Senator Mario Scavello E-Newsletter

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Week of October 1, 2018

In this Edition:

  • Senate Sends Bill Protecting Domestic Abuse Victims to Governor for Enactment
  • Tuesday is the Deadline to Register to Vote in November
  • October is the Prime Time for Flu Shots
  • Other Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment
  • Senate Approves Purple Heart, Legion of Merit License Plates
  • Other Bills Approved by the Senate
  • Committee Roundup
  • Around the 40th District
  • Next Week

Senate Sends Bill Protecting Domestic Abuse Victims to Governor for Enactment

The Senate approved legislation Wednesday revising the terms by which firearms must be relinquished in domestic abuse situations, while retaining Second Amendment protections. The measure is now set for enactment into law.

Under current law, firearms must be turned over by those subject to Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders or convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. House Bill 2060 requires relinquishment to occur more quickly, and eliminates third-party “safekeeping” of firearms with family or friends. It does not expand the cases in which firearms must be turned over.

Under House Bill 2060, firearms relinquishment would continue to take place in the case of a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence when the defendant has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In the case of a civil order, which would be a PFA order, a judge will still be able to order the relinquishment of firearms after a hearing at which evidence is presented and both parties have a chance to speak. A final PFA order cannot exceed three years.

House Bill 2060 requires firearms to be relinquished to law enforcement, an officer of the court, a licensed firearms dealer or to a commercial armory. Currently, the third party who would be in possession of the firearms during the duration of the PFA can be a friend or family member of the defendant, putting victims in a position of further risk. Relinquishment would only apply after due process is complete on a final PFA, not temporary orders.

Currently, the defendant must relinquish firearms within 60 days. House Bill 2060 would make the relinquishment period 24 hours. The goal is to make a volatile situation less dangerous for everyone involved, including members of law enforcement.

We can do more to protect victims of domestic violence while at the same time protecting constitutional rights, and I believe this bill strikes the right balance.

Tuesday is the Deadline to Register to Vote in November

Tuesday, October 9, is the last day to register to vote before the November 6, 2018 election. You can register online or complete a voter registration form and submit it to your county board of elections.

The voter registration deadline is the same no matter how you register to vote: 30 days before any election.

October is the Prime Time for Flu Shots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu vaccine by the end of October to be ready for flu season, although later vaccination can still help.

Two weeks are required for the vaccination to become effective, and flu activity peaks between December and February. You can find more information here:

Other Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment

House Bill 126 allows certain entities to have non-patient specific epinephrine auto-injectors.

Senate Bill 172 provides a three-year trial period for PENNDOT to place speed cameras in active work zones on limited access highways

Senate Approves Purple Heart, Legion of Merit License Plates

The Senate approved a measure this week that will allow for a special Purple Heart license plate for motorcycles that is similar to the one currently available for cars and trucks. House Bill 1294 also would authorize PENNDOT to create a license plate for cars and trucks to recognize Legion of Merit recipients.

The measure would also allow transportation network companies, such as Uber, to display illuminated signs, pending approval by the Public Utility Commission. House Bill 1294 returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Other Bills Approved by the Senate

Senate Bill 180 updates and revises state law relating to organ and tissue donations. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on further Senate amendments to House amendments.

Senate Resolution 292 directs the Joint State Government Commission to study the College and University Student Vaccination Act. 

Senate Bill 623 updates and revises Pennsylvania law to include the codification of Pennsylvania Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment to be used by medical professionals. 

Senate Bill 701 conveys a property in Harrisburg held by the Department of General Services to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System.

Senate Bill 764 creates a recreational vehicle (RV) specific law which would govern RV dealers, manufacturers, and salespeople. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on further Senate amendments.

House Bill 783 exempts manufactured homes — not previously titled in Pennsylvania — from the tax certification requirement. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 912 provides greater access to in-home care by extending “presumptive eligibility” to those who meet the qualifications for Medicaid.

Senate Bill 1073 extends the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act to include several law enforcement entities that are not currently protected by this coverage.

Senate Bill 1176 amends the Home Rule Law.

Senate Bill 1232 renames a portion of Route 30 in Westmoreland County.

Senate Bill 1237 addresses rural hospital issues.

House Bill 1386 amends the Public School Code by adding a new section concerning instructional certificate grade spans and age levels. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

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. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

House Bill 1499 amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) to clarify and update provisions relating to planned communities, condominiums and cooperatives. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Committee Roundup

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

Senate Resolution 418 urges Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to include fresh milk as an eligible product in its Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

Senate Resolution 421 urges Congress to pass a 2018 Farm Bill that includes the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 and calls on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to conduct a study of industrial hemp research pilot programs.

The committee also held a public hearing on invasive and native species in Pennsylvania.

Appropriations

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.

House Bill 504 allows owners of self-service storage units to obtain a limited license from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to sell insurance to those renting storage space to cover the contents of the storage units.

House Bill 1386 amends the Public School Code by adding a new section concerning instructional certificate grade spans and age levels.

House Bill 1460 imposes additional reporting requirements on the Public School Employees’ Retirement System board and the State Employees’ Retirement System board.

