Meeting to consider SB 117, SB 760, SB 822, SB 1029, SB 1130

Senate State Government Committee

Wednesday, June 8, 2022 | 10:30 a.m.

East Wing, Room 8 E-A


Meeting to consider SB 117, SB 760, SB 822, SB 1029, SB 1130


  • Senate Bill 117 (Hutchinson) – Amends Title 11 (Cities) to reduce to ten, the required amount of candidate signatures for ballot access in third class cities, and eliminates filing fees.
  • Senate Bill 760 (Martin) – Amends The Administrative Code of 1929 to eliminate the ability of a gubernatorial cabinet nominee to serve as an acting secretary while awaiting Senate confirmation.
  • Senate Bill 822 (Phillips-Hill) – Creates the Museum Unclaimed Loaned Property Act to codify procedures for the disposition of unclaimed loaned property.
  • Senate Bill 1029 (Yaw) – Creates the In-Person Meeting Act, to require Commonwealth agencies to hold in-person meetings, except in times of a declared state emergency.
    • Amendment A04215 – Adds a definition of “Public meeting”.
  • Senate Bill 1130 (Dush) – Amends the Sunshine Act to facilitate the creation of local rules for broadcasting meetings online and allow public comment via authorized telecommunications devices.

Senate Approves Liability Assistance for Businesses, Health Care Providers, PPE Manufacturers, Schools, and Nonprofits


Harrisburg—Health care providers, schools, businesses, nonprofits and others who followed COVID-19 public health directives would be protected from unfair lawsuits for good-faith actions they took during the pandemic under legislation approved by the Senate today, according to Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20).

“In ordinary times, closing any door to the courthouse would not be a preferred step for many,” said Baker, who authored several key components of the package. “Given the immense challenges we are confronting, it is hard to see how we could responsibly avoid such an action.”

The legislation aims to head off waves of lawsuits that could bankrupt already struggling employers and unfairly harm institutions who did their best to follow the changing and sometimes conflicting guidance provided by state and federal governments.

“When I talk to struggling business owners and nonprofit organizations, they express fear that one lawsuit could be their death sentence,” Baker explained. “Those fighting to stay open do not need to incur litigation costs and potentially get hit with judgments on top of all the other pressures and stresses afflicting them.”

Complete immunity is not provided for anyone. The measure simply ensures that if people or entities follow public health directives, they will not be held responsible for any harm that allegedly occurred. Health care providers, PPE manufacturers, schools, universities, childcare providers, businesses, nonprofits, and governments would still be responsible for any intentionally wrongful or reckless acts.

Liability protection is also offered under the proposal for farmers who want to host agritourism events like hayrides, farm tours, and corn mazes. The site must post specific warning signs, and have a signed, written agreement with visitors that they have acknowledged the risk of participating in a particular activity.

“Not a day goes by without news about business closures, layoffs, and permanent job losses,” Baker added. “If we cannot put a tourniquet on the economic bleeding, the fiscal distress felt by families will deepen and the hill of eventual economic recovery will be steeper.”

House Bill 1737 was returned to the House of Representatives, as amended, for further consideration.

Voting Meeting on SB 773

Senate Transportation Committee

Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 10:45 a.m.
Rules Room

SB 773 (Killion): Amends Title 75 (Vehicles) to create “Deana’s Law” by increasing penalties for egregious DUI offenders.

  • Amendment No. 4011 (K. Ward): Removes the vehicle impoundment requirement and makes other technical changes.

Public Roundtable on School Safety – Downingtown, PA

Senate Majority Policy Committee
Public Roundtable

School Safety

September 11, 2018 | 1:00 p.m.

Downingtown Area School District
James E. Watson Staff Development Room
540 Trestle Place
Downingtown, PA 19335


1:00 p.m.        Welcome and Opening Remarks  

  • Senator David G. Argall, Chairman, Senate Majority Policy Committee
  • Senator Tom McGarrigle
  • Senator John Rafferty 

1:15 p.m.        Roundtable Discussion

  • Representative Becky Corbin
  • Linsey Covert, TEAMOLOGY
  • John DeMarco, Chief of Police, Upper Uwchlan Township Police Department
  • Senator Andy Dinniman
  • Charles Gaza, Chief of Staff, Chester County District Attorney’s Office
  • Curt Martinez, Chief of Police, West Caln Township Police Department
  • Alisha Mathias, School Police Officer, Owen J. Roberts School District
  • Shawn McGlinchey, VP of Risk Management, Krapf Bus Companies
  • Eganne Wolfington McGowan, VP, Wolfington Body Company, Inc.
  • Chris Mulhall, Office of Representative Becky Corbin
  • Rich Nothstein, School Resource Officer, Salisbury Township School District
  • Jonathan Ross, Principal, Lionville Middle School, Downingtown Area SD
  • Cathy Taschner, Superintendent, Coatesville Area School District 

3:00 p.m.        Adjourn


Vulakovich/Mensch Propose Increased Oversight of Statewide Radio

Today, Senators Randy Vulakovich (R-38) and Bob Mensch (R-24), the current and past Chairmen of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, introduced legislation that would increase oversight of the statewide radio project. Under Senate Bill 1157, the Auditor General would be required to audit and review issues related to the statewide radio system.

Originally created in 1996, the statewide radio system, (StarNet), was supposed to replace the state’s aging and incompatible systems with state-of-the art communications technology.  Now — more than 20 years later — problems remain in achieving interoperability of radio equipment among state and local agencies.  The State Police recently began a reboot of the project, implementing the first two phases of their P25 Pilot, which is a set of standards created through joint efforts with the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and is aimed at achieving interoperability amongst state and local agencies. 

