The Senate Appropriations Committee met off the floor on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 and took the following actions. All bills were reported favorably by unanimous votes unless otherwise indicated.
SB 91 (Hughes) − This bill would amend the Workforce Development Act to require the Department of Labor and Industry to annually collect and publish data on projected future employment sectors in the Commonwealth for educational institutions and career planners. No fiscal impact is expected.
SB 200 (Hughes) − This bill would amend the Public School Code to provide for a trauma-informed approach to education policies and practices. It would expand training requirements and continuing education curricula for school directors and charter school trustees and staff to include evidence-based best practices on the impact of trauma in education. No fiscal impact is expected.
SB 456 (Bartolotta) − This bill would amend the Private Licensed Schools Act to authorize training schools to operate branches in neighboring counties or within 60 miles of the main school. A minimal fiscal impact is projected due to separate licensing fees no longer being required for multiple sites.
SB 669 (DiSanto) − This would amend Title 67 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statues (Human Services Code) to reinstate kinship care provisions relating to adoption subsidies, retroactive to a 2018 state Supreme Court ruling invalidating them on technical grounds. Reinstatement is required to preserve $2.6 million in annual federal funding.
HB 384 (Kail) − This would amend Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Motor Vehicle Code), increasing the fine for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle to a $200 maximum from $25, and making related changes. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
HB 1172 (Hickernell) − This would amend Act 48 of 1993, establishing the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs within the Department of State, to authorize the issuance under defined conditions of provisional licenses to applicants previously licensed in another state. No fiscal impact is expected.
The Senate Appropriations Committee met off the floor on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 and took the following actions. All bills were reported favorably by unanimous votes unless otherwise indicated.
SB 314 (Baker) − This bill would be a free-standing Act to establish the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Authority (PRHRA) and the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Fund. The PRHRA would be a public-private collaborative operating an annual budget to provide payments for services to rural hospitals, and supporting improvements to their ability to address key needs and community health services. The PRHRA would be composed of representatives of the Departments of Health, Human Services and Insurance, insurers, Medicaid MCOs, the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania and participating rural hospitals, and nationally recognized rural health care experts. Initial costs would be covered by a $25 million grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).
SB 321 (Martin) − This bill would amend Title 53 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Municipal Code) to authorize a municipality in a third-class county to prohibit the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board licensing of a truck stop within the municipality to operate video gaming terminals, subject to a public repeal referendum not more often than every fourth year. The bill was reported by a 22-2 vote. Minimal fiscal impact is expected.
SB 633 (Costa) − This bill would establish the Public Health Emergency Act, authorizing the Governor to declare a Public Health Emergency. In consultation with the Secretary of Health, the governor would be empowered to declare a public health emergency when identified events pose a high probability of death, serious or long-term disability, or widespread exposure to agents that risk substantial present or future harm to public health. No fiscal impact is expected.
SB 698 (Gordner) − This bill would amend the Medical Practice Act to allow required authorizing documents between physician assistants and their supervising physicians to be completed and executed by substitute supervising physicians. Minimal fiscal impact is expected.
SB 699 (Gordner) − This bill would amend the Osteopathic Practice Act to allow required authorizing documents between physician assistants and their supervising physicians to be completed and executed by substitute supervising physicians. Minimal fiscal impact is expected.
SB 724 (Corman) − This bill would amend Titles 24 and 71 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, the Education and State Government Codes, to make changes to reformed public school and state government employee retirement benefits enacted in 2007. No fiscal impact is expected.
SB 733 (Browne) − This would be the Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund (GEDTF) Budget Itemization Act of 2019, authorizing funding for the construction of a science and education center in Lehigh and Northampton Counties. It would authorize a $2 million payment from the fund annually for 10 years.
HB 619 (Helm) − This would annually designate and observe June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.” No fiscal impact is projected.
The Senate Appropriations Committee met off the floor on Monday, June 10, 2019 and took the following actions. All bills were reported favorably by unanimous votes unless otherwise indicated.
