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The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would establish the Sexual Violence Victim Protection Act.

Senate Bill 58 would allow a victim of sexual assault to petition the court, requesting protection from the defendant — a current option for victims of domestic violence. A protection order would prohibit a defendant from having any contact with a plaintiff, direct them to not harass or stalk the victim and provide for any other appropriate relief. A parent or guardian may file on behalf of the victim. 

The bill is modeled after the provisions of Pennsylvania law relating to domestic violence, but has been drafted as a free-standing act to avoid confusion with protection from abuse orders in domestic violence cases.

The bill is now in the House Judiciary Committee.

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The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 5, which would help develop and expand community-based health care clinics.

Senate Bill 5 would create the Community-Based Health Care Program under the Department of Health to provide grants to community-based health care clinics.

The grants to the clinics would help expand and improve access to health care services and reduce the unnecessary utilization of emergency rooms for routine health care.

The grants, derived from federal funds obtained through overpayments to hospitals in the state Medicaid plan, would require a match of 25 percent.

The Department of Public Welfare would be responsible for administering the program.

The bill is now in the House.

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The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 343, which would ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to protect the identity and privacy of Pennsylvania’s college students, their families and the higher education community.

Senate Bill 343 would permit the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to collect information that could identify individual college students, but only when specifically required by federal or state law.  When collecting information for the system known as the Pennsylvania Information Management System, PDE would be required to describe in detail its legal authority to collect the information and allow students to opt-out of the system. 

Senate Bill 343 would also provide liability protection to colleges and universities that disclose information to the state as requested and would establish an advisory committee to offer recommendations to the department.

The bill is now in the House Appropriations Committee.

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The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 419, which would allow licensed dealers in Pennsylvania to sell motorcycles on Sunday. 

Currently, many Pennsylvania motorcycle dealerships are already open on Sundays to sell merchandise and can sell all of the parts to build a motorcycle, but they cannot sell the actual bike.

The bill is now in the House.

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The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 109, which would require all paid advertising by state government (i.e. Executive, Judicial and Legislative Branches; Attorney General; Auditor General; Lieutenant Governor; Treasury; Lottery Fund; and state Liquor Control Board) to include the statement “Paid for with Pennsylvania Taxpayer Dollars.”

The bill is now in the House.

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The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 274, which would create a mentored youth hunting program for young Pennsylvania sportsmen

Senate Bill 274 would allow the Pennsylvania Game Commission to enact regulations for a mentored youth hunting program. The program would allow a licensed hunter with an antlered deer permit to give the permit to a young hunter who is participating in a mentored youth hunting program. 

Young hunters would be limited to one antlered deer license in each license year. 

The legislation would also reduce the age requirement for an individual to receive a falconry permit from 16 to 12 years of age. 

The bill is now in the House.