The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would give the Attorney General concurrent jurisdiction with county district attorneys to investigate and initiate criminal actions involving the sexual abuse of children.
Specifically, Senate Bill 260 would give the Attorney General the authority to investigate and initiate criminal proceedings when the crime involves more than one Pennsylvania county or a county and another state.
The bill is now in the House.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 766. The measure would create the Science Technology Partnership Program within the Department of Education.
The program would seek to improve science education in schools and school districts that are members of a science technology partnership by making scientific or technical equipment available to students; augmenting the science curriculum; and providing additional professional development opportunities to educators in the sciences.
The department would administer a grant program that would award grants to qualified higher education institutions that are science technology partners. Grants would be used to purchase or lease scientific or technical equipment for the development of programs of instruction for partnership members.
The bill goes to the House.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 916. This bill would update the Second Class County Code to change all references of the Department of Community Affairs to the Department of Community and Economic Development.
This bill would also change the month that the County Controller has to make their report to the court of common pleas from May to July. Lastly, the bill would also make the County Controller file an annual report to the Department of Community and Economic Development by the first Monday of July after the close of the fiscal year.
The bill, part of a package of legislation from the Local Government Commission, is now in the House.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 1077, amending the statewide Construction Code to permitting log walls with a minimum average wall thickness of five inches or greater and comply with the International Code Council standards on the design and construction of log structures.
The bill now goes to the House.
The Senate voted 38-11 in favor of House Bill 416, which would increase penalties for those who impersonate a holder of a professional or occupational license, such as architects, physicians, realtors, psychiatrists, accountants and funeral directors.
The charge would be graded a second-degree misdemeanor. In cases where the intent of the impersonation was to harm, defraud or injure someone, the crime would be a third-degree felony.
The bill is now in the House Rules Committee.
The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1533, which would change the expiration date of the Military Family Relief Assistance Program from June 30, 2011 to June 30, 2016.
The program helps Pennsylvania military personnel and their families with grants of up to $2,500 annually to provide food, shelter and other necessities in times of hardship.
Additionally, the bill would add Pennsylvania National Guard members to the list of individuals who are eligible, as well as military personnel for a period of one year after completion of active duty, and former members for a period of two years after discharge if the member was discharged for certain medical reasons.
The bill is now on the governor’s desk.
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