The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 3, which establishes a PA Health Insurance Exchange Authority to create, manage and maintain the PA Health Insurance Exchange.

The bill authorizes the Insurance Department to apply for a federal state innovation waiver to applicable provisions of the Affordable Care Act with respect to health insurance coverage, establish a reinsurance program and maximize federal funding for reinsurance. Upon receiving a waiver, the PA Health Insurance program is created to stabilize the rates and premiums for health insurance policies in the individual markets.

The Authority board will be composed of the Insurance Commissioner, the Secretary of Human Services, four members appointed by the Governor and a member appointed by the leader of each party in both chambers of the Legislature.

House Bill 3 became Act 42 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 24, which amends the Capital Facilities Debt Enabling Act to change the amortization methodology for new capital budget debt. The bill requires capital debt to be amortized using an equal annual maturities plan (level principal method) over the life of the bonds.

The bill applies to bonds issued on or after July 1, 2020. The bill does not apply to funding bonds authorized under section 312.

House Bill 24 became Act 43 of 2019.


The Senate approved House Bill 33 by a vote of 26-24. The measure ends the General Assistance Cash Assistance Program on August 1, 2019.

Medical assistance day-one incentive payments for nursing facilities serving Medicaid patients are extended through the 2019-2020 fiscal year, and funding is increased to $16 million (currently $8 million).

The bill authorizes Philadelphia to impose an assessment (via ordinance) on high volume Medicaid hospitals without prior written approval from the Secretary of the Department of Human Services.

This hospital assessment ordinance is required to establish an assessment on general acute care and high-volume Medicaid hospitals as a percentage of each hospital’s net patient revenue reduced by all revenues received from Medicare for the year. Different assessment percentages could be established for either type of hospital.

Philadelphia’s hospital assessment ordinance can include any provisions for calculating and imposing an assessment on a hospital subject to an assessment that changes ownership or control, begins operations, closes or experiences any other changes that affects its status as a general acute care hospital or high-volume Medicaid hospital.

Funds collected can be used to for supplemental or increased medical assistance payments for hospital services to hospitals or adjusted capitation payments to medical assistance managed care organizations for additional payments for health care services within the municipality.

Philadelphia Hospital Assessment is extended to June 30, 2024. The bill reauthorizes the statewide hospital assessment through June 30, 2023.

House Bill 33 became Act 12 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 131 which amends the Liquor Code by changing the definition of alcoholic cider by removing that it can be produced through alcoholic fermentation of any fruit or fruit juice. It can now be produced from primarily apples, apple juice concentrate and water or pears, pear juice concentrate and water.

This change makes the state’s definition consistent with the recently changed federal definition.

The bill also makes other changes to the Liquor Code including:

  • Any wine or spirits donated from outside of the state may be imported as a gift and is subject to the procedures and fees imposed by the board.
  • A holder of a limited winery license in a class 2A through 8 county may use a loudspeaker whereby sound does not exceed 75 decibels beyond the licensee’s property line. They can use the loudspeaker from 10 am to 8 pm every day except Fridays and Saturdays. On these days the loudspeaker can be used from 10 am to 10 pm.
  • A sales invoice may not be required for purchases made at a limited winery by a private individual unless the purchase is greater than 16 liters in a single transaction.

House Bill 131 became Act 45 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 195, which provides for medication synchronization. The bill permits pharmacies to synchronize monthly medication fill dates for patients so all their prescriptions are filled on the same day each month.

The legislation also prohibits insurance plans from denying coverage for a partial prescription refill if it is done for medication synchronization.

House Bill 195 became Act 46 of 2019.


The Senate approved House Bill 235 by a vote of 32-18. The bill allows correctional facility employees to witness and consent to adoption by an incarcerated parent.

The employee must be designated by the facility and the address of the facility must be listed on the form.

The legislation also permits signing of the consent before a notary in lieu of the two witnesses.

The bill makes federally mandated changes to the Child Protective Services Law about employees having contact with children; adoptive and foster parents and volunteers having contact with children.

House Bill 235 became Act 47 of 2019.


The Senate approved House Bill 262 by a vote of 44-6 which makes changes to the tax reform code for fiscal year 2019-2020 budget including:

Sales and Use tax:

  • Removes reporting requirement option for marketplace sales, thereby requiring vendors to collect and remit sales tax
  • Imposes a 6 percent sales tax on the purchase price of malt and brewed beverages sold for consumption on or off premises by manufacturers of malt or brewed beverages.
  • Allows absorption and payment of sales tax by the vendor when advertised that the vendor will pay the sales tax imposed on the purchase.
  • Adds Youth Centers to the current exclusion for the sale of food and beverages by nonprofit associations.
  • Adds a new exclusions for the sale of food and beverages by a Volunteer Firemen’s Organization and for building materials and supplies used in the construction or repair of agricultural animal housing facilities.

Personal Income Tax:

  • Provides that “net gains”, “net losses” and “dividends” shall not include gains, income or losses which are excluded from Federal taxation under provisions of the Federal Opportunity Zones program.
  • Provides that the value of a medal awarded or prize money received from the United States Olympic Committee for competition is not subject to the personal income tax.
  • Provides for a new checkoff on the state income tax return for voluntary contributions to the Veterans’ Trust Fund.
  • Provides for income tax reporting for estates and revocable trusts.

Other taxes amended:

  • Inheritance – exempts property transfers from a parent to a child age 21 or younger
  • Corporate net income – lowers the threshold for private capital investment
  • Realty transfer – Provides an exclusion from tax for a transfer of property that is subject to an agricultural conservation easement to a qualified beginning farmer and increases the threshold on the transfer of RTT revenues to PA Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund from $25 to $40 million.
  • Tables games – extended current 2% tax through August 1, 2021

The legislation allows for additional Keystone Opportunity Zones in Cambria, Clearfield and Lancaster counties.

The bill increases the annual cap on refunds issued under the Computer Data Center Equipment Incentive Program from $5 million to $7 million.

The bill provides that charter schools be entitled to the same governmental tax immunity as a school district.

House Bill 262 became Act 13 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 265, which provides for career and technical and agricultural educational programming and support.

The bill requires schools to offer opportunities for their students to receive information and meet with recruiters regarding employment, training and education in the skilled trades, publicly identified priority occupations, career and technical schools, community colleges and institutions of higher education. Schools receiving assistance through the “Every Student Succeeds Act” are required to provide opportunities for military recruiters to provide information to students.

Schools are not allowed to discourage students from pursuing any educational or career path and are required to ensure all students have access to career and educational information.

The Departments of Education and Labor and Industry are required to develop standard informational materials, which include regional workforce needs updated biennially, career cluster occupations, publicly identified priority occupations, training opportunities and future earning potential. They are also required to aid schools to implement guidelines for career information and recruitment.

