The 2015-16 legislative session began with a new Governor determined to impose an agenda out of touch with ordinary Pennsylvanians, including massive government growth and the largest tax increase in Commonwealth history. Bolstered by the support of an electorate that sent a large Republican majority to Harrisburg, Senate Republicans stood firm. For two consecutive budgets, Senate Republicans rejected the Wolf Administration’s efforts to enact massive, broad-based tax increases.

The chamber also passed three historic pension reform bills, beginning with the sweeping Senate Bill 1, which was vetoed by the Governor.

The Senate also adopted Act 39 of 2016 and Act 166 of 2016, taking the first steps in getting the Commonwealth out of the liquor business by providing for the private sale of wine at restaurants and grocery stores, as well as making many other changes that will result in increased customer convenience. 

With passage of Act 16 of 2016 , Pennsylvania doctors will be able to use medical cannabis to treat chronic pain and children suffering seizures. 

Confronting a crisis affecting a growing number of Pennsylvania communities, the Senate passed an array of bills to prevent and treat addiction to opioids and heroin.


Following is a summary of major legislative accomplishments this session:

Government Reform | Public Safety | Education | Health Care | Job Creation | Veterans | Transportation | Children and Families | Battling the Opioid and Heroin Crisis | Community Development | Emergency Responders | Consumer Protection | Agriculture | Hunting and Recreation | Environment and Energy

Government Reform

Senate Resolution 256 (Gordner) mandated a full hearing regarding Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s ability to perform her duties with a suspended law license.

Act 13 of 2015 (Mensch) streamlines the work of the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.

Act 54 of 2015 (Greenleaf) allows persons 75 years of age or older, judges and breastfeeding mothers to be excused from jury duty.

Act 59 of 2015 prohibits harassment, stalking or making threats by parties involved in a labor dispute.

Act 62 of 2015 increases the mandatory retirement age for judges and magisterial district judges from 70 to 75 years. (Proposed constitutional amendment.)

Act 63 of 2015 requires county pension plans to adopt best management practices and sets a funding threshold for when cost-of-living-adjustments may be granted.

Act 90 of 2015 (Folmer) requires Commonwealth agencies to clearly note whenever tax monies are spent for advertising purposes.

Act 15 of 2016 (Folmer) requires the Independent Fiscal Office to complete a cost analysis of proposed collective bargaining agreements under the governor’s jurisdiction prior to the execution of those contracts.

Act 69 of 2016 (Vulakovich) streamlines and modernizes Pennsylvania’s Civil Service Act.

Act 130 of 2016 provides veto power to the Governor of Pennsylvania over the actions of Pennsylvania’s commissioners on the Delaware River Port Authority Board.

Act 131 of 2016 authorizes the appointment of a Special Investigative Counsel to investigate the Attorney General, an Assistant Attorney General, senior aide, or campaign chair who may have committed a serious offense.

Senate Bill 1 (Corman) significantly reforms Pennsylvania’s costly state pension systems in order to make them viable in the long term, while reducing liabilities and preserving current employee retirement benefits. Vetoed by Governor

Senate Bill 283 (Pileggi) continues the process to amend the state Constitution to eliminate the Philadelphia Traffic Court. Passed by Senate and House

Senate Bill 286 (Rafferty) increases transparency and accountability regarding the Delaware River Port Authority. Vetoed by Governor

Senate Bill 562 (Gordner) provides additional legislative oversight of the regulatory review process. Vetoed by Governor.

Act 155 of 2016 (Hutchinson) provides for neutral property tax revenue following Second Class countywide reassessments to prevent windfall collections. Presented to Governor

Act 156 of 2016 (Hutchinson) amends the Consolidated County Assessment Law to specify that each tax must be made revenue neutral after a countywide reassessment, which clarifies that multiple tax rates cannot be adjusted differently as long as total revenue neutrality is the final outcome.

Act 162 of 2016 (Wagner) prevents county Recorders of Deeds Offices from charging excessive fees for the recording of amendments to declarations of condominiums, cooperatives and planned communities.

House Bill 1618 establishes in statute the Office of State Inspector General as an independent office to conduct investigations and performance reviews of state agencies to deter and identify waste, fraud, abuse and illegal acts. Vetoed by Governor

Act 163 of 2016 affirms that state procurement records are subject to the Right-to-Know Law, requires the posting of procurement records online and prohibits the state from contracting with companies engaging in a boycott of entities which the Commonwealth is not prohibited from engaging in commerce.

