Senate Democratic Wrap-up for the Week of June 26, 2016

The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 59, which requires health care providers to offer hepatitis C testing to people born between 1945 and 1965.

The measure requires medical personnel to offer hepatitis C screening test and treatment to individuals who were born between the given timeframe.

The health care provider would not be required to offer the screening if the patient is being treated for a life-threatening emergency, was previously offered the screening or is incapable of consenting.

The bill was enacted as Act 87 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 60, which amends the Insurance Company Law to provide for coverage for oral chemotherapy medication.

The legislation is designed to give more patients access to various chemotherapy medications. Health insurance companies will be required to offer plans that include the coverage of oral and intravenous chemotherapy medication. Healthcare plans may not offer “less favorable” coverage for oral medications compared to the coverage or cost sharing offered for intravenously administered chemotherapy medications.

Patients will be required to receive prior approval from their insurance company before oral medications are prescribed. Health insurance companies may not increase the cost of other chemotherapy medications to comply.

The bill was enacted as Act 73 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 64, which creates the “Matt Adler Suicide Prevention Continuing Education Act.”

The measure is designed to raise awareness for suicide prevention and require individuals licensed by the State Board of Psychology or the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors to complete “at least one hour of continuing education in the assessment, treatment and management of suicide risks as a portion of the total continuing education required for license renewal.”

The bill was enacted as Act 74 of 2016.

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The Senate voted 48-1 in favor of House Bill 871, which amends the Vehicle Code to unify the procedures for dismantling vehicles and handling scrap metal material.

The bill clarifies the procedures for processing scrap metal when dismantling vehicles. Once a vehicle is dismantled to the point that is no longer identifiable as a vehicle, the vehicle’s certificate of title, certificate of salvage or non-repairable certificate must be sent to the PennDOT. A certificate of salvage issued for a vehicle is not required to be notarized and verified by a corporate officer.

The legislation addresses vehicles waiting to be transferred to a salvage metal processor. When the processor receives the certificate of title or the certificate of salvage, they are required to send this information and an assessment to PennDOT indicating if the vehicle is non-repairable.

This bill allows insurance companies to ask PennDOT to issue a salvage certificate if they are unable to obtain the certificate of title or salvage certificate from the vehicle owner.

The bill was enacted as Act 91 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 898, which adds certain vehicles owned by the Philadelphia Prison System and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to the list of Pennsylvania’s authorized emergency vehicles.

Authorized vehicles from the Philadelphia Prison System may now escort other emergency vehicles or ambulances when transporting prisoners in need of medical attention. Drivers of emergency vehicles used by the Philadelphia Prison System would not be authorized to exceed the speed limit in an emergency situation.

Vehicles owned by the Turnpike and used to respond to emergency situations would be authorized to use flashing red lights and audible warning systems.

The measure also adds provisions requiring PennDOT to remove dead deer from state- owned roads.

The bill was enacted as Act 75 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 967, which allows for the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp in Pennsylvania.

The bill creates the Agricultural Pilot Program for the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp for Institutions of Higher Education and the Department of Agriculture.  Institutions may grow and research the use of hemp under this legislation.

The Department of Agriculture will be in charge of regulating permits and guidelines for hemp researchers.  They must establish penalties for growing violations and all funds collected through licensing and penalties will be deposited in the Plant Pest Management Account. Growers must submit a criminal background check to become a licensed hemp grower.

The bill was enacted as Act 92 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1062, which amends the Human Services Code to implement proposed changes made by the 2016-17 budget.

The measure:

  • Provides for extended medical assistance payments and nursing facility assessments until 2019;
  • Provides for the temporary suspension of medical assistance benefits from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to recipients who were jailed. The suspension could last up to two years;
  • Moves the PA eHealth Partnership Authority program to DHS;
  • Provides for Philadelphia hospital assessments;
  • Removes the county share that nursing homes pay to the Department of Human Services by 2019;
  • Amends the DHS licensure and enforcement staff requirements; and
  • Provides for the documentation of costs incurred by DHS through the provision of services for federal funding and state reimbursement purposes.

The bill was enacted as Act 76 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1167, which amends the Crime Victims Act to require the Department of Revenue to deduct money from an individual’s tax refund to pay court-ordered obligations.