The Departments of Education and Labor and Industry will work with the Department of Agriculture to establish the PAsmart Online Career Resource Center, a publicly accessible central online clearinghouse, by the 2021-2022 school year. At a minimum, the clearinghouse would provide for career and industry-related information, resources and state and regional articulation agreements.

The bill provides for Career and Technical Education Equipment Grants. Equipment purchased through this program is required to meet the following criteria:

  • Support the hands-on training of students for approved career and technical education programs that lead to high-growth or high-demand careers.
  • Cost $3,000 or more per unit or set.
  • Retain its original shape, appearance and character and remain identifiable in a different unit or substance.
  • Be repaired, not replaced.
  • Be purchased with the expectation that it will serve its principal purpose for more than a 12-month fiscal period.
  •  Comply with any additional criteria determined by the PDE.

The legislation also creates a program that awards competitive grants in support of workforce development partnerships.

The bill provides regulations for articulation agreements and requires them to be submitted to the Department of Education as regulated.

House Bill 265 became Act 76 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 370, which amends the Agricultural Area Security Law to address provisions for farmland preservation. The bill allows a landowner to voluntarily relinquish the right to construct an additional residence on a preserved farm. This allows a farmer to reduce the value of the property for a tax write-off or to make it easier to pass on to the next generation at a lower value.

The law currently provides for the subdivision of preserved farmland for the purpose of constructing a principal residence for the landowner or an immediate family member. There are situations where a residence already exists on the property, but that existing residence cannot be subdivided because it’s not being constructed. This legislation clarifies that a subdivision for the purpose of a residence is permitted, regardless of whether it exists or needs to be constructed.

House Bill 370 became Act 33 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 423, which amends the Liquor Code by providing for a ballot initiative for dry municipalities to allow voters to explicitly choose whether to allow various forms of alcohol licensing and establishments in their community.

House Bill 423 became Act 48 of 2019.


The Senate approved House Bill 448 by a vote of 48-1. The bill adds two non-voting members to the Pennsylvania Commission for the U.S. Semiquincentennial. The commission was tasked with planning, encouraging, developing and coordinating the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States. The Semiquincentennial is in 2026.

There are 24 members, plus another 11 ex officio nonvoting members. This legislation adds two additional ex officio members: The director of Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the commissioner of the State Police.

House Bill 448 became Act 49 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 547, which allows First Class Townships to set annual tax rates by resolution if they are not raised. The legislation clarifies that

  • A township may set annual tax millage rates by ordinance or resolution.
  • Resolutions may be used if the millage rate for a tax levy is staying the same or lowered.
  • Millage rate increases must be enacted through ordinance, which requires public advertisement in a newspaper.
  • All resolutions setting millage rates must nonetheless be recorded in the township’s ordinance book.

House Bill 547 became Act 50 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 548, which allows Boroughs and Third-Class Cities to set annual tax rates by resolution if they are not raised. The legislation clarifies that

  • A township may set annual tax millage rates by ordinance or resolution.
  • Resolutions may be used if the millage rate for a tax levy is staying the same or lowered.
  • Millage rate increases must be enacted through ordinance, which requires public advertisement in a newspaper.
  • All resolutions setting millage rates must nonetheless be recorded in the township’s ordinance book.

House Bill 548 became Act 51 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 615, which redefines an “enforcement officer” to allow game wardens to be enrolled in the State Employee Retirement System. Any game commission officers or other commissioned law enforcement personal who have the same law enforcement powers under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Game Commission will now be included in SERS.

House Bill 615 became Act 52 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 751, which requires public water and wastewater utilities to bear responsibility for certain income taxes for rate-making procedures.

The legislation clarifies that taxes owed on a contribution in aid of construction shall be paid for by a water or wastewater utility as an accumulated deferred income tax for accounting and ratemaking purposes.

The bill also makes several updates to the Public Utility Code, including the addition of ‘service line’ for water and wastewater services and includes e-mail as a valid form of service for receipt of documentation when agreed to by each party.

House Bill 751 became Act 53 of 2019.


The Senate approved House Bill 786 by a vote of 43-7. It provides for trauma center criteria and funding formulas. The bill updates accreditation requirements of trauma centers by increasing the number of cases that must be treated by Level II trauma centers to at least 600 severe and urgent injury cases per year to meet minimum reaccreditation standards.

The Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation will be required to accredit Level III trauma centers by adopting current guidelines defined by the American College of Surgeons for Level III trauma centers.

Hospitals applying for Level I, II or III accreditation, including those hospitals that were denied or voluntarily withdrew their accreditation, are required to be located a travel distance of more than 25 roadway miles from a Level I, II, or III trauma center.

Funding would be distributed to trauma centers as follows:

  • 90 percent to accredited Level I and II trauma centers.
  • 10 percent to accredited Level III trauma centers and hospitals seeking such accommodation for up to four years with documented evidence of progression toward accreditation and benchmarks provided by the foundation.

Undistributed funds for Level III trauma centers can be distributed to Level IV trauma centers in rural counties in the next fiscal year based on the Level III trauma center funding formula.

Among Level I and II trauma centers and Level III trauma centers, funds will be split equally based on the percentage of medical assistance and uninsured trauma cases and patient days compared to the statewide totals.

Payments to accredited Level III trauma centers cannot exceed 50 percent of the average statewide annual payment to a Level I or II trauma center.

Trauma centers receiving funding will be required to report how the funds were spent, the amount of funds received and number of individuals served and how the funds improved access to trauma care.

House Bill 786 became Act 54 of 2019.


The Senate approved House Bill 790 by a vote of 42-8. The measure is the General Appropriations Act for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020.

The legislation provides for the expenses of state Executive, Legislative and Judicial Departments, public debt, and public schools during the 2019-20 fiscal year. These expenses are covered with a mix of state General Funds, federal funds and special funds. This legislation also includes supplemental appropriations for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The bill appropriates $674.5 million in General Fund supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2018-19 and $68.947 million in Special Fund supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2018-19. The bill includes fiscal year 2019-20 General Fund appropriations totaling $33.356 billion, state Special Fund appropriations totaling $4.008 billion, and federal appropriations totaling $27.733 billion.

House Bill 790 became Act 1A of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 807 which establishes that the annual salary of Deputy Adjutant Generals and General Officers in command positions. The salaries should match the officer’s federally recognized base pay for rank and time of service. The cost of living adjustment is calculated in each year based on the active duty military pay scale.

House Bill 807 became Act 55 of 2019.


The Senate approved of House Bill 826 by a vote of 46-3. It creates the Sports Raffle Charities Act, which allows nonprofit organizations, either established by or affiliated with an athletic team, and institutions of higher education to conduct 50/50 raffle drawings at athletic events.

The act provides that half of the total amount collected from the sale be distributed as the prize amount and that no more than 2 percent of the funds be used for administrative costs.

