Enacted Legislation of Note

2017-2018


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.

Act 36 of 2017 updates the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act to reform the code review process used by the Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council to update the UCC.

Act 38 of 2017 prevents tax collection fraud by prohibiting 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.

Act 48 of 2017 (Mensch) requires private sector-style performance-based budget reviews for all state departments and agencies at least once every five years.

Act 60 of 2017 provides a total of $115.2 million in funding over four years for UC operations and technological upgrades and requires the Department of Labor and Industry to end its reliance on transfers into the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund.

Act 2 of 2018 requires lobbyists to file disclosure reports electronically and state officials to post them online within seven days.

Act 52 of 2018 excludes the sales of telephones, telephone handsets, modems, tablets and related accessories from being subject to the gross receipts tax.

Act 71 of 2018 (Folmer) reforms and modernizes the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission.

Act 125 of 2018 (Regan) establishes the Public Assistance Integrity Act to eradicate waste, fraud, and abuse within the state Public Welfare Code. 

Act 127 of 2018 (Alloway) changes the way that an incumbent magisterial district judge gets on the ballot for re-election.

Act 132 of 2018 (Gordner) addresses ongoing funding deficiencies in the Workers’ Compensation Uninsured Employers Guarantee Fund.

Act 135 of 2018, Act 136 of 2018, Act 137 of 2018 (McGarrigle) requires boroughs, third class cities, first class townships and incorporated towns to publish concise, annual financial reporting in newspapers and make available to public.

Act 160 of 2018 (Aument) requires traffickers of SNAP benefits to pay restitution of up to three times the amount of fraud they committed.

Senate Resolution 209 (Rafferty) directs the Joint State Government Commission to study the challenges and opportunities of consolidating the interstate operations of PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission

House Bill 1285 proposes to amend the state constitution to increase the allowable homestead exclusion to 100 percent to effectively eliminate school property taxes. (Adopted and approved by voters.)

Senate Bill 936 (White) requires the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to adopt an evidence-based drug formulary for Workers’ Compensation, cutting costs and preventing opioid abuse. (Vetoed by Governor)

House Bill 59 (Human Services Code) targets fraud, waste and abuse in Pennsylvania’s public welfare system and includes reforms to save hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars.  (Vetoed by Governor.)

House Bill 2138 adds work requirements for eligible enrollees in Medical Assistance. (Vetoed by Governor.)

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.

Act 49 of 2017 (Greenleaf) adds Court of Common Pleas judges in Bucks, Cumberland, Delaware, Montgomery, Washington and Wayne counties.

Act 50 of 2017 (Baker) transfers enforcement authority for the Pennsylvania One Call System from the Department of Labor and Industry to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Act 51 of 2017 (Ward) provides broader representation of crime victims on the state Victims’ Services Advisory Committee.

Act 66 of 2017 amends the state Bingo Law to increase the monetary limits for payouts and jackpots, enabling fire companies and other non-profits to raise more funds for their charitable purposes.

Act 56 of 2018 provides those with low-level, nonviolent criminal records a mechanism to have their record sealed from public view.

Act 68 of 2018 (Baker) establishes a state Elevator Safety Board with jurisdiction over elevator appeals and variances, and to make recommendations on safety regulations.

Act 133 of 2018 (Argall) ensures there is adequate notice and consideration of any proposed closure of a state correctional institution or other facility that employs law enforcement staff.

Act 145 of 2018 (Stefano) expands the scope of restitution for victims to include government agencies, non-profits, corporations and other similar organizations. 

Act 146 of 2018 (Greenleaf) extends the deadline for filing a post-conviction relief action.

Act 147 of 2018 (Greenleaf) updates the 2002 DNA testing law to ensure wrongly convicted citizens have access to the latest testing technology.

Act 153 of 2018 (Rafferty) increases the penalties for a person who unintentionally causes the death of another person as a result of a second or subsequent DUI violation.

Senate Bill 1011 amends the state Constitution to create a crime victims’ “Bill of Rights.” (Passed by General Assembly.)

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

Emergency Responders

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

Act 66 of 2017 amends the state Bingo Law to increase the monetary limits for payouts and jackpots, enabling fire companies and other non-profits to raise more funds for their charitable purposes.

Act 103 of 2018 requires insurance companies and Medicaid to reimburse emergency medical services agencies for services provided even when transport to a hospital does not take place.

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

Senate Resolution 237 (Mensch) urges counties and local law enforcement, public safety and emergency services to work with the State Police to facilitate the rollout of the new P25 Pa-Star Net radio system. (Adopted by Senate.)