The department would must deduct an amount from the tax return to pay for any money owed to a county court system when a pay order is enacted. The department must notify the individual of the deductions made to their tax return. The department may establish a set fee to cover the actual costs of implementing the deduction process. The department must submit an annual report on how much it collects to the General Assembly.

The bill was enacted as Act 93 of 2016.

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The Senate voted 49-1 in favor House Bill 1335, which does away with the requirement that emergency telephones be placed along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

This bill allows the Turnpike Commission to provide emergency telephones, but removes it as a requirement. When they were first installed years ago, motorists used the emergency callboxes to make approximately 20,000 calls annually. A 2012 study showed that only 1,700 calls were being made from these telephones. The increase in the number of cell phone users has decreased the need for the call boxes.

Removing the required maintenance and service of the phones is expected to save approximately $200,000 annually.

The bill was enacted as Act 77 of 2016.

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The Senate voted 47-2 for House Bill 1871, which amends the Pennsylvania Constitution to allow the General Assembly to exempt Philadelphia from the uniformity clause when assessing real estate taxes on properties used for business purposes.

This bill would allow Philadelphia to impose a tax rate on real estate used for business purposes that exceeds the applicable tax rate on other real estate. Any changes to real estate used for business purposes tax rates would be limited to a difference of 15 percent from the combined rate of taxes on other real estate. The General Assembly would be required to reduce the aggregate revenue from other taxes imposed for the city. The bill is aimed at helping Philadelphia improve job growth.

The bill was enacted as Pamphlet Laws Resolution No. 3 of 2016 and is required to be passed again next session. If this legislation is approved during the next legislative session the bill would go to the voters in a referendum.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1877, which renews the Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Services (VFEMS) grant program.

This legislation extends the VFEMS grant program until 2020. The program has been in place since 2003 and has been renewed and refunded since then. This measure extends the sunset date by four years to continue providing $30 million in grant money to VFEMS.

This bill amended the existing use and distribution of the grant money and now adds career emergency medical services company to the grant recipients list. The bill also restricts the use of a portion of the grant money by preventing the commissioner from using more than $800,000 of any unencumbered funds remaining in the fund for grant program administrative costs.

The bill also deals with fire companies and emergency medical services companies that merge services. Instead of these companies losing individual funding, the joined companies will now continue receiving their separate individual grants for 10 years. The bill also allows the grant money to be used as a bonus for firefighters who have gained certification as at least a level 1 Fire Fighter.

The bill was enacted as Act 60 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1947, which would amend the Judicial Code to make changes to the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for child 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 the person turns 18 to pursue civil charges. This bill would change the statute to 32 years after the individual 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 original legislation created a retroactive aspect to the bill, which would have allowed individuals who were abused to pursue civil charges before this legislation’s enactment, however this section was removed due to constitutionality disputes.

The bill now goes to the House Rules Committee.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2137, which appropriates funding to the Pennsylvania State University for the 2016-17 fiscal year. This bill would appropriate $224.8 million to Penn State and $19.6 million to Pennsylvania College of Technology. The bill would allow for additional money to be appropriated from the Agricultural College Land Scrip Fund for Agricultural Research and Extension Services. Last year the same amount of funding was appropriated to Penn State University.

The bill was enacted as Act 17A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2138, which appropriates $140.7 million to the University of Pittsburgh and $2.3 million for Rural Outreach Programs for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Last year the same amount was appropriated to the University of Pittsburgh.

The bill was enacted as Act 18A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2139, which appropriates $146.9 million to Temple University for the 2016-17fiscal year. Last year the same amount was appropriated to Temple University.

The bill was enacted as Act 19A of 2016.

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The Senate voted 49-1 in favor of House Bill 2140, which appropriates $14.1 million to Lincoln University for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The same amount was appropriated to Lincoln University last year. The bill was enacted as Act 20A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2141, which appropriates $29.7 million to the University of Pennsylvania for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Last year the same amount was appropriated to the University of Pennsylvania.

The bill was enacted as Act 21A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2175, which appropriates $1.47 million from a restricted revenue account within the General Fund to the Office of the Small Business Advocate in the Department of Community and Economic Development for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The bill was enacted as Act 7A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2176, which appropriates $24.6 million for the general government operations of the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The bill was enacted as Act 8A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2177, which appropriates $5.5 million from a restricted revenue account in the General Fund to the Office of Consumer Advocate in the Office of Attorney General.

