2017-2018 Senate Accomplishments

January – August 2017


Reform 

Act 5 of 2017 (Corman) reforms state public pensions to save more than $5 billion and shield taxpayers from $20 billion or more in additional liabilities.

Act 13 of 2017 (Folmer) reforms state law regarding the seizure and forfeiture of property.

Act 21 of 2017 (Gordner) streamlines Second Class Township government by exempting property under $2,000 from the bidding process.

Act 28 of 2017 (Gordner) stipulates that township supervisors shall not hold any other elective township office or appointed position in the township that is prohibited by state law.

Act 29 of 2017 (Aument) creates an independent Office of Inspector General and gives Pennsylvania’s top fraud, waste and abuse investigator more authority.

Senate Bill 6 (Regan) establishes the Public Assistance Integrity Act to eradicate waste, fraud, and abuse within the state Public Welfare Code. 

Senate Bill 166 (Eichelberger) prevents the taxpayer-funded collection of money for government union political activity.

Senate Bill 169 (Laughlin) requires lobbyists to register and file reports electronically through a computerized system developed by the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Senate Bill 170 (Rafferty) requires comprehensive reform measures at the Delaware River Port Authority.

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

Senate Bill 178 (Scavello) updates and modernizes the state History Code.

Senate Bill 181 (Mensch) implements Performance Based Budgeting to require justification of state government spending.

Senate Bill 522 and Senate Bill 523 (Greenleaf) merge the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole as the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

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

Senate Bill 561 (DiSanto) requires 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.

House Bill 1285 proposes to amend the state constitution to increase the allowable homestead exclusion to 100 percent to effectively eliminate school property taxes.

Public Safety 

Act 3 of 2017 (Ward) gives residents the option to get a state driver’s license or photo ID card that meets security requirements imposed by the federal REAL ID law.

Act 20 of 2017 (Rafferty) increases fines and suspends the licenses of repeat offenders of Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear” law. 

Act 22 of 2017 (Greenleaf) allows police officers to use body-worn cameras to record statements and actions at a crime scene.

Act 30 of 2017 (Rafferty) provides for chemical testing and other measures related to driving after imbibing alcohol or using drugs.

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

Senate Bill 10 (Reschenthaler) requires municipalities to report illegal immigrants who are arrested and pose a danger to Pennsylvania communities and residents.

Senate Bill 242 (Baker) transfers enforcement authority for the Pennsylvania One Call System from the Department of Labor and Industry to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Senate Bill 461 (Killion) modernizes and strengthens the use of DNA technology to better fight violent crime in Pennsylvania. 

Senate Bill 449 (Bartolotta) allows Magisterial District Judges to use a risk assessment tool when determining bail in domestic violence cases. 

Senate Bill 510 (Reschenthaler) increases the penalty for threating law enforcement officers, sheriffs or members of their family. 

Senate Bill 662 (Bartolotta) strengthens penalties on drug dealers for the delivery or distribution of an illicit drug that results in serious bodily injury to the user.

Senate Resolution 6 (Vulakovich) updates the comprehensive study of fire and EMS issues completed in 2004.

Senate Resolution 75 (Mensch) directs a review how Pennsylvania accounts for and analyzes forensic evidence kits (rape kits).

Health Care

Act 4 of 2017 improves care for stroke victims by adding acute stroke-ready hospitals and comprehensive stroke centers to the provisions of the Primary Stroke Center Recognition Act.

Act 14 of 2017 establishes a Rare Disease Advisory Council in the Department of Health.

Senate Bill 3 (Brooks) amends the Abortion Control Act to reduce the maximum gestational age for legal abortions from 24 to 20 weeks and prohibits dismemberment abortion.

Senate Bill 25 (Bartolotta) gives full practice authority to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.

Senate Bill 180 (Greenleaf) establishes the Donate Life PA Act to improve the communication process between county coroners or medical examiners and organ procurement organizations.

Senate Bill 446 (McGarrigle) establishes standards and criteria for the operation of addiction recovery houses.

