Senator DiSanto E-Newsletter

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Week of October 22, 2018

In this Edition:

  • Grants Available for Programs Serving PA Veterans
  • Bills Sent to the Governor and Signed into Law
  • Bills Vetoed by the Governor

Grants Available for Programs Serving PA Veterans

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is accepting applications for competitively awarded grants supporting programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans.

The grants are funded by the Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF). Up to $800,000 in VTF grant funding will be available. Applications must be received by Nov. 30.

Up to $150,000 is available to counties for new, innovative or expanded programs or services operated by county directors of veterans affairs or to the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. Applicants in this category may request up to $20,000 per county with a priority focus on veterans’ outreach and veterans’ court programs.

Up to $650,000 is available for veterans’ service organizations with 501(c)(19) status and non-profits with 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Code that have a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans. Applicants in this category may request up to $50,000 for programs focusing on veteran homelessness, behavioral health initiatives and veterans’ courts.

Eligible applicants from either category may also submit applications for programs addressing newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families. 

The VTF is funded by Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs, or motor vehicle registrations; purchasing Honoring Our Veterans license plates; or making private donations.

Tax-deductible donations can be made online or mailed to: Veterans’ Trust Fund, Bldg. 0-47, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA  17003-5002.

Bills Sent to the Governor and Signed into Law

My previous Session Wrap-Up featured highlighted bills that passed the Senate last week, the last voting days of the 2017-18 legislative session. This edition is a round-up of bills sent to the Governor for action. 

Senate Bill 6 establishes the Public Assistance Integrity Act to eradicate waste, fraud, and abuse within the state Public Welfare Code.

House Bill 26 permits organizational registration plates for use on motorcycles; and allows for abbreviated portions of an organization’s name on special plates.  

Senate Bill 31 invests $1 million in a program that awards grants for research into spinal cord injuries.

House Bill 44 amends the Protection from Abuse Act to provide the court with information regarding whether the defendant has been involved with a child abuse investigation.

Senate Bill 99 sets regulations for containers or bins placed in outdoor locations by organizations to collect donated clothing or other items for charitable purposes.

House Bill 126 allows Third-Party Reimbursement Entities to reimburse patients and their family for the cost of travel, ancillary medical costs and other direct patient-incurred expenses related to clinical cancer trial participation, and expands the number of facilities permitted to have non-patient specific epinephrine auto-injectors on site.

House Bill 149 addresses the unlawful use of an audio or video recording device in court.

House Bill 163 removes language relating to federally mandated driver’s license suspensions for drug/controlled substance convictions, as well as state-imposed suspensions for six other crimes.

Senate Bill 180 updates and revises state law relating to organ and tissue donations.

House Bill 270 increases the PACENET income eligibility limits from $23,500 to $27,500 for individuals and from $31,500 to $35,500 for married couples.

Senate Bill 299 changes the way that an incumbent magisterial district judge gets on the ballot for re-election.

Senate Bill 353 a land conveyance bill.

House Bill 353 requires electronic prescriptions for certain controlled substances.

Senate Bill 403 removes the Governor’s appointment of an FBI Agent to the Municipal Police Officers Education & Training Commission and replaces it with a Governor’s appointment of a member of the State Fraternal Order of Police.

House Bill 504 allows owners of self-service storage units to obtain a limited license from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to sell insurance to those renting storage space to cover the contents of the storage units.

House Bill 544 addresses the issue of recreational use and liability to protect landowners in the event of injuries to recreational users.

Senate Bill 554 immunizes child victims of human trafficking from criminal prosecution.

Senate Bill 627 ensures that all air freight companies are treated equally under Pennsylvania tax law.

House Bill 645 amends Article XIX-A (Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit) of the Tax Reform Code of 1971 further providing for tax credit and grant of tax credit and providing for reporting.

Senate Bill 748 establishes notice guidelines regarding the proposed closure of state prisons.

Senate Bill 764 creates a recreational vehicle (RV) specific law which would govern RV dealers, manufacturers, and salespeople.

Senate Bill 676 addresses ongoing funding deficiencies in the Workers’ Compensation Uninsured Employers Guarantee Fund.

Senate Bill 771 amends the Borough Code and Third Class City Code to provide for concise publication of required annual financial reporting information, thus saving boroughs and cities, and their taxpayers, money.

Senate Bill 772 amends the First Class Township Code to provide for concise publication of required annual financial reporting information, thus saving boroughs and cities, and their taxpayers, money.

Senate Bill 773 amends state law regarding incorporated towns to provide for concise publication of required annual financial reporting information, thus saving boroughs and cities, and their taxpayers, money.

House Bill 783 exempts manufactured homes not previously titled in Pennsylvania from the tax certification requirement.

Senate Bill 796 exempts CDL licensees from change of address fees if they have not actually moved from their home and the change of address is due to a governmental action beyond their control.

Senate Bill 798  includes additional general officers as potential members of the Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission.

