The Senate voted 42 to 7 for legislation that provides passenger limits for junior drivers.
Under House Bill 9, for the first six months after the issuance of the junior driver’s license, the junior driver may not drive with more than one passenger under the age of 18 who is not a member of the junior driver’s immediate family unless a parent or legal guardian is present. After the first six months, the number of non-immediate family under 18 would increase to three. If the junior driver is convicted of a vehicle code violation or responsible for a reportable crash, the restriction would revert to one passenger.
The measure also requires that the minimum behind-the-wheel driving requirements for licensure would increase from 50 to 65 hours. Ten hours must be at night, and five hours must be during inclement weather.
The bill also makes it a primary offense if a driver or passenger under 18 is not properly restrained with a seat belt, child safety seat or booster seat.
Similar language was included in Senate Bill 314, which the Senate passed in June 2011.
House Bill 9 was signed into law as Act 81 of 2011.
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The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would provide for assignment of custody rights during military deployment.
Senate Bill 1167 would allow a service member to petition the court to modify a custody agreement. The modification would grant custody rights to one or more biological relatives. It would include a proposed custody schedule with the relatives and would not exceed the time granted to the service member prior to the time of filing the petition.
The bill would also enable the court to hold an expedited hearing when a parent’s military duties prohibit their ability to appear in person. If it is reasonable to do so, a parent could present testimony and evidence by electronic means.
The bill is currently in the House.
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The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 295, which would raise the minimum cost of a local housing authority construction project that triggers the competitive bid requirement.
Under current law, housing authorities are required to conduct public bidding on projects estimated to cost $10,000 or more, and conduct written or telephone bids on projects of more than $4,000. Senate Bill 295 would raise those minimums to $25,000 and $7,000 respectively, and put in place an inflation adjustment based on the Consumer Price Index for subsequent years.
The bill now goes to the House.
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The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bills 725 and 726 which would eliminate the office of assessor in boroughs and First Class townships, respectively.
Both bills are currently in the House.
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The Senate unanimously passed a package of bills that would ease municipal advertising expenses for small projects.
Senate Bill 281 (County Code), 282 (Third Class City Code), 283 (Second Class Township Code), 284 (First Class Township Code), 285 (Borough Code), 286 (Incorporated Towns), 287 (Intergovernmental corporations, municipal authorities), 288 (Second Class County Code), 289 (Municipal Flood Improvement Act), 290 (joint purchases by counties), and 291 (Public Auditorium Authorities) would increase the threshold at which projects must be competitively bid and publicly advertised.
These bills would increase the threshold from $10,000 to $18,500 and allow for adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index every 5 years. The legislation would also increase the thresholds for telephonic bids from between $4,000 and $10,000 to between $10,000 and $18,500.
Senate Bills 281, 283, 284, 287, 288, 289, and 291 are currently in the House.
Senate Bills 282, 285, 286 and 290 were signed into law as Acts 91, 92, 93 and 94 of 2011, respectively.
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The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 292 which requires that work performed by the Water and Power Resources Board that is over $18,500 be contracted to the lowest bidder. The bill increases the threshold amount from $4,000.
The measure was signed into law as Act 95 of 2011.
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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 293, which would raise the amount at which the competitive bidding process must take place under the state Public School Building Authority Act. It would raise the threshold amount from $4,000 to $18,500. This amount would be adjusted every five years based on the Consumer Price Index cost of living index.
The measure is now in the House
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Senate Bill 296 was unanimously approved by the Senate. The bill requires a school district to obtain pricing from vendors for any school facility construction, repair or maintenance over the amount of $10,000. For projects or supplies over the amount of $18,500, the school district must publicize and conduct a competitive bidding process.
The bid limit amounts would be adjusted every five years in accordance with the CPI cost of living index changes.
The measure was signed into law as Act 97 of 2011.
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The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 361, which makes birth certificates public records 105 years after the date of birth and death certificates public records 50 years after the date of death.
The bill was signed into law as Act 110 of 2011.
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The Senate unanimously passed companion bills, Senate Bills 957 and 967, that would establish a state license for athletic trainers. Athletic trainers are the only health care provider group that are certified by the PA State Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine, but not currently licensed.
The measure is now in the House.
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