Pennsylvania Senate Republicans E-Newsletter

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“I’m on a mission, and that mission requires me to leave the comforts of the Senate and pour everything I have into fulfilling that mission on behalf of the people I want to lead. A successful mission for me will mean coming back to Harrisburg in another capacity and working with each and every Senate member, House members, and state employees from both sides of the aisle to solve important issues for our constituents and our communities.”

Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York) announcing his departure from the Senate to focus on his gubernatorial campaign.


Preview

Senate Session Today at 1 p.m.

 

The Senate returns to voting session today at 1 p.m. Legislation that could be considered by the Senate this week includes:

Senate Bill 22 proposes to amend the state Constitution regarding reapportioning and redistricting in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 299 changes the process an incumbent magisterial district judge follows to get on the primary ballot for re-election. Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin)

Senate Bill 655 establishes the Pennsylvania Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing Advisory Council and requires the Secretary of Health to put regulations into effect regarding opioid prescription guidelines. Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming)

Senate Bill 1129 expedites the voluntary termination of parental rights in the course of the legal adoption process.  Sen. John DiSanto (R-Dauphin)

Senate Bill 780 authorizes the practice of telemedicine by establishing the Telemedicine Act and provides for insurance coverage of telemedicine. Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver)

House Bill 149 adds a section to the Crimes Code covering the unlawful use of an audio or video device in court.

House Bill 236 improves the collection of restitution for crime victims by authorizing courts to order wage attachment for defendants for the payment of restitution, fines and costs.

House Bill 285 requires minimum deductions from the wages and personal accounts of inmates who have outstanding restitution or other court-ordered obligations.

House Bill 824 requires the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to establish in Pennsylvania the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, a dropout recovery program that helps at-risk young people earn a high school diploma or equivalent.

House Bill 983 makes an abusive spouse ineligible to receive alimony pendente lite (APL) from the person that he or she was convicted of abusing.

House Bill 1644 creates a uniform standard of practice for collaborative law, a voluntary alternative dispute resolution process.

House Bill 1918 upgrades Pennsylvania law to help prevent and punish the use of credit card skimming devices.

Committee Hearings Streamed at PASenateGOP.com 

Tuesday 9 a.m. East Wing, Hearing Room 8E-A
 Senate Majority Policy Committee, Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill) Chair
Welfare Reform Briefing

Wednesday 10 a.m. East Wing, Hearing Room 8E-A
Senate Transportation Committee, Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) Chair
Automated Work Zone Vehicles and Platooning (Senate Bill 1096/House Bill 1958)

Complete Senate Committee Schedule

Review

Senate Acts to Implement School Threat Reporting Measure

On Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) that will create a new threat monitoring system to help reduce school violence.

The Safe2Say Program, as created by Senate Bill 1142, would allow anonymous reporting of threats regarding unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. The state Attorney General’s office would create the system, which would accept anonymous tips through a hotline, online or an app. More

Senate Approves Tougher Penalties for SNAP/Food Stamps Fraud

The Senate approved legislation Wednesday sponsored by Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) to reduce fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and hold perpetrators accountable.

Senate Bill 1127 would create a new penalty for the fraudulent trafficking of SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500. Violators would be required to pay restitution of up to three times the amount of fraud they committed.

The bill stems from a case uncovered last year by the Office of State Inspector General in which a Harrisburg restaurant traded drugs for EBT cards and bought thousands of dollars of supplies from a food wholesale club to be resold for profit. Senate Bill 1127 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. More

Bill Provides More Opioid Addiction Treatment Options 

The Senate approved legislation Tuesday sponsored by Sen. Wayne Langerholc (R-Cambria) to help courts provide better treatment options to defendants addicted to opioids.

Senate Bill 922 would encourage the use of FDA-approved non-narcotic, non-addictive medications in conjunction with comprehensive substance use disorder treatment programs. It is one of several measures in the General Assembly that address the growing opioid epidemic. More

Senate Approves Bill Ensuring EMS Reimbursements for Service

On Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Don White (R-Indiana) that will require insurance companies and Medicaid to reimburse emergency medical services agencies for services provided even when transport to a hospital does not take place but care is rendered.

Senate Bill 1003 will ensure that EMS agencies are properly reimbursed for their services when called out to provide care. Currently, insurance companies and Medicaid are only required to reimburse EMS organizations for services when they include transportation to a hospital, leaving many volunteer EMS services to foot the bill. More

Bills Provide Taxpayer Savings on Municipal Purchases

The Senate passed a package of bills last week that will provide savings for many Pennsylvania municipalities and save taxpayer money.

Three bills — Senate Bill 771 (boroughs and third-class cities), Senate Bill 772 (first-class townships) and Senate Bill 773 (incorporated towns) — provide for concise publication of required annual financial reporting information, thus providing savings for those municipalities.

Three additional bills — Senate Bill 947 (boroughs and third-class cities), Senate Bill 948 (first-class townships) and Senate Bill 949 (incorporated towns) — increases the threshold for requiring public advertising for bids from $1,000 to $2,000 when those municipalities sell personal property.

Greenleaf, Advocates Rally for Passage of SB 554 to Protect Child Victims of Human Trafficking

Advocates and fellow legislators joined Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) for a rally Tuesday calling for the passage of Senator Greenleaf’s Senate Bill 554 to protect the child victims of human trafficking from criminal prosecution.  The legislation, known as Safe Harbor, passed the Senate unanimously in April of 2017.