Act 166 of 2016 makes several changes to the state Liquor Law to provide additional convenience for consumers.

Senate Resolution 138 (Vulakovich) authorizes a study of the numerous state boards and commissions with an eye toward providing savings to the Commonwealth.

Senate Resolution 263 (Argall) directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct an official study of mandatory overtime in the Department of Corrections.

Public Safety

Act 12 of 2015 reauthorizes and establishes a long-term funding plan for the Emergency 9-1-1 System in Pennsylvania.

Act 16 of 2015 (Alloway) privatizes and regulates the bail bondsman industry in Pennsylvania.

Act 20 of 2015 requires that providers of counseling services to sexually violent predators notify the county and local police that the provider is counseling sexually violent predators.

Act 25 of 2015 amends the continuing education requirements for police officers and magisterial district judges regarding training on recognition and techniques to be used when interacting with individuals with mental illness or intellectual disabilities.

Act 41 of 2015 (Smucker) clarifies the arrest powers and jurisdiction of campus police officers employed by Pennsylvania’s 14 State System of Higher Education universities.

Act 55 of 2015 (Argall) frees up State Police for crime fighting by eliminating mandatory trooper escort of super-sized loads and replacing them with certified pilot escorts.

Act 72 of 2015 (Gordner) bans the practice of allowing persons sentenced to community service to purchase gift cards in lieu of performing the service.

Act 80 of 2015 (Scarnati) increases opportunities for counties to provide long-acting non-narcotic, non-addictive medication combined with comprehensive substance abuse treatment to eligible offenders upon release from county correctional institutions.

Act 5 of 2016 (Greenleaf) allows criminal record expungement for individuals who have served their punishment for certain non-violent offenses and remained free of arrest or prosecution.

Act 30 of 2016 provides privacy and protects the safety of individuals who call 911 to report crimes.

Act 33 of 2016 (Rafferty) expands the use of ignition interlock devices for offenders convicted of Driving Under the Influence.

Act 93 of 2016 intercepts any state tax refund due to someone who has an outstanding restitution order and applies it to money owed to the crime victim.

Act 96 of 2016 (Eichelberger) establishes a uniform procedure for the disposition of contraband left in the possession of probation and parole agencies.

Act 134 of 2016 amends the Crimes Code to increase penalties for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon to a felony of the first degree.

Senate Bill 490 (Baker) includes the PEMA Director as a position subject to review and confirmation by the Senate. Currently, the post is filled by appointment by the Governor. (Vetoed)

Act 158 of 2016 (Rafferty) increases penalties for home invasion burglaries.

House Bill 1538 addresses the release of law enforcement officer information in cases involving the discharge of a firearm or use of force. Vetoed by Governor

Education

Act 1A of 2016 (2015-16 Budget) provides a $200 million increase in Basic Education funding.

Act 16A of 2016 (2016-17 Budget) increases the state’s share of PreK-12 funding by $665 million to a historic high of $11.7 billion.

Act 33 of 2015 (Ward) continues the Ready to Succeed Scholarship Program, a new scholarship program administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

Act 1 of 2016 (Smucker) delays the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement for two years.

Act 4 of 2016 gives schools greater flexibility to meet the state’s 180-day requirement for classroom instruction after emergency and weather-related closings.

Act 10 of 2016 allows municipalities, school districts and municipal authorities to generate non-tax revenue by expanding the financial products in which they may invest their general funds.

Act 26 of 2016 establishes the “Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities Act.”

Act 31 of 2016 expands the requirement for written anti-hazing policies to any public or private secondary school providing instruction in grades 7 through 12.

Act 41 of 2016 (Tomlinson) ensures that the intellectual property rights of faculty members of state-owned universities are protected at the same level as at private universities.

Act 56 of 2016 (Vogel) eliminates the mandate that school districts inform parents annually by physical mailing when the district uses school bus audio and video.

Act 86 of 2016 (School Code) permits administrative partnerships so that two or more school entities may share personnel and administrative services to reduce costs. Provision from Senate Bill 1332 (Aument).

Act 86 of 2016 (School Code) reenacts the Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit and increases the EITC tax credit from $100 million to $125 million.

Act 86 of 2016 (School Code) requires in statute that the Department of Education post annual financial information related to public schools on its website as part of the SchoolWATCH initiative to promote accountability and transparency.