 “Over the past two decades, numerous issues have arisen in regard to the statewide radio system and we intend to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely in the future,” said Senator Vulakovich. “Having spent 27 years in law enforcement, I know the importance of interagency communications in emergencies.”

“StarNet has cost well over $700 million.” said Senator Mensch.  “We must get this system right and I believe it is essential that the Auditor General be a partner in the process to ensure that state resources are being used properly.”


Nate Silcox, Sen. Vulakovich (717) 787-6538
Mark Fetzko, Sen. Mensch (717) 787-3110

Media Advisory – MADD Calls on Pennsylvania General Assembly to Require Interlocks for All Convicted Drunk Drivers

Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) will announce the findings of its first-ever Ignition Interlock Report and to join Senator John Rafferty and Representative Keith Greiner to urge the Legislature to pass SB 290 and HB 278 to require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.

Tuesday, March 15
12 p.m. press conference                 

Capitol Media Center
Harrisburg, PA


Drunk driving victims, legislators and MADD

  • Chris Demko of Lancaster, whose 18-year-old daughter Meredith was killed by a repeat drunk driving offender in 2014.
  • Natalie Parkinson of Pittsburgh, whose 26-year-old daughter Renee was killed by a drunk driver in 2007.
  • Senator John Rafferty, bill sponsor
  • Representative Keith Greiner, bill sponsor


In 2014, 345 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania lawmakers have the opportunity to pass a life-saving law that would require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, which have reduced drunk driving deaths by up to 50 percent in other states.

Across the nation, ignition interlocks have prevented 1.77 million drunk driving attempts. They are working in Pennsylvania, and expanding their use to all drunk drivers will save lives.

MADD supports ignition interlocks for all drunk drivers because using these in-car devices protects the public while allowing offenders to keep their jobs and continue with their daily lives. 

VISUALS:     In-car demonstration of an ignition interlock immediately follows.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, CONTACT: Becky Iannotta (202) 600-2032 or

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads.  Learn more at or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.


Senate Panel Hears Testimony on Efforts to Safely Transport Crude Oil on PA Rail Network

HARRISBURG – The state Senate Transportation Committee and the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held a joint hearing today in Harrisburg to hear testimony on ways to improve the safe transportation of energy products along Pennsylvania’s rail network.

The Committees heard testimony from representatives of the Governor’s Office, energy companies, rail companies, emergency responders and the Public Utility Commission regarding efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to derailments and other rail freight accidents.

“This hearing has been vital in gathering information on how energy products, including crude oil, are moved through Pennsylvania, how local, state and federal governments can work together to address rail safety, and what resources are needed to protect communities,” said Senator John. Rafferty, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.  “We were interested to learn more about safely moving these products across the state and work swiftly and proactively with various stakeholders to implement new safeguards.”

“Transportation by rail is obviously really important,” said Senator Gene Yaw, Chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.  “The United States is blessed with all of the energy possibilities that it has, but we need to get all those products to market.  Rail is one way we can get those products to market.  As Committee Chairmen, Sen. Rafferty and I are continuously working to ensure that these products are shipped safely and efficiently across the Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania has the most operating railroad companies of any state, with a total of 57 across the state – ranging from the largest Class I railroads, moving long trains of goods along busy main line tracks to small “short line” railroads that may serve a short list of industries in a small area, moving a few cars at a time.

While testifiers emphasized that North America’s rail networks moves almost all of its hazardous material shipments to their destination without incident, they said that coordination, planning and being prepared are crucial to prevent accidents.

Testifiers also said proactive efforts are being made by government agencies, the railroad companies, the oil industry and emergency response agencies to avoid a major loss of life, the impact of a serious environmental disaster and to minimize considerable energy and utility losses.

They emphasized that Pennsylvania needs to take comprehensive approach to prevent train derailments, comply with new federal guidelines and give first responders the knowledge and tools they need to respond to incidents.

“In recent years, we have seen significant increases to U.S. oil and natural gas production improve economic growth and promote energy independence,” Rafferty said.  “We now need to continue implementing sound policy decisions to secure a prosperous Commonwealth for the decades ahead.”

“Through communication, cooperation and coordination we can make rail transportation even safer and provide assurances to communities that we have good plans in place to address this important issue,” Yaw added.


For more information, contact:

Adam Pankake, Executive Director, Sen. Yaw
(717) 787-3280

Nolan Ritchie, Executive Director, Sen. Rafferty


Senate Approves Standardized Training for County Veterans Affairs Directors

For Immediate Release


(HARRISBURG) – The state Senate yesterday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker (R-20) designed to give veterans the time, attention and benefits they deserve when they contact their county’s Director of Veterans Affairs.


“Directors of Veterans Affairs in each county often serve as the first and only point of contact for current members of the military and older veterans. However, the training and resources given to these important gatekeepers varies,” Baker said.  “My bill will set training requirements and minimum standards to ensure that veterans are working with full-time professionals who know how to link them to every federal, state and county benefit they have earned through their service.”


Baker, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said Senate Bill 302 is supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Pennsylvania State Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs and the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.


“Years ago, county directors were often part-time. They lacked office space, regular operating hours, and formal training.  But today, they are being called upon to do far more, and for more and more veterans,” Baker said.  “Because veterans’ benefits are often confusing to many soldiers and airmen and their survivors, we need knowledgeable veterans affairs directors at the local level to help them cut through red tape and ease the transition from combat to civilian life.”


Baker added that in a 2010 Senate hearing on veterans’ services and a subsequent study by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, the importance of an effective Director of Veterans Affairs in each county was highlighted.  She said this need has grown since the closing of the Governor’s Veterans Outreach Assistance Centers across Pennsylvania in 2009.




Jen Wilson
(717) 787-7428