In this Edition:
Scavello Bill Defining Three-Wheeled “Autocycles” Set to Become Law
Legislation I sponsored by to establish a legal definition for increasingly popular, three-wheeled “autocycles” received final legislative approval this week and was sent to the Governor to be signed into law.
Senate Bill 1108 will make clearer the distinction between these newly developed three-wheeled vehicles with two forward wheels and the more recognizable three-wheeled, trike-style motorcycles which have been around for many years. Models of the newer vehicles include the Polaris “Slingshot” and the Tanom Motors “Invader.”
Specifically, the legislation will define these vehicles as an autocycle and register and title them by creating a special designation under the existing motorcycle definition. However, individuals wishing to operate an autocycle will be permitted to do so with a Class “C” driver’s license.
This measure will foster conformity with other states in the region that have already adopted an autocycle definition. The result will be more accurate crash reporting statistics, clarity for law enforcement and safer travel for motorists.
The legislation is the result of recommendations issued by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, an internationally respected group of motor vehicle administrators and law enforcement officials.
DUI Ignition Interlock Legislation Sent to Governor
Legislation that would require most drivers convicted for a first time drunk driving violation to use ignition interlocks for at least a year received final legislative approval this week and was sent to the Governor.
Senate Bill 290 would require convicted drunk drivers with illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .10 or greater to use ignition interlocks for at least 12 months for first-time offenders. Under current law, the requirement applies only to second and subsequent offenses.
According to statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, nearly two million drunk-driving attempts have been stopped with ignition interlock devices, including more than 78,000 instances in Pennsylvania between 2003 and 2015.
Other Bills Sent to the Governor
House Bill 944 addresses the management of neighborhood improvement districts in the City of Philadelphia.
House Bill 1310 provides privacy of individuals who call 911 to report crimes.
House Bill 1436 provides for the computation of income tax expense for ratemaking purposes.
House Bill 1574 expands Pennsylvania’s college anti-hazing law to apply to grades 7 through 12, as well as to organizations not affiliated with schools in which students still participate, such as private athletic leagues.
Senate Approves Civil Service Modernization Measure
The Senate on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 1154, a measure I’m co-sponsoring that would streamline and modernize Pennsylvania’s Civil Service Act.
With 70 percent of the Commonwealth’s workforce classified as civil service employees, Senate Bill 1154 will ensure that vacancies are filled with qualified people in a timely manner. The bill would allow applicants to be notified of an open job or test by methods other than the U.S. Mail, such as by email. It would also expand the “Rule of Three” by giving the commission the option to provide agencies with a list of more than three applicants.
Senate Bill 1154 would allow for “vacancy-based hiring,” which will permit the Civil Service Commission to post actual job vacancies, rather than a general list of job classifications.
Currently a prospective employee applies for job classifications -- not an actual open position -- and is placed on a list. Agencies must review applicant lists to determine availability and interest when a job becomes available. This creates an unnecessary delay that wastes applicants’ time and the agency’s time, which can be eliminated by posting specific jobs and allowing prospective employees to apply for them.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House
House Bill 150 creates a “Share the Road” registration plate, with proceeds maintaining PennDOT's central office position of Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and funding highway bicycle signage. The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Bill 180 updates state law relating to organ and tissue donations.
House Bill 608 adds the term “precursor substances” to the list of chemicals that are illegal to possess if the possessor’s intent is to illegally manufacture a controlled substance. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Bill 837 provides title protection to Marriage and Family Therapists licensed by the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors to ensure that only those with a professional license be permitted to fashion themselves as a marriage and family therapist in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 1031 allows for the appointment of independent counsel to investigate alleged wrongdoing by an Attorney General, employees of the Office of Attorney General, or chairman or treasurer of a political campaign of the Attorney General.
Senate Bill 1038 adds a judicial position to juvenile detention boards in third class counties.
Senate Bill 1194 removes the sunset date of June 30, 2016 from the “State Military College Legislative Appointment Initiative,” which allows members of the General Assembly to appoint annually an eligible student from their legislative districts.
House Bill 1196 provides special liquor code provisions for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
House Bill 1552 provides for student-weighted basic education funding and for supplemental payment of basic education funding for the 2014-15 school year.
Hearing Explores Expanded Sunday Hunting
The Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, which I chair, held a public hearing Wednesday to gather testimony on a proposal to expand hunting on Sundays.
The first panel to testify included representatives from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the Keystone Trails Association, the Pennsylvania Equine Association, the Pennsylvania State Grange, and the Humane Society.
The second panel included representatives from the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, and the United Sportsmen of Pennsylvania.
You can view the agenda and read testimony here.
On Monday, the committee met to consider House Bill 1722, which would allow the use of a leashed tracking dog to track big game (white-tailed deer, bear or elk) to assist in recovering an animal which has been legally harvested or wounded. The bill as approved and sent to the full Senate for consideration.
State Implementation of New Education Standards
The Senate Education Committee held a public hearing Wednesday on Pennsylvania’s implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The ESSA presents opportunities to move away from the prescriptive requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and strengthen the ability of states and local school districts to set new policies and priorities in the best interests of their students, teachers and communities.
The hearing focused on ESSA’s potential impact on:
You can watch the hearing and read testimony here.
Committee Releases Reports on Long-Term Care for Veterans, Impact of Tavern Gaming on Lottery
The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee met Wednesday to release reports on to release reports on Pennsylvania's Current and Future Need for Long-term Care Services for Veterans and The Impact of Tavern Gaming on the Pennsylvania State Lottery .
You can watch the meeting here.
Appropriations Committee Round-Up
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the following bills Tuesday:
Senate Bill 163 clarifies that parental rights may not be terminated solely because a parent is incarcerated and addresses services available to those children.
Senate Bill 1159 provides for legislative review of the state plan required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
Senate Bill 1227 repeals the Public Employee Retirement Commission Act and transfers responsibilities of PERC regarding pension legislation to the Independent Fiscal Office and Auditor General.
House Bill 59 requires health care providers to offer Hepatitis C testing to persons born between 1946 and 1964.
House Bill 147 proposes an amendment to the state Constitution to extend the General Assembly’s authority to grant homestead exclusions.
House Bill 264 establishes the Care Facility Carbon Monoxide Alarms Standards Act.
House Bill 414 exempts municipal pension plans with less than 100 members from procurement requirements of the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act and adds a new chapter providing for pension stabilization and future pension designs.
House Bill 1436 requires that a public utility’s federal income tax expense must be calculated separate from any gains or losses of annual regulated affiliate in rate cases before the Public Utility Commission.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, June 6. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.
Around the 40th
Pooch Loop will support Relay for Life
The Pooch Loop will be held this Sunday, May 22 at 12 p.m.at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort. The dog walk will benefit Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.
Pocono Chamber Hosting Health & Wellness Forum
The Greater Pocono Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Health and Wellness Forum on Thursday, May 26 at 8 a.m. at Terraview at the Stroudsmoor Country Inn in Stroudsburg. The forum is free but space is limited, so you must RSVP by calling (570) 421-4433. Guest speaker will be Dr. David Feinberg, CEO of Geisinger. I look forward to seeing you there!
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