House Bill 2325 allows a reliable, but hearsay, statement from a victim who is intellectually disabled or autistic to be admissible in court.

House Bill 2453 amends the Check Casher Licensing Act to strengthen enforcement provisions, increase penalties, and permit cashing of certain post-dated checks.

The Appropriations Committee approved eight bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 26 permits organizational registration plates for use on motorcycles and allows for abbreviated portions of an organization’s name on special plates.

House Bill 86 establishes new emissions test requirements for certain vehicles that currently must get a treadmill test (dynamometer) in the Philadelphia region and a tailpipe probe test in the Pittsburgh region.

House Bill 128 increases the penalty for trafficking in infant children.

House Bill 783 exempts manufactured homes not previously titled in Pennsylvania from the tax certification requirement.

Senate Bill 912 provides greater access to in-home care by extending “presumptive eligibility” to those who meet the qualifications for Medicaid.

Senate Bill 1237 addresses rural hospital issues.

House Bill 2060 provides for the relinquishment of firearms following a conviction of a misdemeanor offense for domestic violence or the court issuance of a protection from abuse order.

House Bill 2124 requires institutions of higher education to send annual letters to students with information on their student loan debt, including estimates of their total debt at graduation and estimated monthly payments.

Community, Economic & Recreational Development

House Bill 1511 amends the Tax Reform Code providing for definitions and the imposition of the hotel occupancy tax, and establishing a restricted revenue account to be known as the Tourism Promotion Fund.

Education

House Bill 1745 creates the Fostering Independence Through Education Act, providing for a tuition and fee waiver program for youth who are, or were, in foster care.

House Bill 2052 amends the Public School Code by adding a new section concerning military parent student support.

House Bill 2158 adds a new section to the Public School Code concerning career information and recruitment.

House Bill 2159 amends the Public School Code concerning transfers of credits between institutions of higher education. 

Finance

House Bill 645 amends Article XIX-A (Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit) of the Tax Reform Code of 1971 regarding tax credits and providing for reporting.

Senate Bill 1258 clarifies the Sales and Use Tax regarding canned and customized software, financial institution security equipment, and services fees on financial institutions.

Judiciary

Senate Bill 1023 limits parole re-application for sexually violent offenders.

Senate Bill 1154 prohibits the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores unless sourced from shelters and rescues.

Senate Bill 1207 addresses financial exploitation of senior citizens through powers of attorney.

Senate Bill 1245 addresses recommendations included in the 2017 Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Plan.

House Bill 1931 amends the Crimes Code regarding law enforcement officers’ power to remove or arrest trespassers.

House Bill 2060 bill provides for the relinquishment of firearms following a conviction of a misdemeanor offense for domestic violence or the court issuance of a protection from abuse order.

The committee also held a public hearing on Senate Bill 1245 and issues relating to the juvenile justice system.

Labor & Industry

Senate Bill 479 provides up to six weeks of unpaid leave to an employee to care for a sibling, grandparent or grandchild with a serious health condition if the individual has no living spouse, child over 17 years of age, or parent under 65 years of age.

House Bill 1840 re-establishes a provision in the Workers’ Compensation Act authorizing Impairment Rating Evaluations for claimants, addresses the Supreme Court’s Protz ruling (Protz vs. Derry Area School District), and increases the burial benefit in the Workers’ Compensation Act from $3,000 to $7,000.

House Bill 2206 amends the Workforce Development Act by changing the composition of a local workforce development board to include at least one local administrator of a career and technical center. 

Urban Affairs & Housing

Senate Bill 340 provides for the tax sale of abandoned properties.

Senate Bill 1185 creates a state housing tax credit.

Around the 40th District

 

I want to give a special congratulations and thanks to my staffer, Patty Konopa, who was honored by Integra Home Counseling for her outstanding work assisting a local family find housing who was displaced from their home in Puerto Rico. She continues to go above and beyond in assisting our constituents and worked tirelessly to find this beautiful family a home so they could have a fresh start. Thank you, Patty, for your compassionate work.

This week we celebrated the grand opening of two new businesses at Camelback, Berrelli’s Italian Restaurant and Kartrite’s Summit House. Thank you for providing residents and visitors alike with quality service and dining options, while upholding the highest standards of service. 

Dolce Sweet Café celebrated their official ribbon cutting for their new storefront in downtown Nazareth where they provide quality coffee and a broad selection of sweets. Congratulations to Dolce and their owner, Stephanie Varone, on this exciting new endeavor! Stephanie also owns Smooch Boutique and has been a long-time champion of our Main Street businesses. May you have much continued success in the years ahead!

What an honor it was to take part in the annual Pink Light Walk at East Stroudsburg University as we showed support for survivors and those affected by breast cancer. These women have strength beyond words, fighting their battles with quiet and unwavering determination. How beautiful and what a privilege that we can stand together as a community to fight these battles together.

Congratulations to Purple Haze Alpacas as they commemorated 20 years in business at their Annual Open Gate Farm Tour this past weekend. You have a beautiful farm and the community looks forward to your next 20 years!

Next Week

The Senate returns to voting session on Monday at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.

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