The legislation will require law enforcement to report any encounter with a minor who has been subject to sexual exploitation.  It will provide safe, long-term housing, education, life-skills training, and counseling to the children who have been exploited. More

Bartolotta Calls for Development of Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub 

Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) on Tuesday called on Congress to support the development of an ethane storage hub in the Appalachian region.

Senator Bartolotta introduced a Senate Resolution that encourages Congress to pass several bills to help establish the hub and take advantage of the region’s deposits of natural gas, which are rich in ethane. More

Additional Bills Approved by Senate and Sent to House

House Bill 564 requires students to pass a civics test as a condition of high school graduation. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

 House Bill 653 provides for an accelerated foreclosure process for vacant and abandoned property. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 1005 makes numerous changes to the County Code.

Senate Bill 1037 reforms and modernizes the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission.

Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment

Senate Bill 234 establishes the Property Assessed Clean Energy program.

House Bill 352 reduces the period of time needed to acquire a title through adverse possession under specific circumstances.

House Bill 566 provides for the suspension of services by a contractor or a subcontractor if timely payment is not received in accordance with the terms of a construction contract.

Senate Bill 880 allows trailers up to 102 inches wide on Pennsylvania highways.

House Bill 1793 creates the Pennsylvania Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial.

House Bill 1952 addresses a state Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that impacts Pennsylvania’s sexual offender registration act.

Committee Roundup

Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), approved eight bills on June 4.

House Bill 564 requires students to pass a civics test as a condition of high school graduation.

Senate Bill 859 establishes a grant program to assist counties in diverting individuals with mental health problems from the criminal justice system.

Senate Bill 860 enacts the Criminal Justice and Addiction Treatment Act.

Senate Bill 884 makes changes for guardianship in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 922 creates the Court Assessment for Nonnarcotic Medication Substance Abuse Treatment Program. 

Senate Bill 1003 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 Bill 1037 reforms and modernizes the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission.

Senate Bill 1132 establishes a statewide Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission.

The Appropriations Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 22 provides for an independent Redistricting Commission.

Senate Bill 299 changes the way that an incumbent magisterial district judge gets on the ballot for re-election.

House Bill 824 establishes the National Guard Youth Challenge Program.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, chaired by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks), approved three bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 668 amends and modernizes the Optometric Practice and Licensure Act.

House Bill 1343 authorizes professional and occupational licensing boards to allow carryover of excess continuing education credits.

House Bill 1782 authorizes the use of alternative rate mechanisms by public utilities.

Finance

The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango), approved House Bill 1460 on Wednesday. The bill imposes additional reporting requirements on the Public School Employees’ Retirement System and the State Employees’ Retirement System.

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), approved 11 bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 159 clarifies that the failure of a child to comply with a lawful sentence imposed for a summary offense constitutes a “delinquent act.”

House Bill 983 ensures that an abusive spouse is ineligible to receive financial support from the person that he or she was convicted of abusing.

Senate Bill 1043 clarifies that criminal records may be used to justify an adverse employment decision only if the records are relevant to the employee’s suitability for the position.

Senate Bill 1129 addresses paternity issues.

Senate Bill 1134 establishes sextortion as a specific criminal offense.

Senate Bill 1175 allows the use of a subpoena to obtain information from a social media account to investigate a threat made against a school. It also requires district attorneys and judges to review the disciplinary records of any student being prosecuted for making a terroristic threat.

House Bill 1216 provides that any law enforcement officer, humane society police officer, animal control officer or emergency responder who rescues a dog or cat from an unattended vehicle will not be liable for any damage caused by the rescue.

House Bill 1346 provides for the offense of unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft and the preemption of local ordinances or regulations.

House Bill 1644 establishes the Collaborative Law Act.

House Bill 1738 allows trained and certified non-municipal police officers the same jurisdictional flexibility as municipal police officers.

House Bill 1918 updates and upgrades state law regarding the use of fraudulent credit card devices.

Labor & Industry

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee, chaired by Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland),  approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 934 expands the authority of the Elevator Advisory Board, a subcommittee of the Industrial Board under the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. 

House Bill 1641 creates the Employment First Act.

Legislative Budget and Finance Committee

On Wednesday, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), met to release four reports:

  • Feasibility of Establishing a Water Use Fee in Pennsylvania
  • An Interim Report on the Establishment of the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College
  • PA Game Commission Compliance with Its Strategic Plan
  • The Impact of Tavern Gaming on the Pennsylvania State Lottery

You can view the reports here and discussion of the reports here.

Majority Policy Committee

On Tuesday, the Senate Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill), held a public hearing on work requirements for welfare recipients.  One of the architects of Maine’s expansion of work requirements for welfare discussed efforts to replicate the success in Pennsylvania.

Sam Adolphsen told the committee: “When Maine required able-bodied adults on food stamps to work, train or volunteer, we tracked those individuals the year after they left the program. They ended up earning more than double what they had earned before in one year, and the average person moved out of poverty.”  Hearing Video & Data 

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, chaired by Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny), approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1157 gives the Auditor General the authority to audit the Statewide Radio System.

Senate Bill 1172 amends the Price Gouging Act.

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