The legislation limits the 50/50 drawings to one drawing per home game and prohibits raffle ticket sales in area seating designated for families and kids under the age of 18. The organization can also conduct raffle drawings at charitable events within the same arena, stadium, grandstand, bleachers or other facility during a home game, team event or car race of the athletic team, but only within spectator areas.

The organization must also disclose to each ticket purchaser the designated charitable organization that will benefit from the proceeds of the drawing.

House Bill 826 became Act 56 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 856, which provides for adoption opportunities. The bill provides incentives for adopting eligible children by providing for maintenance costs, medical, surgical and psychological expenses and other costs related to the adoption.

The Department of Human Services will provide regulations for county agencies to implement an adoption opportunity. Such regulations include the criteria for identifying eligible children and adoptive homes, procedures for implementing the adoption opportunity payment and reporting requirements by county agencies.

The department will reimburse county agencies for at least 80 percent of the cost of an adoption opportunity provided by the county agency, if the agency complies with the department’s reporting requirements.

The legislation also establishes the Kinship Care Program in the department. County agencies are required to exercise due diligence to identify and notify all grandparents and other adult relatives to the fifth degree of a dependent child and each parent who has legal custody of a sibling of a dependent child within 30 days of the child’s removal from his/her home, if temporary custody has been transferred to the county agency.

Relatives or kin must receive first consideration in the placement of a child, who has been removed from his/her home through a voluntary placement agreement or whose legal custody resides with the agency. The agency will document the attempt to place the child with a relative or kin and note the reason the placement did not occur.

Relatives and kin will receive the same foster care rate as other foster parents, if they comply with the necessary regulations. Foster care payments received by a relative or kin cannot be considered toward determination of eligibility for public assistance.

The legislation also establishes the Subsidized Permanent Legal Custodianship Program within the department. The department will develop regulations including identification of eligible children and eligible permanent legal custodians, procedures for implementing the program and reporting.

The subsidy for maintenance costs to a permanent legal custodian or a successor permanent legal custodian will not exceed the monthly payment for foster family care in the child’s county of residence. The department will be required to reimburse the county agency for at least 80 percent of the cost of a permanent legal custodianship subsidy payment provided by an agency.

House Bill 856 became Act 14 of 2019.



The Senate approved of House Bill 915 by a vote of 32-18. The bill would have permitted milk hauling to or from a milk plant or dairy farm or traveling to a dairy farm to pick up milk during an event of a declared National, State or local emergency when the Governor has issued a proclamation of disaster emergency.

This bill would have required that in the event of a declared national, state, or local emergency the Governor specifically state in a proclamation or executive order any modifications.

The milk marketing board would have issued a decal to identify a vehicle as a licensed milk hauler.

House Bill 915 became Veto #2 of 2019. Governor Wolf said he vetoed this bill due to “very serious public safety concerns.” He said that the exemption provided for in this bill “puts the public in jeopardy, which, in turn, endangers our State Police and first responders and even our milk haulers. In my view, such an exemption runs counter to the safety of the driving public.”


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1172, which authorizes all the boards and commissions within the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Safety to grant provisional licenses to practice by applicants who are licensed to practice a profession in another state if all the following conditions are met:

  •  The applicant holds a license, certificate, registration or permit from another state, territory or country whose requirements are equivalent to PA requirements.
  • Demonstrates competency in the profession through methods determined by the licensing board or commission, including having completed continuing education or having at least two years of experience.
  • Has not committed any act that constitutes grounds for license refusal, suspension or revocation in Pennsylvania, unless the licensing board determines it should not impede the granting of a license.
  • Is in good standing and has not been disciplined by the jurisdiction that issued the license, unless the licensing board determines it should not impede the granting of a license.

House Bill 1172 became Act 41 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1324, which creates the Military Family Education Program. This program provides grants to family members of the Pennsylvania National Guard to attend a higher learning institution in Pennsylvania for five academic years.

The family member is eligible for the program if the guard member is in good standing and agreed to an additional six-year enlistment. A spouse will receive an educational leave of absence when the guard member is called into active duty for more than 30 days.

If the guard member sustains a disability or dies in the line of duty, family members are still eligible to receive the education grant.

The guard member must sign a promissory note that obligates he or she repay the full amount of the grant if they fail to meet the law’s criteria.

House Bill 1324 became Act 32 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1350, which provides for the state’s nonpreferred appropriation for Pennsylvania State University for fiscal year 2019-2020. The total appropriation to the University is $268,832,000.

The bill specifies $242,0986,000 shall be provided for General Support and $26,736,000 for Penn College of Technology. This is an overall 3.4% increase over 2018-19 funding levels.

House Bill 1350 became Act 2A of 2019.


The Senate approved House Bill 1351 by a vote of 44-6. It provides for the state’s nonpreferred appropriation for the University of Pittsburgh for fiscal year 2019-2020. The total appropriation to the University is $154,853,000.

The bill specifies $151,507,000 shall be provided for General Support and $3,346,000 for Rural Education Outreach. This is an overall 2.3 percent increase over 2018-19 funding levels.

House Bill 1351 became Act 3A of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1352, which provides for the State’s nonpreferred appropriation for Temple University for fiscal year 2019-2020. The total appropriation to the university is $158,206,000.

The bill specifies $158,206,000 shall be provided for General Support. This represents an overall 2 percent increase over 2018-19 funding levels.

House Bill 1352 became Act 4A of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1353, which provides for the state’s nonpreferred appropriation for Lincoln University. The total appropriation to the university is $15,166,000.

The bill specifies $15,166,000 shall be provided for General Support. This represents a 2 percent increase over 2018-19 funding levels

House Bill 1353 became Act 5A of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1354, which provides for the state’s nonpreferred appropriation for the University of Pennsylvania. The total appropriation to the university is $31,955,000.

The bill specifies that the appropriation for Veterinary Activities is $31,660,000 and for the Center for Infectious Diseases is $295,000. This represents an overall 2 percent increase over 2018- 19 funding levels.

House Bill 1354 became Act 6A of 2019.


The Senate approved House Bill 1461 by a vote of 29-21. It repeals the current provisions relating to background checks for individuals working in state government who handle Federal tax information. New provisions are added that require any employee or contractor for the state who will have access to federal tax information to submit to a criminal history background check. Administered by the state police, the background check includes a state criminal background check as well as an FBI background check.

The bill adds two members to the board for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania: an individual from the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College and an individual from the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The bill gives the Inspector General the power to inspect, evaluate, investigate and review all contracts entered into by the Pennsylvania Statewide Radio Network after June 30, 1996.

The bill also adds the following crimes to the State Inspector General’s authority:

  • Theft by unlawful taking or disposition.
  • Theft by deception.
  • Forgery.
  • Tampering with records or identification.
  • Access to device fraud.
  • Deceptive or fraudulent business practices.
  • Identity theft.
  • False identification to law enforcement authorities.
  • Buying or exchanging Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit coupons, stamps, authorizations or access devices.
  • Fraudulent traffic in SNAP benefits.

