What’s Happening in the House – Week of Oct. 24

Improving Pennsylvania’s Jobs Climate, More Gaming Reforms and Distracted Driving On House Agenda Next Week

The state House returns to session on Monday, Oct. 24, to debate and vote on various issues of importance. Most committee meetings and all times in session will be streamed live on http://www.PAHouseGOP.com.

As John Gardner once said, “The best social program is a good economy.” House Republicans take that comment to heart. In fact, the top House GOP Caucus priority is improving the state’s jobs climate and the key to a strong Commonwealth will be higher employment and economic growth. According to job creators and various studies, Pennsylvania still has one of the highest costs of doing business in the country when combining state and local taxes, fees, regulatory requirements and health care.

By working together, the House GOP, Senate and Gov. Tom Corbett are changing the state’s perception to throw open Pennsylvania’s doors to job creation and retention.

The House Finance Committee will move two bills, readying them for floor action the following week. The legislation, House Bill 1503 (Rep. Stan Saylor, R-York County) and House Bill 1552 (Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster County), is part of the GOP caucus strategy of plugging away to improve the jobs climate and lower the cost of doing business in the state. The Saylor bill would create an “Angel Investor Tax Credit” for individuals who invest in innovative small start-up  companies that have been in existence for less than seven years. Continuing the attack on lawsuit abuse, the Cutler bill would end “venue shopping” by claimants; a suit could only be filed in the county of the alleged incident.

Continuing the caucus quest to fix the state’s Gaming Law, the House will vote on a series of bills aimed at greater openness and transparency; the bills were inspired through 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 obviously flawed law.

Distracted driving will be debated and considered on Tuesday.

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. To research legislation by bill number, visit http://legis.state.pa.us.

Monday, Oct. 24

Committee Meetings/Hearings

• JUDICIARY, 10:30 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

o Public hearing on HB 1552 (Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster):  Restricts the filing of personal civil injury lawsuits to the county where the death or injury occurred.

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

• HR 437 (Rep. Kevin Murphy, D-Lackawanna):  A resolution designating November 2011 as “Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

• HB 1091 (Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie):  Road designation: the Michael D. Crotty Memorial Parkway.

• HB 1827 (Rep. Bud George, D-Clearfield):  Bridge re-designation: the Mary Ellen Tiesi Memorial 9-11 Bridge.

• HB 1862 (Rep. Martin Causer, R-Cameron/Potter/McKean):  Bridge designations: the Captain Edgar E. Nuschke Memorial Bridge and the Private First Class Edward Ritsick Memorial Bridge.

• HB 1893 (Rep. Randy Vulakovich, R-Allegheny):  Prohibits the use of an electronic gaming machine to conduct or promote sweepstakes.

Votes on Third Consideration

• HB 1603 (Rep. Thomas Quigley, R-Montgomery):  Defines first offense, in cases of retail theft, as any conviction, acceptance of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or any other form of preliminary disposition that occurs prior to the sentencing of the present violation.

• SB 282 (Sen. Robert Robbins, R-Crawford/Mercer/Butler/Lawrence):  Increases the monetary threshold in the Third Class City Code for contracts requiring full advertising and bidding from $10,000 to $18,500 and establishes the annual indexing and adjusting of the threshold for inflation.

• SB 285 (Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon/Berks/Chester/Dauphin/Lancaster):  Increases the monetary threshold in the Borough Code for contracts that require full advertising and bidding from $10,000 to $18,500, increases the minimum for contracts requiring written or telephonic quotes from $4,000 to $10,000, and establishes the annual indexing and adjusting of these figures for inflation.

• SB 286 (Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland/Snyder/Dauphin/Luzerne):  Increases the monetary threshold, in an act regulating the contracts of incorporated towns, for contracts that require full advertising and bidding from $10,000 to $18,500, increases the minimum for contracts requiring written or telephonic quotes from $4,000 to $10,000, and establishes the annual indexing and adjusting of these figures for inflation.

• SB 290 (Sen. Mike Brubaker, R-Chester/Lancaster):  Amends the Political Subdivision Joint Purchases Law to increase the monetary threshold for contracts that require full advertising and bidding from $10,000 to $18,500, increase the minimum for contracts requiring written or telephonic quotes from $4,000 to $10,000, and establish the annual indexing and adjusting of these figures for inflation.