The bill was enacted as Act 9A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2178, which appropriates $76.9 million from the State Gaming Fund restricted revenue account to the Attorney General, Department of Revenue, State Police, and Gaming Control Board.

The bill was enacted as Act 10A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2179, which appropriates $81.2 million from the Workmen’s Compensation Administration Fund to the Department of Labor and Industry and to the Office of the Small Business Advocate within the Department of Community and Economic Development.

The bill was enacted as Act 11A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2180, which appropriates approximately $10.6 million to the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

The bill was enacted as Act 12A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2182, which appropriates $44.7 million for the costs of the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The bill was enacted as Act 13A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2183, which appropriates $56.2 million from the Professional Licensure Augmentation Account and from other restricted revenue accounts within the General Fund to the Department of State for the operations of several boards and commissions.

The bill was enacted as Act 14A of 2016.

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 The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2184, which appropriates $72 million from the General Fund’s restricted revenue account to the Public Utility Commission (PUC).

The bill was enacted as Act 15A of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 141, which would amend the Real and Personal Property law to require land owners to disclose if their property is located in a flood zone or wetlands area.

Landowners would be required to provide the property’s flood history, including the frequency and extent of the flooding.

The bill now goes to the House Urban Affairs Committee.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 289, which would allow a municipality to use public funds for the repair, improvement, extension or rehabilitation of private lateral sewer lines connected to sewage disposals systems.

Municipalities would be responsible for determining if the repair is beneficial to the public given the available funds, equipment, personnel and facilities. These improvements would prevent damage to public property and save land owners large expenses. The municipality would be under no obligation to maintain and make future repairs for the private sewer lines.

The bill now goes to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

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The Senate voted 49-1 in favor of Senate Bill 613, which amends the Human Services Block Grant, changing the Human Services Block Grant from a pilot program to a full program that all counties can participate in. The Human Services Block Grant Program previously worked with 30 counties around the state to identify county-based human service needs.

The bill was enacted as Act 153 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 666, which amends the Real and Personal Property law to expand the approved voting methods for homeowner’s associations, condos and cooperatives.

The legislation would allow these three types of associations to expand their voting methods to include paper ballots, absentee ballots, electronic ballots, internet-based ballots and any other approved method. This change aims to create greater transparency and clarity.

The bill now goes to the House Urban Affairs Committee.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 691, which amends the Fiscal Code concerning the sale of cigarettes.

This legislation places requirements on businesses, requiring licensed cigarette dealers to maintain cigarette sales records for a four-year period. These records must be maintained on the property.

This legislation would also hike the cigarette retailers’ tax to 7 percent from the current 6 percent. Philadelphia would be exempt from the bill. The changes are designed to create transparency and help investigators track the sale of cigarettes between vendors and consumers. The proposed changes are projected to raise the cost of a pack of cigarettes by 5 cents.

The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee.

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The Senate voted 45-5 in favor of Senate Bill 703, which would create the Plumbing Contractors Licensure Act to create the State Board of Plumbing Contractors.

The board would authorize plumbers to perform services and supervise apprentices and journeyman plumbers.  The nine-member board would include the Secretary of Labor and Industry, two public members and six professional members.

The board would provide licensure guidelines, regulations for licensed plumbers, eligibility of applicants, fees and fines, and annual reports to the General Assembly detailing complaints, the handling of cases and approved professional testing organizations.

Apprentice plumbers, journeyman plumbers and master plumbers would be required to be licensed by the board. The legislation establishes guidelines for obtaining and maintaining licensure, qualifications for each plumber class and continuing education requirements. Only licensed individuals may claim the title of “licensed plumbing contractor” and the abbreviation “L.P.C.”

The legislation prohibits the State Board of Plumbing from soliciting municipalities to require a plumbing license for individuals performing plumbing services in certain jurisdictions.

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

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 917, which enhances information sharing between agencies involved in child welfare, child delinquency or the identification of at risk children. This bill would allow these agencies to enter into information sharing agreements.

