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Senator Don White

Harrisburg Happenings
A Report on the Legislative Session of
September 18, 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 September 18, 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


Senate Acts to Complete Work on State Budget

The Senate took steps Wednesday to complete the state’s Fiscal Year 2017-18 Budget.

The Senate voted 43-7 on Wednesday to non-concur on House amendments to House Bill 453  and empowered Senate President Pro-Tempore Joe Scarnati to appoint members of the Senate to serve on a bicameral Conference Committee to iron out a final Fiscal Code component for the FY 2017-18 budget package.

A Conference Committee, made up of members representing the General Assembly’s four caucuses, is created when the Senate and House of Representatives are deadlocked on developing language for a bill. Once a compromise is reached, the Committee will submit a report to the two chambers for an “up or down” vote -- meaning no amendments can be made and the compromise must be considered on its own merit. 

Senate Approves Four Bills

The Senate approved four bills this week.

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

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

Senate Bill 785 would allow golf cart use on highway crossovers for recreational purposes as well as golf cart and low-speed utility vehicle use on highways for maintenance purposes.

The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

Committee Roundup

Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved four bills on Monday.

Senate Bill 251 would permit all municipal police to utilize radar for speed enforcement.

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

Senate Bill 552 redirects funds from the Veterans Trust Fund that came from the Pennsylvania Monuments License Registration Plate to the 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.

Senate Bill 564 requires PENNDOT to include protective fencing in the construction of new bridges and major renovations of existing bridges over interstate highways.

The Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 530 on Wednesday. The bill updates Act 136 of 1998, the Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors Act. After that vote, Committee Executive Director Greg Jordan was honored for his 32 years of state service as he attended his final meeting before his upcoming retirement. 

State Government

The Senate State Government Committee approved six bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 625 would require the flying of a POW/MIA flag at rest areas and welcome centers.

Senate Bill 822 would require the flying of a POW/MIA flag at state-owned properties.

Senate Bill 826 is a land conveyance bill.

House Bill 1287 is a land conveyance bill.

House Bill 1420 sets new auditing thresholds for charitable organizations that receive annual contributions.

House Bill 1421 makes changes to the filing time frame for Charitable Organizations, Professional Fundraising Counsels and Professional Solicitors. 

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved six bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 561 amends the Crimes Code to repeal a sunset provision relating to the issuance of administrative subpoenas in an investigation involving child sexual exploitation or abuse.

Senate Bill 742 provides for a comprehensive bill of rights in Pennsylvania for survivors of sexual assault.

Senate Bill 790 establishes a charitable trust to help reverse the direction of prison-bound youth.

Senate Bill 827 gives individuals the power to plan for the management and disposition of their digital assets by providing instructions in a will, trust, or power of attorney.

Senate Bill 854 removes “interference with custody of children” from the offenses for which an offender must be included on the sex offender registry.

Senate Bill 883 provides for automatic expungement of criminal records for any offense that has been the subject of an executive pardon. 

Rules & Executive Nominations

The Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee considered House amendments to House Bill 453  on Wednesday. The bill is the Fiscal Code component of the Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget package. The bill was reported to the full Senate, as a procedural vote, prior to the non-concurrence vote by the full chamber.  

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved five bills on Wednesday.

House Bill 407 would allow for contributions to the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund when renewing a driver's license, identification card, or vehicle registration electronically through PennDOT's website.

Senate Bill 796 exempts CDL licensees from the change of address fees if they have not actually moved from their home and the change of address is due to a governmental action beyond their control.

Senate Bill 837 is a highway renaming bill.

Senate Bill 887 is a highway renaming bill.

Senate Bill 888 would improve access to disabled parking spaces by prohibiting the obstruction of access aisles and strengthening enforcement measures.

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