Act 86 of 2016 (School Code) helps alleviate the substitute teacher shortage by allowing college students who have completed 60 credit hours and are enrolled in a teacher preparation program to substitute for a limited number of days in any school district in the Commonwealth. Provision introduced as Senate Bill 1312 (Smucker).

Act 86 of 2016 (School Code) boosts the availability of vocational education teachers by authorizing the Department of Education to grant provisional education certificates to individuals who have completed required vocational education work.

Act 86 of 2016 (School Code) establishes the Drug and Alcohol Recovery High School Pilot Program to provide instruction meeting state academic standards for students in grades 9 through 12 who are in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse or addiction.

Act 86 of 2016 (School Code) establishes the E-chievement Program to award grants on a competitive basis to school entities that wish to establish hybrid learning programs that blend digital resources with traditional classroom teaching. Provision introduced as Senate Bill 924 (Aument)

House Bill 147 proposes amending the state Constitution to allow for the complete elimination of residential school property taxes through the homestead exclusion. (Approved by Senate and House.)

House Bill 805 keeps the best teachers in Pennsylvania’s classrooms and boosts student achievement by ending the practice of seniority-based layoffs. Vetoed by Governor

Act 112 of 2016 provides a one-year extension of the continuing professional education compliance deadlines for schools, teachers and administrators.

Act 143 of 2016 allows educators with inactive Pennsylvania certification who have maintained “active” certification in other states to return to Pennsylvania and have their certification returned to active status.

Act 138 of 2016 updates truancy laws for the first time since the early 1990s to more effectively combat truancy and reduce school dropout rates.

Health Care

Act 7 of 2015 (Eichelberger) requires Affordable Care Act “Healthcare Exchange Navigators” to be certified by the Department of Insurance and pass a criminal background check.

Act 8 of 2015 improves access to child flu immunizations by allowing pharmacists to administer flu immunizations to children 9 and older. Senate version: Senate Bill 305 (McGarrigle)

Act 10 of 2015 (Scarnati) increases the criminal grading for impersonating a doctor of medicine and providing medical treatment, from a second degree misdemeanor to a first degree misdemeanor.

Act 39 of 2015 (McIlhinney) protects consumers from paying multiple copayments for physical therapy, chiropractic and occupational therapy services.

Act 66 of 2015 (Mensch) improves public awareness of the prevalence of prostate cancer and measures available to detect, diagnose and treat it.

Act 73 of 2015, Act 74 of 2015 (Corman) allows out-of-state team physicians to treat athletes in Pennsylvania as long as they are licensed in their home state and have an agreement with the visiting sports team to provide care for them while traveling.

Act 79 of 2015 (White) redesigns driver’s license applications to include the statement “Pennsylvania strongly supports organ and tissue donation because of its life-saving and life-enhancing opportunities” and the question “Do you wish to have organ donor designation printed on your driver’s license?”

Act 84 of 2015 reauthorizes and extends the life of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through December 31, 2017.

Act 91 of 2015 extends protections to seniors enrolled in PACE and PACENET prescription drug assistance who would lose coverage due to increases in income from Social Security cost-of-living adjustments.

Act 16 of 2016 (Folmer) legalizes the use of cannabis for certain medical purposes.

Act 53 of 2016 (Gordner) updates the state Professional Psychologists Practice Act for the first time since 1986.

Act 73 of 2016 requires health insurers to provide coverage for orally administered chemotherapy on a basis that is at least as favorable as that for intravenous or injected chemotherapy treatment. Senate Version Senate Bill 536 (Tomlinson)

Act 76 of 2016 (Killion) eliminates the requirement for counties to pay 10 percent of the non-federal cost of services for Medicaid residents cared for in their skilled care facilities.

Act 87 of 2016 requires that all individuals born between 1945 and 1965 be offered a hepatitis C screening or diagnostic test when treated at hospitals, health care facilities or physicians’ offices.

Act 95 of 2016 (Vance) amends the Generic Equivalent Drug Law to provide for the substitution of an interchangeable biological product for a brand name drug.

Act 112 of 2016 enacts the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act to allow physicians to become licensed in multiple states and allow eligible licensed physicians in one state to treat patients in other states via telemedicine.

Act 169 of 2016 changes the drug reimbursement methodology used in the commonwealth’s prescription assistance programs for older adults to produce a substantial savings.

