It was the last week the House of Representatives and Senate sat together until the week of December 13. This meant a flurry of activity across the Capitol throughout the three-day session.
Monday was highlighted by the House of Commons Environmental Resources and Energy Committee which reported on competing SCRRR Resolution # 1 (Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would disapprove of EQB By-law # 7-559 : CO2 Budget Exchange Program (RGGI). The Committee also held a briefing on the economic implications of Pennsylvania’s passage of California’s Large Truck Diesel Emission Control Regulations.
In addition, the House Commerce Committee held a public hearing on Executive Decree 2021-06: Protection of workers and investment, while the House Education Committee held an information meeting on learning loss. The House State Government Committee reported HB 1482 (Cutler, R-Lancaster), which would require the state and every county to implement a post-election audit.
On the Senate side, the Education Committee reported: HB 1660 (Sonney, R-Erie), which would limit the temporary emergency powers of a four-year school district to 60 days; and SB 937 (Brooks, R-Mercer), which would ban COVID-19 vaccine warrants for children. Similarly, the Senate Committee on Health and Social Services reported SB 471 (Mastriano, R-Adams), which would ban forcing individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Committee also reported HB 220 (Rader, R-Monroe), which would prohibit drug and alcohol treatment facilities from denying treatment to an individual solely on the basis of a negative drug test.
The entire Senate adopted RS 53 (Baker, R-Luzerne), which directs the Legislative Committee on Budget and Finance to study and publish a report on the funding of road maintenance by the Department of Transport. The House adopted HR 148 (White, R-Philadelphia), which urges the Environmental Protection Agency to revise the national standard for renewable fuels.
In addition, the following two bills have been sent to the Senate for consideration: HB 1041 (Topper, R-Bedford), which would require school districts and career and technical centers to allow home school students to enroll in extracurricular activities and take up to four college courses; and
HB 1443 (Hershey, R-Juniata), which reportedly includes advertisements for lab tests.
On Tuesday, the House transport committee reported SB 382(Langerholc, R-Cambria), which would reform the status of the Public-Private Transport Partnership (P3) and cancel the P3 program of the Pathways main bridge. The House Finance Committee reported HB 2058 (Mako, R-Northampton), which would ensure that the due date for filing local income tax and net income tax returns is consistent with that for personal income tax and federal returns income tax.
The Senate State Government Committee reported SB 812(Phillips-Hill, R-York), which would require those evaluating bids for transportation contracts to consider “proposed change order” cases. In addition, the Senate Committee on Aging and Youth introduced two bills: HB 291 (Labs, R-Bucks), which would extend the moratorium on Social Security cost of living (COLA) adjustment for two more years, until December 31, 2023; and HB 1260 (Thomas, R-Bucks), which would expand income limits for the PACENET program, eliminate the “clawback” of the PACENET premium and allow the Department of Aging to require PACE and PACENET registrants to register for Medicare Part D .
SB 706 (Robinson, R-Allegheny) was reported by the Senate Appropriation Committee. The bill would establish the Max Manufacturing Initiative Fund to support or facilitate the following: (1) industrial processes, mining, manufacturing, productive agriculture, information technology and biotechnology; (2) the acquisition, installation, modernization or modernization of existing machines and installations; and (3) serve as a medical, industrial or technological facility.
In addition, the Senate Committee on Health and Social Services reported SB 938 (Brooks, R-Mercer), which would empower the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to enact certain regulations that affect licensed drug and alcohol treatment providers.
The House finally passed two bills that will now be considered by the Senate: HB 1561 (Farry, R-Bucks) and HB 1563 (Cutler, R-Lancaster), which would provide access to certain information for the purposes of health care operations, treatment and payment for mental health services. A bill has been passed in the Senate and will go to the House: SB 347 (DiSanto, R-Dauphin), which would allow gains resulting from an exchange of real estate of the same qualifying nature to be tax deferred for personal income tax as is the case for the purposes of the federal tax.
