair, approved five bills on Tuesday. Audio

Senate Bill 471 provides an expedited foreclosure process for vacant or abandoned properties.

Senate Bill 590 increases the service charge for bad checks.

Senate Bill 629 updates the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act.

Senate Bill 751 provides for regulation and licensure of mortgage servicers.

House Bill 1039 authorizes and regulates savings promotion raffles.

All five bills now go to the full Senate for consideration.

Senate Passes Measure to Promote Independence of Inspector General

The Office of Inspector General would have greater authority and independence to investigate and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars under legislation approved by the Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 527 would establish the Office of Inspector General in statute. The office currently operates under Executive Order and could be eliminated at any time. The bill would provide the office its own appropriation in the state budget and broaden the office’s authority to bring criminal charges, issue subpoenas and investigate and eliminate fraud in human services programs.

Similar legislation was approved by the General Assembly last year, but Governor Wolf vetoed the measure. Senate Bill 527 would allow the governor to appoint an Inspector General who meets certain qualifications, including a prohibition on serving in any elected office. The bill also allows the Governor to remove the Inspector General for cause, a provision that is consistent with the Executive Order that created the position in 1987.

Senate Bill 527 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Approves Bill Requiring Legislative Approval of Costly Regulations

Legislation that would prohibit costly government regulations from being imposed without approval by the General Assembly and Governor was approved by the Senate on Tuesday.

Under Senate Bill 561, no regulation with an economic impact or cost to the Commonwealth, to its political subdivisions, and to the private sector exceeding $1 million could be imposed without approval of the General Assembly and Governor. This change would help protect businesses, non-profits, educational institutions and individuals from costly, burdensome regulations.

Currently, the regulatory review process requires the General Assembly to pass a concurrent resolution disapproving a regulation. However, the Governor must sign the disapproval resolution to bar his own agencies from enacting the regulation, a highly unlikely scenario.

Senate Bill 561 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Four other bills were approved by the Senate and sent to the House this week.

Senate Bill 303 addresses Project 70 restrictions on lands owned by the Borough of Topton.

Senate Bill 496 provides additional sentencing provisions for trespassing at gaming establishments.

Senate Bill 561 would require the approval of the General Assembly and the Governor for all new regulations with an economic impact or cost exceeding $1 million to the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions, and the private sector.

Senate Bill 646 amends Act 101 of 1988, the Municipal Waste Planning Recycling and Waste Reduction Act.

Three Bills Sent to Governor

The Senate gave final legislative approval to three House Bills these week and sent the measures to the Governor’s desk for his signature and enactment into law.

House Bill 93 designates a portion of State Route 93 in Columbia County as the Stuart Tank Memorial Highway.

House Bill 267 adds the new offense of theft of secondary metal. Secondary metal is defined as wire, pipe or cable commonly used by communications, gas, water, wastewater, and electrical utilities and railroads and mass transit or commuter rail agencies, copper, aluminum or other metal, or a combination of metals valuable for recycling or reuse as raw material.

House Bill 1071 prohibits political subdivisions from imposing a recyclable plastic bag ban or levying a fee, surcharge or tax on plastic bags.

Committee Roundup

Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee met on Monday and Tuesday to approve 14 bills.

House Bill 16 amends the Local Tax Collection Law to prohibit tax payments to an account in an individual’s name and requires the creation of a separate account to be used solely for tax purposes.

Senate Bill 168 provides for public notice of collective bargaining agreements prior to approval.

Senate Bill 178 updates and modernizes the state History Code.

Senate Bill 461 would modernize and strengthen the use of DNA technology to better fight violent crime in Pennsylvania.             

Senate Bill 527 creates an independent Office of Inspector General.

Senate Bill 680 provides for expenses of the State Employees' Retirement Board for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 681 provides for expenses of the Public School Employees' Retirement Board for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 682 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding to the Department of State for use by the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs.

Senate Bill 683 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding to the Department of Labor & Industry and the Department of Community & Economic Development to provide for the expenses of administering the Workers' Compensation Act.

Senate Bill 684 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the Public Utility Commission.