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.

Act 33 of 2017 allows eligible patients to request and use investigational drugs, biological products and medical devices not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as long as the patient has a terminal illness and passes other requirements.

Act 39 of 2017 allows taxpayers to designate a portion of their state income tax refund for pediatric cancer research beginning with tax year 2018 filings.

Act 59 of 2017 (McGarrigle) establishes standards and criteria for the operation of addiction recovery houses.

Act 62 of 2017 extends protections to seniors enrolled in PACE and PACENET prescription drug programs who would lose eligibility due to increases in income from Social Security cost-of-living adjustments.

Act 79 of 2017 (Yaw) exempts three Schedule V epilepsy drugs, which have no history of abuse, from state prescription drug monitoring requirements.

Act 8 of 2018 (Browne) permits pharmacists to dispense emergency prescription refills for uncontrolled substances for up to 30 days, with restrictions.

Act 24 of 2018 creates a statewide review committee to identify and investigate pregnancy-related deaths among expectant and new mothers.

Act 69 of 2018 (Baker) gives hospice staff the authority to properly destroy unused drugs following a patient’s death to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

Act 73 of 2018 (Martin) allows Pennsylvanians to voluntarily donate $5 to the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund when electronically renewing a driver’s license, photo identification card or vehicle registration.

Act 87 of 2018 increases the PACENET income eligibility limits from $23,500 to $27,500 for individuals and from $31,500 to $35,500 for married couples.

Act 90 of 2018 (Greenleaf) establishes the Donate Life PA Act to improve the communication process between county coroners or medical examiners and organ procurement organizations.

Act 93 of 2018 allows restaurants, sports venues, amusement parks, colleges, daycare centers and other entities to store non-patient specific epinephrine injectors for emergency use.

Act 106 of 2018 establishes a new standard for assisted outpatient treatment for seriously mentally ill individuals.

Act 112 of 2018 requires diagnostic imaging services to directly notify patients within 20 days if there is a finding of an abnormality or anomaly which requires follow-up care within three months.

Act 126 of 2018 (Scavello) invests $1 million in a program that awards grants for research into spinal cord injuries.

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.

Act 55 of 2017 (Public School Code amendments)

  • Increases the amount of Educational Improvement Tax Credits (EITC) provided to scholarship organizations by $10 million.
  • Offers agricultural educational resources and programming for K-12 students.
  • Allow professional school employees to be suspended for economic reasons.
  • Require any professional school employee suspensions to be based on performance ratings instead of seniority.
  • Delays the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement an additional year until the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Requires the Department of Education to submit to the General Assembly any state plan for complying with the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
  • Requires that a school district identified for financial watch status and receiving educational access program funding be placed under the supervision of a financial administrator.
  • Allows principals to conduct a school security drill on response to armed intruders, rather than a fire drill or natural disaster drill.
  • Requires instruction in grades 6-12 on prevention of opioid abuse, with an emphasis on the connection between prescription opioid abuse and addiction to other drugs, including heroin.

Act 39 of 2018  (Public School Code amendments)

  • Delays the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement an additional year until the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Requires the Department of Education to provide information on its website to compare institutions of higher education.
  • Continues Drug and Alcohol Recovery High School Pilot Program for an additional year.
  • Requires any school facility with excessive lead levels to immediately implement a plan to ensure no exposure to lead, make alternative drinking water sources available, and report it to PDE.
  • Increases the amount of tax credits available under the Earned Income Tax Credit program to $160 million.
  • Increases the maximum annual household income for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit from $75,000 to $85,000

Act 42 of 2018 (Fiscal Code) expands educational opportunities for children who are victims of violent crime, or who lose their parents as the result of a violent crime.

Act 80 of 2018 (Corman) requires schools to have policies and reporting procedures in place to stop hazing and inform students and parents of what is happening on campus.

Act 110 of 2018 allow institutions of higher education to establish student mental health and suicide prevention plans.

Act 121 of 2018 requires institutions of higher education to send annual letters to students with information on their student loan debt, including estimates of their total debt at graduation and estimated monthly payments.

Act 158 of 2018 (McGarrigle) provides students with alternatives to Keystone Exams to fulfill high school graduation requirements.

Act 159 of 2018 would allow for the placement of cameras on school buses to capture motorists who pass when red signals are flashing. 

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.

Senate Resolution 228 (Eichelberger) establishes a Task Force on Global Education to make recommendations ensuring Pennsylvania students graduate ready to compete in the global economy.