The last two are current authorities being moved to a new section of the statute.

The legislation requires the operations of the Joint Underwriting Association (JUA) to be funded through appropriation determined by the General Assembly. To achieve the appropriation the JUA is required to submit a budget request to the Secretary of the Budget in accordance with the provisions for agencies and commissions of the Commonwealth.

The bill allows $10 million from fees collected by the Department of Labor and Industry for various purposes to augment the appropriation to the Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety.

House Bill 1461 became Act 15 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1514, which repeals the “Healthy Farms Healthy Schools” Act and reestablishes and renames the current Healthy Farms Healthy Schools program as the “PA Farm-to-School Program.” The program will be developed to provide grants to educate pre-kindergartners through fifth graders and their families about the importance of choosing healthy, locally produced foods and increase awareness of Pennsylvania agriculture.

The program has the following directives:

  • permits student participation in nutrition education that focuses on locally grown foods;
  • equips teachers and educators to incorporate nutrition and agriculture education into their instruction;
  • provides new direct marketing opportunities for PA farmers;
  • provides for family and community involvement, including parent, caregiver, and community group participation in education activities; and
  • includes visits to nearby farms for school children so they may better understand and learn more about the sources of their food.

The grant amounts are still limited to 75% of the amount necessary to develop the program but may not exceed $15,000 annually, per school, and a school may use in-kind support to match the amount granted.

House Bill 1514 became Act 34 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved of House Bill 1516, which establishes the Agriculture Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account to provide emergency money for training, equipment and other resources necessary for rapid responses to transmissible diseases, plant pests, plant diseases, controlled and noxious weeds, foodborne illnesses and natural disasters affecting agriculture in the state.

Funds may be used to assist in providing transportation of livestock feed from a commercial feed establishment in the event of a disaster declaration issued by the governor that includes the department.

Funds may also be used to make grants for and acquire data. No more than $100,000 may be used for this purpose in a year. Additional financial assistance as may be requested in a declaration of disaster issued by the governor that includes the department.

Up to $250,000 annually may be allocated to animal response teams recognized by PEMA for planning, developing and maintaining animal response and rescue capabilities.

House Bill 1516 became Act 35 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1520, which establishes a grant program for very small meat processors to cover costs associated with compliance with federal inspection standards.

Reimbursement grants are available for eligible costs for meeting federal inspection guidelines during the planning and start-up periods for an operation, and for obtaining a federal certification to allow the sale of meat. Applications must include the following:

  • The applicant’s name, the organization name, a business address and a telephone number.
  • A list of corporate officers.
  • The applicant’s eligibility, setting forth information evidencing and attesting that the • applicant meets the definition of a “very small meat processor”
  •  A plan outlining the process being undertaken to apply for and obtain Federal certification as a meat processor.
  • The estimated costs for which reimbursement is sought.

The legislation also expands the existing “PA Preferred” agricultural commodities marketing program to bolster enrollment in the veteran farmer Homegrown by Heroes Program. This bill would allow and encourage the use of other trademarks or descriptive labels, packaging or advertisement information to inform consumers that their agricultural commodities were produced by veterans of the armed forces of the United States.

House Bill 1520 became Act 36 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1524, which allows for the transfer of Restaurant Liquor Licenses into future Tourist Development Projects. An application submitted to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board must be accompanied by a resolution or ordinance indicating that the municipality has approved the request to have the area designated as a tourist development project by the board, a map of the area proposed to be designated and any additional information the board may require.

The application must indicate the number of restaurant liquor licenses the applicant is seeking with a maximum of 75 licenses for the tourist development project.

The application fee is one million dollars and the applicant must submit a surcharge of $65,000 for each restaurant liquor license upon board approval of the transfer of the applicable restaurant liquor license.

House Bill 1524 became Act 57 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1526, which revises the current Agriculture-Linked Investment Program that provides state funding for and may subsidize the interest rate on private loans used for agricultural best management practices such as, manure management plans, erosion and sediment plans, nutrient or odor management plans.

Loans cannot exceed $250,000 and shall be amortized for up to 12 years. The aggregate amount of loans under this program shall not exceed $25 million outstanding at any one time.

House Bill 1526 became Act 37 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved of House Bill 1590, which creates the Dairy Investment Program within the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The program provides grants for projects located in the state that support the dairy industry.

The four categories of eligible project types, along with grant amount limitations are as follows:

  • Research and development projects that involve using dairy/milk for new food, beverage, pharmaceutical or industrial purposes. These projects can involve technology for extending the shelf life of dairy, reducing the risk of foodborne injury and best practices for managing the dairy industry (Projects limited to $100,000)
  • Transitioning to certified organic production projects, processing projects and distribution projects (Projects limited to $50,000)
  • Value-added processing projects (Projects limited to $50,000) farm and
  • Marketing projects (Projects limited to $100,000)

The Commonwealth Financing Authority will evaluate projects based on the following criteria:

  •  Whether the project incorporates at least 75 percent Pennsylvania-sourced milk.
  • The extent to which matching funds are used or leveraged.
  • Whether the project can be replicated for use across the state.
  • Whether the project includes a strategic plan for implementation.
  • The inclusion of an itemized budget of all costs.
  • The authority may develop additional evaluation criteria for each type of eligible project.

House Bill 1590 became Act 38 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1614, which provides concurrent jurisdiction to the Attorney General to prosecute firearms violations in Philadelphia pursuant to an established task force for two years.

The bill expressly allows participation by municipal and non-municipal police officers and agents of the attorney general in a federal, state, or local task force with the approval of the police department of the municipality that employs that officer.

The legislation states that it will be applied retroactively to law enforcement conduct on or after June 15, 1982 and that the legislation is intended to reverse the decision of Commonwealth v. Hlubin, a case involving a stop at a sobriety checkpoint that called into question the legitimacy of members of a task force operating outside its jurisdiction.

House Bill 1614 became Act 58 of 2019.


