Senate Democratic Wrap-up for the Week of April 12, 2015

 

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 43, also known as the “stolen valor act.”

This amendment makes fraudulently wearing military uniforms, awards, and medals a summary offense. The bill also specifies that it is illegal for someone to try and obtain employment or to be elected to public office by claiming military service. This concept was introduced twice over the past two sessions (SB 527 in 2013 and SB 1206 in 2011), but died both times in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 43 now goes to the House.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 61, which would amend the Vehicle Code to allow Bike Medics to use their bicycles in the same manner as emergency response vehicles and as police officers on bicycles. This bill would enable Bike Medics to maneuver quickly through crowded areas to provide immediate care before emergency response vehicles can arrive.

The bill was previously introduced (SB 61), but died in the Houses Transportation Committee.

The bill now goes to the House.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 286, which would require the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) to adopt an open records policy and create a commuter’s council to oversee the agency’s activity.

The DRPA manages connecting bridges between Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Senate Bill 286 has been moved to the House and is currently in the Transportation Committee.

 

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Senate Bill 287, a companion bill to Senate Bill 286, unanimously passed the Senate.

This bill would provide Pennsylvania’s governor the authority to override the actions of Pennsylvania’s commissioners on the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA).

Senate Bill 287 has been moved to the House and is currently in the Transportation Committee.

 

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The Senate voted 37-12 in favor of Senate Bill 333, which would prevent municipalities from requiring an employer to provide extra vacation for employees.

Under the bill, employers would not need to give any more vacation time than what federal and state law requires.

The bill now goes to the House Labor and Industry Committee.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 485, which makes it a first degree misdemeanor to impersonate a doctor to provide medical treatment or advice.

The bill was based on recommendations made by the Philadelphia Grand Jury that indicted Dr. Kermit Gosnell and employees at his abortion clinic.  Although Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison for murder, several of his employees, who were practicing medicine without a proper license, received lenient sentences for their crimes.

Prior to this measure, impersonating a physician was treated  the same as impersonating a notary public or other licensed professional under Pennsylvania law.  Bill supporters said the crime grade for impersonating a physician should have been far tougher because the crime can have dire consequences for patients who unknowingly place their healthcare in the hands of someone who is not properly trained or experienced.

The bill was enacted as Act 10 of 2015.

 

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