Week of October 21, 2019
In This Edition:
Regan Holds Peyton’s Law Press Conference
Bill is voted out of Senate Education Committee
On Monday, I held a press conference with The Peyton Walker Foundation regarding Senate Bill 836, known as Peyton’s Law, which aims to educate every student athlete and their parents about EKG testing to detect underlying heart conditions that can lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
Peyton Walker was a graduate of Trinity High School in Camp Hill, who died from SCA when she was just 19 years old. Her mother, Julie, established the foundation in Peyton’s honor in an effort to help prevent other tragic losses from SCA.
SB 836 builds off of Act 59 of 2012, the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act, which required information be provided to student athletes about SCA. Currently, student athletes and parents receive an SCA symptoms and warning signs information sheet each school year that must be signed and returned prior to participation in athletic activities.
Based on recently enacted legislation in Texas, known as Cody’s Law, SB 836 amends Act 59 to require:
1) Information be provided to student athletes and their parents/guardians regarding electrocardiogram testing; and
2) They be notified of the option to request the administration of an electrocardiogram in addition to the standard physical examination.
I was pleased to have Scott and Melody Stephens, Cody’s parents, join us all the way from Texas. They were the champions for Cody’s Law, and it was an honor to have them be part of our efforts here in Pennsylvania.
Following the press conference, the Senate Education Committee held a meeting, during which they unanimously voted to support SB 836. The bill is now before the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Monday’s event was part of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, designated as such through the Senate’s unanimous adoption of my Senate Resolution 228.
Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee Approves Two Bills
The Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 908 transfers the administration of the Fire Relief Program from the Auditor General to the State Fire Commissioner.
Senate Bill 910 reauthorizes the Fire & EMS Grant Program until June 30, 2024.
Veterans Suicide Roundtables Continue in Delaware County
On Thursday, I traveled to Delaware County for the fifth of six roundtables I have held across the state in recent months on the topic of Veterans Suicide. I was joined by Senator Tom Killion (R-Chester & Delaware), Representative Steve Barrar (R-Chester & Delaware) and Representative Chris Quinn (R-Delaware).
Additional participants included officials from the Coatesville VA, PA Department of Military & Veterans Affairs, PA Department of Corrections, PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs, PA Department of Human Services, Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland, Chester and Philadelphia County Veterans Affairs Offices, along with representatives of the Berks Counseling Center, Family Service Association of Bucks County, Veterans Multi-Service Center, and Volunteers of America.
The group discussed federal, state, and local efforts to combat Veterans Suicide and how best to coordinate efforts. Specific items mentioned were the national Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255), navigating the host of services to available to veterans, Public Service Announcements to help change the stigma associated with veterans seeking help, more comprehensive post-deployment/re-acclimation periods, as well as additional VA Vet Centers, County Veterans Courts, Veterans Service Units in Prisons and Veterans Services Officers, all in order to get veterans the services they need.
The statistics are staring directly at us in the face with twenty-two Veterans committing suicide each day and with Veterans suicide twice the rate of the general population. When we wrap-up the roundtables in November in the Lehigh Valley, we will start acting on legislation to address this very serious issue.
Bill Repurposing Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion Advances
The Senate unanimously passed legislation on Wednesday to repurpose the Lieutenant Governor’s Residence at Fort Indiantown Gap to support veterans and active duty military personnel. Pennsylvania is the only state that provides a residence for its Lieutenant Governor.
Senate Bill 750 requires the Department of General Services to transfer the Lieutenant Governor’s mansion to the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs to be used for the purposes of supporting Pennsylvania’s veterans programs and supporting the National Guard.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Votes to Provide Security Grants to Nonprofits
The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday to provide security grants to faith-based institutions and nonprofit organizations. House Bill 859 would make grants available to faith-based institutions and any nonprofit that services individuals, groups, or institutions included within the FBI’s bias motivation category for hate crime incidents.
The $5 million Nonprofit Security Grant Program would be administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). Grant awards would range from $5,000 to $150,000, with larger amounts contingent upon the organization committing matching funds.
Similar to the recently enacted Safe Schools Grant Program, faith-based institutions and nonprofits could use the funds for a variety of security planning, equipment, and technology needs — including metal detectors, surveillance cameras, emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, threat assessments, and building upgrades.
House Bill 859 returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Approves Reinstatement of School Police Officer Arrest Powers
The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday reinstating the ability of school police officers to be granted full arrest powers.
House Bill 49 clarifies that school police officers may granted the same powers as the police of the municipality in which the school is located. House Bill 49 also extends the deadline for school police officers, school resource officers, and school security guards to receive training required by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) or an equivalent course until the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.
The measure also amends the Public School Code to allow students to receive credit for the successful completion of a personal financial literacy course and it extends the deadline for the Public Higher Education Funding Commission to issue a report of its findings to November 30, 2020.
The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Legislation to End Child Marriages Sent to House
The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday to ban child marriage in Pennsylvania. Senate Bill 81 would eliminate all legal exceptions that allow marriages of children under the age of 18.
Current Pennsylvania law allows those age 16 and 17 to marry with a parent or guardian’s consent and those under 16 to marry with parental consent and a judge’s approval.
