What’s Happening in the House – Week of Nov. 14, 2011

Marcellus Impacts – Helping Pennsylvania’s Energy Jobs Climate, Small Games of Chance, Yet More Gaming Reforms and Protecting Kids

The state House returns to session on Monday, Nov. 14. All of House session and most committee meetings listed below will be streamed live on http://www.PAHouseGOP.com. Many will also be available live on http://www.Facebook.com/PAHouseGOP.com via Livestream.

Marcellus Shale: It’s about jobs

Natural gas exploration and production can be done in a safe and responsible manner.

The House will be considering the Marcellus/Utica Impact bill, House Bill 1950 (Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler), which deals with local and statewide impacts of the natural gas exploration and production of Marcellus and Utica Shale formations. The legislation responds to the various issues and concerns regarding unconventional drilling within the Commonwealth.

The Marcellus/Utica Impact bill creates uniformity to specifically help those communities dealing with the drilling; strengthens the laws, regulations and oversight to protect water and the environment; and brings needed, dedicated funding for programs benefitting the state’s environmental resources.

The Marcellus/Utica Impact bill illustrates the House GOP commitment to the job opportunities the Marcellus/Utica Shale represent.

Small Games of Chance: Helping non-profit organizations raise needed cash

Local fire departments and veteran organizations, as well as many other nonprofit groups, will be helped by increasing prize limits. It is a reform these groups have been supporting for a number of years. House Bill 169 (Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland) will allow organizations to use these fundraising proceeds for both operating and public interest purposes.

Gaming Reform: Continuing the Quest to Fix What Has Been Ignored

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.

Protecting kids from sex-predator sport officials

A new offense of “sexual assault by a sports official” would be created in House Bill 1397 (Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery). 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 is not limited to) a manager, coach, umpire or referee.

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 legislation by bill number on http:///www.legis.state.pa.us.

Monday, Nov. 14

Committee Meetings/Hearings 

TRANSPORTATION, 10 a.m., Room 140, Main Capitol Building

Public hearing on the Red Light Camera Program.

CHILDREN AND YOUTH, 10:30 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

Informational meeting to provide members with a general overview of child welfare services in Pennsylvania.  Topics will include the roles of the County Children and Youth Agency (CYA); the Court of Common Pleas; PA Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Children, Youth and Families; and private providers of children and youth services.

FINANCE, 11 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

Informational meeting with the PA Department of Community and Economic Development regarding changes in local tax collection that go into effect Jan. 1, 2012.

LABOR AND INDUSTRY, Noon, Room 205, Ryan Office Building

  • HB 283 (Rep. Mark Keller, R-Perry/Franklin):  Increases the monetary threshold that requires public bodies to solicit separate bids and award separate contracts for electrical, heating, ventilating, and plumbing work undertaken as part of public construction projects from $4,000 to $25,000 and establishes an annual cost-of-living adjustment for the threshold.
  • HB 1602 (Rep. Thomas Killion, R-Chester/Delaware):  Amends the Mechanics’ Lien Law to require a notice of commencement to be filed with the prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas in the judicial district in which the project is located within 15 days after work has physically started and reduces the time in which a claim may be filed after completion of work from six months to four months.
  • HB 1820 (Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland):  Exempts employees of an air carrier from receiving overtime pay for hours worked in excess of a 40-hour workweek due to a voluntary agreement among employees to trade scheduled work hours.

