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The Senate unanimously passed legislation that would toughen penalties for the production of methamphetamine and operating a meth lab.

Senate Bill 125 would make it a misdemeanor to possess the ingredients used to manufacture meth.

The House added amendments to this bill from their own legislation (House Bill 485) that would add penalties for operating a meth lab and require the defendant to pay for the environmental cleanup costs.

Under the amended bill, operating a meth lab would be considered a second degree felony. However, if the lab is located within 1,000 feet of a school, a college or university or a nursery school or day care center or within 250 feet of a recreation center or playground, the offense would be elevated to a first degree felony.

The amended bill also makes dumping meth waste a third degree felony.

The bill is now on the governor’s desk.

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 960, which would add Military Officers Association of America as one of the organizations that is part of the State Veterans’ Commission.

The commission advises the Adjutant General and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs on all matters pertaining to the status, welfare benefits, employment and support of veterans and veterans’ programs in Pennsylvania.

The bill is now in the House.

The Senate unanimously passed a package of bills that would bring municipal law provisions governing pre-hiring examinations of emergency responders in cities, towns, townships, and boroughs into compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Senate Bills 908, 909, 910, 911, 912, and 913 would amend the police officers and firefighters civil service statutory provisions to ensure those laws are interpreted and applied by municipal officials in a manner that is in compliance with federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

Senate Bills 908 through 913 would meet ADA requirements by clearly delineating a difference between prohibited pre-offer “medical examinations” and permissible job-related “physical and agility tests” that may occur at anytime during the testing process; clearly defining “medical examinations” in accordance with federal law, include “psychological medical examinations,” and specify that medical examinations may not occur until a conditional offer of employment has been made; and clearly specifying where in the process “medical examinations” may occur in relation to the written examination, when veteran’s preference points are to be awarded, and how long eligibility lists may be in effect.

The bills are now in the House.

The Senate voted unanimously in favor of House Bill 1551, which would change the Crane Operator Licensure Act by allowing licenses without certification.

The legislation allows the State Board of Crane Operators to issue licenses without certification for those who already have licenses, beginning on the effective date of this bill until December 9, 2011.

The bill is on the Governor’s desk.

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