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The Senate approved Senate Bill 150, by a vote of 38-9, to change how information is collected and used in Pennsylvania’s DNA database.

The bill was approved by the Senate after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is constitutional for police to collect DNA samples from someone they’ve arrested, even if they are never formally charged with a crime or have never been convicted in the past.

The bill would require people charged with criminal homicide and felony sex offenses to be DNA tested, make sure state DNA labs are in compliance with FBI standards, require DNA lab personnel to comply with FBI standards, prohibit the use of DNA records for human behavioral genetic research or for other identification purposes, allow authorities to release the names of suspected criminals using only partial DNA matches, and require DNA records of people found not guilty or exonerated of crimes to automatically be purged.

The bill is now with the House Judiciary Committee.

 

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The Senate voted 38 to 19 in favor of Senate Bill 700, which would restructure the governance board of the Port Authority of Allegheny County and initiate a study over the possibility of consolidating and privatizing the authority.

Under the bill, the authority would be expanded from nine to 11 members.

Opponents of the bill argued that the legislation would unjustly reduce the County Executive to having only one appointment to the governance board, despite the fact that he has a greater authority role than others who make appointments.

Another point of contention was with the inclusion of privatization language. Many lawmakers deemed this as unnecessary since the board currently contracts with private carriers when it is deemed profitable. They also criticized the privatization prospect since a privately-operated authority would no longer be tax exempt or capable of pulling down federal dollars.

El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 358, which would require physicians to notify patients who receive mammograms of their breast density. There is currently no protocol of informing women about breast density.

Mammogram films of breasts with higher density are harder to read and interpret than those of less dense breasts. The bill would require mammography reports to include a notice informing patients of the difficulty of detecting tumors in women with dense breasts.

The bill was referred to the House.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 326, which would increase the Erie County Convention Center Authority from nine to 11 members.

Under the bill, it would take six members to reach a quorum. The Erie County Council would appoint seven members, the mayor two and the governor two.

The measure now goes to the governor for enactment.

 

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            The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 891, which would allow nuisance wildlife control officers to check their traps with remote electronic devices. By using such devices, officers would save time by not being required to visit each of their traps to check for wildlife.

Nuisance wildlife control officers are responsible for dispatching “pest and nuisance wildlife” as designated by the Game Commission.

The bill would require the officers to physically check a trap within 24 hours if their electronic device malfunctions.

The bill now goes to the governor.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 84, which would amend the Deficiency Judgment Act to allow one County Court of Common Pleas to set the fair market value for all of the collateral real property owned by a debtor whose property is located in more than one county.

The bill stipulates that the court located in the county with most of the collateral real property would be charged with setting the full market value. The measure would apply retroactively to January 23, 2005.

El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 437, which would allow the Department of Education to grant military science teaching certificates to individuals who have a valid military science certificate or endorsement issued by a branch of the armed forces authorizing the individual to teach military science to JROTCs (Junior Reserved Officers’ Training Corps).

El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.

 

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The Senate voted 49 to 1 for Senate Bill 57, which would allow audio taping on school busses.

Videotaping on school busses has been allowed for the past two decades, but audio recording has not been allowed because it violates wiretapping laws. School districts are now learning, however, that audio taping provides a better understanding of how and when verbal bullying begins.

Senate Bill would create an exemption for school busses to the Wiretap Act.

The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1002, the Capital Budget Act.

Senate Bill 1002 sets the maximum principal amount of additional debt the state can take on during 2013-2014 for buildings, furniture, transportation assistance, redevelopment assistance, bridge and flood control projects at $1.275 billion.

The bill was adopted on June 20 but has not yet been assigned to a House committee.

 

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The Senate approved Senate Bill 137, which would amend the Speech-Language and Hearing Licensure Act to modernize the education and training requirements for licensing speech and hearing professionals. It also provides greater flexibility for professionals licensed in other states to practice in the Pennsylvania.

The bill was referred to the House.

 

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The Senate voted 32-16 in favor of Senate Bill 644, which would clarify the definition of “wild animals” to exclude a species of swine, pig or boar, held in captivity, therefore removing such animals from the regulatory purview of the Game Commission. The commission would maintain regulatory authority over wild boar or feral swine not held in captivity.

The bill would also prohibit releasing a male swine onto a hunting preserve if it has not been sterilized.

The House voted in favor of the bill 172-24, and it was sent to the Governor.

 

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By a unanimous vote, the Senate passed a bill to create a uniform procedure for processing contraband collected by county probation and parole departments.

Under Senate Bill 305, probation and parole departments would list all contraband abandoned for more than two years and report it to the county treasurer. The treasurer would then decide what items can be taken possession of, and the probation and parole departments would retain control of the rest.

The bill now goes to the House

 

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The Senate unanimously passed legislation that would validate conveyances and other legal instruments which have acknowledgements containing technical errors. Senate Bill 419 would validate acknowledgements for deeds and mortgages that are dated after 2005 and prior to 2013.

The law was last amended in 2005 and the General Assembly has customarily updated the provisions of Act 69 about every seven years. When a technical error exists in an acknowledgement, it makes subsequent transfers of property difficult unless the error is corrected by this type of legislation.

El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.

 

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