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 149 (Rep. John Payne, R-Dauphin):  Establishes an “In God We Trust” special registration plate.
  • HB 169 (Rep. Sheryl Delozier):  Amends the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act to increase prize limits and allow organizations to raise money for general operating expenses, as well as for public interest purposes, with a 30 percent to 70 percent respective split.
  • HB 439 (Rep. Mark Mustio, R-Allegheny):  Prohibits any individual or legal entity that holds a license issued by a licensing board or commission from knowingly employing or permitting the employment of an unauthorized alien and authorizes the revocation of the license for violators.
  • HB 849 (Rep. Mike Fleck, R-Blair/Huntingdon/Mifflin):  Allows neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) on roadways that have a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, so long as the NEV meets federal regulations and requirements, displays a slow-moving vehicle emblem, has a minimum design speed of 20 miles per hour and a maximum of 25 miles per hour, is properly titled and registered, and the operator holds a valid license.
  • HB 1140 (Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny):  Adds public utility employees and electric cooperative employees to the list of individuals protected from aggravated assault while in the performance of duty.
  • HB 1950 (Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler):  Requires rents and royalties from oil and gas leases of Commonwealth land to be placed in a special fund to be used for conservation, recreation, dams, flood control and certain inter-fund transfers; and authorizes counties to impose and collect an unconventional gas well impact fee.
  • HB 2012 (Rep. Gary Day, R-Berks/Lehigh):  Prohibits enumerated elected officials and PGCB 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.

Votes on Third Consideration

  • HB 1317 (Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster):  Requires the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare to implement an electronic approval process for use by physicians to secure approval of all preferred and nonpreferred drugs, and exempts preferred and nonpreferred drugs prescribed by licensed physicians specializing in psychiatry from prior authorization requirements.
  • HB 1343 (Rep. Matt Baker, R-Tioga/Bradford):  Establishes the guidelines to allow state-owned universities and Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) employees to enter into agreements for economic development transactions and allows all PASSHE universities to offer doctorate degrees.
  • HB 1503 (Rep. Stan Saylor, R-York):  Establishes an angel investment tax credit for an individual who is an “accredited investor,” who makes a “qualified investment,” defined as a payment of money or its equivalent for a private equity interest in a qualified business venture.
  • HB 2009 (Rep. John Lawrence, R-Chester):  Requires the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to list on its website a description, with enumerated details, of all Right-to-Know requests; requires licensed gaming entities to issue monthly statements detailing winnings and losses for patrons with reward cards; and requires table game revenues to be deposited for property tax relief in 2012.
  • SB 834 (Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Bedford/Blair/Fulton/Huntingdon/Mifflin):  Requires second- through eighth-class counties to obtain bonds or insurance for elected and appointed county officers and county employees who are responsible for money or property as part of their duties or employment.

Tuesday, Nov. 15 

Committee Meetings/Hearings

GAMING OVERSIGHT, 9 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

  • HB 2002 (Rep. Gary Day):  Requires the Auditor General to annually audit the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and to annually report the findings of the audit to the General Assembly.
  • HB 2004 (Rep. Randy Vulakovich, R-Allegheny):  Prohibits any applicant for, or holder of, a Pennsylvania slot machine license from serving as a member of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
  • HB 2011 (Rep. Gary Day):  Prohibits enumerated public officials from being appointed to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) for a period of two years following the termination of the official’s term of office and prohibits officers, directors, or key employees of a licensed gaming entity from being appointed to the PGCB for a period of four years following their association with the licensed gaming entity.

HEALTH, 9 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

  • 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.
  • 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.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT, 9 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

HB 1702 (Rep. Mauree Gingrich, R-Lebanon):  An act re-enacting and amending The Borough Code.

EDUCATION, 10 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

Informational meeting to discuss temporary special aid to school districts suffering loss of payment in lieu of taxes from local sources.

GAME AND FISHERIES, 10 a.m., Room 8E-B, East Wing

Joint public hearing with the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee and the PA Fish and Boat Commission for a presentation of the organization’s “Hatchery Cost Savings Work Group Report.”

JUDICIARY, 10 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

  • 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.
  • HB 1769 (Rep. Frank Farry, R-Bucks):  Allows counties that operate their own criminal laboratory to receive the monies generated by the criminal laboratory user fee imposed on defendants within that county and directs that, in counties that do not operate their own criminal laboratory, the criminal laboratory user fees be deposited into the Criminal Laboratory User Fee Fund for use by the Pennsylvania State Police criminal laboratories.
  • 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.

