The Senate unanimously passed House Bill 359, which adds bear and elk under the mistaken kill provisions of the Game law.

The measure provides for a $100 restitution fine and would revoke one’s hunting license unless the following conditions are met:

  • The violation is the defendant’s first offense
  • The defendant complies with all the procedural requirements relating to killing wildlife by mistake
  • The offense occurred during an open season within the applicable WMU (wildlife management unit) for the species involved; or if during closed season, only if there was an open season within an adjacent WMU for the same species.
  • The defendant pleads guilty to the violation.
  • The violation does not involve a threatened or endangered species.
  • There were no relevant aggravating circumstances concerning the violation

This new law also allows investigative or Game Commission enforcement officers to  wear body cameras.

The bill became Act No. 3 of 2017.


The Senate unanimously passed House Bill 1653 which amends the Higher Education Scholarship Law to allow students to win state scholarships for Pennsylvania college programs offering online coursework.

If the school is located in the state, but not incorporated in Pennsylvania, then no more than half of the coursework may be online. PHEAA can require participating schools to report necessary data to show the impact of online coursework on the scholarship program.

The bill was enacted as Act No. 5 of 2018.


The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 52, which would establish the Keystone State Challenge Academy (National Guard Youth program), a program for individuals 16-18 years old who dropped out of school.

The program focuses on having participants get their GED (general equivalency diploma) and receive training on life skills, employment potential and leadership through military-based training.

The Department of Military & Veteran Affairs (DMVA) would administer the program. Guidelines would be posted on the websites of the DMVA and state Department of Education (DOE). The DOE would distribute guidelines to all school entities and the DMVA would provide an annual report to the legislature.

The bill was referred to the Veteran Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committee on January 31, 2018.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 234 by a vote of 42-8. The legislation would create the property assessed clean energy (PACE) program to enable local governments to provide owners of agricultural, commercial and industrial properties with low cost, long term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects.

Any county that establishes a PACE program would be required to notify municipalities in the district of their inclusion. Local governments that create a program could contract with a third party for its administration. Participating local governments must obtain verification that improvements were made in energy savings or water usage. Notice of projects financed through the PACE program would be posted online.

The bill was referred to the House Commerce committee on February 1, 2018.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 611 which amends the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act to retroactively forfeit the benefits of a public official or employee who has been convicted, pled guilty or no contest to crimes related to public office or employment.

Neither an appeal or collateral attack on the case would provide for a stay in the forfeiture of benefits.

The bill was referred to the House Judiciary committee on February 1, 2018.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 775, which would enable the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission to establish a grant program for eligible museums that include botanic gardens, children’s, historical and scientific museums.

Eligible museums with an operating budget of more than $100,000 could apply for grants — equal to 15 percent of their operating budget. Museums with AAM (American Alliance of Museums) accreditation could receive an additional grant of up to 1 percent of its operating budget. Grants could not exceed $500,000. The legislation would establish the Pennsylvania Museum Preservation Fund.

The bill was referred to the House State Government committee on January 31, 2018.


The Senate voted 47 to 2 for Senate Bill 799, which would establish the Pennsylvania Clean Water Procurement program and make changes to the Growing Greener program. For Fiscal Year 2017-2018, funds would be allocated as follows:

  • 9% – Department of Conservation and National Resources;
  • 2% – Department of Environmental Protection;
  • 7% – Department of Agriculture;
  • 6% – Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST);
  • 6% – Department of Community and Economic Development;
  • 6% – Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission;
  • 3% – Pennsylvania Game Commission; and
  • 1% – Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

The program would allow DEP to provide for a competitive bidding process for vendors who provide “verified TMDL nutrient credits” (cost efficient ways to reduce pollution) in the state. Bid awards would be determined by environmental and recreational benefits as well as any other criteria set by the DEP and the State Conversation Commission. The legislation would also establish the Watershed Innovation and Improvement Fund as the funding source.

The bill was referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy committee on February 1, 2018.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 898 which would exempt vehicles used for local maintenance or construction from restrictions on size, weight and load while working on highways and bridges.

People operating exempted vehicles would be required to carry official documentation that identifies the vehicle as exempt.

The bill was referred to the House Transportation committee on February 1, 2018.


The Senate unanimously approved of Senate Bill 1015, which would allow for police officers who are members of local special emergency response teams to have their personal vehicles equipped with revolving or flashing red lights and an audible warning system when responding to emergency situations.

The bill was referred to the House Transportation committee on February 1, 2018.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1034, which would repeal the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011 as a result of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s order to invalidate the current congressional districts

The bill was referred to the House State Government committee on February 1, 2018.