State Representative Mike Turzai
28th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Stephen Miskin RepTurzai.com
TO: Capitol Correspondents, News Editors, Assignment Editors
FROM: Stephen Miskin
Press Secretary to the Majority Leader
SUBJ: House Action for the Week of June 13, 2011
DATE: June 10, 2011
Saving Unemployment Compensation, Voter ID and Adding Bath Salts and Synthetic Drugs as Controlled Substances on House Agenda
The state House returns to session on Monday, June 13, to debate and vote on various issues of importance.
Helping Unemployed Workers by Saving and Fixing the Unemployment Compensation System
The House will take up Senate Bill 1030 (Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland/Snyder/Dauphin/Luzerne), which would save the bankrupt Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund an estimated $137 million per year. While federal emergency unemployment benefits expire Saturday, June 11, for 135,000 out-of-work Pennsylvanians, there is still time to pass this necessary legislation and get it to the governor’s before there is a disruption in benefits. The bill will:
- Require an active job search – Pennsylvania is the only state where a job search is not required.
- Increase the minimum weekly benefit rate.
- Create a severance pay offset (32 states take into account dismissal pay, nine states prohibit people from receiving UC benefits while receiving severance pay).
- Establish standards of willful misconduct and refine current law to modify eligibility benefits for people who voluntarily quit their job. These are standards similar to those in 40 other states.
Despite an unemployment rate lower than most states, Pennsylvania has been paying out more unemployment compensation benefits than all other states except California.
Ensuring a Proper Vote: Valid Photo ID Required
The Pennsylvania Voter Identification Protection Act can prevent the four most widely documented types of voter fraud, including: impersonation at the polls; fictitious registrations; double-voting; and voting by illegal aliens. Modeled after Indiana’s photo identification law, which was upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008, House Bill 934 (Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler) would amend the state election code to require all voters to present valid photo ID before voting. Current Pennsylvania law requires photo ID for voters who appear to vote in an election district for the first time. Legislation containing voter ID had already passed the General Assembly only to be vetoed by former Gov. Ed Rendell.
Luzerne County’s “Kids For Cash” Aftermath: Making the Courts Safe for Kids
Last year, the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice identified a number of problems to be corrected in order to restore public confidence in the state’s juvenile courts system. House Bill 1546 (Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Luzerne County) would mandate the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission analyze information and make recommendations to judges and the Administrative Offices of the Courts. The agency would also post the information on its website, ensuring the data is shared.
House Bill 1567 (Rep. Karen Boback, R-Luzerne County) deals with the public pensions of officials pleading guilty or no contest, or are found guilty in public corruption cases; the pensions would be immediately forfeited.
The Weekly Schedule
Bill numbers will be used to identify the legislation being considered either in committee or on the House floor. The bills, sponsors and summaries are posted below.
Monday, June 13
- LABOR AND INDUSTRY, 10 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building
- Public hearing on HB 1602 (Rep. Thomas Killion, R-Chester/Delaware): Amends the Mechanics’ Lien Law to require a notice of commencement to be filed with the prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas in the judicial district in which the project is located within 15 days after work has physically started and reduces the time in which a claim may be filed after completion of work from six months to four months.
- JOINT LEGISLATIVE CONSERVATION, Noon., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building
- Environmental Issues Forum featuring a Pennsylvania-based initiative to establish a network of public charging stations for electric vehicles.
On Monday, the House will convene at 1 p.m. for legislative business. The members will vote the uncontested calendar and Rule 35 resolutions.
Votes on Second Consideration
- HB 242 (Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming): Creates a “Limited Distillery” license for distilleries that produce less than 40,000 gallons per year, allows current distillery licensees the ability to sell their product directly to the general public as well as to other licensees, and the ability to provide tasting samples that do not exceed one fluid ounce.
- HB 395 (Rep. Bernie O’Neill, R-Bucks): Amend Title 18 Section 6308 (relating to underage drinking) by providing a person with immunity from prosecution for consumption or possession when the person calls 911 because someone else needs medical attention.
- HB 581 (Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-York): Allows importing distributers up to two licensed locations within their franchise territories. The distributors must designate one of those locations as a storage facility that can only be used for strorage of malt and brewed beverages and sales to licensees.
- HB 424 (Rep. Robert Godshall, R-Montgomery): Increases the penalty for certain violations of the Public Adjuster Licensing Law from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, states that prosecution for violations is at the discretion of the insurance commissioner, and further states that violations under the Public Adjuster Licensing Law may also violate the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.
- HB 807 (Rep. Curt Sonney, R-Erie): Amends the Biofuel Development and In-State Production Incentive Act to provide for effective enforcement, exceptions, and to establish penalties for violations.