The bill would require children and youth agencies, courts or juvenile probation departments to provide all records containing drug and alcohol treatment, mental health information and educational background to the county agency, court or juvenile probation department requesting the information. The bill outlines specific restrictions on the use of confidential information.

The bill defines which agencies can use the information to identify and provide services to children and families. Non-confidential information could be used to help children that are at risk of abuse, victims of parental neglect or at risk of additional delinquent behavior. The bill was amended to require the state police to forward certain information within three business days to the children and youth agency in the county where the offense was committed.

The bill was enacted as Act 78 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1018, which amends the Pennsylvania Certified Public Accounting (CPA) Law to amend definitions, provide for licensure and to update outdated certification requirements.

This bill amends the definitions of attest activity, forensic accounting services, and reporting. The changes to the definitions of these terms will ensure that CPAs perform such work instead of non-certified accountants.

The legislation amends the requirements that individuals must meet before obtaining certification and clarifies that a licensee, qualified non-licensee or qualified association providing forensic accounting services must be licensed and regulated under this legislation and not “The Private Detective Act of 1953.” The bill provides for an accounting firm’s responsibility to designate a licensee from another state to who meets the requirements of The State Board of Accountancy. An accounting firm can only be considered licensed in Pennsylvania if they retain a Pennsylvania CPA or an individual licensed CPA from another state.

The bill also removes a CPA requirement to public provide personal contact information and an individual’s license number.

The bill was enacted as Act 157 of 2016.

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The Senate voted 47-3 in favor of Senate Bill 1073, which is the negotiated $31.5 billion General Appropriation Bill for the 2016-17 fiscal year. This amount is an increase in state spending by about $1.5 billion over the 2015-16 budget.

Some of the larger appropriations in this budget are $345 million in school employee retirement payments, $160 million in corrections and probation and parole, and $217 million in county welfare programs. Lawmaker provided an increase of about $200 million for Basic Education funding, $30 million more for early childhood education, $20 million more for special education, $39 million for higher education, $15 million towards creating an anti-opioid initiative and $11 million more to the State police for training programs.

There is a 4.4 percent increase in spending over last year, largely due to the increase in federally-mandated spending.

The bill became law without the governor’s approval, as Act 16A of 2016. Gov. Tom Wolf shared multiple statements after the bill’s passage stating that he would have signed the bill if there was a revenue package to go with the budget.

“If a revenue package were already on my desk, I would have been proud to sign it,” said Governor Tom Wolf on July 10, 2016. “If the General Assembly fails to pass a responsible revenue package, this bill will become law without my signature.”

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1104, which amends the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code and consolidates the Charitable Instruments Act of 1971 in the code. The bill makes the following amendments:

  • Amends the Uniform Trust Act to provide for trust matters involving the resignation of trustees and the ability of a beneficiary of a trust to nominate a person to receive required notices on their behalf;
  • Amends the Chapter 76 of the code to detail the power a donee has when selecting a recipient of the donor’s estate or income;
  • Provides for the continuation of businesses obtained through the inheritance of an estate to include the recognition of certain business types, other than the traditional cooperation, partnership or limited liability company;
  • Repeals certain provisions relating to the “release of an interest in property that had been accepted;”
  • Adds a section to the code to clarify the submission of testamentary letters or letters of administration to the jurisdiction of an orphans’ court;
  • Makes changes to authority to make limited gifts under power of attorney, the orphans’ court jurisdiction relating to conflicts with the Fiscal Code and health care powers of attorney relating to accountability. The bill clarifies that a Health Care Power of Attorney maintains their validity until revoked by the principle, court or authorized person.
  • Authorizes courts to assess the costs of accounting proceedings;

 

The bill was enacted as Act 79 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1123, which amends the state’s Agriculture Law to allow Pennsylvania to continue to receive a vapor pressure waiver for gasoline. The vapor pressure waiver would allow Pennsylvania to continue to sell 1-lb vapor pressure gasoline until new regulations are established.

Fuel sold in Pennsylvania must comply with the regulations of the Uniform Engine Fuels, Petroleum Products and Automobile Regulations. These guidelines require that gasoline contain no more than the allotted one pound per square inch of vapor pressure. This means that gasoline ethanol blends cannot exceed the 10 percent limit. A vapor pressure higher than this would cause the gasoline to evaporate at a higher rate.