TRANSPORTATION, 10 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

  • 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 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 1607 (Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Philadelphia):  Prohibits police officers from using a data extraction device to secure information from an electronic device in the possession of a driver or passenger when pulling a driver over for an infraction.
  • HB 1617 (Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-York):  Suspends operating privileges for individuals who have failed to pay restitution authorized by an issuing authority or the courts for a violation of the vehicle code.
  • HB 1898 (Rep. Gary Haluska, D-Cambria):  Bridge designation:  the Sergeant Derek Lee Shanfield Memorial Bridge.
  • HB 1906 (Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton): Bridge designation:  the Clarence Bridge of Freedom for All Veterans.

COMMERCE, 10:30 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

HB 1969 (Rep. Dick Hess, R-Fulton/Bedford/Huntingdon):  Allows incorporated institutions to invest in and hold real estate, including banking institutions, under enumerated conditions, and allows for the lease financing of public facilities.

Session

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

Votes on Second Consideration

  • HB 1526 (Rep. Stan Saylor):  Prohibits the estate of a deceased tenant from being held liable for any rent accruing from one month after the tenant’s death, or upon surrender of the rental unit and removal of all personal property, whichever is later.
  • HB 1758 (Rep. Doug Reichley, R-Berks/Lehigh):  Increases the Pennsylvania National Guard minimum pay for state active duty for emergencies from $75 to $100.
  • HB 1884 (Rep. Jerry Stern, R-Blair):  Authorizes the Pennsylvania Department of General Services with the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to convey the Tyrone Armory to Tyrone Borough for use by the police force.

Votes on Third Consideration

  • HB 149 (Rep. John Payne)
  • HB 169 (Rep. Sheryl Delozier)
  • HB 439 (Rep. Mark Mustio)
  • HB 849 (Rep. Mike Fleck)
  • HB 1140 (Rep. Dom Costa)
  • HB 1950 (Rep. Brian Ellis)
  • HB 2012 (Rep. Gary Day)

Wednesday, Nov. 16

Committee Meetings/Hearings

EDUCATION, 9 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

  • 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 1980 (Rep. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster):  Establishes a new evaluation method for teachers, principals, and non-teaching professionals where 50 percent of the overall rating for teachers and principals, and 20 percent of the overall rating for non-teaching professionals, is based on enumerated measures of student achievement.
  • 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.
  • 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.

STATE GOVERNMENT, 9 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

Public hearing on HB 1200 (Rep. Curt Schroder, R-Chester):  Changes the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act to the Public Integrity Commission Act, establishes the Pennsylvania Public Integrity Commission, and enumerates the composition, power and duties of the commission.

PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE, 10 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

  • 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.
  • SB 366 (Sen. Donald White, R-Indiana/Armstrong/Butler/Clearfield/Westmoreland):  Establishes a new licensure classification for mobility vehicle dealers under the Board of Vehicles Act and adds a vehicle mobility dealer to the State Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers and Salespersons.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Session 

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

Votes on Second Consideration

  • HB 1602 (Rep. Thomas Killion)
  • HB 1820 (Rep. Sheryl Delozier)

Votes on Third Consideration

  • HB 1526 (Rep. Stan Saylor)
  • HB 1758 (Rep. Doug Reichley)
  • HB 1884 (Rep. Jerry Stern)

Thursday, Nov. 17

Committee Meetings/Hearings

CONSUMER AFFAIRS, 9 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.

PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE, 9:30 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

Public hearing on HB 1717 (Rep. Mark Mustio):  Requires the State Board of Medicine to approve an accredited naturopathic medical education program with enumerated minimum requirements and establishes the licensing of naturopathic physicians.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT and URBAN AFFAIRS, 9:15 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 Act 47 of 1987, regarding the Municipalities Planning Code.


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