School Safety

Act 44 of 2018 (Browne) establishes the Safe2Say Program for anonymous reporting of unsafe activities in schools and creates a new $60 million School Safety and Security Grant Program. Grants can be used for:

  • Hiring school police officers, school resource officers, counselors and/or mental health counselors.
  • Alternative education and diversion programs.
  • Violence prevention initiatives.
  • School safety and emergency preparedness plans.
  • Physical upgrades to school buildings and equipment to improve safety.

Act 39 of 2018 (Public School Code) requires schools to conduct at least one school security drill per school year.
Act 156 of 2018 (Tomlinson) permits school districts and local governments to discuss school security matters in non-public executive sessions.

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.

Act 58 of 2017 changes the expiration date of the Children’s Health Insurance Program from December 31, 2017, to December 31, 2019. 

Act 68 of 2017 amends the Newborn Protection Act to expand the list of caregivers to whom a parent may surrender a newborn to include emergency service providers, and provides for a program to install incubators so that newborns who are surrendered may be kept safely in a controlled environment.  

Act 50 of 2018 prohibits someone charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse or aggravated indecent assault against a child from being placed into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD).

Act 53 of 2018 distinguishes the distinction between intentional acts and negligent acts against a care-dependent person, particularly by family members of a care-dependent person who are not trained to provide care.

Act 54 of 2018 requires schools and hospitals to display a poster that includes the statewide toll-free telephone number for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect.

Act 76 of 2018 (Killion) updates the Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors Act.

Act 89 of 2018 establishes a Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program within the Department of Human Services as a resource for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, but who are not involved with the formal child welfare system.

Act 130 of 2018 (Greenleaf) requires that sexually exploited children be diverted from the criminal justice system to more appropriate human services.

Opioid Crisis

Act 40 of 2017 establishes the Emergency Drug and Alcohol Detoxification Program to encourage the use of existing beds in health care facilities for detoxification and treatment.

Act 55 of 2017 (Public School Code) requires instruction in grades 6-12 on prevention of opioid abuse, with an emphasis on the connection between prescription opioid abuse and addiction to other drugs, including heroin.

Act 59 of 2017 (McGarrigle) establishes standards and criteria for the operation of addiction recovery houses.

Act 21 of 2018  (White) expands legal standing for grandparents and other individuals seeking custody of children of addicted parents.

Act 47 of 2018 clarifies that a parent or guardian can provide consent over the objection of a minor to obtain medical care or counseling for substance abuse.

Act 69 of 2018 (Baker) allows hospice workers to dispose of medications left behind when a home hospice patient passes, helping to keep the drugs out of the wrong hands.

Act 88 of 2018 allows a grandparent or other specific relatives of a minor child to petition for temporary guardianship when a parent of that child has entered a rehabilitation facility for treatment of a drug or alcohol addiction or has been subject to emergency medical intervention due to abuse of drugs or alcohol.

Act 116 of 2018 limits the sale of over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan to minors to prevent abuse.

Domestic Violence

Act 14 of 2018 (Bartolotta) allows Magisterial District Judges to use a risk assessment tool when determining bail in domestic violence cases.

Act 92 of 2018 amends the Protection from Abuse Act to provide the court with information regarding whether the defendant has been involved with a child abuse investigation.

Act 102 of 2018 ensures that an abusive spouse is ineligible to receive financial support from the person that he or she was convicted of abusing.

Act 148 of 2018 allows domestic violence victims who live in public housing to be relocated to another unit.

Act 157 of 2018 (Mensch) provides for tougher sentences for crimes of domestic violence committed in front of children.

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.

Act 37 of 2017 adds optometrists to the list of medical providers who may certify an application for a disability placard or registration plate.

Act 80 of 2017 (Martin) authorizes parking authorities in cities of the second class A and third class to enforce and administer parking ordinances and resolutions to alleviate the burden on magisterial court justices, reduce backlogs and quicken the collection of violation fees.

Act 65 of 2018 (Yaw) requires PENNDOT to include protective fencing as part of new bridge projects and major renovations of existing bridges over interstate highways.

Act 86 of 2018 (Argall) provides a three-year trial period for PENNDOT to place speed cameras in active work zones on limited access highways.

Act 91 of 2018 permits organizational registration plates for use on motorcycles; and allows for abbreviated portions of an organization’s name on special plates.

Act 117 of 2018 authorizes the use of highly automated work zone vehicles by PENNDOT and the Turnpike Commission and allows for the platooning of motor carrier vehicles.