The previous vapor pressure waiver had expired on May 1, 2016. The bill allows the Department of Agriculture to establish vapor pressure specifications until the American Society for Testing and Materials establishes new regulations.

The bill was enacted as Act 80 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1221, which updates the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) Act for Pittsburgh. The bill makes changes to record transparency, makes several changes proposed by the Auditor General, amends the definition of “gaming revenue” and creates new responsibility measures for the ICA.

The legislation provides for “financial disclosure,” by requiring the ICA to post its annual report on the agency’s website. The report must include detailed accounting of the gaming revenue and the monies distributed. The ICA would be required to disclose all intergovernmental cooperation agreements, its annual budget, required audits, contracts entered into with third parties and its records retention policy, which needs to be consistent with policy of the Office of Administration.

This legislation provides for the ICA to implement these changes in Pittsburgh for at least seven years. If the authority is no longer needed, the bill requires gaming revenue to be redistributed to the city to bolster municipal pension funding. The bill requires the ICA to notify the state budget secretary if it direct Pittsburgh to use gaming revenue for purposes other than debt relief and pension related costs.

The bill was enacted as Act 99 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1226, which amends the Military Affairs code to make changes to the Veterans Emergency Assistance Program.

The Veterans Trust Fund was established to provide grants for veterans’ assistance programs across Pennsylvania. The revenue may be used to help veterans and their families, provide for shelter and other living necessities and to build and maintain honorary monuments. This legislation renames the Veterans Emergency Assistance Program the “Veterans Temporary Assistance Program.”

The bill corrects inconsistencies between the Veterans Trust Fund and the Veterans Temporary Assistance Program. The legislation clarifies how the grant money may be distributed and which organizations may receive the funding. The bill defines which individuals are considered to be eligible veterans for the assistance program. Grant money may now be used for training purposes for veterans’ services within the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

The bill was enacted as Act 109 of 2016.

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The Senate voted 43-6 in favor of Senate Bill 1265, which amends the Wage Payment and Collection law to allow employers to pay wages in the form of debit cards.

This legislation allows employers to use payroll debit cards to pay employees, rather than the use of a check or direct deposit. The change is designed to help those who do not have traditional banking accounts. Advocates believe payroll debit cards are less vulnerable to fraud, are more efficient and keep costs down.

This bill establishes guidelines for the use of payroll debit cards to protect workers. Opponents argued that the cards can be easily lost and that employees may often be charged service fees to access their money. As a compromise, provisions were added to require payroll debit cards to be an optional form of payment choice.

Employers would still be responsible for providing information detailing earnings and deductions each pay period. The legislation adds in specific protections for employee funds to prevent the loss or transfer of wages.

The bill was enacted as Act 161 of 2016.

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The Senate voted 45-5 in favor of Senate Bill 1267, which provides for the appropriation of funds for traffic signal maintenance, municipal authorities to make changes to critical traffic corridors and for drivers to treat inoperable traffic signals as stop signs.

The bill gives municipalities the authority to work with PennDOT to modify and replace traffic signals that are located in “critical” or “designated traffic corridors.” Essentially, municipalities may enact their own plans at certain traffic signals that PennDOT is currently managing.

PennDOT will be authorized to implement a pilot program on one or more “critical corridors.” The results of this program would need to be evaluated by January 1, 2022 and reported in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

The legislation adds provisions for inoperable or malfunctioning signals, specifically if the vehicle cannot be detected by video or weight. The bill allows drivers to proceed with caution through these inoperable signals when the light is green or yellow. Drivers are now permitted to proceed through red or unlighted signals if drivers stop in the same manner as a stop sign.

The bill updates the Vehicle Code in regards to traffic signals to allow funds to be used by municipalities and PennDOT-managed signals. Up to $40,000 of signal funds may now be allocated to municipalities for upgrading traffic signals. The appropriations would be used to implement light-emitting diode technology and intelligent transportation system applications, for performing regional operations, developing special event plans, and monitoring and operating traffic signals.

The bill requires PennDOT to evaluate the effectiveness of all automated red light enforcement systems in Philadelphia by June 1, 2017.

The bill was enacted as Act 101 of 2016.