The Senate approved House Bill 1615 by a vote of 37-13. The measure makes changes to the Public School Code including:

  • The Special Education Funding Commission must reconvene to review special education payments to school districts by the state through the funding formula that was adopted based on the recommendations of the commission in 2014
  • Adds a new section that provides that the score for students that are habitually truant, 20% of the days during the school year, not be included in the school accountability performance calculation
  • Updates the lunch shaming act to clarify that schools can provide a student with alternative meals instead of school food program meals until the student’s unpaid balance is paid or a payment plan is established
  • Establishes the Innovative School Program to study and evaluate innovative approaches to economically disadvantaged schools, including workforce development programs, mentoring services, before-school and after-school programs, prevention measures and social wrap-around services

Qualifications for schools to imply to be an Innovation school include: (1) bottom 5 percent of all schools in Pennsylvania based on the percent  of enrollment that is economically disadvantaged; (2) the school has partnered with behavioral health specialists or provided an integrated social service mode; and (3) the school is in the affiliated network of schools is located in a Promise Zone as designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • $25 million increase in the amount of Education Improvement Tax Credit from $160 million to $185 million for Scholarship Organizations
  • Increases the “maximum annual household income” for recipients of scholarships from $85,000 to $90,000
  • Increases the amount of Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program credits by $5 million to be used to increase the scholarship amount for students attending economically disadvantaged schools by $1,000 above the previous school year
  • Raises the maximum amount of an opportunity scholarship awarded to a student attending an economically disadvantaged school to $9,500 for a student without a disability and to $16,000 for a student with a disability
  • Adds a new article that requires colleges to establish and maintain an online reporting system to receive complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence from students and employees. The institutions must establish a sexual harassment and sexual violence policy and process and cannot refuse to investigate a report because it is anonymous.
  • Changes income requirements for the Ready-to-Succeed scholarship program and requires a grade point average of at least 3.25.
  • Amends the basic education fair funding formula language to provide for $160 million, which is a 2.6m percent increase from last year’s formula.
  • Creates the Fostering Independence Waiver program for youth who are in foster care, who were adopted from the foster care system, or who have “aged out” of foster care. This waiver is equal to the amount of the tuition and mandatory fees at the institution of higher education.
  • House Bill 1615 became Act 16 of 2019.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 48 by a vote of 31-19. The bill would have required a review and recommendation process whenever the administration proposed decertifying voting machines in at least half of counties. This process would have included:

  • A written plan submitted by the state department to the President Pro Tempore and the Speaker of the House at least 180 days prior to replacing the machines. The plan would be required to include the estimated cost to replace machines and detail how funding would be obtained.
  • A voting system decertification commission to review the written plan. The commission would include the following members: two members appointed by the Governor (including a county commissioner and a county election official); the secretary or a designee, the chair and minority chair of the state government committee from the House and Senate or their designees, one legislator from each of the four caucuses or their designees.

The commission would have been required to hold two public meetings and issue a report on the estimated cost of the plan and other voting machines, written justification for its decision, including dissenting opinions and recommended legislative action, including legislation, if necessary.

The bill would have authorized the state economic development financing authority to use bonds for up to $90 million total to provide funding for counties to replace voting systems through a grant program through the state department. Counties would have been eligible to receive up to 60 percent of the cost to purchase new machines.

The legislation would have revised the number of ballots each county is required to supply for primary and general elections. The number of ballots would have to be at least 10 percent greater than the previous three elections (presidential and non-presidential years). The same would apply to general elections.

The bill would have also changed the laws around absentee ballots. Counties would have been able to receive absentee ballots earlier and voters would have had more time to return them. Counties would have been able to begin canvass absentee ballots as soon as polls close, but no later than three days after the election.

The bill would have also eliminated straight party voting.

Senate Bill 48 became Veto #3 of 2019. Governor Tom Wolf said the legislation “weakens the ability of the commonwealth and counties to respond quickly to flaws that would require decertification of large numbers of machines fewer than 180 days before an election.”

He also noted that eliminating straight party voting “removes a convenient option that is used by voters of any party affiliation. To implement such a change, particularly as new machines are being used for the first time, could lead to voter confusion and longer lines at the polls. These factors may lead to decreased voter participation, which, again, conflicts with an inclusive approach to our system of elections.”


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 127, which re-authorizes the Chapter 53, 911 emergency communication services with several amendments, including the expansion of the 911 advisory board to include the state fire commissioner and the chairperson of the state geospatial coordinating board as voting members. The ambulance association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania association of councils of governments are added as non-voting members of the board.

Every county must make reasonable efforts to ensure required geographic information system (GIS) information is available and maintained to support next generation 911 call delivery.

PEMA will be allowed to use the funds they receive from the 911 fund that are currently earmarked for maintaining statewide interconnectivity of 911 systems for a statewide system that gives individuals the ability to associate their numbers with information about a physical disability to aide first responders when they respond to a call.

A telephone service supplier will provide the synchronization of GIS database layers for geospatial call routing with the master street address guide, the ALI data and site and structure locations.

PEMA is required to maintain and update a comprehensive inventory of each county PSAP’s facilities, hardware, software, communications infrastructure, network capabilities and related equipment on a biennial basis.

Senate Bill 127 became Act 17 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 128, which mandates that the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs act as a liaison for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). The Department shall receive, grant and supervise the use of state funds granted to CAP as well as supervise the maintenance of the facilities utilized by CAP.

Requests for assistance by CAP in natural or man-made disasters or emergency situations will also go through the department and those requests will be approved or denied in accordance with federal procedures and in consultation with the Adjutant General, or his designee and PEMA.

Senate Bill 128 became Act 60 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 144, which provides for information on trauma-informed approaches in school employee training, plans and coursework.

The legislation requires one hour of additional training for school directors, employees and trustees on trauma-informed approaches.

Schools would be required to train employees using evidence-based programs and current best practices for recognizing signs of trauma in students and using information regarding the impact of trauma on a child to provide for trauma-informed approaches when making decisions for the school system.

The Secretary of Education is required to include trauma-informed approaches in the guidelines for approval of post-baccalaureate certification program and State Board of Education is required to adopt policies to encourage the inclusion of trauma-informed approaches in professional education curriculum.

The bill also provides for school security enhancements for intermediate units using standards developed by the Secretary of Education in consultation with the Office of Safe Schools and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

The legislation provides for safety initiatives including $3.2 million for Safe Schools Grant Funding and School Safety and Security grants of $35,000 – $45,000 annually. The School safety and security committee is required to develop a model trauma-informed approach plan to be used by schools applying for a grant.

The bill provides for an increase in State Police Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Teams from three to six teams to operate in six regions (also increased from three). The state police commissioner would provide a regular report to the Governor and legislature with its findings.

The legislation also provides for threat assessment teams in schools. The team will be alerted when a students’ behavior indicates a potential threat to the student or others and will notify school administration, safety officials and the student’s parents. The team may also refer the student to social services or law enforcement.

The bill also provides for Keystone Telepresence Education grants for intermediate units for the purchase of telepresence equipment and related support services for homebound students. Up to $300,000 of undistributed funds appropriated to the department annually will be allocated for such grants. Intermediate units will be required to develop policies for the use of telepresence equipment and related support services. No fees can be charged for the use of telepresence equipment and services for the education of a homebound student.

Senate Bill 144 became Act. 18 of the 2019.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 147 by a vote of 38-11. It allows for hunting on Sundays and increases the penalties for trespassing while hunting.

The Game Commission will institute three days of Sunday hunting during the year. This includes one day of Sunday hunting during the deer rifle season, one day of Sunday hunting during the statewide deer archery season and one additional Sunday.

