A report on legislative actions from the Session Week of May 26, 2020
I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features events and legislative activities from the Session Week of May 26, 2020.
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Senate Approves Grant Program for Fire/EMS Companies
On Thursday, the Senate approved and sent to the Governor my legislation that will provide $50 million in grants for Pennsylvania’s fire companies and EMS squads as they address the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Senate Bill 1122 provides $44 million for grants to fire companies and $6 million to benefit EMS stations.
This is certainly welcome news for Pennsylvania’s first responders. These men and women have seen their workloads increase while their funds have been depleted. Their traditional fundraising programs have been suspended by the coronavirus outbreak and they’ve had increased expenses for items such as personal protective gear. Our fire companies and ambulance crews have been on the frontline of the battle and it is only fair that they receive the support they deserve in recognition of their efforts.
The Senate also approved House Bill 2387, a $25.8 billion, short-term budget that provides five months of funding for most state agencies and services. The appropriations in HB 2387 are based primarily on current funding for agencies and services in the current state budget, but allocated at a five-month level. Full-year funding is provided for a few select line items in HB 2387, notably for education and food security programs.
There are just too many unresolved questions about our economy to attempt to budget for a full year at this point. However, it was important that we address education funding and ensure that all schools from pre-K to our universities know that they will receive a set amount of funding from the state.
Bills in the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Budget Package
Senate Bill 166 is the 2020-21 Capital Budget.
Senate Bill 1027 amends the Administrative Code.
House Bill 1083 amends the Fiscal Code.
Senate Bill 1108 appropriates a portion of Pennsylvania’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) funding.
Senate Bill 1122 my bill to provide $50 million for grants to fire companies and EMS stations.
House Bill 1210 amends the School Code to provide for spending across multiple programs.
House Bill 2387 is the General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2441 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for Pennsylvania State University.
House Bill 2442 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for the University of Pittsburgh
House Bill 2443 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for Temple University.
House Bill 2444 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for Lincoln University.
House Bill 2445 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for the University of Pennsylvania Center for Infectious Diseases and Veterinary Activities.
House Bill 2467 provides Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2468 provides for Workers’ Compensation Act funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2469 provides Office of the Small Business Advocate funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2470 provides Office of Consumer Advocate funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2471 provides Public School Employees’ Retirement Board funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2472 provides State Employees’ Retirement Board funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2473 provides Fiscal Year 2020-21 funding for the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
House Bill 2474 provides Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2475 provides for Gaming Control Act funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21.
House Bill 2510 provides for the distribution of federal funding that was provided through the CARES Act.
Seven Additional Bills Sent to Governor
In addition to the budget and the CARES package, seven additional bills received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor.
House Bill 102 provides for expanded availability of hunter education courses in public schools.
Senate Bill 275 ensures that a strangulation conviction would be considered in sentencing for subsequent crimes and in custody proceedings.
Senate Bill 863 addresses campground owners’ rights.
Senate Bill 1030 amends the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Act 537).
House Bill 1036 amends the Borough Code to address ballot questions for a decrease in size of a borough council.
House Bill 1048 eliminates the $700 application surcharge for renewal of liquor licenses by national veterans’ organizations and volunteer fire companies.
House Bill 1907 designates a bridge over U.S. Route 11/15 in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County, as the “Senator Hal Mowery Memorial Bridge.”
Four Bills Sent to House of Representatives
Four bills were approved by the Senate this week and sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 377 increases the fine and the penalty for killing or unlawfully taking a bald or golden eagle.
Senate Bill 594 requires employers who have a certified safety committee as part of their workers’ compensation program to include information about the risks associated with the use of opioids.
Senate Bill 915 sets standards for the application of fertilizer to turf.
Senate Bill 1076 removes the sunset provision for the Military Family Relief Assistance Program.
In addition to Senate Bill 1076, House Bill 2387, House Bill 2441, House Bill 2442, House Bill 2443, House Bill 2444, House Bill 2445, House Bill 2467, House Bill 2468, House Bill 2469, House Bill 2470, House Bill 2471, House Bill 2472, House Bill 2473, House Bill 2474, House Bill 2475 and House Bill 2510 the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 995 on Tuesday. That bill increases the width of multipurpose agricultural vehicles that are allowed on public roadways.
House Bill 584 provides an exemption from fishing license requirements for therapeutic recreation programs.
Senate Bill 987 requires Senate Confirmation of the Fire Commissioner.
The Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 5 requires General Assembly approval of all regulations with an economic impact or cost exceeding $1 million.
Senate Bill 609 provides for a one-time automatic review of all economically significant regulations.
Senate Bill 1034 ensures effective use of state grants.
Game & Fisheries
The Senate Game & Fisheries Committee approved five bills on Wednesday.
House Bill 1003 empowers the Fish and Boat Commission’s to issue citations for failure to mark head or run-of-the-river dams.
Senate Bill 1074 amends the Fish Code regarding fishing licenses.
House Bill 1185 increases and/or clarifies penalties relating to damage to Fish & Boat Commission property; littering; boating education; boating under the influence; and aggravated assault by watercraft.
House Bill 1188 removes the restriction on the use of infrared, thermal, and similar night vision optics for hunting.
House Bill 1584 removes restrictive language that bars Fish and Boat Commission Waterways Conservation Officers from being included in Act 111 for the purpose of seeking collective bargaining.
Health & Human Services
The Senate Health & Human Services Committee approved Senate Bill 430 on Wednesday. The Measure requires carbon monoxide detectors in child care facilities that use a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance or has an attached garage.
Labor & Industry
The Senate Labor & Industry Committee approved House Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution 1 on Tuesday. The measure prohibits the Department of Labor & Industry from publishing Regulation #12-106, which addresses Pennsylvania’s minimum wage and overtime exemptions for administrative, executive and professional employees. The bill was adopted by the full Senate on Wednesday.
Rules & Executive Nominations
The Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee approved Senate Resolution 310 on Tuesday. The measure adopts a temporary Senate related to amendments to the General Appropriation Bill and other appropriation bills for the 2020-21 Fiscal Year, including any amendments offered to/or for supplemental appropriations for prior fiscal years. The Senate adopted the Resolution on Wednesday.
The Senate Transportation Committee approved the nomination of Yassmin Gramian as Secretary of Transportation and three bills on Tuesday.
House Bill 30 allows contributions of $6 to the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund when renewing a vehicle registration for two years.
House Bill 1510 renames several bridges and highways.
House Bill 1710 creates the USA semiquincentennial registration plate.