• SB 292 (Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Bedford/Blair/Fulton/Huntingdon/Mifflin):  Amends the Flood Control Law to increase the monetary threshold for contracts that require full advertising and bidding from $4,000 to $18,500 and establish the annual indexing and adjusting of the threshold for inflation.

• SB 295 (Sen. Michael Waugh, R-York):  Amends the Housing Authorities Law to increase the monetary threshold for contracts that require full advertising and bidding from $10,000 to $18,500, increase the minimum for purchases requiring written or telephonic quotes from $4,000 to $10,000, and establish the annual indexing and adjusting of these figures for inflation.

• SB 296 (Sen. John Eichelberger):  Amends the Public School Code to increase the monetary threshold for contracts that require full advertising and bidding from $10,000 to $18,500, increase the minimum for purchases requiring written or telephonic quotes from $4,000 to $10,000, increase the cost under which school district maintenance personnel may perform construction or repairs from $5,000 to $10,000, and establish the annual indexing and adjusting of these figures for inflation.

Tuesday, Oct. 25

Committee Meetings/Hearings

• CONSUMER AFFAIRS, 9 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

o Public hearing on HB 60 (Rep. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery):  Prohibits a public utility from charging standby fees to volunteer fire companies, nonprofit rescue squads and ambulance services associated with automatic fire protection systems.

• GAMING OVERSIGHT, 9 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

o HB 120 (Rep. Michael O’Brien, D-Philadelphia):  Establishes leaving a minor under the age of 14 unattended in a vehicle when the vehicle is on property owned, leased, or controlled by a gaming licensed facility or its affiliate as a third-degree misdemeanor and requires written notification of the violation to be provided to the director of the county children and youth service agency of the county in which motor vehicle operator resides within 48 hours of the violation.

o HB 121 (Rep. Michael O’Brien):  Authorizes the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to levy fines against licensed facilities for two or more violations of an individual leaving a minor under the age of 14 unattended at the same licensed facility in a one-year period and requires slot machine licensees to post a warning regarding the penalties of leaving children unattended in vehicles.

o HB 2005 (Rep. Paul Clymer, R-Bucks):  Requires the PGCB to post all contracts and contract-related information on its website.

o HB 2010 (Rep. Paul Clymer):  Prohibits any employee of the PGCB from accepting related employment in the industry for a two-year period after they have left their position with PGCB.

o 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.

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

o HB 858 (Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler):  Prohibits all businesses or business entities from employing or permitting the employment of unauthorized aliens, requires all employers in the Commonwealth to enroll and actively participate in the federal E-Verify program, and sets forth enforcement, penalty and local ordinance provisions.

o HB 474 (Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks):  Authorizes the governor to execute an Interstate Compact on Birth Certificates Issued to Aliens Not Subject to United States Jurisdiction with one or more states. The compact would require a distinction on birth records between children born who are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and therefore are natural-born U.S. citizens, and those who are not.

o HB 738 (Rep. Daryl Metcalfe):  Requires the verification of the lawful presence of any individual 18 years or older that applies for public benefits; identifies failure to apply for or carry an alien registration document as a third-degree misdemeanor, or a first-degree misdemeanor if the violator is in possession of a controlled substance, a deadly weapon, or property used for the purpose of committing a terroristic act; and establishes that an unauthorized alien that knowingly applies for work, solicits work in a public place, or performs work in the Commonwealth commits a third-degree misdemeanor.

o HB 857 (Rep. Daryl Metcalfe):  Defines a citizen of the Commonwealth as an individual who is born in the United States and is subject to the jurisdiction thereof, or is a naturalized citizen of the United States and is subject to the jurisdiction thereof, and is a resident of the Commonwealth.  This bill includes a construction of terms for “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” which states that the person is a child of at least one parent who owes no allegiance to any foreign sovereignty or a child without citizenship or nationality in any foreign country.

o HB 798 (Rep. Tom Creighton, R-Lancaster):  Requires arresting authorities to inquire into the citizenship or immigration status of every person arrested for a felony, misdemeanor or summary offense regardless of the person’s national origin, ethnicity or race, and allows state agencies or employers to consider the unlawful immigration status of an individual when determining eligibility for licensure or employment.

