The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would require credit insurance companies to promptly refund customer premiums when a policy is terminated before its original expiration date.
Current law does not require a policy holder to provide notice to the insurer that a debt is being terminated.
House Bill 526 would require credit insurance policies to include a notice that the debtor may be entitled to a refund if the policy is canceled or the debt terminates before the policy expires.
It would also require the holder of the debt to inform the insurance company when the debt that is covered terminates. Notification would have to take place within 60 days of the debt termination.
The bill is now in the House Rules Committee.
The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 213, which would establish the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children Act.
The bill would authorize Pennsylvania to enter into the Interstate Compact in order to make education more accessible to children of military families and make school transfers and transitions more uniform. It would also establish the State Council on Interstate Educational Opportunity for Military Children.
The bill is now in the House Education Committee.
The Senate unanimously approved insurance regulation legislation that would protect consumers by strictly regulating the purchase or exchange of an annuity.
Senate Bill 237 would ensure that those who are selling annuities in Pennsylvania are making sure that the product is suitable for the individual based on their financial status, tax status and investment objectives.
The bill also includes new licensing fees, bi-annual licenses, and higher fines for surplus lines insurers, which offer property and casualty insurance coverage to non-standard risks like hole-in-one insurance and insurance for traveling amusement rides.
The measure also creates the Health Insurance Coverage and Nondiscrimination Act, which would maintain the commonwealth’s right to regulate health insurance in Pennsylvania by complying with the requirements of the federal Public Health Service Act.
Finally, the bill changes the expiration date for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) from Dec. 31, 2010 to Dec., 31, 2013.
The bill is now on the governor’s desk.
The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would create a new act known as the Sale of Transportation Lands Act.
The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 297, which would require the well production reports to be filed semi-annually if the well is producing gas from the Marcellus Shale formation.
Prior to this legislation being introduced, well production information was kept confidential by DEP for five years. Because of all the new drilling activity in the Marcellus Shale, this legislation was introduced to make the records more open and accessible sooner.
The initial report would have to be filed on or before August 15, 2010 and contain production data from the preceding calendar year. The filing deadlines for the subsequent semi-annual reports would be February 15 and August 15 of each year and need only contain updates and production data since the previous report, and any changes in the status of each well.
Senate Bill 435 would abolish the office in Second Class A counties; while Senate Bill 1117 would abolish the office in third through eighth counties.
These bills are now in the House.
The Senate voted unanimously in favor of Senate Bill 642, which would change the Sign Language Interpreter and Transliterator State Registration Act to add registration requirements for a provisional sign language interpreter.
Under this bill, a provisional sign language interpreter would have to be a graduate of an interpreter education program with an associate degree or higher within five years of graduation.
After application with the Department of Labor & Industry, the applicant must provide proof of age (18) and passage of a written examination, general fitness, competence and reliability. These individuals cannot provide services in a legal or mental health setting unless accompanied by a qualified interpreter or transliterator. Transliterating or sign language by a provisional registrant is prohibited in a physician’s office unless a patient is informed of certain rights. Transliterating or sign language by a provisional registrant is prohibited in critical care or emergency settings.
The bill will now go to the House.
Senate Bill 747 would authorize the Department of Transportation to sell land acquired by the Department at public sale after it’s determined that the land is not needed for present or future transportation purposes.
First, however, the land must offered at its fair market value to other public agencies for public purpose, including the preservation of open space, and the for-sale notice must be published in the PA Bulletin, in which case public agencies have 30 days to express interest in purchasing the land.
The bill is now in the House Transportation Committee.
The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would regulate how prescription drugs may be returned and redispensed from correctional facilities.
Senate Bill 1044 would allow correctional facilities to return unopened prescription drugs to the pharmaceutical wholesaler for credit and possible redistribution at other correctional facilities.
The prescription must be sealed with the proper label still on the bottle. It also must have had remained in a controlled environment of a secured drug room or secured drug cart and had never been in the hands of a prisoner. The drug also must have no fewer than 90 days before its expiration.
If enacted, the measure could save $1 million annually, according to the Department of Corrections.
The bill is now in the House.
The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1074, which would prohibit the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners during any stage of labor, any pregnancy related medical distress, transport to a medical facility, delivery or postpartum.
The bill would require correctional institutions to provide adequate personnel to monitor the transfer of pregnant prisoners or detainees during transport to and from the hospital and during her stay at the hospital.
Reasonable restraint may be used when a shift commander or his equivalent staff determines that the detainee presents a substantial flight risk, or some other extraordinary medical or security circumstance dictates that the woman be restrained to ensure safety and security. If this is the case, at no time would the detainee be left unattended by a correctional officer who has the ability to release the restraints if it becomes medically necessary to do so.
In cases where restraints are permitted, the least restrictive restraints would be used when the facility has knowledge that a prisoner is in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
The bill is now in the House.
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