Senator Joe Pittman E-Newsletter

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Harrisburg Happenings

A report on the Session Week of October 5, 2020

Dear Friend,

            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 October 5, 2020.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatorpittman.com  for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the page.  If you would like to contact my office, please go to my website and click the “contact” button.  Please do not “reply” directly to this e-mail.

Sincerely,

Joe


Committee Approves Omnibus Bill Supporting First Responders

The Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee amended and approved a measure on Tuesday that updates and expands financial assistance programs and promotes efforts to recruit, train and retain first responders.

The committee amended House Bill 1673 with the provisions of several Senate and House bills, most of which were introduced based on recommendations from the Senate Resolution 6 Commission, a bi-partisan panel established last year to study emergency services across the Commonwealth.

The changes in the omnibus bill include:

  • Allowing counties and school districts to offer property tax credits for volunteer first responders.
  • Renaming the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program to the “Emergency Services Loan Fund” and increasing loan amounts for vehicles and equipment.
  • Permitting the use of state Fire & EMS grants for recruitment and retention efforts.
  • Making the Fire Commissioner a cabinet-level position and defining the duties of the job.
  • Changing the Fire Safety Advisory Committee to the State Fire Advisory Board.
  • Defining permitted use of funding by firefighter relief associations.

House Bill 1673 now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Video of the Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee meeting. 

Senate Sends Eight Bills to the House

The Senate approved eight bills this week and sent the measures to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Bill 810 consolidates the administration and management of the Commonwealth’s information technology under the Office of Information Technology.

Senate Bill 890 creates a new category under Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities.

Senate Bill 983 expands Pennsylvania’s Newborn Child Screening and Follow-up Program by merging the mandatory and supplemental disorder lists.

Senate Bill 1075 increases the penalties for child pornography and sexual abuse of children, when the person depicted is known to the defendant.

Senate Bill 1173 addresses the make-up of the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee. 

Senate Bill 1268 enables temporary nurse aides hired during the COVID-19 emergency declaration to transition to certified nurse aides.

Senate Bill 1296 prohibits a Fourth-Class County from purchasing a property in a Third-Class City if the property is in an area targeted for revitalization, unless the city and school district have passed a resolution approving the purchase.

Senate Bill 1330 provides for milk “sell by” date and “best by” date labeling.

Three Bills Sent to Governor

The bills were sent to the Governor’s desk this week.

House Bill 1984 provides for special provisions in adoption cases where the child was conceived as a result of rape or incest.

House Bill 2487 freezes the annual cost of living adjustment for judges, members of the General Assembly, elected officers of the Commonwealth and Executive department heads for the annual periods beginning either Dec. 1, 2020 or Jan. 1, 2021.

House Bill 2513 allows restaurants, clubs and bars to use 50 percent of their indoor seating capacity while adhering to CDC and state COVID-19 guidance.

Committee Roundup

Appropriations

In addition to Senate Bill 983, Senate Bill 1173, Senate Bill 1268, Senate Bill 1296 and Senate Bill 1330, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved eight bills on Monday.

Senate Bill 845 increases the maximum allowable gross weight for electric-powered commercial vehicles from 80,000 pounds to 82,000 pounds.

House Bill 1069 amends the Sunshine Act to require agency meeting agendas be posted at least 24 hours prior to a public meeting.

Senate Bill 1158 addresses the release of prisoners during a disaster.

Senate Bill 1246 creates a statewide system of medals to honor the service of law enforcement officers.

Senate Bill 1279 allows for designated essential family caregivers in long-term care facilities.

Senate Bill 1350 provides for supplemental appropriations for Fiscal Year 2020-21.

House Bill 2370 permits electronic notarization of documents.

House Bill 2438 provides for broadband services over existing easements and infrastructure.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

The Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee approved eight bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 26 adds motorcycles to the Automobile Lemon Law.

Senate Bill 792 adds motorcycles to the Automobile Lemon Law.

House Bill 862 authorizes the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to join the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact.

Senate Bill 870 modernizes and advances the practice of physician assistants.

Senate Bill 871 amends the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act.

House Bill 2101 amends and updates the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law.

House Bill 2561 updates the Optometric Practice and Licensure Act.

House Bill 2584 requires licensed physicians who wish to participate in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act to submit to a national criminal background investigation.

Finance

The Senate Finance Committee approved seven bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 296 provides for a $1,000 adoption tax credit and a $500 foster care tax credit.

Senate Bill 463 addresses the collection of sales taxes on traffic signal foundations, poles and mast arms.

Senate Bill 628 creates the Airport Land Development Zone program.

Senate Bill 1326 addresses fraud in the sale of Pennsylvania tax credits.

House Bill 1961 requires the State Employees’ Retirement System Board to prepare an annual report on investment performance.

House Bill 1962 provides for annual stress testing of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System and State Employees’ Retirement System.

House Bill 2497 provides that forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program loans under the Federal CARES Act shall not be subject to the personal income tax.

Health & Human Services

The Senate Health & Human Services Committee approved three bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 81 provides for the certification of central service technicians and surgical technologists.

Senate Bill 1210 exempts a pharmacy or pharmacists from laboratory experience requirements to permit them to order or administer COVID-19 tests.

House Bill 1363 establishes a bill of rights for individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism.

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved four bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 136 subjects offenders convicted of any sex trafficking-related offense to Megan’s Law registry.

House Bill 616 adds the drug Carfentanil to the list of Schedule II controlled substances in the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.

Senate Bill 658 establishes the Pennsylvania Center for Effective Indigent Defense Legal Representation.

Senate Bill 1085 creates a new offense of “Evading Arrest or Detention by Foot.” 

Law & Justice

The Senate Law & Justice Committee approved two bills on Monday.

House Bill 763 allows clubs to sell beer for off-premise consumption.

House Bill 1617 provides for the conversion of hotel liquor licenses (H licenses) issued before 1949 into restaurant liquor licenses (R licenses).

Local Government

The Senate Local Government Committee approved Senate Bill 1336 on Monday. The bill lowers the required number of petition signatures for candidates in a Third-Class City from 100 to 10 and eliminates the $25 filing fee.

Rules & Executive Nominations

The Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee approved three resolutions on Monday.

Senate Resolution 358 recognizes the 200th anniversary of Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church in Philadelphia.

Senate Resolution 398 designates October 2020 as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” 

 Senate Resolution 400 provides for a temporary rule of the Senate related solely to amendments to the Supplement to the General Appropriation Bill and other appropriation bills for Fiscal Year 2020-21.

All three resolutions were adopted by the Senate on Tuesday.

State Government

The Senate State Government Committee approved four bills on Monday.

Senate Bill 1339 conveys a permanent easement in Clinton Township, Lycoming County.

Senate Bill 1341 conveys property in West Pittston, Luzerne County.

House Bill 2673 conveys property in Allegheny Township, Blair County.

House Bill 2674 conveys property in Allegheny Township, Blair County.

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved two bills on Monday.

Senate Bill 1211 waives the fee for photo identification cards for vulnerable Pennsylvanians. 

Senate Bill 1236 renames a bridge over Dixon Run in Green Township, Indiana County as the Pvt. William L. Hadden Memorial Bridge.

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