- HB 1479 (Rep. John Payne, R-Dauphin): Monthly report to LCB from beverage manufacturers.
- SB 274 (Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Adams/Franklin/York): Allows the Pennsylvania Game Commission to establish regulations to permit the transfer of certain tags or permits from a licensed mentor hunter to a youth hunter participating in the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, changes the falconry permit fee structure from $25 per bird to a flat $50 fee, and lowers the minimum age for a falconry permit from 16 to 12.
- SB 1030 (Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland/Snyder/Dauphin/Luzerne): Unemployment compensation reform that establishes the requirements under which an employer may be relieved of paying unemployment compensation benefits and sets forth the process and procedure for filing such a request; expands the active work search requirements for compensation eligibility; establishes severance pay setoff; calculates the maximum weekly benefit based on a 36-month period rather than a 12-month period; permits telephone testimony; extends benefits; and establishes a shared work program to allow employers to voluntarily avoid layoffs by reducing the hours worked by employees in a specifically defined department, making the employees in the affected department eligible for unemployment compensation for the reduced hours.
Votes on Third Consideration
- HB 139 (Rep. Robert Godshall): Amends the Public School Code to provide for state reimbursement for mobile classroom facilities.
- HB 958 (Rep. Kathy Watson, R-Bucks): Adds a section to the Vital Statistics Law to require the Department of Health to issue a “Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth” at the request of the parent.
- HB 1164 (Rep. Robert Godshall): Amends the Organ and Bone Marrow Donor Act (Act 65 of 2006) to remove the sunset clause associated with the tax credit portion of the act.
- HB 1173 (Rep. Thomas Killion): Allows for advertising on the exterior of metropolitan transportation authorities’ passenger rail cars as a means to generate additional revenue for the authorities.
- HB 1436 (Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny): Amends the Crimes Code provision relating to official oppression to increase the grading to a third-degree felony (currently a second-degree misdemeanor); change the mental state from “knowingly “ to “recklessly or knowingly”; adds a mandatory minimum sentence of two years imprisonment; and adds a special restitution provision .
- HB 1446 (Rep. Chris Ross, R-Chester): Amends the First Class Township Code providing for employment agreements with township managers.
- HB 1447 (Rep. Chris Ross): Amends the Second Class Township Code providing for employment agreements with township managers.
- HB 1448 (Rep. Chris Ross): Amends the laws pertaining to incorporated towns by providing for employment agreements with town managers.
- HB 1449 (Rep. Chris Ross): Amends the Borough Code providing for employment agreements with borough managers.
- HB 1450 (Rep. Chris Ross): Amends the Third Class City Code providing for the office of city administrator and providing for employment agreements.
- HB 1546 (Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Luzerne): Amends the Judicial Code to further provide for powers and duties of the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission.
- HB 1567 (Rep. Karen Boback, R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming): Amends the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act to provide for forfeiture upon the employee/official’s entry of a guilty plea or upon entry of a jury verdict or judicial order of guilty. Currently, forfeiture is not triggered until the public official or employee is sentenced.
- SB 1006 (Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Allegheny/Beaver/Lawrence): Amends the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act by adding a subclause to include Salvia Divinorum, Salvinorin A, Divinorin A, synthetic marijuana and synthetic cocaine/heroin as Schedule I controlled substances.
Tuesday, June 14
- INSURANCE, 9 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building
- Public hearing on health insurance exchanges.
- STATE GOVERNMENT, 9 a.m., Hearing Room 1, North Office Building
- Joint public hearing with the Senate State Government Committee on congressional redistricting.
- LOCAL GOVERNMENT, 9:15 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building
- HB 1438 (Rep. Mauree Gingrich, R-Lebanon): Creates the “County Officer and Employee Fiscal Security Act” which requires second through eighth class counties to obtain bonds or insurance for elected and appointed county officers and county employees who are responsible for money or property as part of their duties or employment.
- HB 1453 (Rep. Chris Ross): Expands the authorized methods of recording and storing judicial records to include optical imaging technology and establishes that a copy of any record that has been destroyed, or disposed of as provided by law, shall be admissible in evidence in any matter with the same force and effect as if the original record had been produced.
- HB 1582 (Rep. John Taylor, R-Philadelphia): Allows municipal authorities to assess single family homes, residential cooperative properties, and condominiums in business improvement districts at 50 percent of the property’s assessed value for real estate tax purposes; allows business improvement districts to send an assessment bill to the condominium’s unit owners association, rather than to each residential unit, with the charge to be passed through as an itemized part of routine condo fees; and clarifies the process for objections from district residents to proposed improvements or administrative services.
