I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features events and legislative activities during the Session Week of March 19, 2018.
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Committee Approves Banking Commissioner Nominee
The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, which I chair, held a public hearing on Tuesday to consider the nomination of Jessica Altman to serve as Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.
After receiving the committee’s endorsement, Altman’s nomination was confirmed by the full Senate later on Tuesday.
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.
The package includes:
Senate Bill 313, sponsored by Senator Lisa Boscola, which makes it easier for domestic violence victims to remove the name of an abuser from a shared telephone plan.
Senate Bill 449, sponsored by Senator Camera Bartolotta, which allows Magisterial District Judges to use a risk assessment tool when determining bail in domestic violence cases.
Senate Bill 500, sponsored by Sen. Randy Vulakovich, which ensures that law enforcement protection is available to a victim before or while PFA orders are being served.
Senate Bill 501, sponsored by Senator Tom Killion, which 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.
Senate Bill 502, sponsored by Senator Tom McGarrigle, which makes it easier for the court to extend a PFA order when an abuser is released from custody.
Senate Bill 919, sponsored by Senator Art Haywood, which allows domestic violence victims who live in public housing to be relocated to another unit.
Senate Bill 1011, sponsored by Senator Guy Reschenthaler, which amends the state Constitution to creating a crime victims’ “Bill of Rights.”
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.
Two Bills Sent to Governor’s Desk
In addition to Senate Bill 449, two additional bills received final legislative approval and were sent to the Governor for enactment into law.
Senate Bill 135 would permit the use of a leashed tracking dog to track white-tailed deer to recover an animal which has been legally harvested or wounded.
House Bill 1845, introduced by Representative Dave Reed, designates a bridge over the North Branch Blacklick Creek in Buffington Township, Indiana County, as the First Lieutenant Theodore P. Pytash Bridge.
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 would amend the state’s 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.
Two other bills approved by the Senate and sent to the House this week.
Senate Bill 792 repeals and replaces the Fertilizer Act.
Senate Bill 1002 renames bridges.
The Senate Appropriations Committee 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.
The Senate Finance Committee 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.
Health & Human Services
The Senate Health & Human Services Committee 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.
The Senate Judiciary Committee 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.
The Senate Local Government Committee approved Senate Bill 1005 on Tuesday. The bill makes numerous changes to the County Code.
Rules & Executive Nominations
The Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee approved House amendments to Senate Bill 449 on Tuesday. The bill would allow Magisterial District Judges to use a risk assessment tool when determining bail in domestic violence cases.
Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness
The Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee 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 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.
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