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The Senate voted 48-2 in favor of Senate Bill 1282, which amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) by providing for the charging of fees for the recording of amendments to declarations of condominiums, cooperatives and planned communities.

The Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act, the Real Estate Cooperative Act and the Uniformed Planned Community Act require all amendments to declarations to be recorded. This legislation requires these types of facilities that do not maintain a uniform parcel identifier number system to be assigned a master parcel number. Amendments to the declarations would be indexed against the master parcel number.

County offices may require the indexing of amendments by reference to each uniform parcel identifier number within a planned community, but fees may not be charged to individual units unless the homeowner’s association requires indexing against each individual parcel. These changes are designed to prevent duplicate fees being charged to these facilities.

The bill was enacted as Act 162 of 2016.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1283, which would make an appropriation from the General Fund’s restricted revenue account to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) for the 2016-17 fiscal year. These funds pay for the PUC’s annual operations.

The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1292, which would provide for the Capital Budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The bill provides for the amount of debt Pennsylvania can take on for capital projects. The maximum authorized amount under this legislation is approximately $1.1 billion. The bill now goes to the House Appropriation Committee.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1311, which amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) and Title 42 (Judiciary) to comply with the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

The bill amends the definition of “sexual abuse” to allow for related measures to be cause for the termination of parental rights. The definition of “perpetrator” is also amended to provide for a person who is 18 years or older and endangers the child by putting them in circumstances of “severe forms of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking.” With this amendment, the bill makes changes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to allow police to access confidential information.

Parental rights could be terminated if the parent is found guilty of committing sexual assault against the child or a sibling of a child. The bill also provides for the termination of parental rights and requires the parent to register as a child sex abuse offender.

In addition, the bill amends the Juvenile Act by modify the term “aggravated circumstances” to add provisions for circumstances when a parent must register as a sex offender.

The bill was enacted as Act 115 of 2016.

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The Senate voted 48-2 in favor of Senate Bill 1312, which would amend the Public School Code to address the state’s substitute teacher shortage by allowing college students enrolled as education majors to work as substitute teachers.

The bill allows these “future teachers” to serve as substitute teachers in public schools if they have completed at least 60 credit hours in a teacher preparation program. These substitutes would be required to be attending college in Pennsylvania and need to complete the requirements to be a teacher in a public classroom. These substitutes could serve no more than 45 days per year.

The bill now goes to the House Education Committee.

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1320, which would amend the Fiscal Code to provide for General Budget restrictions on appropriations for the following funds and accounts:

  • State Lottery Fund, Energy Conservation and Assistance Fund, Judicial Computer System Augmentation Account, Access to Justice Account, Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund, The State Stores Fund, Motor License Fund, Hazardous Material Response Fund, Milk Marketing Fund, HOME Investment Trust Fund, Tuition Payment Fund, Banking Fund, Firearm Records Check Fund, Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority Fund, Tobacco Settlement Fund, Restricted receipt accounts, ARC Housing Revolving Loan Program, Federal Aid to Volunteer Fire Companies, Land and Water Conservation Fund, National Forest Reserve Allotment, Education of the Disabled, LSTA – Library Grants, The Pennsylvania State University Federal Aid, Emergency Immigration Education Assistance, Education of the Disabled Homeless Adult Assistance Program, Severely Handicapped, Medical Assistance Reimbursements to Local Education Agencies, Federal Water Resources Planning Act, Flood Control Payments, Soil and Water Conservation Act – Inventory of Programs, Share Loan Program, Capital Assistance Elderly and Handicapped Programs, Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Assistance, Ridesharing/Van Pool Program, Receipts from Federal Government – Disaster Relief – Disaster Relief Assistance to State and Political Subdivisions, National Historic Preservation Act, Retired Employees Medicare Part D, Justice Assistance, Juvenile Accountability Incentive, Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund, Budget Stabilization Reserve Fund, Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund, Veterans’ Trust Fund, State Farm Products Show Fund, Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund, Straw Purchase Prevention Education Fund, Budget Stabilization Reserve Fund, Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund, Highway Beautification Fund, Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, Local Government Capital Project Fund, Low-Level Waste Fund, Pennsylvania Economic Revitalization Fund and the Small Business First Fund.

The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee.

 

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