o HB 799 (Rep. Tom Creighton):  Authorizes the Pennsylvania State Police to negotiate the terms of a memorandum of understanding between the Commonwealth and the United States Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security concerning the enforcement of federal immigration and customs laws, detentions, removals and investigations within the Commonwealth.

o HB 809 (Rep. Scott Perry, R-Cumberland/York):  Requires government entities to verify the citizenship status of every person over the age of 18 that applies for public benefits and sets forth the procedures for verification, reimbursement, and the creation of a benefits database.

o HB 355 (Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny):  Prohibits the assistance of illegal immigrants in various, specified ways and identifies the violation of this provision as a third-degree misdemeanor, requires government entities to verify the citizenship of any individual over the age of 14 that applies for state or local public benefits, and requires the verification of a person’s citizenship status when charged with a felony or with driving under the influence.

o HB 810 (Rep. Scott Perry):  Requires Commonwealth appropriations for municipalities that are either under investigation for being a sanctuary municipality or are designated to be a sanctuary municipality, to be held in escrow until at least 30 days after the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth has certified that the municipality has taken corrective action.

o HB 856 (Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Cumberland/Franklin):  Establishes the smuggling of human beings as a third-degree felony and allows law enforcement officers engaged in the enforcement of this provision to stop a person who is operating a motor vehicle if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the person is violating any provision of the motor vehicle code.

o HB 801 (Rep. Tom Creighton):  Prohibits any Commonwealth official, agency, or other political subdivision from adopting a policy that limits or restricts enforcement of federal immigration laws and allows residents to challenge in court the agencies or political subdivisions that limit or restrict enforcement and requires unauthorized aliens convicted of violating state or local law to be transported to federal custody upon discharge from imprisonment or assessment of any fine that is imposed.

o HB 41 (Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin):  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 United States; and requires agencies that supply public benefits to verify the legal presence of all noncitizen applicants through the Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement program.

o 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 United States; 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.

o SB 637 (Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland):  Requires contractors and subcontractors on public works projects to verify employee eligibility using E-Verify.

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

o HB 1156 (Rep. Joseph Markosek, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland):  Defines “phishing,” establishes the offense of phishing as a third-degree felony, and establishes the distribution or sale of indentifying information obtained via phishing as a second-degree felony.

o HB 1552 (Rep. Bryan Cutler):  Restricts the filing of personal civil injury lawsuits to the county where the death or injury occurred.

o HB 1709 (Rep. Brad Roae, R-Crawford):  Allows judges in custody cases discretion to order an evaluation where a parent or a member of the parent’s household has been convicted of certain enumerated offenses.

• LOCAL GOVERNMENT, 10 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

o SB 834 (Sen. John Eichelberger):  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.

• TOURISM AND RECREATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, 10 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

o Informational meeting on Pennsylvania’s heritage areas.

Session

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

Votes on Second Consideration

• HB 146 (Rep. William Kortz, D-Allegheny):  Prohibits hand-held cell phone use by all drivers and all cell phone use by young drivers; adds an additional penalty to the careless driving section for distracted drivers; and establishes a special fund for fines and a distracted driver education program at PennDOT.

• HB 1052 (Rep. Mauree Gingrich, R-Lebanon):  Directs the Pennsylvania Department of Health to establish an informal review process for long-term care nursing facilities to dispute Department of Health survey findings using an independent agent.

• HB 1720 (Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-Chester):  Sets forth prioritizing guidelines on which court has jurisdiction to appoint a guardian or conservator for an incapacitated adult when there are multiple states that might claim jurisdiction and outlines the procedure for transferring guardianship or conservatorship either to or from the Commonwealth.

• HB 1875 (Rep. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster):  Bridge designation: Mountville Veterans Memorial Bridge.

• HB 1886 (Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny/Washington):  Bridge designation:  the General Carl E. Vuono Bridge.

• SB 314 (Sen. Robert Tomlinson, R-Bucks):  Prohibits sending, reading or writing text messaging on interactive wireless communication devices for all drivers while driving a vehicle.

Votes on Third Consideration

• HB 1091 (Rep. Patrick Harkins)

• HB 1827 (Rep. Bud George)

• HB 1862 (Rep. Martin Causer)

• HB 1893 (Rep. Randy Vulakovich)

• SB 732 (Sen. Patricia Vance, R-Cumberland/York):  Amends the Health Care Facilities Act to include abortion facilities in the definition of health care facilities and to provide licensure provisions for abortion facilities.

Wednesday, Oct. 26

Committee Meetings/Hearings

• AGING AND OLDER ADULT SERVICES, 9:30 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

o Informational meeting to hear from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and representatives of the Pennsylvania Adult Day Services Association on the state of adult day services in Pennsylvania.

o HB 1196 (Rep. Katharine Watson, R-Bucks):  Provides for a statewide adult day resource and referral system, establishes a central adult day services database, and imposes additional responsibilities upon the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.

• FINANCE, 9:30 a.m., Room 39, East Wing

o HB 1503 (Rep. Stan Saylor, R-York):  Establishes an angel investment tax credit for the taxable year in the amount of 25 percent of the taxpayer’s qualified angel investment in a qualified business venture and imposes duties upon the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

o 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.

• INSURANCE, 9:30 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

o HB 1908 (Rep. Nicholas Micozzie, R-Delaware):  Establishes standards for tow truck operators and towing storage facilities and provides that violations of the act also violate the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

• STATE GOVERNMENT, 10 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

o Informational meeting on establishing English as the official language of the Commonwealth:

HB 361 (Rep. RoseMarie Swanger, R-Lebanon):  Recognizes English as the official language of the Commonwealth and designates it as the language of all official acts of government.

HB 888 (Rep. Scott Perry):  Recognizes English as the official language of the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

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

o Reg. 16A-4320:  Amends the regulations of the State Board of Chiropractic in order to simplify the process for applying for a license by reciprocity.

o Reg. 16A-4624:  Includes coronal polishing, fluoride treatments, and taking impressions within the scope of practice of Board-certified expanded function dental assistants and requires three hours of continuing dental education in those areas.

o Reg. 16A-5725:  Requires a veterinarian who assumes the care and custody of an animal to inform each client what type of practitioner will supervise the animal and what level of monitoring the animal will receive while the animal is in the care and custody of the veterinarian.

o Reg. 16A-6514:  Sets standards for required continuing education for all physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, not solely those physical therapists who are certified for direct access.

Session

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

Votes on Second Consideration

• HB 1400 (Rep. Douglas Reichley, R-Berks/Lehigh):  Establishes a statewide stroke system of care by recognizing primary stroke centers and directing the creation of emergency medical services training and transport protocols.

• HB 1901 (Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming):  Amends the Public School Code by allowing school districts, in the event of an emergency, to advertise for bids to repair or replace a school plant or any part thereof;  contingent upon the school board.

• HB 2007 (Rep. Karen Boback, R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming):   Requires the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to include a listing of the number of executive sessions conducted each year and the agenda for each session in their annual report.

• HB 2009 (Rep. John Lawrence, R-Chester):  Requires the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to list on its website a description, with enumerated details, of all Right-to-Know requests.

• HB 2014 (Rep. George Dunbar, R-Westmoreland):  Requires the PGCB to make the budgetary guidelines for all board members and employees, including a salary matrix, available to the public and requires that the guidelines be posted on the PGCB website.

• SB 566 (Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Greene/Allegheny/Beaver/Washington/Westmoreland):  Bridge designation: “Stan the Man” Musial Bridge.

Votes on Third Consideration

• HB 1052 (Rep. Mauree Gingrich)

• HB 1720 (Rep. Tim Hennessey)

• HB 1875 (Rep. Ryan Aument)

• HB 1886 (Rep. Rick Saccone)

Thursday, Oct. 27

  Committee Meetings/Hearings

• GAME AND FISHERIES, 9 a.m., Room 140, Main Capitol Building

o Public hearing on Sunday hunting, focusing on:

HB 1760 (Rep. John Evans, R-Crawford/Erie):  Authorizes hunting on Sundays pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

• CONSUMER AFFAIRS, 9:30 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

o Informational meeting on natural gas utility recovery of purchased gas cost and whether statutory changes are needed to promote competition.

• HEALTH, 9:30 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

o Informational meeting on telemedicine.


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