Select Page

The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 16, which amends the Local Tax Collection Law to require that checks made payable to local tax collectors be deposited into a separate bank account.  This account may only be used for tax collection purposes and must include the name of an office, title or position and cannot bear the name of an individual.

The bill was enacted as Act 38 of 2017.

***

The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 790, which repeals the Noxious Weed Control Law and replaces the law with the “Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Act.”

This bill will regulate controlled plants and noxious weeds in Pennsylvania.   The bill classifies noxious weeds into three categories. Class A noxious weeds are defined as weeds that are established in Pennsylvania, geographically limited and targeted for eradication. Class B noxious weeds are defined as weeds that are widely established in Pennsylvania and cannot feasibly be eradicated. Class C noxious weeds are defined as weeds that are not known to exist in Pennsylvania and pose a potential threat if introduced.

In addition, the measure establishes the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee.  The Committee would be authorized to issue permits for the use of noxious weeds throughout Pennsylvania.  Certain controlled plants can be used to produce biomass and biofuel.

The bill was enacted as Act 46 of 2017.

***

The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1288, which allows optometrists to issue a handicapped plate or placard to a disabled person.

Optometrists will be added to the list of medical professionals authorized to issue statements verifying that a person is disabled under Pennsylvania law.  This authorization applies to verification for individuals who apply for a handicapped plate or placard.

The bill was enacted as Act 37 of 2017.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 53, which would amend the Higher Education Scholarship Law to allow students to apply for grants offered through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) for online classes.

This bill would allow students to apply for grants for online classes offered by schools based in Pennsylvania, but not necessarily domiciled.  PHEAA would determine which schools are eligible to receive grants through this state program.

In 2013 the State Grant Distance Education Pilot Program was created to assess the benefits of offering grants to students taking up to half of their credits online.  The program provided data supporting the benefits of offering grants to students taking the applicable online classes.

The bill now goes to the House Education Committee.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 472, which would expand the tougher limitations on prescribing opioids to minors to all individuals.

This measure would ban doctors from prescribing more than a seven-day supply of a controlled substance containing an opioid. The bill lists several exemptions such as situations where an individual’s health or safety would be at risk.  The bill would require prescribers to assess any current or previous prescriptions an individual has taken or is currently taking.  Prescribers would be required to discuss the risk of addiction and overdose as well as the dangers of mixing opioids with other substances.

The bill now goes to the House Health Committee.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 499, which would reduce the mandated number of meetings the board of inspectors for county prisons in rural eighth class counties would be required to hold.

The board in an eighth class would be required to meet quarterly, rather than monthly. Eighth class counties include: Cameron, Forest, Fulton, Montour, Potter and Sullivan.

The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 552, which would create the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Monuments and Memorial Trust Fund.

The bill would do away with the Veterans’ Memorial Trust Fund from the Veterans Trust Fund and establish the “Pennsylvania Veterans’ Monuments and Memorial Trust Fund.”  This fund would be used for monuments and memorials dedicated to Pennsylvania veterans and military units.

The legislation would require that the following monuments receive funding:

  • The Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery;
  • American battle monuments located oversees, but officially recognized or owned by the commonwealth;
  • Pennsylvania unit monuments and markers at Gettysburg National Military Park; and
  • Other Pennsylvania military memorials and monuments as designated or recognized by the state Department of Military Affairs.

The bill now goes to the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

***

The Senate voted 40-9 in favor of Senate Bill 663, which would amend the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act to increase the number of third party code officials a municipality would need to contract with.

This bill would increase the number of required contracts with third party code officials from one to three.

The bill now goes to the House Labor and Industry Committee.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 728, which amends the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions Program (ABC-MAP) Act by exempting certain Schedule V epilepsy drugs currently included in the Monitoring Prescriptions Program.

The measure also removes the requirement that prescribers of a nonnarcotic Schedule V controlled substance need to query the prescription monitoring system

The bill was enacted as Act 79 of 2017.

***

The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 888, which would further regulate parking spaces reserved for the disabled.

This bill would add restrictions to blocking access aisles near parking spaces designed for disabled persons. In addition, the lines between these designated spaces would need to be clear of all debris and items that might hinder the use of the handicapped space.

This change would better enable those using wheelchairs and other devices to enter and exit their vehicles.  Violators illegally parking in handicapped designated spaces would be subject to fines issued by a “parking enforcement specialist.”

The bill would allow law enforcement agencies to create the position of parking enforcement specialist who would ensure that cars parked in handicapped-designated spaces have an appropriate placard displayed.

The bill now goes to the House Transportation Committee.

###