State Government 2017-2018

The Senate State Government Committee met on Monday, September 24, 2018 to consider the following:

SB 701, PN 1984 (Browne) – This is a land conveyance bill.  DGS is directed to convey 0.49 acres of land in Harrisburg (near 10th and Market Streets) to 812 Market, Inc. for $1.  The building that sits on this parcel of land was previously used as the DGS Publications Building.  The property is currently held by DGS.  It will be conveyed to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System through a PSERS-owned real estate holding company (812 Market, Inc.).  Senator Folmer offered amendment A09370, which was as technical amendment.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

SB 1259, PN 1989 (Scavello) – This bill authorizes the Department of General Services to convey a public sanitary sewer easement to East Stroudsburg Borough for $1.  This will allow the Borough access to a sanitary sewer line, two water wells and related facilities.  With access, the Borough can operate, maintain, repair and replace the lines.  The bill also authorizes East Stroudsburg University to convey water supply system easements to the Borough for $1 (again for access, operation and maintenance).  Senator Folmer offered amendment A09350, which was technical in nature.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

HB 2489, PN 3691 (Mackenzie) – This bill authorizes the release of Project 70 restrictions on land owned by the Borough of Topton, Berks County.  The parcel of land totals about 1,930 feet.  It’s slated to be conveyed to another party.  In exchange, Project 70 restrictions will be placed on another parcel of land that will be conveyed to the Borough from the same third party.  This parcel totals about 6,863 square feet.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A09144, which authorizes the release of Project 70 restrictions on a parcel of land owned by the Commonwealth in Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County, in exchange for the imposition of Project 70 restrictions on a parcel of land in Wallace Township, Chester County, to be acquired by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 to consider the following:

HB 2477, PN 3658 (Watson) – This bill amends the Medical Marijuana Act to clarify the General Assembly’s intent regarding medical cannabis research.  Clarifying language expressly provides for medical schools and hospitals to develop research programs and studies in compliance with Federal and State law.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A07909, which makes technical changes and further clarifies the requirements of clinical registrants.  The amendment was approved unanimously.  The bill was reported from committee as amended by a vote of 8-4.

The committee also approved the following executive nominations:

Rudy Battle, State Athletic Commission (reappointment)

Joel Frank, State Athletic Commission (reappointment)


The Senate State Government Committee met on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 to consider the following:

HB 110, PN 2778 (Warner) – This is a Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution to enact annual spending limits.  Each year, Commonwealth spending may not exceed spending during the previous fiscal year adjusted for: the average increase in the Consumer Price Index over the three previous years; and the average increase in population over the three previous years.  The bill was reported as committed on a party-line vote of 8-4.

HB 153, PN 2993 (Knowles) – This is a Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution to reduce the size of the General Assembly as follows: The Senate from 50 to 38 districts and the House from 203 to 151 districts.  Senator Alloway offered amendment A07567, which exempts the Senate and keeps the chamber at 50 members.  The amendment was approved unanimously.  The bill was reported from committee as amended by a 11-1 vote.  If this bill is approved, as amended, by the full Senate and concurred with by the House, the measure will go to the voters for approval.  Last session the House and Senate passed identical legislation (HB 153).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 to consider the following:

SB 22, PN 397 (Boscola) – This bill provides for redistricting reform via the creation of an independent citizens commission to redraw legislative and congressional lines every ten years.  This proposal requires a constitutional amendment that must pass both chambers in two consecutive sessions before it goes to the voters for approval.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A07149, which guts the bill and replaces it with new redistricting language.  The amendment creates an 11-member independent commission tasked with drawing legislative and congressional maps.  The commission will contain four democrats, four republicans and three independents.  Approval of maps would require 7 of 11 votes (including 2 republicans, 2 democrats and 2 independents).  The application and selection process will be detailed in separate legislation to be introduced at a later date.  The amendment was approved unanimously and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