- HB 1644 (Rep. George Dunbar, R-Westmoreland): Allows counties to sell personal property and surplus farm products through an online or electronic auction sale.
- EDUCATION, 9:30 a.m., Room 60, East Wing
- SB 612 (Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon/Berks/Chester/Dauphin/Lancaster): Allows school districts to furlough professional employees for economic reasons.
- SB 858 (Sen. Mike Waugh, R-York): Allows school boards to elect or appoint individuals holding a graduate degree in business or finance as a superintendent or assistant superintendent and requires those individuals to successfully complete a leadership program that meets Pennsylvania school leadership standards.
- HB 1454 (Rep. Dan Truitt, R-Chester): Requires the Pennsylvania Department of Education to include grade level, teacher level, and classroom level in the value-added assessment system data displayed on its website.
- JUDICIARY, 10 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building
- HB 338 (Rep. Thomas Killion): Establishes the false report of suspected child abuse against a school, private residential rehabilitation facility, a detention facility or employees of such institutions as a misdemeanor of the third degree, creates sub-files pertaining to individuals who file false reports in the statewide central register of child abuse reports, and provides for an expedited hearing/appeals process.
- HB 1029 (Rep. Scott Perry, R-Cumberland/York): Establishes the unauthorized use of a deceased soldier’s name, portrait, or picture for advertising purposes as a misdemeanor of the first degree, with exceptions; provides for a soldier’s right to control the use of his or her name, portrait, or picture for commercial purposes, with exceptions; establishes liability for unauthorized use of a soldier’s name, portrait, or picture; and creates a limitation of action of five years after an unauthorized publication.
- HB 1616 (Rep. Gordon Denlinger, R-Lancaster): Creates a new corporation class within the Commonwealth, a Benefit Corporation, which redefines the fiduciary duty of a corporation’s directors allowing them to take non-financial interests into consideration when making decisions for the corporation.
- HB 1618 (Rep. Keith Gillespie): Establishes that a person who knowingly causes, or attempts to cause, an on-duty law enforcement officer to come into contact with bodily fluids or waste that is known, or should have been known, to come from an individual infected with a communicable disease commits a felony of the second degree.
- HB 1619 (Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong/Indiana): Redistributes fines from vehicle offenses so that only municipalities that have populations of 3,000 or less, or that provide at least 40 hours per week of local police services through a municipal police department, or participate in regional police departments, or contract with other municipal or regional police departments for services, are eligible for a portion of the fine. Revenue from fines that are not paid to qualifying municipalities are transferred to the Pennsylvania State Police for cadet classes, and all other fines collected from prosecution under any other Title 75 provision, as a result of State Police action on an interstate highway, shall be transferred to the Motor License Fund.
- HB 1646 (Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny): Adds school crossing guards, volunteer firefighters, and special fire police to the list of individuals protected from aggravated assault during working hours.
- LABOR AND INDUSTRY, 10 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building
- HB 1548 (Rep. Thomas Murt, R-Montgomery/Philadelphia): Comprehensive amendment of the Child Labor Law to address: prohibitions on employment or work in certain establishments, including establishments that sell alcohol; restrictions on hours of labor; educational requirements for working minors; the permit applications process with the Department of Labor and Industry, which includes an initial $350 fee and a $200 renewal fee; the establishment of a trust account for the working minor and the transfer of the minor’s earnings into their trust account; and the participation of minors in reality television or documentaries.
On Tuesday the House will meet at 11 a.m. for legislative business.
Votes on Second Consideration
- HB 735 (Rep. Keith Gillespie): Amends the Game Code to remove the requirement to display a hunting license, as well as removing the penalty for non-compliance with the current display requirement. The bill adds language to the code specifying that the license must be carried on person.
- HB 870 (Rep. Garth Everett): Adds recreational noncommercial aircraft and ultralight operations on private airstrips as uses covered under the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act.
- HB 1326 (Rep. Seth Grove, R-York): Removes exemptions from referendum requirement for Act 1 school property tax increases and ties future increases to rate of inflation (without a referendum).
- HB 1294 (Rep. Robert Godshall): Allows utilities that provide water and wastewater services to charge consolidated rates and grants the Public Utility Commission the authority to approve, but not require, ratemaking procedures that would accelerate the recovery of capital investments related to infrastructure repair/replacement as proposed by a fixed utility or city natural gas distribution operation.
- HB 1458 (Rep. Will Tallman, R-Adams/York): Establishes that a violation regarding nonreciprocity of operational limitations is a summary offense that carries, on conviction, a fine of no less than $500 and no more than $1,000.