SB 25 (Bartolotta) – This bill would amend the Professional Nursing Law to provide for the licensing and regulation of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses-Certified Nurse Practitioners (APRN-CNPs) by the State Nursing Board, to include among other things, independent authority to diagnose, assess, treat, prescribe and order within the APRN-CNP’s scope of practice. No significant fiscal impact is projected.
SB 93 (Bartolotta) – This bill would amend Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, the Crimes Code, to create the new offense of Drug Delivery Resulting in Serious Injury, a felony of the second-degree with a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The bill was reported by a vote of 23-1. Minimal fiscal impact is expected.
SB 118 (Langerholc) – This bill would establish a Recovery-to-Work pilot program within the Department of Labor & Industry to provide job opportunities and skills training for persons recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. Up to seven pilot programs would be allowed in counties ranking among the top quarter for overdose deaths. The bill was reported by a vote of 23-1. The expected cost is up to $3 million in the first year.
SB 223 (Phillips-Hill) – This bill would amend the Pharmacy Act to authorize emergency medical responders to leave a dose of naloxone with a family member, friend or other person assisting a person following an opiate overdose. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
SB 432 (Phillips-Hill) – This bill would amend the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions (ABC-MAP) Act to allow designated employees of private managed care organizations providing coverage through Medical Assistance, i.e. to CHIP, PACE and PACENET beneficiaries, to access ABC-MAP information. No fiscal impact is projected.
SB 536 (Browne) – This bill would amend the Public School Code to establish a 19-member Public Higher Education Funding Commission to recommend to the General Assembly a formula for public funding of community colleges, PASSHE and other publicly funded schools of higher education, within one year initially, and subsequently at five-year intervals. Minimal fiscal impact is projected.
SB 575 (Yaw) – This bill would amend the Environmental Resources Code, Title 27 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, to establish the Watershed Innovation and Improvement Fund (WIIF) and the Pennsylvania Clean Water Procurement Program to have the WIIF purchase units of nutrient and sediment reductions to meet federal pollution reduction requirements within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. A $20 million General Fund appropriation would fund the program. Amendment A01741 was approved to cap administrative charges by the Department of Environmental Resources and PENNVEST at 2.5 percent of the fund.
SB 621 (Regan) – This bill would amend the Public School Code to authorize firearms-certified school employees to be armed and to allow sheriffs and deputies to act as School Resource Officers. Minimal fiscal impact is projected.
SB 675 (Brooks) – This bill would establish the Bupenorphine Medically Assisted Treatment Act, requiring state regulation and licensing of prescribers of buprenorphine (aka suboxone). Projected net costs for FY 2019-2020 are $327,311, with uncalculated increasing costs in subsequent years. The bill was reported by a vote of 15-9.
SB 695 (Brooks) – This bill would amend the Human Services Code to reauthorize for three years, through June 2022, various assessments scheduled to sunset in 2019 on nursing, intermediate care and hospital facilities in Philadelphia and on the related Budget Adjustment Factor (BAF) that ensures facility rates do not exceed appropriations. The extension is projected to raise more than $680 million.
SB 700 (Browne) – This bill would update and amend the Public School Code relating to the school planning and construction process (PlanCon), including establishing a new funding formula, incentivizing use of high-performance building standards, and providing for competitive grants for building maintenance of up to $1 million. New administrative costs related to the changes are projected at $1.4 million.
SB 712 (Argall) – This bill would amend the Fiscal Code to extend for five years, through 2024, the authority for the State Treasurer to invest public funds according to the “Prudent Investor Standard”. No fiscal impact is expected.
HB 800 (Turzai) – This bill would amend the Public School Code to make various changes to the Educational Improvement Tax Credits program. Beginning in FY 2019-202, the total allowable credit cap would be raised to 210 million from $110 million, with subsequent annual increases of 10 percent after fiscal years in which 90% of aggregated credits were used; the household income eligibility cap would be increased to $95,000 (from $85,000), with scholarship eligibility amended to continue in the year following a Scholarship year regardless of household income eligibility; and the types of entities eligible for tax credits would be expanded. Assuming serial qualification for annual increases, the projected impact would raise the cap on tax credits to $594 million by 2029. The bill was reported by a vote of 15-9.