SB 1037, PN 1473 (Folmer) – This bill provides for Civil Service reforms.  The bill repeals the Civil Service Act and consolidates its provisions within Title 71 (State Government).  Many of the duties currently performed by the Civil Service Commission will be transferred to the Office of Administration.  The Commission will still schedule and hold public hearings regarding employment decisions (such as separations, suspensions, furloughs and demotions) along with various other duties.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A07118, which adds a special advisor for veterans’ programs and provides clarification for counties using their own merit-based hiring systems.  The amendment was approved unanimously and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 to consider the following:

SB 299, PN 1636 (Alloway) – This bill amends the Pennsylvania Election Code to allow incumbents seeking reelection to the office of district justice to get on the ballot by filing a certificate instead of collecting signatures.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SB 595, PN 912 (Folmer) – This bill amends Title 57 (Notaries Public) to permit notaries in the Commonwealth to notarize documents electronically via audio-video communication.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A06459, which aligns Pennsylvania statue with national notary guidelines.  Senator Folmer proceeded to offer amendment A06827 to A06459 (an amendment to the amendment), which adds revisions and clarifications to amendment A06459.  Both amendments were approved unanimously and the bill was reported as amended (unanimous).

SB 1038, PN 1474 (Costa) – This bill amends the Pennsylvania Election Code to allow the residual funds of a candidate or political committee to be donated to a nonprofit organization.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 to consider the following:

SB 1078, PN 1560 (Tomlinson) – This bill amends Title 65 (Public Officers) to allow state and local agencies to discuss security measures during executive session.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 1793, PN 2594 (Charlton) – This bill creates the Pennsylvania Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial Act.  It establishes a Commission to plan, encourage, develop and coordinate the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States.  The Semiquincentennial is in 2026.  The Commission will terminate on December 31, 2027.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Monday, January 29, 2018 to consider the following:

SB 748, PN 1009 (Argall) – This bill creates the Public Safety Facilities Act, requiring a hearing and 12-months’ notice prior to the closure of a state police barracks, a state correction facility, or other public safety facility.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SB 1034, PN 1441 (Scarnati) – This bill repeals the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SR 253, PN 1419 (Folmer) – This resolution urges Congress to amend the Gun Control Act of 1968 to protect the constitutional rights of medical cannabis users.  The resolution was reported as committed (unanimous).

SR 258, PN 1439 (Williams) – This resolution urges Congress to remove marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act.  The resolution was reported as committed (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 761, PN 967 (Argall) – This is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the constitution to allow each party’s candidate for Governor to select his or her running mate as Lieutenant Governor.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A05077, which requires each party’s candidate for Governor to select a Lt. Governor no later than 90 days before the gubernatorial election (subject to approval of the political party).  The amendment was approved (unanimous) and the bill was reported as amended (unanimous).

SB 762, PN 954 (Ward) – This bill amends Title 25 (Elections) to require the Auditor General to conduct an audit of the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE system) and report back to Senate and House State Government Committees.  The Department of State will be responsible for audit costs.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A05198, which expands the scope of the audit, makes technical changes, changes the effective date (to 30 days), and extends the deadline of the audit.  The amendment was approved (unanimous) and the bill was reported as amended.

HB 444, PN 2589 (Gabler) – HB 444 amends the Election Code providing for the number of signers required for the office of school director.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A05176, which changes the effective date to “immediately.”  The amendment was approved (unanimous) and the bill was reported as amended (unanimous).

HB 1787, PN 2422 (Causer) – This bill authorizes the conveyance of two different parcels of land located in the Borough of Kane, McKean County via a competitive bid process.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Monday, November 13, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 263, PN 245 (Baker) – This bill amends the Pennsylvania Election Code to remove a requirement that permanently disabled voters submit written statements asserting their disability every four years in order to receive absentee ballots.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 1009, PN 1168 (Walsh) – This bill authorizes the release of Project 70 restrictions on land owned by the Borough of West Newton, Westmoreland County.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A04652, which authorizes the release of Project 70 restrictions on land owned by Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County.  The amendment was approved (unanimous) and the bill was reported as amended (unanimous).