On Wednesday, the last sitting day of the week, the House Consumer Committee held a joint public hearing with the Senate Rural Broadband Communications and Technology Committee. A voting meeting followed, during which the Committee reported HB 2071 (Causer, R-McKean), which would establish the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority to effect and disburse grants and develop a statewide broadband plan.
The House transport committee reported RH 152 (Brown, R-Monroe), who urges the federal government and the governor to take action to address the nation’s shortage of school bus drivers. In addition, the Chamber’s Commerce Committee held a public hearing on HB 2057 (Roae, R-Crawford), which would make many changes to the law on corporations. The committee will hold a voting meeting on the bill on Wednesday.
Finally, the following two bills were finally passed in the Senate and will now be considered by the House: SB 830 (Yudichak, I-Luzerne), which would establish the Veteran Owned Business Loan Guarantee Program; and SB 915 (Browne, R-Lehigh), which is the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Capital Budget Breakdown Act.
The coming week
Just the House is in session next week, giving the Senate an early start to the Thanksgiving holiday.
On Monday, the House Labor and Industry Committee will hold a public hearing on the reform of public sector unions. Then the House Professional Licensure Committee will review SB 869 (Tomlinson, R-Bucks), which would allow the licensing boards and commissions of the Office of Professional and Professional Affairs to permanently maintain certain exemptions and measures put in place during COVID-19.
In addition, the House Education Committee will review: HB 465 (Boback, R-Luzerne), which would require schools to test for lead contamination in drinking water; and HB 2045 (Ortitay, R-Allegheny), which would create a statewide early literacy program.
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a voting meeting to report: HB 2075 (Knowles, R-Schuylkill), which would repeal Pennsylvania’s heavy diesel emissions control program and enforce federal standards for heavy diesel vehicles and engines; and HR 149 (Rigby, R-Cambria), which would ask the Legislative Committee on Budget and Finance to study the potential impacts of the revisions proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection for biosolids permits.
On Tuesday, the House State Government Committee will consider two bills that would amend the state constitution. First of all, HB 2069 (Cutler, R-Lancaster), which would provide that any decree or proclamation issued by the Governor cannot be in effect for more than 21 days, unless extended by a concurrent resolution of the General Assembly. Second, HB 2070 (Cutler, R-Lancaster), which would exempt disapproval of a by-law by the General Assembly from the requirement of presentation for governor’s approval or disapproval.
The House Health Committee has a busy agenda and is expected to vote on:
- HB 1005 (Cox, R-Berks), which would add information to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (ABC-MAP) when Narcan / Naloxone is used by emergency responders or healthcare professionals;
- HB 1644 (Struzzi, R-Indiana), which would direct the Department of Human Services to develop a statewide process to place Medicaid patients with behavioral health issues or other long-term care needs in appropriate and timely care facilities;
- HB 1959(Pennycuick R-Montgomery), which would authorize the clinical study of the efficacy and cost / benefit optimization of psilocybin-assisted therapy;
- HB 2013 (Diamond, R-Lebanon), which would amend the State Constitution to provide for the right of an individual to refuse any medical procedure, treatment, injection, vaccine or prophylactic; and
- HB 2033 (Lawrence, R-Chester), which would extend the state laboratory COVID-19 testing status report requirement until December 31, 2022.
To wrap up the week on Wednesday, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a public hearing on the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery site and cleanup efforts. The House transport committee will hold a public hearing on supply chain issues. Finally, the Aging Home and Services for the Elderly Committee will examine SB 729 (Ward, R-Blair) which would allow the delivery of resident violence training programs for nurse aides.
The full list of committee meetings is available here:
In other news
- Governor Wolf announcement approval of nearly $ 36 million for 220 community revitalization projects under the Neighborhood Assistance Program.
- The Acting Secretary of State gave opinion of a statewide recount in the race for Commonwealth Court. Stacy Wallace (R) won one of the open seats. Lori Dumas (R) and Drew Crompton (R), second and third, respectively, have a total of votes in the half-percent range that triggers a mandatory recount under state law.
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