Senate Democratic Wrap-up for the week of June 14, 2015

 

The Senate unanimously passed House Bill 182, which amends the Pharmacy Act to allow pharmacists to give flu shots to children 9-years-of-age or older, with parental consent.

The legislation also permits pharmacy interns to administer the shots to children, if supervised by a licensed administrator. Under this bill, pharmacists administering flu shots are required to hold $1 million of liability insurance.

This bill was enacted as Act 8 of 2015.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 911, which will modernize the 911 Public Safety Emergency Telephone Act. This legislation updates surcharge fees and updates how those funds will be collected and distributed.

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) was in charge of the collection and distribution of 911 call fees. With this legislation, PEMA will be required to establish a 911 Board to manage public safety telecommunications. This bill also requires counties to manage their own 911 plans by appointing a 911 coordinator. Counties may implement an optional surcharge fee, of up to $52 per residents and $12 per employee for businesses. The standard required surcharge for all phone lines will now be $1.65 per customer.

The State Treasury will establish a 911 fund in which money will be saved for any improvement costs as determined by PEMA.

PEMA’s 911 Board will report on the effectiveness of this law to the General Assembly.

The bill was enacted as Act 12 of 2015.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 590, which would amend the State-Owned University Intellectual Property Act to give university staff more rights to their creations.

Current law gives the property rights to the school. Bill proponents claim this was not the intent of the law.

By amending the current repeals and effectiveness dates in the Intellectual Property Act, it will enable individuals to have greater control and rights concerning their findings/creations. For example, if a university faculty member created something, such as a new medicine, they would have rights as to how to develop that product. Bill supporters claim the revised law will help universities to attract employees and mutually benefit through their work.

Similar legislation (SB 1440) was unanimously approved by the Senate last session, however, the bill died in the House Education Committee.

The bill now goes to the House Education Committee.

 

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The Senate voted 48-1 in favor of Senate Bill 687, which amends the Uniform Planned Community Act to enable a municipality to avoid authorizing the creation of Planned Communities if there are pre-approved existing structures that will be used.

Planned community declarations will be required when these communities are being created from locations without existing structures or buildings. Construction of any buildings or structures will still need to receive the appropriate ordinances.

A companion bill to Senate Bill 688, the bill was enacted as Act 37 of 2015.

 

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The Senate voted 48-1 in favor of Senate Bill 688, which amends the Uniform Condominium Act to remove the requirement that a municipality approve new condominiums that are developed from existing structures. However, authorization is still required if new buildings are constructed.

Construction of any subdivision or land development would require approval and still need to receive the appropriate ordinances to develop the condominiums.

A companion bill to Senate Bill 687, the bill was enacted as Act 38 of 2015.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 861, which would amend the Vehicle Code to clarify whether the dealer or renter is responsible for damages to “loaner” vehicles.

This legislation would place liability on the customer’s insurance when the loaner vehicle is damaged. However, the bill places liability on the dealer while it is in possession of a customer’s vehicle.

The bill now goes to the House Insurance Committee.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 880, which would delay the graduation requirement for passing Keystone Exams by two years.

The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in three subjects: Algebra I, Literature and Biology. In future years, pending funding, additional Keystone Exams are to be administered. The Keystone Exams are one component of Pennsylvania’s system of high school graduation requirements.

Currently the high school class of 2017 must pass the Keystone Exams to graduate. The bill is aimed at giving the legislature more time to improve the testing process. Thus, the first graduation testing requirement year would instead be 2019.

The bill now goes to the House Education Committee.

 

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