HB 1175, PN 2201 (Cutler) – This bill amends Title 65 (Public Officers) to increase penalties under the Lobbyist Disclosure Law and require lobbyists to file reports with the state electronically.  The Department of State is to post all lobbying disclosure forms on its website within seven days of receipt.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A04690, which adds a definition for “authorized representative, employee or agent” and makes technical changes.  The amendment was approved (unanimous) and the bill was reported as amended (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 99, PN 73 (Greenleaf) – This bill amends the Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act to regulate the use of donation bins by charities, for-profits, and professional solicitors.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A03844, which extends the effective date from 60 to 180 days and makes technical changes.  The amendment passed and the bill was reported as amended (both unanimously).

SB 563, PN 609 (Stefano) – This bill amends Title 25 (Elections) to allow military and overseas voters to return their absentee ballot to the Commonwealth electronically.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A03410, which adds regulatory requirements related to the establishment of an electronic transmission system.  The amendment passed and the bill was reported as amended (unanimous).

SB 817, PN 1044 (Rafferty) – This bill authorizes the Department of General Services to extend terms of a lease agreement pertaining to property located in East Vincent Township, Chester County.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A03807, which was technical in nature.  The amendment passed and the bill was reported as amended (unanimous).

SB 900, PN 1201 (Boscola) – This bill authorizes the transfer of land from Lehigh County to Whitehall Township, Lehigh County.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SB 921, PN 1235 (Browne) – This bill authorizes the Department of General Services to grant and convey land located in Lehigh County to TCA Properties, L.P.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A03827, which was technical in nature.  The amendment passed and the bill was reported as amended (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 625, PN 702 (Brooks) – This bill requires the POW/MIA flag to be displayed at all Commonwealth roadside rest areas and welcome centers.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SB 822, PN 1046 (Schwank) – This bill requires the POW/MIA flag to be displayed anywhere the United States flag is displayed on Commonwealth grounds or buildings, where both can be reasonably accommodated.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SB 826, PN 1036 (Scavello) – This bill authorizes the Department of General Services to convey land to the Monroe County Municipal Waste Management Authority.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 1287, PN 1562 (Schlegel Culver) – This bill authorizes the Department of General Services to convey land located in Delaware Township, Northumberland County to the Warrior Run-Fort Freeland Heritage Society.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 1420, PN 1784 (Greiner) – This bill amends the Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act to change audit requirements for charitable organizations that receive annual contributions.  Specifically, the bill changes monetary thresholds for audits and reviews.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 1421, PN 1785 (Greiner) – This legislation expands the statutory timeframe afforded to the Department of State when reviewing registration statements submitted by charitable organizations, professional fundraising counsel and professional solicitors.  It also clarifies the mailing date when statements must be submitted by charitable organizations.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 to consider the following:

SR 154, PN 1019 (Vogel) – This concurrent resolution disapproves of the disposition of 198 acres of land in Lawrence County, as provided for via Real Property Disposition Plan No. 1 of 2013.  The resolution was reported without amendment (8-4).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Monday, June 19, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 622, PN 696 (Rafferty) – This bill amends the Administrative Code of 1929 to require every Commonwealth department, board and commission to post a general contact telephone number on their publicly accessible websites.  The bill was reported without amendment (11-1).

SB 774, PN 972 (Alloway) – This bill amends Titles 2 (Administrative Law and Procedure), 4 (Amusements) and 13 (Commercial Code) to establish the Office of Administrative Hearings and extensively revise provisions on the practice and procedure of Commonwealth agencies.  The bill was reported without amended (unanimous).

SB 775, PN 976 (Browne, Costa) – This bill creates the Pennsylvania Museum Preservation Act and directs the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to establish a grant program for eligible museums.  The bill was reported without amended (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 610, PN 686 (Killion) – This bill designates quartz as the official State mineral of the Commonwealth.  The bill was reported without amended (unanimous).

SB 658, PN 776 (Yaw) – This bill designates the Eastern hellbender as the official amphibian of the Commonwealth.  The bill was reported without amended (unanimous).