The Senate Appropriations Committee met off the floor on Monday, June 3, 2019 and all bills were favorably reported by unanimous vote, unless otherwise indicated.
SB 112 (Yaw) – This bill would amend Title 35 PaCS (Health and Safety Code) to expand to adults the requirements and limitations existing on opioid prescriptions for minors (e.g. general 7-day limit). Minimal fiscal impact is expected.
SB 139 (J Ward) – This bill would amend Act 133 of 2006, the Price Gouging Act, to reduce the length of time that restrictions it imposes will apply after a storm or disaster, and to set a percentage limit on price increases under which increases will be presumed not to violate restrictions of the Act. No adverse fiscal impact is expected. The bill was approved 17-7, based on questions whether consumers will bear the burden of proof to establish price increases as excessive.
SB 500 (Baker) – This bill would amend Act 274 of 1978, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) Law, to establish within PCCD a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee to oversee funding to counties for intermediate punishment programs, and to deposit savings from justice systems improvements into the Justice Reinvestment Fund. Amendment A01519 of a technical nature was approved unanimously. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
SB 501 (Killion) – This bill would amend Titles 42 and 61 PaCS, the Judiciary Code and the Prisons and Parole Code, dealing with the State Intermediate Punishment (SIP) program, including renaming it as the State Drug Treatment Program, adding and removing offenses eligible to participate in the program, simplifying the parole release process for minimum sentences imposing not more than two years in prison, and requiring the Sentencing Commission to establish parole violation guidelines. The changes are projected to produce cost savings of nearly $45 million over four years.
SB 502 (Bartolotta) – This bill would amend Act 111 of 1998, the Crime Victims Act, to combine the Victim Witness Services Fund with the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, and to make other changes to the crime victims compensation program, including providing victims with the right to be notified when they are eligible for confidentiality under the program, reassigning the responsibilities for notifying victims and witnesses of their rights to participate in the program, expanding the categories of persons eligible for compensation, increasing the deadline for filing claims to three years from one, lowering the out-of-pocket loss eligibility threshold to $50 from $100, and repealing the $1,500 claim cap. The fiscal impact is projected to result in additional federal funding of between $750,000 and $970,000, as well as additional costs of $750,000 to $950,000.
SB 543 (Killion) – This bill would amend Act 210 of 18889, increasing river pilot rates and ship communication fees for traffic on the Delaware River and navigable tributaries. No adverse impact is expected.
SB 589 (Regan) – This bill would amend Title 51 PaCS, the Military Affairs Code, to create the Military Family Education Program allowing members of the Pennsylvania National Guard and their family members to receive educational grants at the lower of either the approved tuition rate for the institution or at the annual rate charged by state system schools. The projected cost for FY 2019-2020 is $2.7 million.
HB 318 (Mizgorski) – This bill would amend Act 147 of 1996, the Telemarketer Registration Act, by among other things, extending application to cover business entities, prohibiting telemarketing calls to registered phones for as long as they remain valid numbers, and prohibiting telemarketing on legal holidays. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
HB 547 (Emrick) – This bill would amend the First Class Township Code to permit taxes to be levied by resolution rather than by ordinance when the rate being set is not more than the previous rate. No adverse impact is foreseen on State funds; local funds could see savings in reduced advertising costs for rates remaining stable or decreasing.
HB 548 (Emrick) – This bill would amend PaSC Titles 8 and 11, the Borough and Third Class City codes, respectively, to permit taxes to be levied by resolution rather than by ordinance when the new rate is not higher than the previous year rate. No adverse impact is seen on State funds; local funds could see savings in reduced advertising costs when rates are not increased.