Education

Act 2 of 2017 provides immunity from lawsuits to school bus drivers and crossing guards who administer an epinephrine auto-injector, or “epi-pen,” to assist a student who is experiencing an allergic reaction.

Act 6 of 2017 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.  

Senate Bill 227 (Eichelberger) delays the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement until the 2019-2020 school year, gives school boards new options to manage superintendent contracts, and makes additional changes to the Public School Code.

Senate Bill 383 (White) gives school boards the option of allowing licensed and trained staff to carry firearms on school property.

Senate Bill 592 (Stefano) requires school boards to publicly disclose employment information before hiring a district superintendent, assistant district superintendent or principal.

Senate Resolution 34 (Argall) requires the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) to study the future and sustainability of the 14 state-owned universities across the state.

Children and Families 

Act 12 of 2017 establishes the crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child to reflect the degree of risk and the age of the child victim in the penalty grading.

Senate Bill 211 (Browne) enhances the PA 2-1-1 system connecting people in need to health and human service assistance.

Senate Bill 261 (Scarnati) eliminates the statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes and gives victims additional time to file civil actions against their abuser.

Senate Bill 554 (Greenleaf) requires that sexually exploited children be diverted from the criminal justice system to more appropriate human services.

Senate Bill 677 (Baker) establishes the Pennsylvania ABLE Savings Program Tax Exemption Act, allowing families to set aside tax-exempt funds for costs related to the disability of a family member.

Transportation 

Act 20 of 2017  (Rafferty) increases fines and suspend the licenses of repeat offenders of Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear” law.

Act 31 of 2017 (Langerholc) boosts the use of natural gas by increasing the maximum allowable gross weight for commercial vehicles powered by natural gas from 80,000 pounds to 82,000 pounds.

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

Senate Resolution 76 (Vulakovich) directs the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the feasibility of increasing passenger rail service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

Agriculture & Outdoor Recreation

House Bill 176 exempts roadside agricultural stands from the Uniform Construction Code.

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

Senate Bill 123 (Scavello) allows Pennsylvanians to engage in falconry on Sundays.

Senate Bill 192 (Stefano) allows Pennsylvania Game Commission establish the fees that it charges for hunting and fur-taking licenses while ensuring legislative oversight of the organization.

Jobs

Act 1 of 2017 (Ward) provides emergency funding to ease the hardships of Pennsylvania’s unemployed workers when Governor Wolf closed three Unemployment Compensation Service Centers.

Senate Bill 241 (McGarrigle) strengthens Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Law by allowing employers to determine wages based on the level or amount of education, training or experience, and prohibits employer discrimination against an employee who files a complaint.

Environment & Energy

Senate Bill 138 (Yaw) gives natural gas royalty interest owners the opportunity to inspect records of the gas company to verify proper payment and requires that proceeds be paid within 90 days unless otherwise stated in the lease.

Senate Bill 139 (Yaw) prohibits natural gas companies from retaliating against a royalty owner by terminating the lease agreement or ceasing development simply because the landowner questions the accuracy of the royalty payments.

Senate Bill 431 (Scavello) targets illegal dumps and roadside waste by increasing fines for littering. 

Community Development

Act 26 of 2017 (Yaw) provides for the use of alternate on-lot sewage systems for a new land development.

Senate Bill 434 (Argall) reduces the allotted period of time that is necessary in order to acquire a title of a blighted or abandoned property through adverse possession under various situations and circumstances.

Senate Bill 667 (Stefano) provides local redevelopment authorities with greater authority and additional resources to combat neighborhood blight.  

Veterans 

Act 9 of 2017 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 691 (Hutchinson) 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.

Consumer Protection 

Senate Bill 458 (Argall) imposes fines on household goods moving companies that fail to register with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission or carry adequate insurance to protect property.

Animal Protection

Act 10 of 2017 strengthens existing animal abuse laws and makes it easier to prosecute a person who knowingly mistreats, abuses or neglects an animal.