Select Page

The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 152, which repeals a section of the insurance company law that allows a surplus or safety fund.

The legislation also adds a section allowing for the state Insurance Department to maintain an electronic database of contact information for life insurers and requires the department and all life insurers to participate in the life policy locator service adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

The bill requires insurance producers complete at least four continuing education credits in an annuity training course.

The bill became Act 48 of 2018.

***

The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1641, which creates the “Employment First” law to support the employment of people with disabilities.

Under the bill, state agencies must try to employ disabled people in at least 7 percent of the overall state workforce. Financial incentives will be granted to providers who support the placement and continued employment of individuals with a disability.

The legislation also creates the Governor’s cabinet for people with disabilities, a 16-member group tasked with making recommendations and reviewing regulations, policies and services on employing individuals with disabilities. The bill also creates the Employment Fist Oversight Commission, an independent commission charged with establishing measurable goals and objectives governing implementation of this law, tracking progress of public agencies and issuing an annual report.

The bill became Act 36 of 2018.

***

The Senate voted 35-14 in favor of Senate Bill 22, a bipartisan proposal that would have amended the state constitution to create an 11-member independent commission to redraw the state’s legislative and congressional district maps.

Under the bill, the governor would have recommended three candidates for the commission. The majority and minority leaders in the Senate and House would have recommend two members each.

A Republican amendment inserted into the bill would have also have tasked the redistricting commission with creating judicial districts for the election of state Supreme court justices as well as Superior court and Commonwealth court judges. Several Democrats criticized Republicans for using the amendment as a vindictive stab at the state Supreme Court for its ruling that declared the Congressional district map unconstitutionally gerrymandered and implemented its own revised congressional district map in 2018.

The bill died in the House.

***

The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 299, which would allow incumbents seeking reelection for district justice to get on the ballot by filing a certificate instead of collecting signatures.

If the sitting judge chooses this option, he or she could not challenge the nominating petitions of any other candidate for magisterial district judge.

The bill was referred to the House State Government committee.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 655, which would establish the Pennsylvania Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing Advisory Council. Responding to the state’s opioid overdose crisis, the council would examine and make recommendations regarding safer opioid prescribing and dispensing practices.

The bill was referred to the House Health committee.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 667, which allows redevelopment authorities in second class A through eighth class counties to be designated as a land bank and exercise all powers accorded such entities under statute.

This act does not apply to land bank jurisdictions in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.

Senate Bill 667 became Act 33 of 2018.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 780, which would provide for the remote delivery of health care services and medical information via telecommunication technology.

This may not include audio-only telephone conversations, voicemail, fax, email, instant messaging, text messaging or online questionnaires. The legislation also provides for insurance coverage of telemedicine and Medicaid reimbursement payments for telemedicine.

The bill was referred to the House Professional Licensure committee.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 851, which clarifies that ownership responsibility of a delinquent property remains with the owner of record until the property is sold and the deed is transferred to the new owner.

If a property remains unsold after an upset sale and on the docket of a bureau, the bureau may accept full payment for the property from or on behalf of the owner. This includes all delinquent taxes as well as any penalties and interest due.

Senate Bill 851 became Act 38 of 2018.

***

The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 934 which establishes the Elevator Safety Board.

The nine-member volunteer advisory panel is charged with recommending regulations to the Secretary of Labor on the construction, maintenance and operation of elevators.

Senate Bill 934 became Act 68 of 2018.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1087, which would create the Interbranch Commission on the Child-Welfare system act. The commission would consist of the Auditor General (or designee) as well as six members appointed by the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, five members appointed by the Governor, four members appointed by the majority and minority leaders of each chamber of the legislature and the deputy secretary for the Office of Children, Youth and Families in the Department of Health.

The Commission would undertake a joint non-criminal investigation and review of the child-welfare system and would make recommendations to the governor, legislature and Supreme Court within two years.

The bill was referred to the House Health Committee.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1129, which creates a protocol for providing notice of termination of parental rights if the whereabouts of a parent or putative father are unknown.

The legislation allows a parent who has consented to adoption to waive their right of notice to all legal proceedings concerning the child and requires a court to notify a parent whose rights have been terminated about their right to redact their name from the child’s birth certificate.

The bill also expands the list of certain felonies that, if convicted of, an individual can lose parental rights over.

The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on June 13.

# # #