Job Creation

Act 84 of 2016 (Tax Code) establishes a new tax credit that will be distributed to manufacturing companies creating new jobs.

Act 84 of 2016 (Tax Code) establishes a new Rural Jobs and Investment Tax Credit to allow rural manufacturing and agriculture-related businesses to attract investment from rural growth funds.

Act 84 of 2016 (Tax Code) allows companies presently considering locating in a Keystone Special Development Zone to be able to make their decision and construct a new building, while still being able to secure the full 10 years of job creation tax credits.

Act 84 of 2016 (Tax Code) allows for 12 additional Keystone Opportunity Zones and allows for extensions of previously designated KOZs, Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zones, and Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zones for 10 years if the applicant meets certain job and investment criteria. Provision introduced as Senate Bill 884 (Smucker).

Act 84 of 2016 (Tax Code) Expands the class of municipalities eligible for the City Revitalization and Improvement Zone, making it possible to authorize more zones at the current rate of two zones per year. Provision introduced as Senate Bill 907 (Argall).

Act 144 of 2016 restores unemployment compensation for seasonal workers while putting in safeguards ensuring the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund remains on the path to solvency. (Baker amendment)

Veterans

Act 11 of 2015 provides in-state tuition rates at community colleges and state-related/state-owned institutions of higher learning for veterans, their spouses and dependent children.

Act 17 of 2015 (Baker) authorizes the special “Honoring Our Veterans” license plate for motorcycles.

Act 18 of 2015 (Baker) allocates a portion of the funds raised through sales of “Honoring Our Veterans” motorcycle license plates to the Veterans Trust Fund to assist veterans in need.

Act 23 of 2015 ensures that a veteran’s military education and training are given strong consideration for the purpose of fulfilling requirements for professional credentials.

Act 32 of 2015 (Baker) sets fines and penalties for those who falsely claim to be a veteran on their Pennsylvania driver’s license application.

Act 50 of 2015 extends the deadline for Pennsylvania veterans to apply for the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus to August 31, 2018.

Act 82 of 2015 (Vulakovich) standardizes the term “other than dishonorable” when dealing with a veterans’ eligibility for programs and benefits, eliminating confusion as to state benefits eligibility.

Act 83 of 2015 (Vulakovich) codifies the standards for promotion in the Pennsylvania National Guard and ensures compliance with U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force uniform regulations.

Act 6 of 2016 provides an Earned Income Tax exemption for active duty military pay. Senate Version Senate Bill 652 (Baker)

Act 42 of 2016 (Aument) adds a representative from the Korean War Veterans Association to the State Veterans Commission, a panel comprised of representatives from Pennsylvania’s major veterans associations.

Act 61 of 2016 increases the minimum active duty pay for Pennsylvania National Guard personnel from $75 to $100 per day.

Act 81 of 2016 (Mensch) removes the sunset date of June 30, 2016 from the “State Military College Legislative Appointment Initiative,” which allows members of the General Assembly to annually appoint an eligible student from their legislative districts.

Act 84 of 2016 (Tax Code) adds a definition of “veteran” to the Job Creation Tax Credit and provides that a new job filled by a veteran may qualify for a tax credit of up to $2,500.

Act 108 of 2016 (Reschenthaler) establishes a special vehicle license plate giving special recognition to active members of the military, reserves and Pennsylvania National Guard.

Act 109 of 2016 (Vulakovich) streamlines and improves the Pennsylvania Veterans Trust Fund and ensures that it continues to provide assistance to those who have served in uniform.

Act 117 of 2016 eliminates federal veterans’ disability payments and state veterans’ benefits from the definition of income when determining a claimant’s eligibility for the Property Tax Rent Rebate program.

Act 135 of 2016 provides for voluntary veterans’ preference in private employment and an exemption for the payment of a business fee for a veteran-owned small business.

Act 143 of 2016 alleviates financial and logistical barriers for members of our military and their spouses to receive educator certification in Pennsylvania by requiring PDE to process applications within 14 days and limits fees.

Act 167 of 2016 requires the State Civil Service Commission to advertise the veterans’ preference on all of the commission’s examination materials, announcements and advertisements, and on the commission’s website.

Act 171 of 2016 provides for the certification of veteran-owned, diverse, and disadvantaged businesses by the Department of General Services.

Senate Resolution 171 (Argall) directs the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the potential cost-savings and effectiveness of allowing the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to partner with the private sector to provide additional care for veterans.

