What’s Happening in the House – Week of Dec. 5

Congressional Redistricting, Infrastructure Improvements and Jobs, Protecting Kids and… More Gaming Reforms on the House Agenda for Next Week

The state House returns to session on Monday, Dec. 5. Most committee meetings willl stream live on http://www.PAHouseGOP.com. Each time the House is in session will stream live on http://www.Facebook.com/PAHouseGOP.

Congressional Redistricting, the public discussion begins

As candidates will start circulating nomination petitions on Jan. 24, the top legislative priority will be Congressional redistricting. Pursuant to the U.S. Constitution, Congressional redistricting is a state legislative process, meaning a bill must pass both the House and Senate and be signed by the governor.

To that end, the House and Senate State Government Committee chairmen are working together on a public presentation regarding a proposed Congressional map. The two committees have already held an unprecedented three joint hearings regarding Congressional reapportionment.

Due to below-national-average population growth, Pennsylvania is losing one Congressional seat, bringing the state’s representation to 18 congressmen. The House and Senate committee chairmen are developing a redistricting plan that adheres to all constitutional and legal requirements.

This year’s reapportionment process has been the most open yet. Through the Legislative Reapportionment Commission website, every Pennsylvania resident has full and immediate access to all of the population and demographic data; through the internet and cable television, residents were able to watch each hearing; and through the mail or House member, they were able to submit testimony or offer input before a final plan was crafted.

Public/Private Partnerships (P3s) for jobs and infrastructure improvements

Public-private partnerships (P3s), as proposed in House Bill 3 (Rep. Rick Geist, R-Blair County), will help the Commonwealth fund its transportation infrastructure needs. Currently 32 states and Puerto Rico already have enacted legislation for transportation-oriented P3s, allowing the private sector to partner with government to help rebuild transportation infrastructure. Under these contractual arrangements, the state would maintain ownership control of the asset or facility, while an infusion of private sector capital accelerates the maintenance, improvement and expansion of roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Pennsylvania’s infrastructure includes 5,646 structurally deficient state-owned bridges, the most of any state in the nation, and more than in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland combined. It includes 7,000 miles, or about 18 percent, of state-maintained roads in “very poor condition.” It includes mass transit systems, large and small, struggling to deal with less-than-projected state funding.

Fixing Megan’s Law and protecting kids from sexual predators

Legislation to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with federal law and ensure that Pennsylvania meets federally mandated national standards to strengthen sex offender registration and notification will be debated and voted on in the House on Wednesday. House Bill 1958 (Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin County), will strengthen the state’s efforts to track sex offenders, include the state as part of a national registry that law enforcement officials can access, and expand the list of sexually violent offenses covered under the law. The “Adam Walsh” fix is necessary to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.  Pennsylvania must bring its law into “substantial compliance” or suffer a 10 percent reduction in federal crime protection grants.

A third consideration vote is also expected to create a new offense of “sexual assault by a sports official” if House Bill 1397 (Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery County) becomes law. A person who serves as a sports official in a sports program of a nonprofit association, or a for-profit association, commits a felony of the third degree when that person engages in indecent (or sexual) contact with a child under 18 years of age who is participating in a sports program of the nonprofit association or for-profit association. A sports official would be (but not limited to) a manager, coach, umpire or referee.

Gaming Reform, bring integrity to the state’s gaming laws

Working to bring respectability to Pennsylvania’s obviously flawed Gaming Law, the House will vote on another series of bills to end the revolving door at the Gaming Control Board where staff departs the regulatory agency for a high-priced job with a gaming entity, and bring greater openness and transparency to the regulatory and licensing agency. The bills were inspired by inadequacies discovered through several years’ worth of Republican Policy Committee hearings and two grand jury reports. The House Gaming Oversight Committee on Tuesday will take up several other bills to help fix the law.

The Weekly Schedule

Bill numbers will be used to identify the legislation being considered either in committee or on the House floor.  The bills, sponsors and summaries are posted below. You can look up bills by bill number on http://www.legis.state.pa.us.  

Monday, Dec. 5

Committee Meetings/Hearings

  • CHILDREN AND YOUTH, 9:30 a.m., Room 60, East Wing
    • Informational meeting on child sexual abuse in PA.
  • HEALTH, 11 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building
    • SB 349 (Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh/Monroe/Northampton):  Establishes the licensure of tanning facilities through the Pennsylvania Department of Health, enumerates licensing procedures and requirements, and establishes penalties for violations.
    • HB 1960 (Rep. Randy Vulakovich, R-Allegheny):  Defines “child” as a person under 21 years of age in the Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Centers Act.
    • HB 1977 (Rep. Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion/Armstrong):  Prohibits coverage for abortions in qualified health plans offered through a health insurance exchange under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with enumerated exceptions.
  • JUDICIARY, 11 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building
    • HB 1958 (Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin):  Amends Pennsylvania law to comply with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, a comprehensive set of standards regarding sex offender registration and notification programs.
    • HB 1976 (Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster):  Restricts, with enumerated exceptions, the venue for personal injury action suits to either the county where the plaintiff resides; the county where the cause of action arose; or the county where the registered office or principal place of business of the corporation or similar entity is located.
    • SB 1183 (Sen. Jane Orie, R-Allegheny/Butler):  Amends Pennsylvania law to comply with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, a comprehensive set of standards regarding sex offender registration and notification programs.

