In this Edition:
Senator Scavello to Host Senior Expo on Monday
I hope you can make it Monday, July 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for my Senior Expo at Pocono Mountain Swiftwater Elementary Center.
July Episode of Legislative Report
In the July episode of my Legislative Report program, I interview Monroe County Commissioners John Moyer, Charlie Garris and John Christy to discuss various issues in our county, including the county reassessment process and updates to the 2030 Plan.
Legislature Sends Budget Bills to Governor
This week the General Assembly finalized and sent to the Governor all of the various bills associated with the 2016-17 Fiscal Year budget to complement the spending plan previously approved by the Legislature.
The 2016-17 Fiscal Year budget package recognizes the economic reality facing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We are looking at modest economic growth over the coming year offset by significant and painful obligations, such as escalating public pension premiums, federally mandated increases for human service programs and increasing corrections expenses. With those cost-drivers excluded, the budget increased by 1.8 percent.
The budget maintains Pennsylvania’s core programs and services and provides significant additional money for early, basic and secondary education, all without increasing income taxes, the state sales tax or imposing a job-killing Marcellus Shale extraction tax.
In addition to the fiscal code bills, the General Assembly passed a school code bill providing for greater transparency in the Department of Education, improving the certification process for vocational and substitute educators, permitting school districts to enter into cost-saving administrative partnership agreements, and eliminating the double-dip pension contributions to charter schools from districts.
Legislation to Establish Restricted Fund for ATV Activities Set for Enactment
Legislation that would ensure that funds received through the registration, certification and enforcement of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in Pennsylvania are used specifically to support ATV activities received final approval and was sent to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law.
Senate Bill 648 requires that monies generated through ATV-related operations are placed in a restricted account to be used for a variety of purposes including the construction and maintenance of ATV trails and acquisition of equipment, supplies and interests in land.
Currently, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) does not separate expenditures related to ATV and snowmobile operations. As a result, these funds are being disproportionately allocated between user groups. While ATV operations contribute $1.4 million of the $1.6 million in the current fund, 80 percent of the total funding is allocated to expansion of snowmobile trails.
Additional Bills Sent to the Governor
House Bill 325 clarifies and updates the Auctioneer Licensing and Trader Assistant Registration Act and eliminates the Auction House license.
Senate Bill 533 establishes a uniform procedure for the disposition of contraband left in the possession of probation and parole agencies.
Senate Bill 514 amends the Generic Equivalent Drug Law to provide for the substitution of an interchangeable biological product for a brand name biologic.
House Bill 806 amends the Clean and Green law to prohibit the application of use values that result in assessments higher than fair market value.
House Bill 871 allows for the de-titling of vehicles which are recycled by a scrap metal processor.
House Bill 967 establishes an agricultural pilot program for industrial hemp research.
Senate Bill 1227 transfers the responsibilities of the Public Employee Retirement Commission with regard to pension legislation to the Independent Fiscal Office and the Office of the Auditor General.
Senate Bill 1221 reforms the Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.
Senate Bill 1267 enhances the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Municipal Signal Partnership Program known as Green Light-Go.
Senate Passes Measure Expanding Nurse Practitioners’ Authority
The Senate approved a bill this week that would amend the state’s Professional Nursing Law to provide for the licensure of certified nurse practitioners by the State Board of Nursing.
Currently, nurse practitioners must be affiliated with, and pay a fee to, a physician. Under Senate Bill 717 nurse practitioners would still be required to practice for 3 years and 3,600 hours under a collaborative agreement with two physicians. After completing the transition-to-practice period, nurse practitioners could have full practice authority without the affiliation requirement.
Additional Bills Sent to the House of Representatives
House Bill 568 amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act providing for the review of updated sections of codes. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Bill 1229 addresses the process used by the Department of Corrections prior to the closure of a state prison and corrects technical issues related to the distribution of Pennsylvania Breeding Funds.
Appropriations Committee Round-Up
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the following bills this week:
House Bill 1605 is the 2016-17 Fiscal Code.
House Bill 1606 is the 2016-17 School Code.
Around the 40th District
The Senate returns to voting session on September 26.
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