State Government 2019-2020

The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 327, PN 309 (Argall) – Amends the Administrative Code of 1929 to require the Department of General Services (DGS) to conduct an annual survey of state building/facility usage.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SB 470, PN 520 (Phillips-Hill) – Creates the State-owned Assets and Mobile Broadband Services Act and requires the Department of General Services (DGS) to determine if existing state-owned property or assets can be used to provide broadband service in underserved areas.  Senator Phillips-Hill offered amendment A02924, which makes technical amendments, increases the timeline for occupancy agreements, and exempts the State Police and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

SB 532, PN 572 (Phillips-Hill) – This bill amends Title 38 (Holidays and Observances) to establish three different Veteran Recognition days in the Commonwealth (First Gulf War Veterans Day – March 6th, Afghanistan War Veterans Day – October 7th, and Second Gulf War Veterans Day – December 18th).  Senator Phillips-Hill offered amendment A02854, which changes names and dates to more accurately reflect the recognition days (now Persian Gulf War Veterans Day – March 6th and Global War on Terrorism Veterans Day – October 7th).  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

SB 750, PN 948 (Scarnati) – This bill amends the Administrative Code of 1929 to direct the Department of General Services (DGS) to sell the Lieutenant Governor’s residence.  Senator Phillips-Hill offered amendment A02885, which now directs DGS to transfer authority of the Lieutenant Governor’s residence to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to support Pennsylvania’s veterans programs and the National Gard.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

HB 305, PN 2210 (Snyder) – Creates the State-owned Assets and Mobile Broadband Services Act and requires the Department of General Services (DGS) to determine if existing state-owned property or assets can be used to provide broadband service in underserved areas.  Senator Phillips-Hill offered amendment A02869, which makes technical changes to some definitions.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

HB 1222, PN 1570 (Lewis) – This bill amends Title 10 (Charities) by consolidating the Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act and the Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act.  Senator Phillips-Hill offered amendment A02874, which makes technical changes to ensure consistency with current Acts.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 300, PN 288 (Scarnati) – This bill amends the Pennsylvania Election Code to permit independents to vote in primary elections.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A02032, which clarifies the definition of “unenrolled elector” and voting procedures.  The amendment was approved unanimously.  The bill was reported from committee as amended by a vote of 9-2.

SB 411, PN 430 (Folmer/Schwank) – Proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth to allow for no-excuse absentee voting.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A01729, which clarifies that a voter does not have to be outside his/her municipality to qualify as an absentee voter.  The amendment was approved unanimously and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

SB 414, PN 433 (Schwank/Folmer) – This bill would amend the Pennsylvania Election Code to make several changes to the absentee balloting process, such as providing absentee voters more time to return their ballots and eliminating some application requirements.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A02142, which clarifies the mailing deadline for absentee ballots.  The amendment was approved unanimously.  The bill was reported from committee as amended by a vote of 10-1.

SB 418, PN 437 (Stefano) – This bill would amend the Pennsylvania Election Code to revise the number of ballots each county is required to supply for primary and general elections.  Senator Stefano offered amendment A01540, which further refines the number of ballots to be printed based upon gubernatorial, Presidential and municipal election years.  The amendment was approved unanimously.  Senator A. Williams and Senator Muth raised concerns about the potential of running out of ballots if a surge of electors turns out for an election, and the lack or protections to prevent such a scenario.  Senator Muth proceeded to offer amendment A02159, which would require an extra 5 ballots to be printed for every 45 voters (applicable to Presidential years only).  The amendment was defeated on a party-line vote of 4-7.  The bill was ultimately reported from committee as amended by unanimous vote, with an understanding among parties that the legislation needs additional work.

SB 421, PN 481 (Boscola) – This bill amends the Pennsylvania Election Code to remove the straight parry voting option from all general election ballots.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A01865, which applies these changes to elections being held on or after January 1, 2020.  The amendment was approved unanimously and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

SB 422, PN 399 (Vogel) – This bill amends the Pennsylvania Election Code to establish the Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board within the Department of State.  The Board is tasked with studying election related issues and making recommendations.  The bill was reported as committed on a party-line vote of 7-4.

SB 693, PN 838 (A. Williams) – This bill would amend the Pennsylvania Election Code to provide for shifting ballots for judicial candidates in Philadelphia.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 448, PN 433 (Kauffer) – This bill adds two nonvoting members to the Pennsylvania Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial.  It also extends the due date of the Commission’s initial report that is being prepared for the Governor and General Assembly.  The Commission was established via Act 28 of 2018.  The Commission was tasked with planning, encouraging, developing and coordinating the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States.  The Semiquincentennial is in 2026.  Senator Gordner offered amendment A02135, which extends the report deadline an additional year (to 2021).  Senator Gordner noted that Philadelphia will be an epicenter of Semiquincentennial celebrations (also known as “America250PA”).  The amendment was approved unanimously and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