Session

On Monday, the House will convene at 1 p.m. for legislative business. The members will vote the uncontested calendar and Rule 35 resolutions.

Votes on Second Consideration

  • HB 469 (Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks):  Under the Practical Nurse Law, restricts the title “nurse” to those individuals that are licensed as registered nurses or practical nurses, but permits the descriptive title “nurse assistive personnel.”
  • HB 470 (Rep. Jim Cox):  Under the Professional Nursing Law, restricts the title “nurse” to those individuals that are licensed as registered nurses or practical nurses, but permits the descriptive title “nurse assistive personnel.”
  • HB 1955 (Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin):  Road designation:  the Staff Sergeant Richard J. Tieman Memorial Highway. 
  • HB 1956 (Rep. Todd Rock):  Road designation:  the Master Sergeant Benjamin F. Bitner Memorial Highway.
  • HB 2012 (Rep. Gary Day, R-Berks/Lehigh):  Prohibits enumerated elected officials and Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board members and employees from accepting related employment in the gaming industry for a two-year period after the termination of their term of office or employment and establishes their ineligibility for licensing during that same two-year period.
  • SB 361 (Sen. Robert Robbins, R-Crawford/Mercer/Butler/Lawrence):  Establishes birth and death records as public records after either 105 years have elapsed after the date of birth or 50 years have elapsed after the date of death and requires the State Archives to maintain the original records.
  • SB 638 (Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland):  Establishes mileage reimbursement or paratransit services for individuals receiving methadone treatment by a licensed provider as part of a narcotic treatment program.
  • HR 70 (Rep. Julie Harhart, R-Lehigh/Northampton):  A resolution requesting the Department of Transportation to conduct a study of the slate industry for the purpose of devising the best means of utilizing the slate waste by-product as a component in highway construction and civil engineering projects.

Votes on Third Consideration

  • HB 120 (Rep. Michael O’Brien, D-Philadelphia):  Establishes penalties for persons and casinos when a child is left unattended in a vehicle at a casino.
  • HB 121 (Rep. Michael O’Brien):  Requires casinos to post signs in parking areas warning patrons about the consequences of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.
  • HB 2009 (Rep. John Lawrence, R-Chester):  Requires the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to list on its website a description and details of all Right-to-Know requests; requires licensed gaming entities to issue monthly statements detailing winnings and losses for patrons with reward cards; requires table game revenues to be deposited for property tax relief in 2012.

Tuesday, Dec. 6

Committee Meetings/Hearings

  • CONSUMER AFFAIRS, 9 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building
    • HB 1926 (Rep. Joseph Preston, D-Allegheny):  Prohibits natural gas gathering line companies from obtaining public utility status and restricts a gathering line company’s ability to use eminent domain to gain rights of way on public property.
  • STATE GOVERNMENT, 9 a.m., Room 60, East Wing
    • SB 9 (Sen. Joseph Scarnati, R-Cameron/Elk/Jefferson/McKean/Potter/Tioga/Clearfield/Warren):  Requires a person applying for public benefits, who is 18 years of age or older, to provide proof of citizenship and execute an affidavit confirming their legal presence in the U.S.; requires agencies that supply public benefits to verify the legal presence of all noncitizen applicants through the Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement program or a successor program designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and provides that these provisions will not apply to those benefits where compliance would result in loss of federal funding or would be in conflict with federal law.
  • LOCAL GOVERNMENT, 9:15 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building
    • SB 1276 (Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster/York):  Allows any third-class county that has, according to the federal decennial census, a population of 500,000 or more inhabitants to elect not to become a county of the second class A, via a resolution or ordinance, by February 15 of the year following the release  year of the certified census results.
    • SB 725 (Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland/Snyder/Dauphin/Luzerne):  Eliminates the office of elected assessor in boroughs.
    • SB 726 (Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon/Berks/Chester/Dauphin/Lancaster):  Eliminates the office of elected assessor in first class townships.
  • VETERANS AFFAIRS & EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, 9:15 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building
    • HB 1701 (Rep. Bryan Cutler):  Creates the State Geospatial Coordinating Council and establishes the Pennsylvania Mapping and Geospatial Technologies Fund in the State Treasury.
    • HR 315 (Rep. Martin Causer, R-Cameron/Potter/McKean):  Directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the financial and administrative effectiveness of the emergency medical services system in the Commonwealth.
  • HUMAN SERVICES, 10 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building
    • HB 1651 (Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks County):  Establishes the Pharmaceutical Accountability Monitoring System (PAMS) database within the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to monitor the prescription and dispersal of Schedule II, III, IV and V drugs.
  • JUDICIARY, 10 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building
    • HB 235 (Rep. Paul Clymer, R-Bucks):  Requires enumerated establishments to post certain information regarding the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline and establishes enforcement, affirmative defenses, and penalties for violations.
    • HB 2016 (Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler):  Includes the trafficking for commercial sex purposes in the offense of human trafficking; establishes the trafficking of a minor as a felony of the first degree; establishes a parent selling or transferring custody of a minor for commercial sex purposes as a second-degree felony; and establishes a civil cause of action for coercion into prostitution.
    • SB 815 (Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Pike/Wayne/Wyoming/Luzerne/Monroe/Susquehanna):  Requires Pennsylvania courts to appoint legal counsel for any child appearing without one at any hearing and establishes that counsel for the child cannot be waived.
    • SB 817 (Sen. Lisa Baker):  Requires that restraints be removed from a child during a juvenile court hearing, with enumerated exceptions, and requires that the child be afforded an opportunity to be heard on the question of restraint and, if restraints are ordered, a statement of reasons must be provided by the court before the restraints are used.