Transportation

Act 49 of 2015 (Rafferty) updates the qualification standards for the commercial driver learner’s permit and the commercial driver’s license.

Act 61 of 2015 (Brooks) adds roadside protections for electric utility workers during disaster emergencies.

Act 70 of 2015 (Bartolotta) protects highway workers, emergency responders and others from careless and reckless drivers traveling in work zones.

Act 77 of 2016 removes the requirement that the Turnpike Commission must maintain emergency telephones on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, in light of the widespread use of cell phones.

Act 80 of 2016 (Vogel) corrects a regulatory issue that threatens gasoline supply disruptions in Pennsylvania.

Act 101 of 2016 (Rafferty) enhances the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Municipal Signal Partnership Program known as Green Light-Go.

Act 151 of 2016 (Rafferty) reforms and modernizes the Transit Revitalization Investment District Act.

Act 164 of 2016 (Bartolotta) allows transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate safely in every county in Pennsylvania.

Act 165 of 2016 increases the penalty for texting-while-driving accidents that result in a severe injury or death and imposes fines on inspection stations for noncompliance. Includes Senate Bill 1086 (Rafferty) provisions imposing vehicle registration suspension due to unpaid tolls.

Children and Families

Act 40 of 2015 (Vulakovich) allows courts to terminate the parental rights of a convicted rapist, thereby eliminating the abuser’s access to custody of a child conceived by rape.

Act 5 of 2016 (Greenleaf) allows individuals who have served their punishment for nonviolent third and second degree misdemeanors, and remained free of arrest or prosecution for seven to 10 years, to petition the court for their record to be expunged.

Act 17 of 2016 (Baker) provides that the Treasury Department may establish a program through which federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) savings accounts may be opened for eligible individuals for payment of qualified disability expenses.

Act 26 of 2016 establishes the “Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities Act.”

Act 54 of 2016 (Aument) expands title protection to marriage and family therapists, ensuring that only licensed and properly trained professionals can market their services to clients.

Act 55 of 2016 (McGarrigle) allows parents or guardians of disabled adult children in their care to receive disability license plates.

Act 64 of 2016 (Browne) provides for a one-time fee of $50 to cover the employer’s costs in setting up wage garnishment to comply with the enforcement of a child support order.

Act 74 of 2016 requires licensed psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists and professional counselors to complete at least one hour of continuing education in suicide prevention.

Act 78 of 2016 (Browne) allows for the sharing of county agency, juvenile probation, drug and alcohol, mental health and education records in certain cases involving juveniles.

Act 111 of 2016 amends the Crimes Code by adding the offense of strangulation, such as in domestic abuse cases in which the victim is not injured.

Act 115 of 2016 (Vance) brings Pennsylvania into compliance with federal requirements under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act by addressing parents who have committed child sexual abuse and the treatment of children victimized by human trafficking.

Act 153 of 2016 (Vance) gives every Pennsylvania county the opportunity to participate in the Human Services Development Block Grant by removing the statutory limit.

Act 173 of 2016 requires assisted living residences and personal care homes to post information about the flu vaccine.

Battling the Opioid & Heroin Crisis

Act 86 of 2016 (School Code) establishes the Drug and Alcohol Recovery High School Pilot Program to provide instruction meeting state academic standards for students in grades 9 through 12 who are in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse or addiction.

Act 122 of 2016 limits the quantity of opioids which may be prescribed to a patient seeking treatment in a hospital emergency department or urgent care center.

Act 123 of 2016 amends the Waste Tire Recycling Act/Small Business and Household Pollution Prevention Program Act to provide for the destruction of household prescription drugs and pharmaceutical waste.

Act 124 of 2016 (Yaw) requires continuing medical education training as a way to stem the tide of opioid and prescription drug abuse in the state.

Act 125 of 2016 (Yaw) limits the amount of opioids that children may be prescribed, with reasonable exceptions and requires health care professionals to provide information on the risks of addiction.

Act 126 of 2016 (Killion) implements the Safe Opioid Prescribing Curriculum in all of Pennsylvania’s medical schools.

Community Development

Act 34 of 2015 (Ward) expedites the process for dealing with blighted properties.

Act 37 of 2015 (Browne) amends the Uniform Planned Community Act to correct a conflict created by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision.

Act 38 of 2015 (Browne) amends the Uniform Condominium Act to correct a conflict created by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision.

