The Senate unanimously approved of House Bill 279, which provides limited immunity to someone who tries to help an ailing person from a vehicle.

The immunity applies if the individual entering the vehicle:

  • believes the person in the car is in imminent danger;
  • determines the person cannot exit the car without help;
  • tries to locate the driver and contact first responders before entering the vehicle;
  • uses no more force than necessary to enter the vehicle;
  • makes a good faith effort to leave notice with the vehicle as to why they entered, the location of the person removed from the vehicle and, if possible, the authorities that are expected to respond to the incident; and
  • remains with the person they pulled from the vehicle until the first responder arrives.

The legislation provides similar immunity to first responders who enter a vehicle to rescue a dog or cat.

House Bill 279 became Act No. 5 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 89 which would update terms in the Public School Code.

“Vocational-technical school” would become “career and technical school,” “Department of Public Welfare” would become “Department of Human Services,” the “Department of Public Instruction” would become the “Department of Education,” and the “Federal Board for Vocational Education” would become the “United States Department of Education.”

The bill was referred to the House Education committee.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 145, which would provide more flexibility for farmers on farmland preservation issues.

Under the bill, farmers could choose to not create an additional farmstead residence and instead extinguish that right to reduce the value of their property for a tax write-off — or to make it easier to pass that property on to the next generation at a lower value.

The legislation would also clarify that a subdivision is permitted, regardless of whether it already exists or needs to be constructed. Current law only permits a subdivision of preserved farmland to construct a residence.

The bill was referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 146, which would provide online training for volunteer and career firefighters.

Under the bill, the State Fire Commissioner would establish the guidelines for the voluntary training, which would, free of charge and incorporated into the “Train PA” system.

The commissioner would post the list of training courses online and provide a certificate to those who complete the training.

The bill was referred to the House Veteran and Emergency Preparedness committee.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 178, which would amend the state Election Code to require all candidates and political committees to file campaign finance reports and statements online.

The Department of State would maintain an online searchable database and electronic reporting system. The department would also create a training program for candidates and political committees.

Any business awarded a non-bid contract from the state would also report its political contributions using the electronic filing system. The legislation also increases late filing fees.

The bill was referred to the House State Government committee.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 338, which increases the width of farm equipment allowed on state roadways from 16 feet to 18 feet.

Under the measure, oversized vehicles (between 14 feet 6 inches and 18 feet in width) may be driven, hauled or towed between sunrise and sunset on highways other than freeways, if covered by financial responsibility and preceded by a pilot vehicle that displays an “oversize load” sign and has continuously-activated hazard signal lamps.

At least five business days prior notice must be given to PennDOT for oversized vehicles making commercial trips within 150 miles.

Senate Bill 338 became Act No. 28 of 2019.


The Senate voted 27-20 for Senate Bill 453, which would exempt agricultural buildings used for social events from Uniform Construction Code requirements.

The legislation would specifically exempt any agricultural building constructed before January 1, 1999 used by the public for weddings, receptions and similar social events. The bill outlines the conditions that would have to be met for exemption.

The bill was referred to the House Labor and Industry committee.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 478, which would create a beginning farmer tax credit to land owners who lease or sell their farm land, building and equipment to new farmers.

The tax credit would be 5 percent or the lesser of the sale price or the fair market value up to a maximum of $32,000. If the owner is leasing the property, the value would be equal to 10 percent of the gross income for up to three years with a maximum of $7,000 per year.

By 2025, the Department of Community and Economic Development must provide a report to the legislature detailing who received the tax credits and transaction details.

Senate Bill 478 became Act No. 26 of 2019.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 583, which would amend the Agriculture Security Law to allow “agritourism” activity on land subject to a conservation easement.

The legislation defines agritourism as any activity that:

  • takes place on a farm where agricultural, horticultural or silvicultural crops are grown; or farm animals, rural animals or farmed fish are raised; and
  • a farm that allows citizens to tour, explore, observe, learn about, participate in, or be entertained by an aspect of agricultural production, harvesting, husbandry or rural lifestyle.

The bill was referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs 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 No. 66 of 2019.


The Senate approved Senate Bill 588 by a vote of 32-15. The bill would permit milk hauling on highways during a national, state or local emergency.

Under the bill, the milk hauling board would issue a decal to identify a vehicle as a licensed milk hauler. The legislation would also require that during emergencies, the governor specifically state any modifications to allowable highway access by proclamation or executive order.

The bill was referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 613, which would amend the Administrative Code to require people with access to federal tax information to submit a criminal background check.

Agencies employing these individuals could use this information to determine the person’s character, fitness and suitability to access federal tax information. It would also restrict access to such sensitive information to those deemed suitable.

The bill was referred to the House Finance Committee.