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The Senate voted 47-0 on Senate Bill 491, which would change Pennsylvania law dealing with local taxes.

If it becomes law, the proposal would make farmer estimated tax provisions the same as those used by the state Department of Revenue, change the due date of returns, add safe harbor estimated tax provisions and an income-based exception to estimated tax requirements, and drop duplicative declaration of income requirements.

The bill is now before the House Finance Committee.

 

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            The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 974, which would grant or enable public schools to obtain AEDs (automated external defibrillators) and supplies on a biennial basis for distribution to schools at a discounted rate.

If money is appropriated, then the Department of Education can provide AED’s to schools that do not have them — or pay for part of them at a cost lower than the bid price. If there is no funding available, the department would just offer a bid price that schools can use.

Upon request, the department would provide up to two AEDs to each school district, one to each intermediate unit, and one to each area vocational-technical school. To be eligible, at least two employees would need to know how to use an AED and at least one would be required to be present at all school-sponsored activities.

The bill would also require school entities to annually report the number, age, condition and location of AEDs in each school building.

House Bill 974 now returns to the House.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 431, which is part of an eight-bill child protection package. The changes were proposed by the Task Force on Child Protection.

House Bill 431 would require professional licensees to prove they have completed at least three hours of approved child abuse recognition and reporting training. At least two hours of continuing education on child abuse recognition would also be obligatory.

Following House concurrence, the bill now goes to the governor.

 

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            The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 997, which would which would legalize pedal-assist electric bicycles in the state vehicle code.

With a growing number of small businesses emerging to meet the demand for these motorized bicycles, lawmakers were pressed to clearly define them in the code. The bike’s small electric motor assists some riders who are out-of-shape, older, or riding on difficult, hilly terrain.

The measure defines pedal-assist electric bicycles as bicycles equipped with operable
pedals, an electric motor 750 watts (1 horsepower) or less, weighing 100 pounds or less, and capable of a maximum speed of not more than 20 mph. The legislation also requires that the rider be at least 16-years-old.

El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.

 

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The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1719, which would consolidate the state’s borough code, Titles 8 and 44, and make many definition changes. It has been described by the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs as the second step toward modernizing the state’s Borough Code (Act 43).

Supporters of the proposal said it would provide better guidance for local government officials. The bill, however, would not drastically change Act 43, but it does group reference numbers of the relatively new law into chapters and subchapters.

House Bill 1719 is with the House Rules Committee for consideration.

 

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            The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1301, which would restore the state’s registration exemption for farm vehicles.

In 2010, Pennsylvania overhauled its regulations to mirror commercial trucking standards imposed under the federal motor carrier safety regulations.  This was prompted by a 2007 federal audit that pointed to deficiencies and loss of federal transportation funds.

In making the change, the state eliminated the registration exemption previously given for farm vehicles.  The 2012 changes to the vehicle code restored the state motor carrier regulations from farm vehicle drivers prior to 2010, but did not restore the exemption to registration-exempt farm vehicles.

El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.

 

 

The Senate unanimously passed House Bill 89, which would send unused funds from the DARE drug-abuse prevention program to provide grants for Child Advocacy Centers.

In the 2011-2012 budget, the DARE program was defunded at the recommendation of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. It concluded that DARE was not an effective drug prevention program.  Approximately $400,000 in proceeds from the sale of special DARE license plates remains in the fund.

The bill would apply that money to the commission for the grants.

The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.

 

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The Senate unanimously concurred in House amendments to a bill that is part of a package of bills intended to curb child abuse.

Senate Bill 24, part of the Senate Child Protection package, would establish a statewide database for protective services. The bill would require reports of suspected child abuse to be submitted electronically or by phone to the Department of Public Welfare. The information in the database would only be used for investigations or background checks such as those for employees.

El proyecto de ley espera ahora la firma del Gobernador.

 

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To close a loophole in the state’s kennel laws, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 1107, which would prevent an immediate family member from obtaining a kennel license in the event a licensee’s permit is revoked.

The bill is in response to an incident in which the wife of a suspended licensee applied for a license to continue the kennel operation.

Under the bill, if a kennel license has been revoked; no new kennel license can be issued to a person who is a member of the immediate family — nor to any person who resides at the same address of the current license.

El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.

 

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