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Senator Don White

Harrisburg Happenings
A Report on the Legislative Session of
June 26, 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 26, 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


Budget Holds Line on Spending, Boosts Education Funding

The Senate approved a General Appropriations Fund budget on Friday for Fiscal Year 2017-18 that holds the line on spending, increases state support for education and maintains the core responsibilities of state government.

Despite increases in mandated expenses – including pensions, health care and human services – the overall increase in spending in House Bill 218 is just 0.6 percent over the current fiscal year and well below the rate of inflation. The spending total of slightly less than $32 billion is nearly $650 million less than Governor Wolf’s original budget request.

Senate Approves School Safety Bill

6/28/17 - School Safety Options (Senate Bill 383)

On Monday, the Senate approved Senate Bill 383 , legislation I introduced that would give school boards the option of allowing licensed and trained staff to carry firearms on school property.

SB 383 would allow school personnel to have access to firearms in school safety zones if school districts establish proper guidelines and they are licensed to carry a concealed firearm and have met certain training requirements in the use and handling of firearms in a program approved by the State Police.

Since I first introduced this proposal, there has been much discussion about what the measure does and how it relates to current Pennsylvania law.

To be clear, this bill is not about the Second Amendment.

It’s about giving Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts greater choices when it comes to protecting our most precious resource – our children.

This measure was initially proposed to me by Mark Zilinskas, a mathematics teacher with the Indiana Area School District, following the horrific case at Franklin Regional High School in April 2014 where one student stabbed 20 of his classmates and a security guard.

This tragedy, which occurred in just a matter of minutes, showed that time is a critical element when a violent incident occurs in a school. Many schools in rural areas rely on State Police coverage, which means response times can vary. Senate Bill 383 will give trained school personnel the opportunity to serve as first responders.

If it becomes law, I will sleep better at night knowing our school districts have more tools at their disposal to fight the unspeakable evil that causes a few in our society to seek to harm our children. 

Senate Approves Other 2017-18 Budget Components

The Senate approved several additional bills in the Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget package on Wednesday. The bills all involve separate funds that are not associated with or supported by general fund appropriations. The bills move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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.

On Friday, the Senate approved the bills that provide funding for the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine and the four state related universities.

Senate Bill 325 is Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Senate Bill 326 is Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for Penn State University.

Senate Bill 327 is Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the University of Pittsburgh.

Senate Bill 328 is Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for Temple University.

Senate Bill 329 is Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for Lincoln University.

Senate Passes Bill Targeting Drug Dealers

County district attorneys would be able to hold drug dealers more accountable when their actions cause "serious bodily injury" to the user under legislation approved by the Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 662 would make it a second degree felony for the delivery or distribution of an illicit drug that results in serious bodily injury to the user, such as a permanent disfigurement or the loss or impairment of a body part or organ.

Pennsylvania currently lacks a statute pertaining to serious bodily injury resulting from an overdose. For that reason, district attorneys often refer these cases to federal prosecutors who can seek tougher penalties under federal law. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The Senate approved and sent to the House eight other measures this week.

Senate Resolution 154 is a concurrent resolution that repeals the part of the Real Property Disposition Plan Number 1 of 2013 that authorized the Department of General Services to sell the New Castle Youth Development Center property.

Senate Bill 458 provides new penalties for illegal household goods movers.

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

Senate Bill 529 provides those with low-level, nonviolent criminal records a mechanism to have their record sealed from public view.

Senate Bill 630 reforms insurance licensure requirements for travel agents.

Senate Bill 690 establishes a mechanism for the initial apportionment of any home rule or optional plan municipality without a mayor that will be dividing into wards either partially or totally.

Senate Bill 691 establishes uniform residential qualifications of office for persons seeking election to, or appointment to fill a vacancy in, a municipal elected office where recent service in the military might interfere with the person’s ability to satisfy the relevant residency requirements.

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

Nine Bills Sent to Governor

Nine bills received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor for enactment into law.

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

House Bill 283 is a bridge renaming bill.

Senate Bill 288 would increase fines and suspend the licenses of repeat offenders of Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear” law.

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

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

House Bill 424 would allow physician assistants to sign a death certificate for a patient under their care.

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

House Bill 1219 renames a bridge in Cherryhill Township, Indiana County, as the Sgt. Robert Eugene Goodlin Memorial Bridge.

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.

Committee Roundup

Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved seven bills on Monday.

House Bill 218 is the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

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

House Bill 290 amends the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act to address a vacancy on the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Board.

Senate Bill 325 is Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the University of Pennsylvania.

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

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

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.

The Appropriations Committee approved 10 bills on Tuesday.

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.

The Appropriations Committee approved nine bills on Thursday.

House Bill 59 would allow appeals by adoptive families to the Department of Human Services regarding the adoption subsidy provided by the county Children and Youth Services Agency under the Adoption Opportunities Act.

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

House Bill 218 is the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 326 is Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for Penn State University.

Senate Bill 327 is Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the University of Pittsburgh.

