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The Senate unanimously passed legislation that would restrict the use of restraints on children during court proceedings.

Senate Bill 817 would require that restraints, such as handcuffs, chains, shackles, irons or straitjackets be removed from the juvenile offender prior to a court proceeding, except if the restraints are necessary to prevent physical harm to the juvenile or others; prevent disruptive courtroom behavior if the juvenile has a history of disruptive courtroom behavior; or prevent a juvenile with an escape history from fleeing the courtroom.

The bill was signed into law as Act 56 of 2012.

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By a vote of 46-2, the Senate passed a bill intended to prevent sudden cardiac death among student athletes. 

House Bill 1610 requires the Department of Health to develop training guidelines for coaches and requires coaches to undergo yearly training and certification for understanding the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest.

Student-athletes at schools participating in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) must annually sign and return to their school an acknowledgement of receipt and review of the sudden cardiac arrest symptoms information sheet developed by the state.

The law also provides penalties for coaches who fail to remove an athlete from play who is exhibiting warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest.

The bill was signed into law as Act 59 of 2012, and will go into effect July 30.

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The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 1398, which would extend the sunset date of two environmental protection grant programs.

Senate Bill 1398 would extend the sunset date of the Underground Storage Tank Environmental Cleanup Program and the Underground Storage Tank Pollution Prevention Program to June 30, 2017. Both programs were set to sunset in June of 2012 unless reauthorized by the legislature.

El proyecto de ley está ahora en la Cámara.

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The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would impose a criminal penalty on the owner or co-owner of a dog that injures a service dog used by an individual with a disability.

Under House Bill 165, an owner or co-owner of a dog that kills, maims or disfigures a service dog would be charged with a third degree misdemeanor. The person would only be responsible when the dog attacks without provocation and the person knew or should have known that their dog had a tendency to attack human beings or domestic animals without provocation. 

The bill would also make it a misdemeanor when the owner or co-owner recklessly fails to restrain or contain the dog. 

The bill is now in the House Rules committee.

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The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would further provide for “Good Samaritan” civil immunity for use of automated external defibrillator (AED) and for nonmedical Good Samaritan civil immunity.

Under current law, immunity is only provided if the person is certified by the Heart Association, the Red Cross or a similar program approved by the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council.

Senate Bill 351 provides civil immunity to people who, in good faith, use an AED or other forms of first aid to aid victims during an emergency. Immunity would also be extended to the business or other organization that houses and maintains an AED on its premises.     

The bill is now in the House Rules Committee.

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The Senate unanimously passed an amended version of House Bill 804, which added a fifth exemption to serving jury duty.

This bill adds an exemption for any person who had already served a full term on a statewide investigating grand jury. Other exemptions include military duty, previous service within the last three years, undue hardship and relatives of homicide victims.

The bill was signed into law as Act 63 of 2012.

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By a unanimous vote, the Senate passed a provision for the fiscal code that would align state law with federal law and allow Pennsylvania to distribute federal unemployment compensation.

Senate Bill 1263 would create a provision in the Fiscal Code for “Reed Act” limitations.  The provision has been an annual inclusion in the Fiscal Code since the federal government appropriated $8 billion in 2002 for distribution to state unemployment compensation programs.

El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.

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By unanimous vote, the Senate passed legislation that would allow a Lancaster County “open-campus” initiative to become a model for school districts throughout the state.

Senate Bill 1492 would allow school districts to enter into “Open Campus Initiatives” under the guidance of the Department of Education. The agreements would allow districts to share classes over the Internet.  Courses would be available to students from participating districts over the Internet, teleconferencing or other technological means.

Penn Manor, Hempfield and Manheim school districts in Lancaster County are currently cooperating in such an “open-campus.”

 El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.

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