The Senate Appropriations Committee met off the floor on Monday, May 6, 2019 and all bills were favorably reported by unanimous vote, unless otherwise indicated.
SB 174 (Browne) – This would establish the Abandoned Property Tax Sale Act. Properties that for periods of at least 12 months have not been legally occupied and that also meet one of nine public safety or welfare conditions could be sold at tax sale. Purchasers would be required to enter into bond-secured redevelopment agreements with the municipality or the municipal redevelopment authority. No adverse impact is expected on state funds; municipalities could be affected to the extent they publish pending tax sales in local newspapers.
SB 338 (Langerholc) – This would amend Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Vehicle Code) to conditionally increase the width of farm vehicles permitted on public roads to 18 feet from 16 feet. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
SB 478 (Vogel) – This would amend the Tax Reform Code to provide a management tax credit for “beginning” farmers. Owners of agricultural assets, including land, livestock and equipment could, subject to DCED approval, claim a P.I.T credit upon selling or renting such assets to unrelated “beginning” farmers, who are defined as having less than 10 years farming experience and a net worth not more than $800,000. The credit would be capped at five percent of the sale price or fair market value, whichever is less, but not more than $32,000; or at 10 percent of gross rental income, up to $7,000, for each of the first three years of a rental agreement. The impact on general funds is expected to cost $5 million in 2020 and $6 million in succeeding years.
SB 583 (Aument) – This would amend the Agricultural Security Law to provide a standard definition for agritourism and to allow agritourism activities on properties that are subject to agriculture conservation easements. Agritourism would be defined as activities on a farm that allow the public to tour, explore, learn about or be entertained by an aspect of agricultural production, husbandry or rural lifestyle. No adverse fiscal impact is expected on state revenues, and minimal impact is projected for county agricultural land preservation boards.
SB 613 (Mensch) – This would amend the Administrative Code of 1929 to bring it into compliance with IRS requirements that make state executive branch and independent offices employees and contractors, whose duties require access to federal tax information, subject at least decennially to criminal background checks to determine their fitness and suitability to access such information, and to prohibit hiring or continued employment in such positions of persons determined to be unfit. Because a separate state law already requires background checks for such persons, no adverse fiscal impact is expected.
The Senate Appropriations Committee met off the floor on Monday, April 8, 2019 and unanimously reported the following bills:
SB 133 (Argall) – This would amend the state Constitution to allow successful gubernatorial candidates to select their running mates for Lieutentant Governor, subject to party approval. The projected costs of constitutional amendments are between $2 million and $3 million.
SB 144 (Martin) – This amends the Public School Code to provide up to $300,000 in grant funding to Intermediate Units for the purchase of telepresence equipment so serve students homebound by injury or illness. Funding would be provided through the use of lapsing funding for other grant programs under the Department of Education.
SB 145 (Yaw) – This would amend the Agricultural Area Security Law to allow the owners of properties enrolled in the agricultural easement program to permanently surrender the right to construct additional farmstead residences, and also to allow enrolled properties to be subdivided for existing homesteads as well as for construction of new ones. No fiscal impact is expected.
SB 399 (Langerholc) – This would amend the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act to provide additional rights for victims, their close relations and guardians, and to provide additional reporting procedures for sexual assault. Minimal fiscal impact is expected.
SB 469 (Laughlin) – This would amend the Judiciary & Judicial Procedure Code, Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, to conditionally allow consideration of out-of-court statements by persons with intellectual disabilities or autism during trials for specified offenses. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
SB 479 (Baker) – This would amend the Judiciary & Judicial Procedure Code, Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, to include additional offenses for which our-of-court statements made by child victims and witnesses may be admitted in criminal and civil proceedings. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
HB 264 (Mako) – This would amendment Municipalities Code, Title 53 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, to impose additional responsibilities upon municipal authorities in the collection and reporting of revenue. Minimal fiscal impact is expected.
