Senator Don White E-Newsletter

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Harrisburg Happenings

A report on the Legislative Session from the week of March 26, 2018
By Senator Don White
41st Senatorial District

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features events and legislative activities during the Session Week of March 26, 2018.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatordonwhite.com for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the page.  If you would like to contact my office, please go to my web page and click the “contact” button.  Please do not “reply” directly to this e-mail.

Sincerely,
Don White

Committee Approves Eye Care Parity Bill

The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee considered and approved a bill on Tuesday that would protect consumer choices and small businesses in the eye care industry. Senate Bill 257, which increases parity in the eye care industry, now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

This issue is becoming increasingly important as a growing number of eye care insurers now own commercial optical centers and large-scale optical laboratories and are taking steps that monopolize the marketplace.

The bill we approved is intended to create parity by addressing the unfair advantages and practices used by those insurers and ensuring that patients have freedom of choice when selecting a provider and providers have the freedom to choose materials, fabrication and source of products.

Applications Now Being Accepted for Training Program

Applications are now being accepted for a free four-week training program, beginning April 16, that helps prepare candidates for jobs in the natural gas utility and pipeline industry. All classes are held at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Northpointe Campus at 167 Northpointe Boulevard, Freeport, PA 16229. 

Due to the limited number of available slots, 15-20 for the class, interested individuals are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. For more information about the training visit: http://www.gastechnology.org/from-black-to-blue.

Senate Approves Bill Reforming Prison Closing Process

The Senate approved legislation on Tuesday intended to reform the process by which state prisons are closed in Pennsylvania.

On January 6, 2017, the Department of Corrections announced plans to close two of five selected state correctional institutions.  A final decision for closures was set for January 26, leaving only 20 days to gather feedback from the public, the institutions’ employees, local government officials and legislators. 

Senate Bill 748 ensures there is adequate notice and consideration of any proposed closure of a state correctional institution or other facility that employs law enforcement staff. The bill sets specific notification requirements and requires the development of strategies to minimize the stress on employees and local communities. 

The Senate approved four additional bills this week.

Senate Bill 114 allows a sewer authority to obtain a court order to terminate sewer service to commercial customers who are at least 6 months delinquent in payment of their sewer bills.

Senate Bill 263 eliminates the requirement that disabled voters — with permanent absentee voter status  — submit a written statement every four years.

Senate Bill 762 requires an external performance audit of the Pennsylvania Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors and the process by which voter registration records are entered and maintained. 

Senate Bill 776 extends the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program.

The bills were all sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Two Bills Sent to Governor’s Desk

Two bills received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor for enactment into law.

House Bill 1486 exempts “high tunnels” from the requirements of the Storm Water Management Act.

House Bill 1854 designates a portion of Route 522 in Snyder County as the Staff Sgt. Stanley R. Saylor Memorial Highway.

Committee Roundup

Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved six bills on Monday.

Senate Bill 263 eliminates the requirement that disabled voters — with permanent absentee voter status — submit a written statement every four years.

Senate Bill 439 requires carbon monoxide detectors in child care facilities.

Senate Bill 521 adds CPR instruction to the education curriculum for high school students.

Senate Bill 762 requires an external performance audit of the Pennsylvania Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors and the process by which voter registration records are entered and maintained. 

Senate Bill 776 extends the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program.

Senate Bill 880 allows trailers up to 102-inches wide on Pennsylvania highways.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

The Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee approved House Bill 863 on Tuesday. The bill amends the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act to increase the educational requirements for the salesperson license and to authorize brokers and salespersons to prepare Broker Price Opinions.

Environmental Resources & Energy

The Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee approved House Bill 544 on Tuesday. The bill addresses the issue of recreational use and liability to protect landowners in the event of injuries to recreational users.

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved nine bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 56 provides access to adoption-related counseling services to birth parents who are considering relinquishing their parental rights.

House Bill 61 allows a correctional facility employee to serve as a witness when a birth parent who is incarcerated consents to an adoption.

House Bill 63 expands the definition of “intermediary” in adoption law to include an attorney or social worker who is acting in that capacity.

House Bill 289 adds reasonable living expenses incurred by a birth mother to the list of permissible reimbursable expenses paid by adoptive parents in an adoption.

Senate Bill 859 establishes a grant program to assist counties in diverting individuals with mental health problems from the criminal justice system.

Senate Bill 860 enacts the Criminal Justice and Addiction Treatment Act.

Senate Bill 884 makes changes for guardianship in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 922 creates the Court Assessment for Nonnarcotic Medication Substance Abuse Treatment Program. 

Senate Bill 1090 increases penalties for hazing and requires schools to have policies and reporting procedures in place to stop hazing.

State Government

3/27/18 - Hearing on Redistricting Legislation

The Senate State Government Committee held a public hearing on Tuesday on four Senate bills that would change the process by which the Commonwealth establishes its Congressional Districts. Redistricting normally takes place every 10 years, following the U.S. Census, to reflect population changes both nationally and within the state.

The redistricting bills currently before the Senate include: Senate Bill 22, Senate Bill 243, Senate Bill 464 and Senate Bill 767.

The State Government Committee approved two bills during a separate meeting later on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1078 allows municipalities and school districts to discuss security and safety matters in executive session.

House Bill 1793 creates the Pennsylvania Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial.

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved four bills on Monday.

House Bill 215 establishes Honoring Our Women Veterans and Recipients of Legion of Merit license plates.

Senate Bill 1080 renames a road.

Senate Bill 1091 provides for contributions for pediatric cancer research and establishes the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund.

House Bill 1414 authorizes visual and audible signals on emergency vehicles for additional fire personnel, flashing yellow and white lights on tow trucks, yellow strobe lights for solid waste collection vehicles, and mounted internal blue lights for volunteer firefighters.

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