- SB 450 (Sen. Donald White, R-Indiana/Armstrong/Butler/Clearfield/Westmoreland): An Act amending Title 30 (Fish) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for terms of members of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
- HR 106 (Rep. Martin Causer, R-Cameron/Potter/McKean): Directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study of the Pennsylvania Lottery to analyze its ability to continue to support programs and services for older Pennsylvanians.
Votes on Third Consideration
- HB 242 (Rep. Garth Everett)
- HB 395 (Rep. Bernie O’Neill)
- HB 424 (Rep. Robert Godshall)
- HB 581 (Rep. Keith Gillespie)
- HB 807 (Rep. Curt Sonney)
- HB 1479 (Rep. John Payne)
- SB 274 (Sen. Richard Alloway)
- SB 1030 (Sen. John Gordner)
Wednesday, June 15
- HEALTH, 10 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building
- HB 1544 (Rep. Jim Christiana, R-Beaver): Directs the Pennsylvania Department of Health to provide, upon request, death certificates that do not identify cause of death for any death registered through an electronic death registration system.
- SB 5 (Sen. Edwin Erickson, R-Chester/Delaware): Creates the Community-Based Health Care Program within the Pennsylvania Department of Health to provide grants to community-based health care clinics.
- VETERANS AFFAIRS & EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, 10 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building
- SB 654 (Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill/Berks/Carbon/Lehigh/Monroe/Northampton): Designates cancer as an occupational disease for firefighters under the Workers’ Compensation Act, provided that the cancer was caused by a work-related exposure to a known carcinogen recognized as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the firefighter passed a physical examination with no evidence of cancer prior to engaging in firefighting duties, and the firefighter has four or more years of continuous firefighting service.
- HB 1174 (Rep. Joseph Hackett, R-Delaware): Prohibits the release of a 9-1-1 caller’s identifying information (name, telephone number, address, and location) in response to a Right-to-Know request.
- HB 1344 (Rep. Bernie O’Neill): Requires health insurance companies to send payment for services rendered directly to the emergency medical services agency, whether or not the agency participates in the insurance company’s network, when presented with an “assignment of benefits” form signed by the insured patient.
- HB 1500 (Rep. John Bear, R-Lancaster): Consolidates the Long-Term Patient Access to Pharmaceuticals Act with corresponding repeals, establishes the addition of a lockbox requirement for storing the pharmaceuticals, and outlines the duties and responsibilities of the pharmacy manager in overseeing access to the lockbox.
- HR 331 (Rep. Stephen Barrar, R-Chester/Delaware): Forms a select committee to conduct a study concerning the future of Soldiers’ Grove, located behind the state Capitol building, and the Medal of Honor Memorial Garden, located within Soldiers’ Grove as the Commonwealth is expected to run out of the land/space necessary for the honorarium by 2016.
On Wednesday the House will meet at 11 a.m. for legislative business.
Votes on Second Consideration
- HB 934 (Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler): Requires proof of identification for voting at every election and allows for provisional ballots if proof of identification cannot be produced based on either religious beliefs or indigence.
- SB 358 (Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Bedford/Blair/Fulton/Huntingdon/Mifflin): Amends the First Class Township Code to permit the sale of township personal property through electronic auctions.
- SB 360 (Sen. John Eichelberger): Amends the Third Class City Code to permit the sale of city personal property through electronic auctions.
Votes on Third Consideration
- HB 735 (Rep. Keith Gillespie)
- HB 870 (Rep. Garth Everett)
- HB 1294 (Rep. Robert Godshall)
- HB 1458 (Rep. Will Tallman)
- SB 450 (Sen. Donald White)
Thursday, June 16
- HUMAN SERVICES, 9 a.m., Room 140, Main Capitol Building
- Public hearing on HB 1651 (Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks): A comprehensive act that requires the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to establish and maintain the Pharmaceutical Accountability Monitoring System, an electronic system for monitoring all scheduled drugs that are dispensed in Pennsylvania by licensed professionals.
- LIQUOR CONTROL, 10 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building
- Public hearing on HB 1519 (Rep. Michael O’Brien, D-Philadelphia): Allows the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement to immediately suspend the license of a premise for the following reasons: providing alcoholic beverages to 10 or more minors, three or more instances of selling alcoholic beverages during prohibited hours, three or more noise violations, repeated noncompliance with license conditions, or a direct correlation of a homicide to the licensed premise. The bureau must present evidence of the reason for suspension to an administrative judge within 24 hours of suspending the license and an administrative hearing must be held no later than 14 days after the suspension.
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