Senate Republican News Brief

“Without the use of risk assessment tools, it can be extremely difficult for judges to know whether an offender still poses an imminent danger to his or her victim. Expanding the use of these tools could give judges a clearer picture of the abusers who are most likely to continue to terrorize their victims if they are released on bail.”

 Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington), sponsor of legislation heading for enactment, Senate Bill 449 (Tierne’s Law), allowing Magisterial District Judges to use a risk assessment tool when determining bail in domestic violence cases.


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 114 enables a sewer authority to obtain a court order allowing it to terminate sewer service to commercial customers who are at least six months delinquent in payment of sewer bills. Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair)

Senate Bill 653 further consolidates the collection of local, non-real estate taxes, at the county regional level. Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh)

Senate Bill 748 establishes a clear process for consideration of proposed closures of state prisons and state police barracks. Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill)

House Bill 1952 addresses recent judicial decisions regarding registration of sexual offenders in the Commonwealth. 

Committee Hearings Streamed at 

Tuesday 9 a.m. Location: North Office Building, Hearing Room 1
Senate State Government Committee, Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) Chair
Redistricting Legislation

Tuesday 2 p.m. North Office Building, Hearing Room 1
Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) Chair
Budget Hearing for Department of Health, Department of Human Services 

Complete Senate Committee Schedule


Senate Approves Bipartisan Crime Victims Package

The Senate approved a package of bills strengthening protections for victims of domestic violence on Wednesday. Six of the bills strengthen and reform Pennsylvania’s domestic violence laws, offer greater protections to victims of domestic violence and their children, and hold abusers accountable. 

The seventh bill would establish a crime victims’ bill of rights in the Pennsylvania Constitution to protect and expand the rights of victims of violent crime.

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

Senate Bill 500 ensures that law enforcement protection is available to a victim before or while PFA orders are being served. Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny)

Senate Bill 501 requires a domestic violence defendant who is ordered by the court to relinquish firearms to surrender the weapons to law enforcement or a licensed dealer within 48 hours. Sen. Tom Killion (R-Delaware)

Senate Bill 502 makes it easier for the court to extend a PFA order when an abuser is released from custody. Sen. Tom McGarrigle (R-Delaware)

Senate Bill 1011 amends the state Constitution to create a crime victims “Bill of Rights.” Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny)

Senate Bill 313 makes it easier for domestic violence victims to remove the name of an abuser from a shared telephone plan. Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton)

Senate Bill 919 allows domestic violence victims who live in public housing to be relocated to another unit. Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia)

Senate Bill 449 now goes to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law. The other six bills were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. More

Senate Approves Lieutenant Governor Reform Legislation

The Senate passed bipartisan legislation on Tuesday to reform the way the Lieutenant Governor is elected in Pennsylvania.

 Senate Bill 761, sponsored by Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill), would amend the state Constitution to allow gubernatorial candidates to select their running mate subsequent to the primary election, which is a process similar to how presidential candidates currently select their vice presidential running mates.

The earliest the process could go into effect is 2022, since the Constitution requires that amendments be approved in two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and then approved by voter referendum.   If the Constitutional amendment is approved, Pennsylvania would join 13 other states that allow gubernatorial candidates to pick a running mate for Lieutenant Governor. More

Other Bills Approved by the Senate and sent to the House 

Senate Bill 792 repeals and replaces the Fertilizer Act.

Senate Bill 1002 renames bridges.

Bills Sent to Governor’s Desk

Senate Bill 135 permits the use of a leashed tracking dog to track white-tailed deer to recover an animal which has been legally harvested or wounded.

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

House Bill 1845 designates an Indiana County bridge as the First Lieutenant Theodore P. Pytash Bridge.

Corman, Tim Piazza Family Unveil Groundbreaking Legislation to Strengthen PA Antihazing Laws

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) and the family of Tim Piazza on Friday announced a comprehensive rewrite of the state’s hazing laws to prevent future hazing-related tragedies by addressing prevention, enforcement and transparency. 

The proposed bill increases penalties for all of those involved in hazing; requires schools to have policies and reporting procedures in place to stop hazing; and informs students and parents of what is happening on campus. It also establishes clear-cut parameters on hazing for organizations such as fraternities and sororities. More

Rafferty Calls for Stronger Laws, More State Oversight to Ensure Pipeline Safety

At a joint hearing Tuesday on pipeline safety in Pennsylvania by the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee and the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) raised major concerns regarding the mismanagement and misconduct by Sunoco Pipeline’s executives, stressing that stronger laws and more state oversight are needed for the safety and well-being of people and their private property. 