Senate Bill 685 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the Office of Consumer Advocate in the Office of Attorney General.

Senate Bill 686 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the Office of Small Business Advocate in the Department of Community & Economic Development.

Senate Bill 687 makes appropriations from restricted revenue accounts within the State Gaming Fund and from the State Gaming Fund to the Attorney General, the Department of Revenue, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 688 makes appropriations from the Philadelphia Taxicab & Limousine Regulatory Fund and the Philadelphia Taxicab Medallion Fund to the Philadelphia Parking Authority for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 697 is the Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

House Bill 1071 prohibits political subdivisions from imposing a recyclable plastic bag ban or levying a fee, surcharge or tax on plastic bags.

Health & Human Services

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

House Bill 17 amends the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act to specify that a parent or guardian is authorized to provide consent for treatment of their minor child.

Senate Bill 31 invests $1 million in a program that awards grants for research into spinal cord injuries.

House Bill 118 encourages health care facilities to convert beds to provide medically supervised detoxification.

House Bill 126 allows entities such as summer camps, colleges and universities, restaurants, amusement parks, sport facilities, daycares and other facilities to have non-patient specific epinephrine auto-injectors.

Senate Bill 211 enhances the PA 2-1-1 system.

House Bill 239 establishes a Rare Disease Advisory Council in the Department of Health.

Senate Bill 533 creates an Emergency Addiction Treatment Program under the Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs. 

Senate Bill 728 exempts Schedule V epilepsy drugs currently included in the state’s prescription drug monitoring program requirements.

Local Government

The Senate Local Government Committee approved six bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 252 amends the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s enabling act to assist in supporting private development.

House Bill 422 amends the First Class Township Code clarifying proof of residency of officials, bonding requirements and the handling of vacancies.

House Bill 423 creates a specific process for second class townships to address a vacancy in the Office of Supervisor due to a resignation.

Senate Bill 653 further consolidates the collection of local, non-real estate taxes, at the county level.

Senate Bill 736 authorizes parking authorities in Second Class A and Third Class cities to enforce and administer parking ordinances and resolutions.

House Bill 1269 provides that municipal authorities serving five or more municipalities and imposing tapping fees for a project will have the deadline to start construction on the project increased from 15 years to 20 years.

Finance

The Senate Finance Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 144 excludes certain fundraising activities from triggering the requirement for registration and reporting to the Department of State.

House Bill 411 amends the state Bingo Law to remove the restrictions on the number of days a licensed association may conduct bingo games and increases the limit on prizes that may be awarded.

Labor & Industry

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee approved Senate Bill 663 on Tuesday. The bill requires a municipality to contract with at least three third party agencies and amends the Uniform Construction Code Act to eliminate the current “monopoly.”

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved four bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 168 makes it a crime for anyone to fraudulently present themselves as a soldier or a veteran of any branch of the armed forces, or to be the recipient of a service medal or other military decoration.

Senate Bill 180 updates and revises state law relating to organ and tissue donations.

House Bill 217 amends the Crimes Code concerning endangering the welfare of children.

House Bill 1238 updates and clarifies the existing animal abuse statute and increases the penalties for abusing any animal.

State Government

The Senate State Government Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.

House Bill 599 creates the Results First Project and provides for data collection and analysis by the Independent Fiscal Office.

Senate Bill 610 designates quartz as the official State Mineral.

Senate Bill 658 designates the Eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) as the State Amphibian. 

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

The Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 472 limits the prescription for a controlled substance containing an opioid to seven days.

Senate Bill 542 permits pharmacists to dispense emergency prescription refills for up to 30 days pursuant to certain restrictions.

Senate Bill 616 requires funeral directors, pre-need or cemetery companies to provide information regarding the availability of VA burial benefits.

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved five bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 145 requires passengers in a vehicle to render aid to anyone injured in an accident.

House Bill 188 increases the income limit for retired persons to qualify for a vehicle registration fee exemption from $19,200 to $23,500.

House Bill 283 renames several highways and bridges.

Senate Bill 753 limits liability for emergency service responders who move a vehicle off of the roadway from an accident scene.

House Bill 952 is a bridge renaming bill.

 

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