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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 31, which would toughen child abuse reporting requirements in schools.

The measure would do away with the separate reporting requirement for schools and mandates that suspected child abuse be reported directly to the Department of Public Welfare’s Childline (1-800-932-0313) and the school’s principal. The bill would remove the different reporting requirement for school employees and put them on the same level as other mandated reporters.

The legislation was one of many endorsed in 2013 by the bipartisan, bicameral Legislative Task Force on Child Protection. Following the Sandusky scandal at Penn State, the task force was created by the General Assembly to thoroughly review state laws and procedures governing child protection and the reporting of child abuse.

Senate Bill 31 now goes to the governor for enactment.


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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1037, which would end a mandate that requires motorists in southwestern Pennsylvania to purchase a more expensive blend of gasoline.

Senate Bill 1037 would eliminate the statutory requirements for low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) gasoline in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties during the summer months. This “summer gas” is routinely more expensive than gasoline sold in other regions of Pennsylvania and also in neighboring Ohio and West Virginia.

Since 1999, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and federal Environmental Protection Agency have required that gasoline sold between May 1 and September 15 in the seven-county Greater Pittsburgh Area have a lower RVP (7.8psi). Regular gasoline has an RVP of 9.0.

The bill would add language to the Air Pollution Control law requiring DEP to initiate the process of amending the federally-mandated State Implementation Plan within 60 days and to repeal the state regulation of summer gas upon federal approval.

Bill proponents claim motorists in the impacted counties often pay 10 to 15 cents more per gallon for gas than those in neighboring counties and just across the border in Ohio.

The bill now goes to the governor for consideration.


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By a vote of 47-2, the Senate approved Senate Bill 1180, which would expand a prescription drug monitoring program to help law enforcement agencies crack down on prescription drug abuse and increase the quality of patient care.

Responding to the growth of prescription drug abuse across Pennsylvania, the measure would give law enforcement the tools to stem the tide of abuse and protect public health and safety.

The state has seen an 89 percent increase in drug overdose deaths since 1999. Pennsylvania is in the top third of states for prescription drug overdoses

Under current law, Attorney General’s office houses a prescription drug monitoring program with dispensing data of Level II controlled substances. Senate Bill 1180 would expand the monitoring to include all drugs up to Level V controlled substances. The new law would cover anabolic steroids, hydrocodone, codeine, and benzodiazepines such as Xanax.

The legislation would also give the Department of Health authority to monitor prescription distribution to prevent the practice of “doctor shopping.”

El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.


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The Senate voted 49-0 in favor of House Bill 1164, which would require Pennsylvania’s colleges, universities and institutions of higher learning to provide honorably discharged veterans and members of the National Guard and the Reserve component with priority registration when an application is received.

Priority registration is now only extended to certain athletes and students in selected demographics.

The legislation was presented to the governor for his consideration on May 8.


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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1224, which would provide prescription drug savings to veterans who live in assisted living or personal care homes.

Pennsylvania adopted a similar law in 2008 when the governor signed legislation allowing long-term care facilities to repackage medications received through the Veterans’ Administration so residents could save money.

The bill is headed to the House for its consideration.


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The Senate voted 49-0 to approve Senate Bill 705, which would give certain counties the option to not include their district attorneys on their prison boards.

Counties of the 6th (45,000 to 89,999 residents), 7th (20,000 to 49,999) and 8th (less than 20,000) classes now have the option to keep their district attorneys from serving on the prison boards, which helps them avoid the perception of a conflict of interest and resulting legal bills.

Senate Bill 705 would give counties of the 3rd (210,000 to 499,999 residents), 4th (145,000 to 209,999) and 5th (90,000 to 144,999) that same option.

Because district attorneys must occasionally prosecute inmates, guards or employees of a prison on whose board they serve, the bill would help counties avoid expensive legal challenges that may happen due to this perceived conflict of interest.

El proyecto de ley pasa ahora a la Cámara.


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