The Senate unanimously passed House Bill 59, which would allow for an adoptive family to make an appeal for adoption assistance. Families would be authorized to appeal for an adoption subsidy under the Adoption Opportunities Act.
This bill allows the parents of an adopted child, who has been deemed to be a “difficult adoption placement,” to appeal to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services for an adoption subsidy. Difficult adoption placements include children with a physical or mental disability and other circumstances that may require an adopted child to need medical or psychological treatment.
The bill now goes to the House Rules Committee.
The Senate unanimously passed House Bill 422, which outlines procedures for filling board vacancies in first-class townships.
Under the bill, only a registered elector of a township is eligible for elective office in the township. Residency must be established via signed affidavit before the officer can be sworn in.
The measure also specifies that vacancies by resignation occur when the board of commissioners accepts a resignation. This must be done within 45 days after it has been received in writing. If no action has been taken in 45 days, the resignation is considered accepted and the board has 30 days to fill the position.
The bill also removes the provision that prohibits a person with a felony conviction from filling a vacancy.
This bill was enacted as Act No. 23 of 2017.
The Senate approved House Bill 1426 by a vote of 39-10. The bill alters conditions of permits and security for damages related to vehicles.
House Bill 1426 changes the weight limit (from 107,000 to 135,000 pounds) for a permitted vehicle, combination or load. The bill also establishes a limit of 10 feet in width or any height or length limit to be driven, hauled or towed and allows for towing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except during inclement weather.
This legislation also amends the sections on moving construction equipment and containerized cargo to also allow hauling on holidays.
This bill was enacted as Act No. 24 of 2017.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 431, which would increase littering fines and adjust fines to account for the weight or volume of the litter.
Currently, littering fines range from $50 to $300 for a first-time offense. Subsequent fines can cost between $300 and $1,000. Under the bill, a first-time offense could range from $50 to $300 for litter up to five pounds or up to nine cubic feet to $500-$1,000 if the litter is more than 100 pounds or 25 cubic feet. Subsequent fines would be between $100 to $500 for up to five pounds or nine cubic feet to $1,000-$2,000 for more than 100 pounds or 25 cubic feet.
Fines generated from non-commercial purposes would range from $100 for littering up to five pounds or up to nine cubic feet to $1,000 for litter of more than 100 pounds or 25 cubic feet. Subsequent violations would range from $500 -$2,000. Fines for litter generated for commercial purposes would be $2,000.
Fines for any amount or volume of litter generated for commercial purposes or hazardous waste would also carry increased rates.
Senate Bill 431 was referred to the House Transportation Committee.
The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 449, which would allow a risk assessment tool to be used in domestic violence cases to help determine whether to admit the defendant to bail. The risk assessment tool would be used to aid in evaluating the risk that a defendant might commit assault while on bail.
The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 590 which hikes the maximum service charge a merchant can assess for a bad check from $50 to $75.
The bill was referred to the House Commerce Committee.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 697 which is known as the Capital Budget Act of 2017-2018. Senate Bill 697 would place limitations on debt to be incurred on capital projects during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The bill limits the debt to $1.6 billion.
This bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee.