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Appropriations 2021-2022

The Senate Appropriations Committee met Wednesday, May 12, 2021 and reported the following bill from committee:

Senate Bill 664 (Corman): This bill amends the Public School Code of 1949, by adding two sections related to repeating a grade level in the 2021-22 school year.

The Department of Education anticipates no cost to the Commonwealth. There is an unknown cost to local school districts, depending on the number of students choosing to repeat a grade.

The bill was unanimously approved.

The Senate Appropriations Committee met Monday, May 10, 2021 and reported the following bills from committee. Except where indicated, all bills were reported favorably by unanimous vote.

Senate Bill 82 (Brooks): This bill is a free-standing act that amends the Automobile Lemon Law to include motorcycles. 

This legislation should have no adverse fiscal impact on Commonwealth funds or local funds.  

Senate Bill 115 (Boscola): This bill creates the free-standing act authorizing Pennsylvania to join the Nurse Licensure Compact. 

Enactment of Senate Bill 115 may result in fiscal impact to Commonwealth funds. While the expenditure of Commonwealth funds may be minimal, enactment may likely result in a decrease in revenue to the State Board of Nursing. 

Senators Kearney, Santarsiero, Saval, Costa, & Hughes voted against.  

Senate Bill 251 (Yaw): This bill establishes best practices for fertilizer use by providing for the labeling, application, recordkeeping, packaging, use, sale and distribution of agricultural fertilizer as well as turf or other specialty fertilizer. 

The bill requires the State Treasurer to transfer $100,000 from the General Fund to the Agronomic Regulatory Account to allow the Department of Agriculture (PDA) to develop courses and purchase computer software for enforcement. New revenues generated from the license fees, registration fees, applicator certification, fines and penalties established in the legislation are estimated to generate an additional $800,000 annually. The provisions will cause approximately $900,000 in new expenses a year. Additionally, provisions contained in the legislation provide the Department with the ability to adjust fees to meet its costs related to the program. 

Senate Bill 323 (J. Ward): This bill amends s the State Lottery Law to allow for continued eligibility if an individual’s maximum income limit is exceeded solely due to a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). 

According to the Department of Aging, the extension of this moratorium has been accounted for in the 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23 pharmaceutical assistance programs budgets and therefore should not adversely impact commonwealth funds. 

Senate Bill 341 (Phillips-Hill): This bill amends Title 66 (Public Utilities) to streamline regulations for telecommunication carriers. 

The enactment of this legislation should have no adverse fiscal impact on Commonwealth funds. 

All Senate Democrats voted against.  

Senate Bill 403 (Robinson): This bill amends Title 30 (Fish) to align the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Boat Registration period with the calendar year.  

The Commission has two customer cycles, which spreads the total registrations out over a 4-year period, therefore the loss of revenue is estimated by the Commission to be $1.33 million spread over a 4-year period. 

Senate Bill 432 (Laughlin): This bill amends the Department of Banking and Securities Code (Act 111 of 1933) to further provide for the Banking Fund. 

Enactment of this legislation should not have a adverse fiscal impact on the Banking Fund.  

Senate Bill 442 (Phillips-Hill): This bill establishes the State-owned Assets and Broadband Services Act. 

The Department of General Services (DGS) estimates that enactment of this legislation may cost the commonwealth $39.2 million in total. Costs are estimated by examining current revenues relating to contracts and anticipated buildout. The department also anticipates needing additional staff in the Office of Enterprise Wireless Management. 

All Senate Democrats voted against.  

Senate Bill 445 (Mensch): This bill amends Title 75 (Vehicles) to provide for contributions for breast cancer research. 

Enactment of this legislation should not have a adverse fiscal impact on the Motor License Fund.  

The Senate Appropriations Committee met Tuesday, April 27, 2021 and reported the following bills from committee. Except where indicated, all bills were reported favorably by unanimous vote.

Senate Bill 74 (Martin): This bill amends the Tax Reform Code of 1971 to provide for a pediatric cancer research tax credit.  The bill was amended in committee. The amendment was technical in nature.

The tax credit program would be capped at $10 million per fiscal year and apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2021.

Senate Bill 147 (Langerholc): This bill amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to require employer safety committees to provide information regarding risks associated with substance abuse. The bill was amended in committee. The amendment was technical in nature.

The legislation is not anticipated to have an impact on the State Workers’ Insurance Fund.

Senate Bill 156 (Mensch): This bill amends the Tobacco Settlement Act to make changes to the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities program, including eligibility expansion.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) estimates that the total net costs of the policy changes in this legislation will be $9.7 million.

Senate Bill 382 (Langerholc): This bill amends Title 74 (Transportation) to further provide for the duties and operation of the Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board and void prior initiatives of that board.

The bill would not have a direct fiscal impact but would require an additional approval process which could have a funding impact on the Motor License Fund.

The bill was approved along party lines.

Senate Bill 425 (Gordner): This bill makes various amendments to the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act relating to informed consent.

The bill would not have any adverse impact on Commonwealth funds.

Senate Bill 434 (Vogel & Schwank): This bill adds Subchapter C to Title 3 (Agriculture) providing for a milk sell by date and best by date labeling.

Enactment of this legislation should be revenue neutral.

The Senate Appropriations Committee met Tuesday, April 20, 2021 and reported the following bill from committee.

House Bill 766 (Griener): This bill amends the Tax Reform Code of 1971 to provide for a Covid-19 emergency finance and tax provision under the personal income tax as well as further provide for the due date under the corporate net income tax.

This bill does not have an adverse impact on commonwealth or local funds.

The bill was unanimously approved.

The Senate Appropriations Committee met Monday, April 19, 2021 and reported the following bills from committee. Except where indicated, all bills were reported favorably by unanimous vote.

Senate Bill 83 (Brooks): This bill amends the School Code to establish a  Secondary Education Fire Training Pilot Program which provides fire training to  secondary school students through institutions of higher education.

The total cost for the pilot program would be a minimum of $450,000. The cost to the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee would be approximately $144,000  which can be absorbed in their existing operating budget.

Senate Bill 108 (Bartolotta): This bill amends the Human Services Code to provide a supplemental payment for certain skilled care facilities with a high number of claims days for ventilator or tracheostomy care.

This bill carries an estimated total cost of close to $13.1 million, shared between state and federal funds. For the 2020-21 annual payment, the state share would be an estimated $5.448 million

Senate Bill 114 (Boscola): This bill amends Title 75 (Vehicles) to further provide for the removal of snow and ice from a motor vehicle or motor carrier vehicle.

The enactment of this legislation should not have a negative fiscal impact on the Motor License Fund.

Senate Bill 190 (Mensch): This bill creates the “Essential Family Caregiver Designation Act.” The bill was amended in committee, the amendment was technical in nature.

This bill does not have an adverse impact on commonwealth funds.

Senators Costa, Hughes, Saval, and Street voted against the bill.

Senate Bill 248 (Phillips-Hill): This bill amends Title 38 (Holidays and Observances) to establish two additional Veteran Recognition days in the Commonwealth to “recognize the contributions of veterans of the United States Armed Forces from this Commonwealth in major conflicts since the Vietnam War.”

This bill does not have an adverse impact on commonwealth funds.

Senate Bill 317 (Browne): This bill creates a freestanding act to be known as the Expedited Partner Therapy Act. The legislation would allow for the issuance of a prescription to treat sexually transmitted infections without examination if that individual’s sexual partner is a patient of the prescriber, has been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, and indicates the partner is unlikely to be examined or evaluated independently.

This bill does not have an adverse impact on commonwealth funds.

Senate Bill 381 (Martin): This bill amends the Public School Code to remove the June 30, 2021 sunset for the substitute teacher program for prospective students.

This bill does not have an adverse impact on commonwealth funds.

Senators Haywood, Saval, and Hughes voted against the bill.

Senate Bill 457 (Baker): This bill is a joint resolution proposing three amendments to Article IV of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, in sections relating to the qualifications and disqualifications of the Attorney General.

This legislation carries an estimated net cost of $1.3 to $1.5 million in the current fiscal year.

House Bill 110 (Causer): This bill amends the Hardwoods Development Council Act to provide for changes in membership of the Hardwoods Development Council.

This bill does not have an adverse impact on commonwealth funds.

House Bill 203 (Toohil): This bill creates the “Living Donor Protection Act,” requiring outreach and education by the Department of Health and insurance protections.

This bill does not have an adverse impact on commonwealth funds.

 

The Senate Appropriations Committee met Tuesday, March 23, 2021 and reported the following bills from committee. Except where indicated, all bills were reported favorably by unanimous vote.

Senate Bill 411 (Browne): This bill amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) and Title 61 (Prisons and Parole) to statutorily consolidate the Department of Corrections (Department) and Pennsylvania Parole Board (Board) as well as to transfer the Board of Pardons to Title 61.

Sen. Browne offered a technical amendment, which was adopted.  

Many of the provisions of Senate Bill 411 have already been implemented through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department and the Board. Since fiscal year (FY) 2017-18, the Commonwealth has achieved $12 million in savings as a result of the MOU, with those savings estimated to grow to $19.1 million in FY 2022-23.

House Bill 14  (Gregory): This bill is a Joint Resolution proposing an emergency amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide for a two-year window in which an individual may file a civil action alleging childhood sexual abuse notwithstanding any otherwise applicable statute of limitations defense.

This legislation should have minimal fiscal impact on Commonwealth or local funds.

The Senate Appropriations Committee met Wednesday, March 17, 2021 and reported the following bills from committee. Except where indicated, all bills were reported favorably by unanimous vote.

Senate Bill 69 (Langerholc): This bill establishes the Recovery-to-Work (R-T-W) Act to create a pilot program within the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) to provide individuals  in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction with career development opportunities and work  experience through local workforce development boards

The Department of Labor & Industry believes it will need $4.660 million to implement an effective two-year pilot program to serve 100 individuals.

All Senate Democrats voted against the bill.

Senate Bill 137 (Hutchinson): This bill amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedures) to create the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Training Fund.

This legislation should have minimal fiscal impact on Commonwealth or local funds.

Senators Haywood, Kearney, Saval, & Hughes voted against the bill.


Senate Appropriations and Education held a  Joint Committee Hearing on March 4, 2021 on COVID Impact on Local Districts, Parents, Students, and Educators:


The Senate Appropriations Committee met Tuesday, February 23, 2021 and reported the following bills from committee. Except where indicated, all bills were reported favorably by unanimous vote. 

Senate Bill 36 (Phillips-Hill): This bill would extend fee exemptions to a service dog used in the performance of services by a police department, fire department or sheriff’s office or in the performance of rescue services or emergency medical services. 

This legislation would not have any adverse fiscal impact on Commonwealth funds. 

Senate Bill 64 (Martin): This bill directs a portion of the state-allocated farmland preservation funding to be set aside annually for use by land trusts.  

The bill would divert $3 million annually from the state Agricultural Easement Purchase Program to be used by nonprofit land trusts. The legislation also requires that the land trusts provide matching funds, which could be raised from agri-businesses, lenders and/or private citizens. Other than the loss of this amount to the program, there are no other fiscal impacts to the Department of Agriculture.  

Senate Bill 96 (Robinson): This bill amends Title 75 (Vehicles) to further provide for contributions to the Veterans’ Trust Fund. 

Based on projected contributions from plates, driver’s licenses, and registrations for fiscal year 2020-21, a full fiscal year impact could be an additional $0.838 million per fiscal year. 

Senate Bill 106 (Argall): This bill proposes an amendment to the Commonwealth’s Constitution that would revise the procedure by which the Lieutenant Governor is elected. 

The Department of State estimates the cost for the required publication of the passage of the Constitutional amendment to be approximately $1.3 million to $1.5 million. The total cost incurred for publishing following the passage of the bill in two consecutive sessions would be approximately $2 million to $3 million. 

Sen. Hughes voted against SB 106.

Senate Bill 116 (Scavello): This bill removes language on the operation of the Conservation Center which the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) no longer operates. It also modernizes the process for the sale and disposition of property.

This legislation would not have any adverse fiscal impact on Commonwealth funds. 

Senate Bill 158 (Regan): This bill establishes medals for law enforcement officers, fire and EMS personnel.

This bill should result in minimal fiscal impact to Commonwealth funds. However, the cost of the medals will impact the local funds of the agency awarding the medal. 

