The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 23, which changes the name of the Primary Stroke Center Recognition Act to the Stroke System of Care Act.

The measure also updates previous certification requirements placed on primary stroke centers.  Federal certification programs have changed over the last several years. These changes have created the need for updated certification standard throughout Pennsylvania’s primary stroke centers.  With the new certifications, hospitals will be authorized to utilize certain medical personnel and more adequately treat patients.

This bill enables the Department of Health to recognize or revoke a hospital’s title as a comprehensive stroke center or an acute stroke-ready hospital.  All certified comprehensive stroke centers and stroke-ready hospitals, certified to handle emergency situations, will be made available by the department.

The bill was enacted as Act 4 of 2017.


The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 151, which combines several programs to create the Entertainment Economic Enhancement Program.

The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) manages various economic development programs across Pennsylvania.  Any business receiving assistance from PIDA must have their business inspected by a PIDA agent.  Previously, there were no PIDA agents employed by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

This change allows the DCED to properly inspect a plant, books and records of the business enterprise of any business involved with PIDA.

In addition, this legislation expands the definition of “tour expense,” which applies to tour equipment used for concerts or rehearsals.

The bill was enacted as Act 7 of 2017.


The Senate voted 38-12 in favor of House Bill 271, which authorizes fantasy contests, interactive gaming, multi-use computing device gaming and iLottery.

Fantasy contests are simulated games in which a fee and a prize are administered by a licensed operator.  Winnings from these contests reflect the skill of participants in the game and statistical results of their individual performance.  The measure gives the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) fantasy contest oversight.  Operators with slot machine licenses would be authorized to apply for short-term approval of fantasy contest licensure.  This legislation places a 12 percent tax on a license holder’s quarterly fantasy contest adjusted revenues.

Interactive gaming is the process of placing bets over a computer network held by a licensed entity.  Peer-to-peer gaming will be taxed at 16 percent and non-peer-to-peer gaming at 54 percent.

Under this measure, multi-use gaming and interactive gaming devices are authorized to be used in commercial airports servicing at least 50,000 passengers per year.  These devices will be taxed at a 34 percent tax rate.

This legislation also authorizes the PGCB to make Local Share Assessment distributions to counties hosting entities utilizing the gaming options within this bill.  The legislation details specific amounts that will be distributed within various counties to the Commonwealth Financing Authority to maintain parks and heritage sites, child advocacy centers and support services for victims of domestic violence.  Funds from the Slot Machine Local Share Assessment will be distributed similarly at designated rates and locations.

This bill allows for the authorization of iLottery within Pennsylvania.  ILottery provides lottery products through mobile applications and gives customers “instant gaming options.”

The PGCB is responsible for regulating these new forms of betting.  This legislation provides certain application requirements and fees to the newly added provisions.

The bill was enacted as Act 42 of 2017.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 108, which updates the law on the circumstance for executing anatomical gifts.

This legislation is designed to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities.  This bill would prevent an individual from being considered ineligible because of a physical or mental disability — except for in circumstances where their disability has been found to be “medically significant to the provision of the anatomical gift.”  The individual would also need to have the “necessary support system” to be eligible for an anatomical gift.

The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee.


The Senate voted 49-1 in favor of Senate Bill 133, which will enable Pennsylvanians to obtain federal “Real ID” cards.

Real ID refers to a photo identification card or driver’s license issued by the PennDOT under the federal Real ID law of 2005.

The measure repeals the Pennsylvania Real ID Nonparticipation Act of 2012 and requires PennDOT to comply with the federal Real ID law. The bill enables Pennsylvania residents to apply for a standard driver’s license/identification card or a Real ID compliant driver’s license. Each form of ID must state if it complies with the Real ID Act.

The measure also mandates that PennDOT detail the Real ID implementation costs to the Senate Communications and Technology and Senate Transportation committees.

The bill was enacted as Act 3 of 2017.


The Senate voted 40-10 in favor of Senate Bill 269, which would add two additional seats to the Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council, revise the process for reviewing and approving changes to construction codes and increase the building permit fee by 50 cents.

The bill would implement new criteria that the Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council must consider when it meets to evaluate and adopt building code updates. The bill would create special subcommittees to make recommendations to the council. Any updates made by the council must be annually reported to the Department of Labor and Industry.

This legislation would modify the council to alter term lengths, change the appointment process, provide for alternative attendance and voting options and allow the council to compensate experts who provide input.  The legislation would also add two more members to the council, which currently stands at 19.

This legislation would increase the building permit fee by 50 cents to $4.50.  In addition, a new account entitled the Review and Advisory Council Administration Account would be used to collect and appropriate funds.

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


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 288, which amends the Vehicle Code to toughen penalties for “Steer Clear” offenses.

This legislation amends the penalties for repeated offenders of the Steer Clear portion of the Vehicle Code.  The Steer Clear Law was enacted in 2006 to create safer circumstances for roadside emergencies, specifically requiring motorists to use caution, switch lanes and reduce speed.

The fine is $250 for the first offense. This measure increases the fine for subsequent offenses.  A second offense will now be $500 and third offense is $1,000.  If someone is seriously harmed or killed and it is the driver’s third offense, the perpetrator will also have their license suspended for 90 days.

The bill requires PennDOT to annually report violations of the Steer Clear Law and its plans to educate drivers about the law.

The bill was enacted as Act 20 of 2017.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 510, which would provide new penalties for threatening a law enforcement officer or sheriff.

The bill would make it a third-degree felony to threaten to kill or seriously injure an officer or sheriff.  Repeated offenders would face a second-degree felony. To be convicted, the offender must have known that their target is a law enforcement officer.

The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee.


The Senate voted 38-12 in favor of Senate Bill 522, which would combine the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole to become one agency entitled the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The bill would rename the Board of Probation within the new department to be called the Pennsylvania Parole Board. The board would no longer set the statewide standards for parolee supervision, investigations and reports. The board would no longer oversee collecting statistics on probation and parole. The board would establish conditional parole conditions and be allowed to set regulations for general conditions of supervision.

The new department would take on the mentioned tasks that the board previously performed. The department would oversee appointing, supervising and training of parole agents. These parole agents would be required to receive training in social work, criminology, psychology, psychiatry and criminal justice. The department would also be authorized to create a parole violator center to assist re-entering parolees.

The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee.


The Senate voted 48-2 in favor of Senate Bill 523, which would amend the Crime Victims Act to make technical changes to accommodate the proposed changes of Senate Bill 522.

This legislation would make the necessary changes to implement Senate Bill 522, a measure that would combine the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole to create the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee.


The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 651, which provides for the Capital Budget Project Itemization Act of 2017-2018 for capital projects in the aggregate amount of approximately $16 billion.  The bill provides for certain capitol funded projects that may be funded through the sale of bonds.

The bill was enacted as Act 52 of 2017.