HB 1461, PN 2064 (Fee) – This bill amends The Administrative Code to expand the list of Title 18 offenses that the Office of State Inspector General can investigate and file criminal charges as they relate to the administration of state benefits.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 701, PN 847 (Browne) – This bill authorizes DGS to convey the former Allentown State Hospital property following a competitive solicitation process.  The property consists of 195 acres of land and is located in Bethlehem, Lehigh County.  Proceeds from the sale of the property will be deposited into the General Fund.  A competitive solicitation committee will be established to review proposals and recommend a buyer to DGS.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 619, PN 614 (Helm) – This legislation designates June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day” in the Commonwealth.  This will be annual observance.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 412, PN 431 (Stefano) – This is a Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution removing the prohibition of federal, state or municipal employees from serving as poll workers.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A01218, which clarifies that judges or inspectors under Section 11 Article VII of the Constitution are disqualified for service.  The committee voted unanimously to approve the amendment.  The bill was then reported as amended (unanimous).

SB 413, PN 432 (Martin) – This is a Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution to remove the requirement that judicial candidates appear on a separate ballot.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SB 538, PN 601 (Regan) – This bill authorizes DGS to convey a permanent easement to the Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails Council for $1.  The 4,352 plot of land is located at Shippensburg University in Cumberland County.  The Council plans to use the land as a parking lot for those utilizing the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail.  Senator Ward offered amendment A00787, which was technical in nature.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

SB 617, PN 712 (Corman) – This bill authorizes the DGS to convey a permanent easement to Mifflin County for $1.  The property consists of 1.02 acres of land and is located at the State Fire Academy in Lewistown, Mifflin County.  The county plans to use the land to establish and maintain a recreational hiking trail (along with parking).  Senator Folmer offered amendment A01214, which was technical in nature.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

HB 223, PN 193 (Pickett) – This bill authorizes DGS to convey land to French Azilum, Inc. for $1.  The 22.83 acres of land subject to conveyance is located in Asylum Township, Bradford County and is known locally as the French Azilum Historic Site.  The land conveyance will be subject to appropriate historic preservation and maintenance requirements.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 227, PN 197 (Gabler) – This bill amends the Election Code providing for the number of signers required for the office of school director.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 to consider the following:

Re-confirmation of Curt Topper as the Secretary of General Services (recommended via unanimous vote).

SB 22, PN 531 (Boscola) – Redistricting reform:  This bill proposes an amendment to the Constitution to create an 11-member Independent Reapportionment and Redistricting Commission tasked with redrawing legislative and congressional districts in the Commonwealth.  The bill was reported from committee as committed by a vote of 6-4.

SB 48, PN 24 (Gordner) – This bill amends Title 25 (Elections) to require a review and recommendation process whenever the Administration proposes decertifying voting machines in at least 50% of counties.  Senator Gordner offered amendment A00694 to the bill, which revises and adds additional members to the Voting System Decertification Commission and provides for administrative support of the commission.  The amendment was approved by a vote of 6-4.  The bill was reported as amended by a vote of 6-4.

SB 178, PN 135 (Browne) – This bill amends the Pennsylvania Election Code requiring all candidates and political committees to file campaign finance reports and statements electronically online.  Senator Folmer offered amendment A00681 to the bill, which changes the effective date of the bill and makes a series of technical changes to ensure consistency with existing law.  The amendment was approved unanimously.  The bill was reported from committee as amended (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 to consider the following:

Nomination of State Civil Service Commission; Teresa E. Osborne (reported unanimously).

SB 372, PN 336 (Scavello and Scarnati) – Amends Title 37 to update and modernize the History Code.  Amendment A00292 was approved (technical amendment).  The bill was reported as amended (unanimous).

HB 18, PN 38 (Mackenzie): Allows certain lands within Berks County to be released from Project 70 restrictions in exchange for the imposition of Project 70 restrictions on certain lands.  Amendment A00273 was approved.  This comprehensive amendment provides for four additional land restrictions and conveyances in Lehigh County, Chester County and Monroe County.  The bill was reported as amended (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 133, PN 110 (Argall) – This is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the constitution to allow each party’s candidate for Governor to select his or her running mate as Lieutenant Governor.  This proposal does not alter the current duties or powers of the Office of Lieutenant Governor.  The bill was reported out as committed by a vote of 10-1.

SB 190, PN 145 (Stefano) – This is a land conveyance bill.  It authorizes the conveyance of 0.227 acres of land to a resident for $1,000.  The land is located in Somerset Township, Somerset County.  The bill was reported out as committed (unanimous).


The Senate State Government Committee met on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 9, PN 43 (Yaw) – This bill designates the Eastern hellbender as the official amphibian of the Commonwealth.  The bill was reported out as committed (unanimous).

SB 26, PN 5 (Schwank) – This bill authorizes the release of Project 70 restrictions on land currently owned by the Borough of Topton in Berks County.  In exchange, restrictions will be imposed on other lands in the Borough.  The bill was reported out as committed (unanimous).

SB 130, PN 92 (Gordner) – This bill authorizes the Department of General Services to release a use restriction, and associated reversionary interest, on property located in Montour County.  The bill was reported out as committed (unanimous).

Senator Anthony Williams

Senator Anthony Williams

Committee Chair