Senator Rafferty urged members of the committees to move quickly on a bipartisan package of bills he introduced that would centralize pipeline safety inspection within the Commonwealth, establish notification requirements to residents, mandate pre-construction hydrological studies and implement other safeguards to improve pipeline management. More

Aument Introduces Legislation to Address Opioid Epidemic, Reduce Addiction Risks

Patients who require opioid prescriptions would have less risk of addiction under legislation announced by Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster).

Senator Aument’s bill would require patients to enter into treatment agreements with prescribers to ensure patients understand the risks of addiction and the importance of adhering to safe, responsible guidelines for opioid use. The treatment agreements would require new patients to undergo baseline and periodic drug testing to monitor adherence to the prescribed treatment plans. 

These requirements would not apply in medical emergencies, to patients with existing relationships with a medical provider, cancer patients nor those who are terminally ill. More

Committee Roundup


The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), approved five bills on Monday.

House Bill 595  specifically provides for the types of complaints that can be filed with the Bureau of Consumer Protection regarding planned communities, cooperatives and condominiums.

Senate Bill 748 establishes notice guidelines regarding the proposed closure of state prisons.

Senate Bill 761 amends the state Constitution to allow gubernatorial candidates to select their Lieutenant Governor running mate.

Senate Bill 1011 amends the state Constitution to create a crime victims’ “Bill of Rights.”

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

The Appropriations Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 501 addresses the relinquishment of firearms in PFA cases.

Senate Bill 919 allows a tenant of a housing authority unit, who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence, to be relocated to another unit.

Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure

The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, chaired by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks), and the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, chaired by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), held a joint public hearing Tuesday to address safety and management issues of pipeline operations in Pennsylvania.

Hearing Video & Written Testimony


The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango), approved three bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 390 amends the state Constitution to extend the state’s property tax exemption program for disabled veterans to the surviving spouse of a soldier killed in action.

Senate Bill 765 establishes a sales tax “holiday” for the purchase of emergency preparedness equipment.  

House Bill 2017 amends the Tax Reform Code, providing for definitions in corporate net income tax.

Game & Fisheries

The Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, chaired by Sen. Pat Stefano (R-Fayette), held a public hearing Wednesday on the annual reports from the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Hearing Video & Agenda

Health & Human Services

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), approved four bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 576 defines the difference between an inducement for a patient to participate in a cancer clinical trial and the reimbursement of expenses for participating in a clinical trial.

Senate Bill 1087 establishes a joint commission on the child-welfare system.

House Bill 1233 establishes a new standard for assisted outpatient treatment for seriously mentally ill individuals.

House Bill 1869 establishes a committee to review maternal deaths and develop strategies for the prevention of maternal deaths.

On Monday, the committee held a public hearing on the nominations of Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Teresa Miller, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Acting Secretary Jennifer Smith and Department of Health Acting Secretary Rachel Levine.

Hearing Video & Written Testimony


The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), approved 12 bills on Monday.

House Bill 149 provides for the unlawful use of an audio or video recording device in court.

House Bill 324 provides protections for retirement plan benefits due to pension de-risking.

Senate Bill 357 provides for the offense of Aggravated Assault by a Person in Custody if the individual tries to cause another person to come into contact with blood, seminal fluid, saliva, urine or feces by throwing, tossing, spitting or expelling such fluid or material.

Senate Bill 480 addresses animal cruelty in a domestic violence situation.

Senate Bill 501 addresses the relinquishment of firearms in PFA cases.

Senate Bill 502 allows courts to extend an existing PFA order or issue a new order in certain circumstances.

Senate Bill 652 enhances the penalties for those who criminally trespass on “critical infrastructure facilities.”

Senate Bill 915 extends the deadline for filing a post-conviction relief action.

Senate Bill 916 updates the DNA testing law.

Senate Bill 1070 creates a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee.

Senate Bill 1071 streamlines the process for placement in State Intermediate Punishment.

Senate Bill 1072 revises sentencing laws.

On Monday, the committee held a joint hearing with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice to discuss criminal justice issues.

Hearing Video & Agenda

Local Government

The Senate Local Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York), approved Senate Bill 1005 on Tuesday. The bill makes numerous changes to the County Code.

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

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

Senate Bill 239 amends the state Constitution to allow for an expansion of the Property Tax Exemption Program for Disabled Veterans.

Senate Resolution 260 extends the term of the Senate Resolution 6 Commission from June 30 to November 30, 2018.

Senate Bill 1021 provides a limited-time opportunity for certain amputee or paralyzed veterans to apply for the state’s Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans’ Pension.

Senate Bill 1041 directs the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to create logos to promote veteran-owned and disabled veteran-owned businesses.