Senate-Passed Legislation January – July 2019

2017-2018


Reform

Act 1 of 2019 (DiSanto) requires pension forfeiture after a public employee or official is convicted of — or pleads guilty or no contest to — any felony offense related to his or her employment.

Act 15 of 2019 expands the powers of the Pennsylvania Inspector General to investigate crimes related to misuse of public benefits, and to review all contracts associated with the Pennsylvania Statewide Radio Network (PA-STARNet).

Senate Bill 48 (Gordner) helps counties pay for mandated, new voting machines, eliminates straight party voting and implemented other changes. (Vetoed by Governor)

Senate Bill 133 (Argall) amends the Pennsylvania Constitution to allow gubernatorial candidates to select their own running mate.

Senate Bill 300 (Scarnati) allows voters who are registered as Independents to vote in primary elections.

Senate Bill 372 (Scavello) updates and modernizes the state History Code. 

Criminal Justice Reform

Senate Bill 500 (Baker) creates a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee to help counties better assess the unique risks and needs of probationers to reduce incarceration and cut costs to taxpayers.

Senate Bill 501 (Killion) streamlines the placement of offenders in drug treatment programs and other intermediate punishment programs, and improves and expedites the parole process for non-violent offenders.

Senate Bill 502 (Bartolotta) improves communications with crime victims and ensures they receive any compensation they are owed. 

Vehicle Emissions Testing Reform

Senate Bill 742 (K. Ward) exempts vehicles newer than eight years from emissions testing. 

Senate Bill 743 (K. Ward) changes the annual emissions testing to a two-year testing requirement for subject vehicles older than eight years.

Senate Bill 744 (Langerholc) exempts Blair, Cambria, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, and Westmoreland Counties from emissions testing. 

Senate Bill 745 (Stefano) replaces the outdated tests in the regions of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for vehicles with model year 1992-95 and subject light-duty trucks with model year 1996 or newer. 

Senate Bill 746 (Vogel) extends the date for existing emissions inspection stations to obtain new emissions testing equipment from November 1, 2019 to July 1, 2021.

Public Safety 

Senate Bill 139 (J. Ward) amends the Pennsylvania Price Gouging Act to ensure that a Governor’s emergency declaration does not place an undue burden on businesses outside of and unrelated to the disaster.

Senate Bill 275 (J. Ward) allows cases of strangulation to be considered in sentencing for subsequent domestic violence and other crimes and in child custody proceedings.

Senate Bill 607 (Scavello) allows all municipal police to use radar for traffic speed enforcement.

Crime Victims Package

Senate Bill 123 limits the number of times that victims of sexually violent crimes are forced to testify at parole hearings (Karen’s Law).

Act 21 of 2019 criminalizes female genital mutilation by making it a first-degree felony. 

Act 23 of 2019 allows the victim to be present in any criminal proceeding unless the court determines the victim’s own testimony would be altered by hearing other witnesses. (Senate version, SB 425, Langerholc)

Act 24 of 2019 prevents prosecutors from bringing up the victim’s sexual history or prior allegations of sexual abuse while prosecuting certain crimes. (Senate versions, SB 431, Langerholc)

Act 29 of 2019 (Langerholc) enacts a comprehensive bill of rights in Pennsylvania for survivors of sexual assault.

Act 30 of 2019 (Laughlin) establishes procedures protecting victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder, including allowing for testimony and questioning to take place outside of a courtroom. 

Act 31 of 2019 (Baker) expands the list of crimes for which an out-of-court statement made by a child under 12 can be used.

Emergency Responders

Act 15 of 2019 requires the Pennsylvania Inspector General to review all contracts associated with the Pennsylvania Statewide Radio Network (PA-STARNet).

Act 60 of 2019 (Regan) codifies the Civil Air Patrol’s state operations in Title 51 under the leadership of the Adjutant General to better secure state funding.

Senate Bill 146 (Brooks) makes online training more readily available to current and prospective first responders, helping Pennsylvania volunteer fire companies recruit and retain members.

Children & Families

Act 5 of 2019 provides civil immunity when there is damage to a vehicle when forceful entry is necessary to rescue an individual, helping to prevent child hot car deaths. (Senate version, SB 49, Killion.)

Senate Bill 86 (Brooks) amends the Newborn Protection Act to add urgent care centers to the list of “safe havens” where a parent may surrender a newborn.

 Senate Bill 669 (DiSanto) reinstates programs to promote the placement of children who haven’t found permanent adoptive homes.

Opioid Crisis

Senate Bill 93 (Bartolotta) creates a new statute establishing a second degree felony for the delivery or distribution of an illicit drug that results in “serious bodily injury” to the user.

Senate Bill 112 (Yaw) limits the prescription for a controlled substance containing an opioid to seven days unless there is a medical emergency that puts the patients’ health or safety at risk.

Senate Bill 118 (Langerholc) creates a “Recovery to Work” pilot program to connect individuals in recovery with occupations through local workforce development boards.

Senate Bill 223 (Phillips-Hill) allows providers to leave a dose of naloxone with an on-scene caregiver of a patient who overdosed on opioids.

Senate Bill 432 (Phillips-Hill) allows Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to have access to information in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

Senate Bill 572 (Aument) requires patients prescribed opioids to enter into treatment agreements with a prescriber to ensure they understand the risks of addiction and overdose.