Act 58 of 2015 (Killion) increases state support for a program that promotes housing affordability and rehabilitation in communities across the Commonwealth. Senate version: Senate Bill 566 (Vogel)

Act 81 of 2015 eliminates the sunset provisions of the Commonwealth’s First Industries Program.

Act 10 of 2016 allows municipalities, school districts and municipal authorities to generate non-tax revenue by expanding the financial products in which they may invest their general funds.

Act 84 of 2016 (Tax Code) establishes a new tax credit program to encourage private investment in waterfront property that creates public access to the water, increases property values, restores ecology and spurs further financial investment and job creation. Senate Bill 282 (Vulakovich), House Bill 457 (Killion)

Act 133 of 2016 reduces from 18 to 12 months the period that the purchaser of a blighted building has to bring it into compliance or demolish it. Senate version: Senate Bill 942 (Argall)

Act 152 of 2016 (Argall) gives counties the option to levy an additional fee on deeds and mortgages to fund the demolition of blighted properties.

Act 155 of 2016 (Hutchinson) amends the Second Class County Code to strengthen “anti-windfall” provisions, which specify that if the outcome of a countywide reassessment of the real property would result in an increase in the revenues collected from tax rates, then the county must decrease the rate of tax to a rate that would yield the same amount of revenue as the previous year.

Act 156 of 2016 (Hutchinson) amends the Consolidated County Assessment Law to specify that each real property tax must be made revenue-neutral after a countywide reassessment.

Emergency Responders

Act 57 of 2015 allows first responders – after getting local approval – to fundraise on local roadways, with programs such as those in which firefighters collect donations in a boot.

Act 60 of 2016 reauthorizes and extends the Fire Companies and Volunteer Services Grant Program.

Act 110 of 2016 extends the death benefit that is currently available to other emergency responders to members of the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol. Presented to Governor

Act 142 of 2016 would allow paramedics to conduct blood draws at police stations – rather than hospitals – from persons suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Act 145 of 2016 amends the Enforcement Officers Disability Benefits Law to extend coverage to certain individuals employed as firefighters.

Act 172 of 2016 would authorize municipalities to enact income tax credits for active volunteer firefighters and EMS providers. The measure is intended to help municipalities recruit and retain these valuable volunteers.

Consumer Protection

Act 6 of 2015 requires that property disclosure statements provide notification of any sinkholes, the location and condition of defined stormwater facilities, and whether the purchaser is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the stormwater facilities.

Act 72 of 2016 (Killion) amends the Real Estate Appraisers Certification Act to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with updated federal appraiser standards.

Agriculture

Act 92 of 2016 establishes an agricultural pilot program for industrial hemp research.

Act 7 of 2016 makes substantial regulatory changes necessary to allow Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry to thrive. Includes Senate Bill 352 (Vogel)

Act 150 of 2016 (Folmer) allows farmers the option to make a single filing and payment of estimated taxes, instead of quarterly filing and payments and provides a “safe harbor” allowance for the payment of estimated taxes based on the taxpayer’s income from the previous year, among other improvements.

Act 165 of 2016 exempts employees of agribusinesses with a Class A commercial driver’s license from being required to have a hazardous materials license endorsement when transporting 1,000 gallons or less of diesel fuel in the course of their employment.

Act 175 of 2016 extends the exemption from realty transfer tax for sales of agriculture conservation easements on farms to transfers occurring on or after December 31, 2012.

Hunting and Recreation

Act 76 of 2015 allows for the use of a motorized wheelchair by hunters who are permanently disabled, and provides permits for individuals with disabilities.

Act 97 of 2016 (Stefano) ensures that funds received through the registration, certification and enforcement of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in Pennsylvania are used specifically to support ATV activities.

Act 136 of 2016 updates Pennsylvania’s all-terrain vehicle (ATV) size restrictions for young operators.

Act 168 of 2016allows for the limited use of semi-automatic sporting rifles for hunting coyotes and woodchucks. Amended to include Senate Bill 737 (Hutchinson)

Environment & Energy

Act 47 of 2015 (Bartolotta) reduces the use of fresh water in oil and gas drilling operations by allowing the use of treated mine water.

Act 52 of 2016 (Hutchinson) protects the conventional oil and gas production industry from state regulations intended for companies extracting Marcellus Shale gas.

Act 57 of 2016 (White) protects the jobs of energy-producing workers from overreaching regulations that could come with Pennsylvania’s compliance with federal coal regulations.