Senate Bill 328 is Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for Temple University.

Senate Bill 329 is Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for Lincoln University.

Senate Bill 431 increases fines for littering.

House Bill 508 bars individuals who are not in compliance with Megan’s Law registration requirements from receiving public assistance.

The Appropriations Committee approved three bills on Friday.

Senate Bill 172 provides a five-year trial period for PENNDOT to place speed cameras in active work zones on limited access highways.

Senate Bill 663 requires a municipality to contract with at least three third party agencies and amends the Uniform Construction Code Act to eliminate the current “monopoly.”

House Bill 1490 places the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority under the oversight of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Labor & Industry

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee approved two bills on Monday.

House Bill 409 makes comprehensive changes to the process used by the Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council to evaluate and adopt building code updates.

Senate Bill 676 addresses ongoing funding deficiencies in the Workers’ Compensation Uninsured Employers Guarantee Fund.

Rules & Executive Nominations

The Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee approved Senate Bill 560, as amended by the House of Representatives, on Monday. The bill amends the state Wiretap Act regarding the use of body-worn cameras by police officers.

Health & Human Services

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

House Bill 59 would allow appeals by adoptive families to the Department of Human Services regarding the adoption subsidy provided by the county Children and Youth Services Agency under the Adoption Opportunities Act.

House Bill 508 bars individuals who are not in compliance with Megan’s Law registration requirements from receiving public assistance.

The Health & Human Services Committee approved House Bill 211 on Thursday. The bill establishes a statewide 2-1-1 System Grant Program.

Finance

The Senate Finance Committee approved two bills on Monday.

House Bill 542 requires a remote seller making a sale in Pennsylvania to notify the purchaser that sales or use tax is due on the nonexempt purchase and that Pennsylvania requires the purchaser to pay the tax due on the purchaser’s tax return.

House Bill 866 amends the Local Tax Enabling Act to clarify certain provisions related to the consolidated collection of local income taxes and delinquent taxes.

The Finance Committee approved House Bill 1285 on Thursday. The bill is a constitutional amendment that would allow for the elimination of residential school property taxes through the homestead exclusion.

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee approved Senate Bill 792 on Monday. The bill sets labeling requirements for lawn fertilizer.

The Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee approved House Bill 1494 on Wednesday. The bill authorizes the Commonwealth to enter into Federal cooperative agreements to conduct forest management activities upon Federal lands.

Urban Affairs & Housing

The Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee approved House Bill 653 on Monday. The bill provides for an accelerated foreclosure process for vacant and abandoned property.

Game & Fisheries

The Senate Game & Fisheries Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 135 would permit the use of a leashed tracking dog to track white-tailed deer to recover an animal which has been legally harvested or wounded.

Senate Bill 240 would make non-resident disabled veterans and former prisoners of war eligible for reduced-fee hunting and fur-taking licenses.

State Government

The Senate State Government Committee approved Senate Resolution 154 on Tuesday. The measure repeals the part of the Real Property Disposition Plan Number 1 of 2013 that authorized the Department of General Services to sell the New Castle Youth Development Center property.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

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

House Bill 105 prohibits telephone solicitation calls on legal holidays and provides for robocall requirements.

House Bill 1490 places the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority under the oversight of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Law & Justice

The Senate Law & Justice Committee approved House Bill 1033 on Wednesday. The bill amends the Liquor Code.

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved House Bill 1426 on Wednesday. The bill allow trucks to haul certain heavier loads during holiday periods, while keeping the current restriction regarding inclement weather.

The Transportation Committee approved two bills on Friday.

Senate Bill 781 would allow constituents to obtain handicap parking placards in their respective legislative district offices rather than waiting to receive them in the mail.

House Bill 831 amends several sections of the Vehicle Code providing for organized motor processions.

Community, Economic & Recreational Development

The Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee approved House Bill 782 on Wednesday. The bill adds new definitions of “Gaming floor,” “Gaming–related restricted area” and “Nongaming service provider” to existing state law.

Education

The Senate Education Committee approved two bills on Wednesday.

House Bill 97 makes extensive changes to the Public School Code concerning charter schools.

Senate Bill 723 requires students to pass a civics test as a condition of high school graduation

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved six bills on Friday.

House Bill 234 requires counties that do not currently outsource their collections of restitution, costs and fees, to establish a collections enforcement unit in order to collect and track payments of restitution, costs and fees.

House Bill 236 prioritizes wage attachment for restitution, court costs and fines.

House Bill 280 requires that any money deposited as cash bail, which would be otherwise returnable, will be applied to the payment of restitution, fees, fines and costs imposed upon the defendant.

House Bill 285 requires the Department of Corrections or a correctional facility deduct a portion of an offender’s wages and other deposits in order to satisfy any restitution, costs and fines.

House Bill 631 requires those convicted of a Tier 3 sexual offense be sentenced to a mandatory period of probation of three years consecutive to and in addition to any other sentence issued by the court.

House Bill 1523 modernizes and reforms the state DNA database.

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