The legislation increases penalties for trespassing on private property while hunting as follows:

  • A person who enters or remains on any land of another without authorization to do so, when the land is posted in a manner prescribed by law or is fenced in commits a summary offense of the third degree.
  • A person who enters or remains on any land of another without authorization and defies an order not to enter or to leave that has been personally communicated to the person by the owner of the land commits a misdemeanor.
  • Anyone who commits a second or subsequent violation of this act within a seven-year period commits a misdemeanor, and the second or subsequent violation will result in forfeiture of the privilege to hunt anywhere within the state for one year.

Senate Bill 147 became Act 107 of 2019.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 300 by a vote of 42-8. It would permit independent-registered voters to vote in primary elections. Poll workers would first confirm that independents are registered voters, then would ask them which party primary they choose to vote in for that election.

The voter’s choice of party at one primary will not preclude him/her form choosing a different party in an ensuing primary election

The bill was referred to the House State Government committee.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 325, which would provide for certified registered nurse anesthetists.

The legislation establishes minimum education and training requirements for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)s and prescribes duties and responsibilities to the State Board of Nursing for CRNA’s. This includes obtaining a post graduate degree, national certification and other board requirements of certified registered nurse anesthetists.

The bill was referred to the House Professional Licensure committee.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 418 by a vote of 31-19. The measure would revise the number of ballots each county is required to supply for primary and general elections.

  • For primary elections in non-Presidential, even-numbered years, the number of ballots must be at least 10 percent greater than the highest number of ballots cast in the district in any of the previous three non-Presidential, even-number primary elections. The same formula applies for general elections
  • For primary elections during Presidential election years, the number of ballots must be at least ten percent greater than the highest number of ballots cast in the district in any of the previous three Presidential primary elections. The same formula applies for general elections
  • For municipal primary elections held in odd-number years, the number of ballots must be at least 10 percent greater than the highest number of ballots cast in any of the previous three municipal primary elections. The same formula applies to municipal election years.

The bill does not have protections should a situation arise in which a voting district runs out of ballots during a voter participation surge.

The bill was referred to the House State Government committee.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 421 by a vote of 30-20. The bill removes the straight party voting option from all general election ballots.

Senate Bill 421 became Act 77 of 2019.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 422 by a vote of 28-22. It would establish the Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board, which would have the following duties:

  • Study the Election Code and identify language to repeal, modify or update;
  • Collaborate with other agencies and political subdivisions to study election-related issues;
  • Study the development of new election technology and voting machines;
  • Evaluate and make recommendations on improving the electoral process and implementing best practices to ensure integrity and efficiency; and
  • Publish an annual report that will be made publicly available on the department’s website.

The board would be composed of the following members: The Secretary of State (or a designee) and the Majority and Minority leaders of the House and Senate (or their designee)

One member from each congressional district would also be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. No more than half of these members could be registered with the same political party.

The bill was referred to the House State Government committee.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 440, which permanently establishes the Flexible Instructional Days (FID) program in the state.

The FID program allows schools to fulfill a required day of instruction with students at home instead of coming to school. This could occur on a day when a school building is prevented from opening due to: a disease epidemic; hazardous weather condition; law enforcement emergency; inoperability of school buses or other necessary school equipment; damage to a school building; or another temporary circumstance rendering any portion of a school unfit or unsafe for use

They must still provide instruction to students. Public school entities would be eligible for five FID’s annually.

The Department of Education is required to issue guidance and establish a form for schools to participate in the program. The form must include procedures for notifying students, parents and professional employees that a flexible instructional day is instituted and for accommodating students and professional employees without internet access or technology at home.

The department would also be required to issue guidance and establish a form for schools to participate in the program.

Senate Bill 440 became Act 64 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 456, which allows for the expansion of multi-branch training schools and provides for student records and school closures.

The legislation allows multi-branch training schools to locate branch campuses in neighboring counties or within less than a 60-mile radius of the main school.

Schools are required to receive approval from the State Board of Private Licensed Schools before opening a branch campus. To receive approval schools must be operational for two years before requesting approval and in good standing with the board.

Schools will continue to provide the board with plans for disposing of their students’ records in the event of closure until the board has entered into a third-party agreement for a centralized repository and that repository is functioning and accepting records.

Private schools seeking licensure must submit to the Department the place where instruction will be given or location from which instruction by distance education will originate as well as a specific listing of the equipment and staff available for instruction in each program and for the proper administration of distance education courses.

A school licensed under the Private Licensed Schools Act may offer institutional grants of any amount to students without board approval.

In the case of a school closing, notice of the closure must be given to the board at least 30 days in advance. These schools must provide the board with a teach-out plan and a list of students, their contact information and their transcripts. Schools are responsible to ensure students are placed in a teach-out or transfer program and that the records are placed in a proper repository.

Senate Bill 456 became Act 110 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 478, which creates a beginning farmer tax credit to landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to new farmers in Pennsylvania. The tax credit would be equal to 5 percent of the lesser of the sale price or the fair market value of the agricultural asset, up to a maximum of $32,000. If the owner was leasing the property, the value would be equal to 10 percent of the gross rental income for up to three years, with a maximum of $7,000 per year.

The certification of a beginning farmer tax credit will be for three years, after which time the beginning farmer or owner of the agricultural assets must apply for recertification.

The Department of Community and Economic Development may allocate no more than $5 million in the first year and then no more than $6 million every year after that. The beginning farmers tax credit will expire at the end of 2029.

Senate Bill 478 became Act 65 of 2019.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 575 by a vote of 33-17/ The bill would create the Pennsylvania Clean Water Procurement Program to provide for the purchase of verified nutrient and sediment reductions from approved contracting parties through a competitive sealed proposal procurement procedure.

The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority would work in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection to organize a competitive bidding process for the supply of long-term nutrient and sediment reductions and would administer the fund to implement the program.

Proposals would be judged on the environmental and recreational benefits to communities in the state, the cost effectiveness of the proposal and any additional criteria determined relevant and necessary by the department.

Nutrient and sediment reductions that are funded 100 percent by public grants are not eligible to participate in the program. If a participating nutrient and sediment reduction effort is partially funded by a public grant, only the remaining percentage is eligible and would receive a percentage commensurate with the percentage not provided by public grants.

The bill creates the Watershed Innovation and Improvement Fund within the State Treasury and provides for an appropriation of $20 million for the clean water procurement program.

The bill was referred to the House State Government committee.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 585, which establishes the state Dairy Future Commission.

The commission will make recommendations on the dairy industry; review policy, regulatory and statutory impacts on the industry; and identify any impacts on local government.

Commission members are appointed by: the Governor, Senate President Pro Tempore, Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, chairpersons of the Senate and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees, representative from the PA Milk Marketing Board, representative from the PA Center for Dairy Excellence, representative from Pennsylvania State University, representative from the PA Farm Bureau, and representative from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 585 became Act 66 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 590, which would provide for the Charter School Funding Advisory Commission.

