Senate Democratic Wrap-up for the Week of January 29, 2017

 

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 69, which would amend a portion of the Crimes Code to establish “Cordelia’s Law.”

The measure would make abusing horses a first degree misdemeanor under the animal cruelty laws. It’s currently a first degree misdemeanor for the killing, torturing or maiming of cats and dogs. This bill would add horses to that list.

The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 138, which would amend the Oil and Gas Lease Act to govern the payment of royalties to a landowner and to allow landowners to inspect gas company records for payment verification purposes.

The legislation aims to protect the rights of landowners who have leased their property for the exploration of oil and natural gas. It would require oil and natural gas companies to pay royalties on products procured on these properties within 90 days. Delayed payments would incur interest at the going legal interest rate.

The bill adds the requirement that payments to owners include a unique property identification. Annual contract information would be required to be provided to all join venture companies or individuals. In addition, landowners could annually request to examine records relating to any property they have collected royalties from within the last three years.

This bill is a companion bill to Senate Bill 139. Senate Bill 138 now goes to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 139, which would prevent oil and natural gas companies from retaliating against a landowner who wants to in “good faith” verify the accuracy of royalty payments.

This bill would create the “Natural Gas Lease Anti-Retaliation Act” to prevent gas and oil companies from taking any action against a landowner because the land owner makes a good faith inquiry regarding royalty payments. Any violations of this bill could result in civil actions and a fine of up to $1,000 per day for each day until the violation is corrected

A good faith action is defined as: “a claim, demand or complaint intended to secure rights granted under a lease or to determine whether the terms of a lease are being complied with… that is made without malice or ulterior motive.”

This bill is a companion bill to Senate Bill 138. Senate Bill 139 now goes to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 261, which would amend the Judicial Code to make changes to the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse and provide for governmental immunity relating to claims of childhood sexual abuse.

This legislation would allow an individual to bring civil charges from childhood sexual abuse if he or she was under 18 at the time of the abuse. Currently, the individual has 12 years after they turn 18 to pursue civil charges. This bill would change the statute to 32 years after the victim turns 18. The civil charge would not need to be associated with a criminal charge against the perpetrator.

The legislation also provides for circumstances for which no statute of limitations would apply. These include: trafficking in individuals, involuntary servitude as it relates to sexual servitude, rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, institutional sexual assault, aggravated indecent sexual assault and incest.

The bill would add criminal punishments for individuals who knew of the sexual abuse, conspired with the perpetrator or committed negligence. The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee.

 

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