HB 599, PN 629 (Dunbar) – This bill creates the Results First Act and authorizes the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) to collect information from Commonwealth agencies to be analyzed and used in cost-benefit reports.  Reports will be compiled as directed by the General Assembly.  The bill was reported without amended (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met off the floor on Monday, June 5, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 527, PN 540 (Aument) – The bill amends the Administrative Code to create the independent Office of Inspector General.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A01569, which makes technical changes, provides for an annual report to the General Assembly and gives the Governor the power to directly appoint the Inspector General (without confirmation by the Senate).  The amendment passed, 8-4.  The bill was reported as amended by a vote of 8-4.

SB 595, PN 699 (Folmer) – This bill amends Title 57 (Notaries Public) to permit notaries in the Commonwealth to notarize documents electronically via audio-video communication.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A01569, which uses and defines the term “identity proofing.”  The amendment and the bill- as amended- passed unanimously.


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 168, PN 140 (Stefano) – This bill creates the Public Employer Collective Bargaining Transparency Act to require all offers that are part of a collective bargaining agreement to be posted on the public employer’s website before the agreement is signed.  The bill was reported without amendment (8-4).

SB 353, PN 377 (Rafferty) – This bill authorizes the Department of General Services to grant a parcel of land located in Chester County to the Pennhurst Memorial Preservation Alliance.  The bill was reported without amendment (unanimous).

SB 503, PN 500 (Aument) – This bill amends Title 65 (Public Officers) to no longer allow a state or local agency to negotiate collective bargaining agreements during an executive session.  The bill was reported without amendment (8-4).

SB 504, PN 532 (Martin) – This bill amends the Right-to-Know Law to remove an exemption currently afforded to collective bargaining negotiations.  The bill was reported as amended (8-4).

SB 539, PN 578 (Dinniman) – This bill establishes the Medal of Honor Grove Act designed to help preserve the 52-acre Freedom Foundation’s Medal of Honor Grove in Chester County.  The bill was reported as amended (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 178, PN 170 (Scavello) – This bill amends Title 37 (Historical and Museums) to update procedures for selling or disposing of abandoned property on loan to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; further provides for access to older records; and designates the Commission as the administrator of the State Archives.  The bill was reported as amended (unanimous).

SR 36, PN 508 (Folmer) – This Resolution urges Congress to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which prevents the Department of Justice from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.  The resolution was reported as amended (unanimous).

SB 303, PN 317 (Schwank) – This bill authorizes the release of Project 70 restrictions on land currently owned by the Borough of Topton in Berks County.  In exchange, restrictions will be imposed on other lands in the Borough.  The bill was reported without amendment (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 9, PN 97 (Steffano) – This bill creates the Proof of Citizenship for Receipt of Public Benefits Act, requiring anyone who applies for public benefits to provide an acceptable form of identification to the administering Commonwealth agency.  Several members raised concerns about potential costs involved to implement such a system, including last year’s fiscal note from the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget indicating a $36 million price tag.  The bill was reported as committed by a vote of 8-4.

SB 166, PN 139 (Eichelberger) – This bill creates the Protection of Employee Wages Act to prohibit public employers from deducting money to be used for political contributions from the wages of a public employee.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A00028, which clarifies the term “legislative purpose.”  The amendment was approved by a vote of 12-0.  The bill was reported as amended by a vote of 8-4.

SB 167, PN 144 (Wagner) – This bill proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to prohibit state agencies and school districts from using their payroll systems to collect membership dues, nonmembership fees or political contributions from state employees.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A00013, which simply brings the bill in coherence with SB 166 by only prohibiting deductions that are “to be used for political contributions.”  The amendment was approved and the bill was reported as amended by a vote of 8-4.

SB 169, PN 145 (Laughlin) – This bill amends Title 65 (Public Officers) to require lobbyists and lobbying firms to file electronically with the Department of State, and for the Department of State to post all lobbying disclosure forms on its website within seven days of receipt of filing.  The bill was reported as committed by a vote of 12-0.

Senator Anthony Williams

Senator Anthony Williams

Committee Chair