Session

On Tuesday the House will meet at 11 a.m. for legislative business. 

Votes on Second Consideration

  • HB 3 (Rep. Rick Geist, R-Blair):  Authorizes the implementation of transportation-specific public-private partnerships.
  • HB 17 (Rep. Kathy Watson, R-Bucks):  Bridge designation: the Robert V. Cotton Bridge.
  • HB 578 (Rep. Florindo Fabrizio, D-Erie):  Increases the number of members of the governing board of the convention center authority in third class counties.
  • HB 1271 (Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin):  Amends the Prevailing Wage Act to establish a specific definition for what is to be considered “maintenance work” with respect to road repairs;  “maintenance work” is exempt from coverage under the act.
  • HB 1397 (Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery):  Establishes the offense of sexual assault by a sports official as a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine.
  • HB 1891 (Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin):  Provides civil immunity to the operator of a commercial bowling center, excepting willful misconduct or gross negligence, when posting notification requirements have been met.
  • HB 1905 (Rep. Mark Keller):  Establishes civil immunity protection to third parties that accept, in good faith, a facially valid power of attorney, enumerates the process for a third party to request information proving the power of attorney, and sets forth the liability for refusal to accept an acknowledged power of attorney.
  • SB 957 (Sen. Robert Tomlinson, R-Bucks):  Re-designates certified athletic trainers as licensed athletic trainers under the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act.
  • SB 967 (Sen. Robert Tomlinson):  Re-designates certified athletic trainers as licensed athletic trainers under the Medical Practice Act.

Votes on Third Consideration

  • HB 469 (Rep. Jim Cox)
  • HB 470 (Rep. Jim Cox)
  • HB 1955 (Rep. Todd Rock)
  • HB 1956 (Rep. Todd Rock)
  • HB 2012 (Rep. Gary Day)
  • SB 361 (Sen. Robert Robbins)
  • SB 638 (Sen. Kim Ward)