HB 275 (Mehaffie) – This would amend the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act (“Act 47”) to rename the Early Intervention Strategic Management Planning Program as the Strategic Management Planning Program reflecting that the program is used for third-party advice and not solely when a community is in financial distress. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
The Senate Appropriations Committee met on Monday, March 25, 2019 and favorably reported all bills considered in an off-the-floor meeting unanimously, as follows::
SB 115 (Killion) – This would amend the Public School Code to develop a model curriculum for instruction on cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for students in grades 9-12 beginning in the 2019-2020 school years. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
SB 127 (Regan) – This would amend the Health and Safety Code (Title 35 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes) to reauthorize funding for 9-1-1 services, add the State Fire Commissioner and State Geospatial Coordination Board chair as voting members of the 9-1-1 Board, require a Legislative Budget and Finance Committee review and recommendation for reauthorization, and make other changes to the 9-1-1 law. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
SB 298 (Baker) – This would amend the Crimes Code (Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes) relating to the offense of Stolen Valor, requiring that all fines collected for violations would be deposited into the Veterans Trust Fund. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
SB 372 (Scavello) – This would amend the Historical and Museums Code (Title 37 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes) to make various changes regarding the preservation of and access to property and archival state and local government records. No adverse fiscal impact is expected.
The Senate Appropriations Committee met off the floor on Monday, March 18, 2019 and took the actions indicated on the following bills:
SB 128 (Regan) This bill would amend Title 51 of the PA (Military Affairs) to codify the Civil Air Patrol within the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. No fiscal impact.
The following bills for 2019-2020 appropriations were reported unanimously for administrative purposes. The numbers shown reflect 2018-2019 appropriations:
SB 234 (Browne) General Appropriations – $32.092 billion (General Fund), $27.743 billion (Federal).
SB 235 (Browne) Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs – $49.723 million (General Fund and Restricted accounts).
SB 236 (Browne) Departments of Labor & Industry and Community & Economic Affairs for Worker Compensation- $71.215 million (Worker Comp Fund), $275 thousand (Restricted Revenue).
SB 237 (Browne) Office of Small Business Advocate – $1.855 million (General Fund Restricted Revenue).
SB 238 (Browne) Office of Consumer Advocate – $5.85 million (General Fund Restricted Revenue).
SB 239 (Browne) Public School Employees Retirement Board – $51.637 million (PSER Fund), $4.95 million (PSER defined contributions).
SB 240 (Browne) State Employees Retirement Board – $330.766 million (SER Fund), $4.9 million (SER defined contributions).
SB 241 (Browne) Philadelphia Parking Authority – $2.935 million (PHL Taxi & Limo Regulatory Fund), $200 thousand (PHL Taxi Medallion Fund).
SB 242 (Browne) Public Utility Commission – $74.185 million (General Fund Restricted Revenue), $6.067 million (Federal).
SB 243 (Browne) Gaming Control Board – $84.875 million (Gaming Restricted Revenue), $1.859 million (Fantasy Contest Restricted Revenue), $2.856 million (Video Gaming Restricted Revenue).
SB 244 (Browne) Penn State University – $260.085 million (General Fund, Agricultural College Land Script Fund).
SB 245 (Browne) University of Pittsburgh – $151.382 million (General Fund).
SB 246 (Browne) Temple University – $155.104 million (General Fund).
SB 247 (Browne) Lincoln University – $14.869 million (General Fund).
SB 248 (Browne) University of Pennsylvania veterinary activities & Center for Infectious Diseases – $31.328 million (General Fund).
The Senate Appropriations Committee met Wednesday, January 30, 2019 and reported the following bill unanimously from committee:
Fiscal Note Policy: The Appropriations Committee shall only review a non-appropriation bill and non-budget implementation bill for its fiscal impact upon the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.
Senate Bill 113 (DiSanto): Amends the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act, further providing for definitions, for disqualification and forfeiture of benefits and for restitution for monetary loss; and repealing a retroactivity provision. The bill was reported out unanimously.
Senator Vincent Hughes