The powers and duties of the commission include meeting with charter school operators and personnel, school district personnel and other public education representatives, reviewing charter school financing laws nationwide, assessing the actual costs of educating a child in a charter, regional charter or cyber charter school and school districts and intermediate units with cyber classes and evaluating and providing recommendations on matters of funding.

The commission would be required to examine all current laws, regulations and executive policy statements that determine funding for charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber charter schools in the state.

The bill was referred to the House Education committee.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 607 by a vote of 49-1. The measure allows for any police officer, upon completion of training course approved by the State Police and the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission to use electronic speed meters, radar, LIDAR (infrared laser light devices) or ranging devices.

A person may not get a ticket unless they are recorded going more than 10 miles-per-hour over the legal speed limit on a highway or 6 miles-per-hour on a highway posted with a speed limit of 70 miles-per-hour. This does not apply to school zones or active work zones.

Official warning signs must be posted within 500 feet of the border indicating the use of radar.

The bill was referred to the House Transportation committee.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 619 by a vote of 26-24. The bill would amend the Clean Streams Law to establish a threshold of pollution spill that would require reporting to the Department of Environmental Protection.

The bill would add to the definition of “pollution” that an accidental discharge, spill, or release that would not lead to a violation of water quality standards does not constitute pollution, and therefore does not need to be reported to the DEP. Currently, the law does not specify an amount of spill that must be reported to the DEP, so therefore all spills must be reported.

The bill was referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy committee.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 621 by a vote of 30-20. The bill authorizes armed security on school property and specifies who can provide security and training requirements.

School police officers are required to complete annual training required by the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) and the basic school resource officer course of instruction offered by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO).

Independent contractors and third-party vendors providing security are also required to complete MPOETC and NASRO trainings and provide acceptable criminal history background check, child abuse report and federal criminal history background check, as well as receive an employment review.

School security guards are also required to complete NASRO training. Armed security guards are required to possess a license to carry a firearm, have certification under the Lethal Weapons Training Act and provide criminal history and child abuse clearances and an employment review.

Retired law enforcement officers are exempt from some of the training requirements.

The state Commission on Crime and Delinquency is required to periodically reassess school security trainings, including criteria for third party vendors that may provide school security guard services. The commission must also post approved vendors on its website and submit an annual report on school security to the legislature.

The bill was amended to remove the ability of school police officers to exercise the same powers as local law enforcement and other language regarding the authority to possess firearms in schools.

Senate Bill 621 became Act 67 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 634, which provides for the Conservation Excellence Grant Program. The State Conservation Commission will administer the program to provide financial assistance to farmers through grants, loans and/or tax credits.

The commission will give priority to projects located in counties in this order: Counties designated by DEP as Tier 1 Chesapeake Bay counties; Counties designated by DEP as Tier 2 and 3 Chesapeake Bay counties; and all other counties.

Senate Bill 634 became Act 39 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 661, which provides for four agriculture and farming-related programs that are a part of the Governor’s PA Farm proposal: the Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, the Agricultural Business Development Center, the Agriculture and Youth Development Program, and the Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program.

The Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Program establishes a program for specialty crops that are not currently eligible for grant payments under the Federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Eligible plants must be cultivated or managed and used by people for food, medicinal purposes or aesthetic gratification or other parameters to be considered an eligible specialty crop. Processed products shall consist of greater than 50% of the eligible specialty crop by weight.

The Agricultural Business Development Center is designed to assist farmers with agricultural business development and succession planning. This includes planning, diversifying operations, expansion and financing. It also includes devising, awarding and administering grants to farmers and helping farms subject to agricultural conservation easements with preservation and farming efforts.

This bill revises and re-establishes the Agriculture and Rural Youth Development Program into a new grant program to fund youth organizations that promote development in agriculture, community leadership, vocational training and peer fellowship. Grants can help cover cost of special projects, educational and work force development, agricultural safety training programs and for certain capital projects and equipment approved by the State Agriculture and Youth Development Board.

The Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program will assist the agriculture community by increasing market opportunity. Grants will be awarded to improve agriculture infrastructure in urban areas, improve or facilitate the aggregation of agricultural products in an urban area, entail sharing resources among urban agriculture operations, producers or community organizations and reimbursing some portion of the cost of community projects.

Senate Bill 661 became Act 40 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 669, which would reinstate the Kinship Care Program that provided adoption subsidies to permanent legal custodians. The bill would renew the extension of permanent legal custodian and adoption assistance subsidies to children ages 18 to 21. Reinstatement of the program and its provisions is necessary to remain eligible for federal Title IV-E funds.

The legislation would have a retroactive effective date of July 18, 2018 when the state Supreme Court struck down the law for violation of the rule on three-day notice.

The bill was referred to the House Children and Youth committee.


The Senate voted 49-1 for Senate Bill 695, which provides for assessment rates of nursing facility services offered through the medical assistance program, nonemergency medical transportation services and a uniform statewide preferred drug list.

The legislation provides for the continuation of the current rate-setting methodology for payments made to county and nonpublic nursing facilities, who are enrolled in the medical assistance program, until June 30, 2022.

The bill would also extend the following assessment dates for nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities for persons with an intellectual disability and Philadelphia hospitals to June 30, 2024.

The legislation also allows for the remedy of allowing a medical assistance managed care organization to deduct unpaid nursing facility assessments, penalties and interest within 60 days of the payment due date until the full amount is recovered.

The department would not be permitted to enter a full-risk brokerage model for the delivery of medical transportation services in the state until it commissions and receives the results of an analysis. An analysis is also required to implement a uniform statewide preferred drug list to determine projected costs for medical assistance managed care organizations and projected supplemental rebates that could be obtained.

Senate Bill 695 became Act 19 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 698, which amends the Medical Practice Act by clarifying a physician’s authority to utilize a physician designee to prepare and submit physician/physician assistant with agreements with agreements to the state department online PALS licensing system.

Senate Bill 698 became Act 68 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 699, which amends the Osteopathic Medical Act by clarifying a physician’s authority to have a designee prepare and submit physician/physician-assistant written agreements to the state department online PALS licensing system.

Senate Bill 699 became Act 69 of 2019.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 700 by a vote of 49-1. The bill provides for a new process for schools to receive reimbursement for the cost of construction projects.

This process includes submitting a summary of a school wide study, bid, construction documents and confirmation that the project will comply with legal requirements.

To get approval, the Department of Education must verify information given and assess the project to ensure it aligns with enrollment numbers and educational needs.

Schools using high performance building standards will receive a 10 percent increase above the standard reimbursement formula if officials can demonstrate a projected positive return vs projects with regular construction standards.

The bill also requires the department to establish a maintenance project grant program to support eligible projects. Schools are required to match 50 percent of each grant awarded for non-emergency projects.

