Senate Democratic Wrap-up for the Week of October 25, 2015

 

The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 526, which would amend the Second Class Township Code to change the dates of when the Annual Township Report and Financial Statements need to be completed and published.

This bill would change the Annual Township Report and Financial Statement due date from March 1 to April 1. With this change, the publication date of the report would be due on April 15 instead of March 10.  These changes would give accountants more time to prepare the reports during tax season.

This bill would also enable townships to post a short summary of their report in the newspaper instead of printing the entire report. The newspaper article would need to reference a place in the township where someone could receive a copy of the full report.

The bill now goes to the House Local Government Committee.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 765, which amends the vehicle code to include utility personnel and electric cooperative as emergency responders. The bill would also include a vehicle owned by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission that is used by an emergency responder as an emergency vehicle.

The measure expands the definition of emergency responders and emergency vehicles to help ensure the safety of these individuals. Drivers are required to move away from emergency responders or to reduce their speed as they pass. This bill expands the definition of an “emergency response area” to include the areas where the newly-added emergency responders are working.

The bill was enacted as Act 61 of 2015.

 

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            The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 857, which would amend Title 66 (Public Utilities) to add additional penalties for transporting property between homes for compensation without the appropriate licenses.

This legislation would add stricter penalties to illegal household goods movers.

The Public Utility Commission is in charge of enforcing this law, but have struggled to effectively deter the crime. Illegal household goods movers are individuals who operate without the appropriate licenses and therefore are not paying taxes on their operations.

The tougher additional penalties would make it a third degree misdemeanor and a $5,000 fine for the first offense.  Additional penalties could require the offender to forfeit the vehicle used in the violation.

The bill now goes to the House Consumer Affairs Committee.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 942, which would amend the Code and Ordinance Compliance Act to reduce the amount of time an individual has to correct a building code violation.

 

This legislation is aimed at substantial violations that pose a threat to health, safety or property. A person who buys a building with a known code violation currently has 18 months to fix the code violation or demolish the building. The bill would lower the amount of time to 12 months.  The bill is aimed at reducing the number of blighted buildings and speeding up the process of correcting buildings with substantial violations.

The bill now goes to the House Urban Affairs Committee.

 

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