The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 623, which would require the Department of General Services to set an annual contracting goal of not less than 5 percent for contracts of small businesses owned by veterans.

Currently, these targets exist for businesses owned by women and minorities, but there is no such provision for veterans.  The bill is modeled after similar veteran work promotion programs established by federal procurement standards as well as programs in California, Michigan and Missouri.

Under the bill, the Department of General Services would provide staff and training to help veteran-owned businesses learn how to apply for state contracts. The department would also compile and make available lists of veteran-owned businesses to encourage procurement; and report to the General Assembly the total contract dollars awarded to these companies. The legislation was amended to include service-disabled veterans and to exempt contracts under $50,000 from bonding requirements.

The bill is now in the House.

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The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 1141, which would establish new regulations and guidelines regarding relocated manufactured homes that are newly manufactured constructions transported to a site away from their installation location.

These standards would include design specifications, installation techniques, fire safety measures, structural integrity, elements which would render the home unsafe, exterior coverings and proper foundation construction.  If installation instructions are no longer available or usable, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) would be required to provide alternate instructions.  Under the bill, permits to install relocated manufactured homes would not be issued until compliance with all new safety standards has been verified.

The bill is now in the House.

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The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would create a new article in the Public School Code dealing with the disclosure of athletic opportunities in public and private schools to help ensure that female students are offered athletic opportunities comparable to their male counterparts.

Senate Bill 209 would require any public school entity that provides interscholastic athletic opportunities for students in grades 7 through 12 to submit an annual report to the state Department of Education demonstrating that they have met the requirements of Title IX, the federal statute mandating equal education opportunities for students. The report would be made available to the public and posted online.

Current disclosure requirements cover only colleges and universities.

The bill is now in the House Education Committee.

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The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would revise the Nonprofit Corporation Law to make it consistent with the Business Corporation Law.

Under Senate Bill 884, revisions would be made in the Nonprofit Corporation Law so that nonprofit corporations could make use of electronic communications technology to provide for notice of meetings, granting of proxies and acting by consent without a meeting. 

The bill would also continue the codification of the Nonprofit Corporation Law provisions relating to electronic communications so that the Business Corporation Law and Nonprofit Corporation Law provisions are the same.

The bill is now in the House Commerce Committee.

* * *

The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would address deficiency judgments when real property collateral is located in more than one county by designating the court of common pleas in one of the counties as the “deficiency court.”

Under Senate Bill 1373, the deficiency court would be designated by the location where the collateral real property with the highest adjusted value. This court would be the venue for the fair market valuation of all of the collateral real property located in Pennsylvania.  The judgment creditor would petition the deficiency court to determine and fix the fair market value of all of the real property collateral.

The real property collateral would be valued before any sheriff’s sale, but would be subject to redetermination at the request of either party to protect against changes in value. A petition for redetermination of the fair market value following a sheriff’s sale must be brought within six months.

The bill is now in the House Judiciary Committee.

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By a unanimous vote, the Senate passed legislation intended to hold public insurance adjusters more accountable and prevent fraudulent activities.

Under House Bill 424

  • Adjusters would not be able to solicit business in the middle of an emergency.
  • Adjusters would be required to include key disclosure and information in the adjuster/consumer contract.
  • Consumers would have a right to rescind or cancel a contract within five days of signing. 

The bill now goes back to the House for concurrence in amendments.

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By unanimous vote, the Senate passed legislation to clarify the experience requirements for clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors.

House Bill 816 reduces the number of hours required to obtain a license from 3,600 to 3,000 for marriage and family therapists and professional counselors, and would remove the specified number of years. It also extended a grandfathered provision of the law to allow applicants who graduated prior to June 30, 2009, to receive a license.

 The bill was signed into law as Act 17 of 2012.

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 The Senate unanimously passed legislation to improve the state’s Downtown Location Law. 

Enacted in 2000, the law requires the state to lease office space in the traditional downtowns of local municipalities when feasible.  Senate Bill 276 would require more coordination between state and local community redevelopment groups. 

This bill is now in the House.

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