Act 138 of 2018 (Gordner) exempts CDL licensees from 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.

Act 144 of 2018 (Rafferty) improves accessibility and strengthens enforcement measures of parking spaces for persons with disabilities.

Act 153 of 2018 (Rafferty) increases the penalties for a person who unintentionally causes the death of another person as a result of a second or subsequent DUI violation.

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.

Senate Resolution 168 (Langerholc) directs the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to analyze the potential impact of removing Cambria County from the emissions testing program. 

Agriculture & Outdoor Recreation

Act 35 of 2017 exempts roadside agricultural stands from the Uniform Construction Code.

Act 46 of 2017 establishes the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Act to take a proactive approach to controlling existing and potentially noxious weeds, maximizing invasive species control resources and protecting Commonwealth lands.

Act 11 of 2018 (Scavello) 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.

Act 98 of 2018 addresses the issue of recreational use and liability to protect landowners in the event of injuries to recreational users.

Act 162 of 2018 (Brooks) gives farmers greater input on proposed environmental regulations that could impact their farms.

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.

Act 52 of 2018 clarifies that the sales of telephones and related accessories are not subject to the gross receipts tax.

Act 72 of 2018 (Brooks) allows companies to take tax deductions on depreciation, providing an incentive to Pennsylvania businesses to make investments in capital assets.

Act 107 of 2018 enacts the Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop Act to provide online, one-stop services to assist businesses.

Environment & Energy

Act 7 of 2018 (Vogel) eliminates the waste designation for slag when it is sold as a commodity, encouraging the use of this sustainable and environmentally safe slag material.

Act 62 of 2018 (Scavello) aims to reduce littering across Pennsylvania by requiring offenders to pick up trash. 

Act 65 of 2018 (Yaw) sets requirements for when PennDOT must install or consider protective fencing along state-owned bridges.

Community Development

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

Act 66 of 2017 amends the state Bingo Law to increase the monetary limits for payouts and jackpots, enabling non-profits to raise more funds for their charitable purposes.

Act 76 of 2017 (Vulakovich) amends the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s enabling act to assist in supporting private development.

Act 33 of 2018 (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.

Act 54 of 2017 (Hutchinson) establishes uniform residential qualifications of office for persons seeking election or appointment to a municipal elected office where recent service in the military might interfere with the person’s ability to satisfy residency requirements.

Act 56 of 2017 creates the Pennsylvania Achievement Medal and the Pennsylvania Veterans Service Award and adds them to the list of awards that the Governor may present in the name of the Commonwealth.

Act 69 of 2017 establishes a state veterans’ registry to provide veterans with information regarding state benefits, programs and services.

Act 39 of 2018 (Public School Code) authorizes a school district to excuse a student from school attendance to participate in a musical performance in conjunction with a national veterans’ organization or incorporated unit for an event or funeral. (Senate Bill 540, Mensch)

Act 51 of 2018 establishes the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, a dropout recovery program that helps at-risk young people earn a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Act 64 of 2018 (Aument) establishes the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Monuments and Memorial Trust Fund for the operation and maintenance of monuments.

Act 108 of 2018 allows motorcycles to be equipped with a special registration plate for Purple Heart and Legion of Merit recipients.

Act 119 of 2018 provides a support system for elementary and high school students whose parents or guardians are in the military and may be deployed for an extended period.

Act 149 of 2018 (Brooks) allows for the doubling of donations to the Veterans Trust Fund on two-year vehicle registration renewals.

Consumer Protection

Act 77 of 2017 (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.

Act 78 of 2017 (Reschenthaler) improves and modernizes existing Pennsylvania law on fraudulent transfers.

Act 6 of 2018 (Tomlinson) requires licensees of all boards within the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs to report disciplinary actions taken by a licensing agency of another state, and felony, misdemeanor and drug or alcohol related summary convictions, to their licensing board within 30 days.

Act 59 of 2018 requires dealer disclosure of vehicles with unaddressed recalls at time of sale.

Act 60 of 2018 updates and upgrades state law regarding the use of fraudulent credit card devices.

Senate Bill 1172 (Vulakovich) fine tunes the state’s Price Gouging Act to ensure it specifically targets that issue when needed and the restrictions are kept in place for an appropriate amount of time. (Vetoed by Governor.)

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.

Act 104 of 2018 provides that any law enforcement officer, humane society police officer, animal control officer or emergency responder who enters an unattended vehicle in order to rescue a dog or cat will not be liable for any damage caused by the rescue.