Wednesday, Dec. 7

Committee Meetings/Hearings

  • STATE GOVERNMENT, 9 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building
    • HB 5 (Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny):  Divides the Commonwealth into 18 Congressional districts and provides for current officeholders, vacancies, and missed political subdivisions.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, 9:15 a.m., Room 60, East Wing
    • HB 193 (Rep. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery):  Requires the design, construction, and renovation of state-owned or state-leased buildings to comply with specified energy and high-performance building standards.
    • HB 1813 (Rep. Mike Tobash, R-Berks/Schuylkill):  Establishes a program through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to provide land reclamation financial guarantees for qualified mine operators.
    • SB 995 (Sen. Lisa Baker):  Requires the operators of permitted unconventional oil and gas wells to post specific 911 response information and to adopt a unique GPS coordinate address for each access road entrance and well site, which must be registered, along with an emergency response plan, with the Department of Environmental Protection and the county emergency management organization for the county where the well site is located.
    • HR 438 (Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Philadelphia):  Urges the city of Philadelphia to establish a year round program providing for the safe removal and disposal of illegally discarded waste tires.
  • TRANSPORTATION, 10 a.m., Room 60, East Wing
    • HB 1232 (Rep. Rick Geist, R-Blair):  Establishes a penalty for communities that adopt local ordinances that may conflict with provisions of the Vehicle Code.
    • HB 1830 (Rep. John Bear, R-Lancaster):  Establishes special license plates for any person who was in the service of the United States Merchant Marine during World War II.
    • HB 2027 (Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks):  Road designation: the Kyle D. Pagerly Memorial Highway.
    • HB 2036 (Rep. Rick Geist):  Establishes a self-certification requirement for commercial driver learner’s permit or initial license applicants and requires medical certification for all commercial drivers in non-excepted interstate or intrastate commerce every two years.
  • EDUCATION, 10:30 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building
    • HB 1823 (Rep. Joe Emrick, R-Northampton):  Allows private driver training school instructors to provide the classroom portion of driver education instruction without obtaining a Pennsylvania teacher certification.
    • HB 1971 (Rep. Justin Simmons, R-Lehigh/Northampton):  Requires that the Department of Transportation take the location of residences belonging to registered sex offenders into consideration when determining whether or not a particular route is safe for students to walk to school.
    • SB 328 (Sen. Andrew Dinniman, D-Chester/Montgomery):  Restores operating privileges prior to the expiration of the suspension period for individuals convicted of truancy when proof has been submitted that the individual has completed high school, obtained a general educational development diploma, or has reached 21 years of age and has satisfied all costs and fees related to the case.
    • SB 560 (Sen. Bob Mensch, R-Bucks/Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton):  Establishes the State Military College Legislative Appointment Initiative Program, whereby each member of the General Assembly may select an eligible student from their legislative district for guaranteed initial enrollment in a state military college.
    • SB 743 (Sen. John Rafferty, R-Berks/Chester/Montgomery):  Allows private driver training school instructors to provide the classroom portion of driver education instruction without obtaining a Pennsylvania teacher certification.

Session

On Wednesday the House will meet at 11 a.m. for legislative business.

Votes on Second Consideration

  • HB 761 (Rep. Bryan Cutler):  Allows family farm partnerships to convey their assets to a limited or limited liability partnership without being subject to the realty transfer tax so long as there is no substantial change to the ownership.
  • HB 1864 (Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Cumberland):  Exempts the transfer of an agricultural commodity, agricultural conservation easement, agricultural reserve, agricultural use property or a forest reserve to a child or sibling from Pennsylvania’s inheritance tax.
  • HB 1958 (Rep. Ron Marsico)
  • HB 1976 (Rep. Bryan Cutler)
  • HB 1977 (Rep. Donna Oberlander)
  • HB 1983 (Rep. Nicholas Micozzie, R-Delaware):  Grants the Pennsylvania Insurance Department the authority to review rates for the small group market.
  • HB 2005 (Rep. Paul Clymer, R-Bucks):  Requires the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to post all contracts and contract-related information on its website.
  • SB 71 (Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Bucks/Montgomery): Expands the current greyhound racing prohibition to include simulcasting, grades the offense as a misdemeanor of the first degree and provides for a civil penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • SB 732 (Sen. Patricia Vance, R-Cumberland/York):  Includes abortion facilities in the definition of health care facilities and provides licensure provisions.
  • SB 1183 (Sen. Jane Orie)

Votes on Third Consideration

  • HB 3 (Rep. Rick Geist)
  • HB 17 (Rep. Kathy Watson)
  • HB 578 (Rep. Florindo Fabrizio)
  • HB 1271 (Rep. Ron Marsico)
  • HB 1397 (Rep. Mike Vereb)
  • HB 1891 (Rep. Ron Marsico)
  • HB 1905 (Rep. Mark Keller)
  • SB 957 (Sen. Robert Tomlinson)
  • SB 967 (Sen. Robert Tomlinson)

Thursday, Dec. 8

Committee Meetings/Hearings

  • LOCAL GOVERNMENT and URBAN AFFAIRS,9 a.m., Room 140, Main Capitol Building
    • Joint Public hearing with the Senate Community, Economic, & Recreational Development Committee and the Senate Local Government Committee on the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act, Act 47 or 1987.
  • TOURISM AND RECREATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, 9:30 a.m., Room 60, East Wing
    • Public hearing on HB 137 (Rep. Robert Godshall, R-Montgomery):  Requires school districts to start the school year after Labor Day.
  • CONSUMER AFFAIRS, 10 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building
    • Public hearing on HB 1580 (Rep. Chris Ross, R-Chester):  Increases the percentage of energy sold by an electric distribution company or generation supplier that is required to be produced by solar photovoltaic technology from 5 percent to 15 percent beginning in June 2012, from 8 percent to 17 percent beginning in June 2013, and from 14 percent to 20 percent beginning in June 2014; and requires the energy produced by solar photovoltaic technology to be directly delivered to the distribution system operated by an electric distribution company operating within the Commonwealth.