Senate Bill 675 (Brooks) requires certification of office-based prescribers of the addiction treatment drug buprenorphine, and limits the drug’s use.

Health Care

Act 7 of 2019 (Killion) strengthens academic guidelines in schools for CPR training in grades nine through 12 and adds hands-only CPR instruction to Pennsylvania’s education curriculum.

Act 42 of 2019 creates an authority to operate a state-based health insurance exchange for Affordable Care Act individual market plans.

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

Senate Bill 314 (Baker) creates the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Authority and the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Fund.

Senate Resolution 20 (Baker) urges the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to delay action on its proposed change to medical malpractice reform.

Education

Act 7 of 2019 (Killion) strengthens academic guidelines in schools for CPR training in grades nine through 12 and adds hands-only CPR instruction to Pennsylvania’s education curriculum.

Act 16 of 2019 increases the amount of tax credits available for scholarship organizations under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program to $185 million and increases the maximum annual household income allowed for scholarship eligibility from $85,000 to $90,000. (Includes SB 230, Killion)

Act 18 of 2019 (Martin) amends the Public School Code to provide for $60 million for the School Safety and Security Grant Program, adds new school safety measures, and helps schools purchase telepresence equipment to support homebound students.

Act 64 of 2019 (Phillips-Hill) gives school districts the option to implement flexible instructional days in the event of an emergency school closure.

Act 67 of 2019  (Regan) provides direct authority for school security guards to be armed, establishes a baseline of training for all school security personnel, and adds sheriffs and deputy sheriffs to the definition of “School Resource Officer.”

Act 70 of 2019 (Browne) amends the Public School Code to create the Public Higher Education Funding Commission and implement recommendations from the Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction (PlanCon) Advisory Committee.

Senate Bill 536 (Browne) establishes the Public Higher Education Funding Commission to review and make recommendations related to a higher education funding formula and higher education issues.

Senate Bill 456 (Bartolotta) allows private licensed schools to create branch campuses in counties outside the county that houses the primary site.

House Bill 800 expands Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program with $100 million in additional tax credits for scholarship organizations. (Vetoed by Governor.)

Agriculture and Outdoor Recreation

Includes *Farming First Bills 

* Act 28 of 2019 (Langerholc) increases the size of farm equipment permitted to be transported on roadways.

* Act 33 of 2019 gives farmers more discretion regarding the construction and subdivision of residences on farmland to make it easier to pass farmland on to the next generation at a lower cost. (Senate version SB 145, Yaw)

Act 34 of 2019 revise the Healthy Farms Healthy Schools program into the PA Farm-to-School Program, to provide grants for improving childhood nutrition while increasing exposure to agriculture for children in grades Pre-k through 5.

Act 35 of 2019 creates the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account to facilitate a quick response to agricultural disasters.

Act 36 of 2019 creates a grant program to reimburse federal meat inspection costs for small or new processors and subsidize the first-time purchase of equipment needed for federal compliance.

Act 37 of 2019 revises a low-interest loan program administered by the State Conservation Commission in conjunction with lending institutions for the implementation of agricultural and conservation best management practices.

Act 38 of 2019 establishes the Dairy Investment Program and Dairy Investment Program Account to support the Commonwealth’s dairy industry.

Act 39 of 2019 (Yaw) creates a “Conservation Excellence Grant Program” to provide financial and technical assistance to farmers to install and implement best management practices.

Act 40 of 2019 (J. Ward) creates the Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Fund to help PA farmers compete in the market of high-priority specialty crops, such as hemp, hops and hardwoods.

* Act 65 of 2019 (Vogel) creates a tax credit program for landowners to lease or sell farmland to future generations of farmers.

* Act 66 of 2019 (Corman) creates the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission to review the status of the PA dairy industry and make recommendations to support the industry’s future.

Senate Bill 147 (Laughlin) empowers the Pennsylvania Game Commission to allow hunting on up to three Sundays.

* Senate Bill 453 (J. Ward) sets commonsense safety standards and removes costly requirements for barn weddings and other social events on farms.

Senate Bill 575 (Yaw) institutes a nutrient procurement program to help Pennsylvania meet the federal Chesapeake Bay mandate by incentivizing nitrogen pollution reduction.

* Senate Bill 583 (Aument) eases restrictions on the use of farmland for farm-related tourism and entertainment activities.

* House Bill 915  allows milk haulers to travel on highways during a declaration of disaster emergency. (Senate version, SB 588, J. Ward) (Vetoed by Governor)

Veterans

Act 32 of 2019 provides free college education to the spouse or child of Pennsylvania National Guard members who re-enlist. (Senate version, SB 589, Regan)

Act 55 of 2019 requires the compensation of Pennsylvania National Guard general officers to be commensurate with the federal military pay scale.

Act 62 of 2019 (Baker) transfers “Stolen Valor” fines to the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund, which issues grants to organizations that assist veterans.

Environment

Act 3 of 2019 (Yaw) designates the Eastern Hellbender as Pennsylvania’s state amphibian.

Senate Bill 575 (Yaw) institutes a nutrient procurement program to help Pennsylvania meet the federal Chesapeake Bay mandate by incentivizing nitrogen pollution reduction.