No school can be awarded an annual grant allocation that exceeds 20 percent of the program’s available funding. No less than 20 percent of grant funds would be awarded for school safety and security projects.

The bill also establishes the Public Higher Education Funding Commission for the purpose of providing recommendations regarding higher education funding and operations. The commission is charged with developing a higher education funding formula and identify funding distribution factors. This includes reviewing and making recommendations relating to higher education funding.

The commission is required to reorganize every 5 years to meet and hold public hearings on the operation of the higher education funding provisions, as well as issue a report of its findings.

Senate Bill 700 became Act 70 of 2019.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 712 by a vote of 29-21. The measure reauthorizes the “Prudent Person” investment authority that the State Treasurer has and makes other changes to the Fiscal Code. The authority is extended five years until the end of 2024.

Senate Bill 712 became Act 20 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 724, which amends the State and Public School Retirement Codes to make corrections to Act 5 of 2017. This includes the following:

  • Provides for delinquent payments for employers. The bill clarifies that the amount owed can be

deducted for entities that no longer receive subsidies;

  • Makes a correction to only the Class DC participants who are receiving a distribution to be eligible to vote;
  • Adds a new section to allow for an allocated withdrawal liability under certain circumstances if an employer is no longer participating in PSERS;
  • Changes how the total employer contribution rated is calculated and vesting requirements;
  • Adds a new chapter providing for the Public Markets Emerging Investment Manager Program. This includes providing for the board to allocate $250 million to $1 billion to the program taken from asset classes of the main fund that are similar to or most closely related to “the investment manager’s mandate;” and
  • The bill removes unnecessary language regarding the eligibility for death benefits and corrects a cross-reference regarding the early retirement factor.

Senate Bill 724 became Act 72 of 2019.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 742 by a vote of 26-24. It would exempt new vehicles from safety inspections for the first two years after the vehicle is manufactured.

The bill would also exempt new vehicles from emissions testing for the first eight years.

The bill was referred to the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations committee.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 743 by a vote of 27-23. The measure would provide for vehicles manufactured in odd numbered years to receive emissions testing in odd-numbered years and for vehicles manufactured in even-numbered years to receive emissions testing in even-numbered years when biennial emissions testing is allowed.

The bill was referred to the House Transportation committee.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 744 by a vote of 27-23. The bill would remove Blair, Cambria, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, and Westmoreland Counties from the state emission inspection program.

The bill was referred to the House Transportation committee.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 745 by a vote of 27-23. It would require the Department of Environmental Protection and PennDOT to develop an amendment to the existing enhanced emission inspection program to be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The following subject vehicles would be required to undergo a fuel filler gas cap test that determines if the vehicle’s gas cap is functioning as designed, and a visual emission control device inspection of the vehicle emission control system:

* a subject vehicle with a model year of 1992 through 1995 that is registered in a county in the Philadelphia Region (Chester, Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties); or

* a subject vehicle with a model year of 1992 through 1995 that is registered in a county in the Pittsburgh Region (Allegheny, Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland Counties); or

* a subject vehicle with a model year of 1996 or newer with a gross vehicle weight rating between 8,501 and 9,000 pounds that is registered in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Regions

This legislation will accelerate the phasing out of the need for dynamometers in the Philadelphia region and tailpipe tests in Pittsburgh. Then model year 1992-1995 vehicles will instead be subject to a gas cap test and a visual inspection.

The bill was referred to the House Transportation committee.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 746 by a vote of 33-17 which would amend the emission inspection program by adding the following extension:

“An emissions inspection station in existence before March 1, 2019, may have the option to obtain new emissions testing equipment required by the department by July 1, 2021. If the emissions inspection station elects not to obtain the new emissions testing equipment, the emissions inspection station must immediately notify the department.”

The bill was referred to the House Transportation committee.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 751 by a vote of 38-11. The measure provides for changes to the system of evaluating professional employees and temporary professional employees in schools.

The Department of Education is required to develop three separate rating tools to evaluate the effectiveness of classroom teachers, principals & nonteaching employees.

For professional employees (PE’s) and temporary professional employees (TPE’s):

PE’s serving as classroom teachers:

When building-level data is available:

  • 70 percent Comprehensive classroom observation and practice models related to student achievement.
  • 30 percent Student performance based upon multiple measures of student achievement, including challenge multiplier for economically disadvantaged.

When building-level data is not available:

  • 80 percent Classroom observation and practice models related to student achievement.
  • 20 percent Student performance as applicable and attributable to the classroom teacher

TPE’s serving as classroom teachers:

  • 100 percent comprehensive classroom observation and practice models related to student achievement.

PE’s serving as Principals:

When building-level data is available:

  • 70 percent Planning and preparation, school environment, delivery of service and professional development.
  • 10 percent Student performance, including challenge multiplier for economically disadvantaged.
  • 20 percent Performance goals.

When building-level data is not available:

  • 80 percent Planning and preparation, school environment, delivery of service and professional development.
  • 20 percent Performance goals.

PE’s serving as non-teaching employees:

When building-level data is made available by the department:

  • 90 percent Planning and preparation, educational environment, delivery of service and professional development. (Currently 80%.)
  • 10 percent Student performance, including challenge multiplier for economically disadvantaged.

When building-level data is not made available by the department:

  • 100 percent Planning and preparation, educational environment, delivery of service and professional development.

TPE’s serving as non-teaching employees:

  • 100% Planning and preparation, educational environment, delivery of service and professional development.

The legislation requires that ratings be comprised of 10% building-level data, when available. Further, rating calculations that include building-level data would be adjusted by a challenge multiplier, which would take into account the percentage of economically disadvantaged students enrolled in a school and the impact of poverty on students’ academic performance.

Teachers, principals and nonteaching employees would be considered satisfactory, if they received an overall performance rating of “distinguished,” “proficient” or, on a single evaluation, “needs improvement.”

Employees would be considered unsatisfactory, if they received a rating of “needs improvement” for a second time within four years or were rated as “failing.” Employees receiving performance ratings of “needs improvement” or “failing” would be required to participate in a performance improvement plan. No employees would be rated as “needs improvement” or “failing” due to student test scores alone.

The department will develop a standard professional development program to improve consistency and quality of teacher-specific data measures across applicable schools and will review and revise the rating system within 5 years of the effective date of this section and submit its findings, including a specific review of the accuracy of data collected by the department for economically disadvantaged students, to the House and Senate Education Committees.

Senate Bill 751 became Act 13 of 2019.



The Senate unanimously approved Senate 778, which would make the following changes to the calculations for how transit payments are made by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. For fiscal year 2019-2020 – $400 million (reduced from $450 million). For fiscal year 2020-2021 – $200 million (reduced from $450 million). For fiscal year 2021-2022 – $100 million (reduced from $450 million).

Beyond Fiscal year 2021-2022, the annual additional payments shall be determined by PennDOT.

The bill was referred to the House Transportation committee.