Bill to Strengthen Oversight of Proposed Regulations Approved by Senate
The Senate approved a bill on Tuesday to strengthen the review process for government regulations and provide for better oversight by lawmakers. Senate Bill 398 would ensure state agencies deliver proposed regulations to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and to lawmakers in a timely manner to ensure a thorough review. The bill also extends the time period for review to coincide with days the General Assembly is in session.
Currently, state agencies can submit proposed regulations at a time when the General Assembly is in recess, preventing lawmakers from undertaking a comprehensive review and scheduling hearings to air concerns about how those regulations could affect Pennsylvania families and businesses.
The legislation was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. Seven additional Senate Bills were also approved this week and sent to the House.
Senate Bill 61 expands the list of organizations eligible to receive a wine and spirits auction permit.
Senate Bill 114 requires the removal of snow and ice from vehicles before driving.
Senate Bill 413 amends the state Constitution to eliminate a provision requiring a separate ballot or a separate column on voting machines for the retention of justices, judges, and justices of the peace.
Senate Bill 790 creates a Conventional Oil and Gas Wells Act.
Agriculture & Rural Affairs
The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee approved Senate Bill 798 on Tuesday. The bill removes a loophole relating to dangerous dogs from the Dog Law.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved 17 bills on Monday including:
Senate Bill 94 ensures all active duty volunteer firefighters, fire police, officers or directors of a volunteer fire company, and integral members of a volunteer fire company are covered under the State Workers Insurance Fund.
House Bill 227 clarifies that school director candidates will be required to submit 10 signatures for nomination.
Senate Bill 320 enacts the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.
Senate Bill 332 increases the service charge for bad checks.
House Bill 375 eliminates state veterans’ benefits from the definition of “income” for PACE and PACENET eligibility determinations.
Senate Bill 412 amends the state Constitution to repeal a provision that excludes federal, state, county, and municipal employees from serving as poll workers.
House Bill 684 excludes the principal and interest accrued from savings bonds in the determination of eligibility for PACE and PACENET.
House Bill 754 provides that PACE and PACENET enrollees will not lose their benefits if they exceed the maximum income limit due solely to a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.
Senate Bill 819 updates and revises the Older Adults Protective Services Act.
House Bill 947 sets the hours of operation for breweries, distilleries and limited distilleries.
In addition to Senate Bill 836 and House Bill 49 discussed above, the Senate Education Committee approved Senate Bill 331, which creates three grants of $150,000 which would be distributed to three community colleges or State System of Higher Education universities to establish fire training programs for students in high school during the school year.
Environmental Resources & Energy
The Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee approved four measures on Tuesday.
Senate Resolution 191 urges Congress to reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund.
Senate Bill 726 provides more clarity regarding permit appeals from decisions made by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Senate Bill 727 shortens the term a judge can serve on the Environmental Hearing Board from six to five years. It also restricts judges from serving more than two terms unless they began by filling a vacancy on the bench.
Senate Bill 891 establishes a mechanism for expedited review of permits issued under 25 Pa. Code Chapter 102 and Chapter 105.
The Environmental Resources & Energy Committee approved two bills on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 919 establishes statewide uniform requirements restricting the use of Class B firefighting foams containing added PFAS chemistries for training, restricting their use in testing, while also allowing for continued sale and use against real-world fires.
House Bill 1410 amends the Transit Revitalization Investment District Act (Act 238 of 2004) by providing for military installation remediation and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances remediation.
The Senate Finance Committee approved two bills on Wednesday.
House Bill 17 establishes a 10-year time period for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to collect assessed personal income taxes.
Senate Bill 74 allows companies to apply for a tax credit after making an eligible donation to a Pennsylvania pediatric cancer research hospital.
Health & Human Services
The Senate Health & Human Services Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 842 allows for the omission of health care workers’ last names from their identification badges.
Senate Bill 906 institutes a moratorium on the closing of the Polk and White Haven State Centers.
The Senate Local Government Committee approved eight bills on Tuesday.
House Bill 917 repeals Act 598 of 1929, an act authorizing municipalities — other than townships — to acquire, operate and maintain a hospital.
House Bill 1034 amends the Consolidated County Assessment Law to more precisely define changes to real property that could occur without authorizing the assessment office to adjust an assessment, and to increase the value of other improvements that may occur before the assessment office is required to be notified.
House Bill 1035 allows political subdivisions and authorities to enter into contracts for services when two consecutive advertisements fail to receive bids.
House Bill 1036 amends the Borough Code regarding ballot questions for a decrease in the size of a borough council.
House Bill 1174 repeals Act 49 of 1933 which prohibits baseball or football games on Sundays before 2 p.m. or after 6 p.m. in certain circumstances.
House Bill 1180 repeals the Sunday Motion Pictures Act of 1935.
House Bill 1379 repeals the Sunday Polo Act of 1935
House Bill 1405 repeals the Sunday Tennis Act of 1935.
Urban Affairs & Housing
The Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 329 strengthens blighted property code violations when an owner has received state funds.
Senate Bill 334 bans spot appeals of property assessments.
House Bill 1578 amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) to make technical changes and clarifications.
The Senate will reconvene at 1pm on Monday, October 28, 2019. You can watch live on my website at www.senatormikereganpa.com.
On Tuesday, the Senate Law & Justice Committee will hold a hearing on several liquor-related pieces of legislation, including my Senate Bill 896, which calls for a statewide auction of all “dead” liquor licenses that did not garner a bid in an auction within the last year. Watch live on Tuesday starting at 10am.