House Bill 326 (O’Neal): This bill adds a section that would allow the Pennsylvania National Guard to participate in the distribution and administration of items for a virus.  

This legislation would not have any adverse fiscal impact on Commonwealth funds.  

Senate Appropriations and Education Joint Committee Hearing met on February 9, 2021 for a PASSHE Update:

The Senate Appropriations Committee met Tuesday, January 26, 2021 and reported the following bills from committee. Except where indicated, all bills were reported favorably by unanimous vote: 

Senate Bill 2 (K. Ward): This bill proposes three separate amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution,

under Articles I, III and IV. The first amendment would add a new section to Article I – Declaration of Rights. New Section 29 provides that equity of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of the race or ethnicity of the individual.

The second amendment would modify section 9 of Article III – Legislation, to exclude Joint Resolutions on the question of terminating or extending a declaration of disaster emergency from presentment to the Governor for approval.

The third amendment would add a new section to Article IV – The Executive, providing for the declaration and management of a disaster emergency by the Executive. New section 20 provides that the General Assembly shall, by statute, provide for the manner in which disasters shall be managed by the Executive. Further, the amendment restricts the timeframe for which a disaster emergency declaration shall be effective to no more than 21 days, unless extended by a concurrent resolution of the General Assembly.

The Department of State estimates the cost for the required publication of the passage of the Constitutional amendments to be approximately $1.3 million to $1.5 million, per required publication. Because this is the second passage of the amendments, the costs would be restricted to the current fiscal year.

The bill passed along party lines with all Senate Democrats voted against the bill.

Senate Bill 8 (Baker): This bill amends Article 1, Section 11 (Courts to be open; suits against the Commonwealth) of the Pennsylvania Constitution, by adding a new subsection (b) to provide that for an individual where the statute of limitations period has expired, the individual will have a two-year window in which to file a civil action alleging childhood sexual abuse.

The Department of State estimates the cost for the required publication of the passage of the Constitutional amendment to be approximately $1.3 million to $1.5 million, per required publication. Because this is the second passage of the amendment, the costs would be restricted to the current fiscal year.

Senate Bill 87 (Baker): This bill amends Titles 18, 23 and 42 to increase the grading for the offense of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children) and to provide for additional circumstances where a sentencing enhancement would apply to the offense. The Task Force on Child Pornography is created.

Enactment of Senate Bill 87 may result in an impact to Commonwealth funds as it relates to increased state prison sentences and increased amount of time being served by defendants.

Senators Haywood, Saval, and Street voted against the bill.

Senate Bill 109 (Pittman): This bill amends the Fiscal Code to repeal the “COVID Relief – Mortgage and Rental Assistance Grant Program.”

The bill was amended in committee to include the following:

Provide for the distribution of $912 million from the COVID-19 Response Restricted Account in the following manner:

  • Rental and Utility Assistance – $569.808 million will be allocated proportionally to all 67 counties based on U.S. Census Bureau population estimates for calendar year 2019. By September 30, counties must identify any excess or shortfall in funding. Any excess funding will be reallocated to counties identifying a need for additional funding based on the relative population proportion of the county.
  • Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (Discretionary) – $47.075 million for Pennsylvania’s discretionary allocation which will be appropriated as follows:
    • Career and Technical Centers – $17.5 million to be allocated proportionally based on the secondary Career and Technical Education subsidy for the  2019-2020 school year.
    • Intermediate Units – $17.5 million to be allocated proportionally based on aid ratio and average daily membership.
    • Charter Schools for the Deaf and Blind and Approved Private Schools – $7.075 million to be allocated proportionally based on the total number of students.
    • State System of Higher Education – $5 million.
  • Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (Non-Public Schools) – $150.023 million in funding for non-public schools.
  • Hospitality Industry Recovery Program – $145 million to be allocated proportionally to all 67 counties for grants to hotels, restaurants, bars and taverns. Certified local economic development agencies will be responsible for administering the program, and they will be limited on the amount of fees they can charge (1% of the grant amount plus a flat fee not to exceed $750; the combined maximum fee is  $1,250). The maximum grant award is limited to $50,000 per eligible recipient.