Senate Bill 801 allows boroughs and Third-Class Cities to purchase used equipment, vehicles and other personal property from volunteer emergency service organizations without competitive bidding.

Senate Bill 802 allows First-Class Townships to purchase used equipment, vehicles and other personal property from volunteer emergency service organizations without competitive bidding.

Senate Bill 803 allows Second-Class Townships to purchase used equipment, vehicles and other personal property from volunteer emergency service organizations without competitive bidding.

Senate Bill 804 allows incorporated towns to purchase used equipment, vehicles and other personal property from volunteer emergency service organizations without competitive bidding.

Senate Bill 888 would improve access to disabled parking spaces by prohibiting the obstruction of access aisles and strengthening enforcement measures.

Senate Bill 897 expands the scope of restitution for victims to include government agencies, non-profits, corporations and other similar organizations. 

Senate Bill 915 extends the deadline for filing a post-conviction relief action.

Senate Bill 916 updates the DNA testing law.

Senate Bill 919 allows a tenant of a housing authority unit, who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence, to be relocated to another unit.

House Bill 927 provides for a municipal exemption from leaf waste collection requirements.

Senate Bill 945 would allow for the doubling the donation level for the Veterans Trust Fund on two-year vehicle registration renewals.

Senate Bill 947 increases the threshold for requiring public advertising for bids from $1,000 to $2,000 when boroughs and third-class cities sell their personal property.

Senate Bill 948 increases the threshold for requiring public advertising for bids from $1,000 to $2,000 when first-class townships sell their personal property.

Senate Bill 949 increases the threshold for requiring public advertising for bids from $1,000 to $2,000 when incorporated towns sell their personal property.

Senate Bill 961 increases the penalties for someone convicted of vehicular homicide while DUI who has had prior offenses for DUI. 

 House Bill 983 ensures that an abusive spouse is ineligible to receive financial support from the person that he or she was convicted of abusing.

Senate Bill 1005 makes numerous changes to the County Code.

Senate Bill 1007 makes changes to state law regarding county boards of assessment.

House Bill 1013 requires managed care plans and Medicaid to pay all reasonably necessary costs associated with the provision of emergency services even if the covered individual does not require transport or refuses to be transported.

Senate Bill 1078 allows municipalities and school districts to discuss security and safety matters in executive session.

Senate Bill 1090 increases penalties for hazing and requires schools to have policies and reporting procedures in place to stop hazing.

Senate Bill 1095 provides alternatives to Keystone Exams.

Senate Bill 1098 would allow for the placement of cameras on school buses to capture motorists who pass when red signals are flashing. 

Senate Bill 1127 creates a new penalty for the fraudulent trafficking of SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500.

Senate Bill 1156 renames roads and bridges.

Senate Bill 1171 gives farmers greater input on proposed environmental regulations that could impact their farms.

Senate Bill 1205 provides for insurer corporate governance disclosure.

Senate Bill 1209  implements changes to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits.

House Bill 1216 provides that any law enforcement officer, humane society police officer, animal control officer or emergency responder who enters an unattended vehicle in order to rescue a dog or cat will not be liable for any damage caused by the rescue.

House Bill 1228 permits students to self-apply a topical sunscreen during school or at school activities without a physician’s note or prescription.

House Bill 1233 establishes a new standard for assisted outpatient treatment for seriously mentally ill individuals.

House Bill 1284 enacts the Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop Act to provide online, one-stop services to assist businesses.

House Bill 1294 allows motorcycles to be equipped with a special registration plate for Purple Heart and Legion of Merit recipients.

House Bill 1386 amends the Public School Code by adding a new section concerning instructional certificate grade spans and age levels.

House Bill 1414 authorizes visual and audible signals on emergency vehicles for additional fire personnel; flashing yellow and white lights on tow trucks; yellow strobe lights for solid waste collection vehicles; and mounted internal blue lights for volunteer firefighters.

House Bill 1499 amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) to clarify and update provisions relating to planned communities, condominiums and cooperatives.

House Bill 1511 amends the Tax Reform Code providing for definitions and imposition of a hotel occupancy tax and establishing a restricted revenue account to be known as the Tourism Promotion Fund.  I voted against this legislation because it effectively is a net tax increase on consumers that expands the existing hotel occupancy tax to travel services.

House Bill 1539 allows a grandparent or other specific relatives of a minor child to petition for temporary guardianship when a parent of that child has entered a rehabilitation facility for treatment of a drug or alcohol addiction or has been subject to emergency medical intervention due to abuse of drugs or alcohol.

House Bill 1822 establishes a new chapter in Title 24 (Education) concerning suicide prevention in institutions of higher education.

House Bill 1840 re-establishes a provision in the Workers’ Compensation Act authorizing Impairment Rating Evaluations for claimants, addresses the Supreme Court’s Protz ruling (Protz vs Derry Area School District), and increases the burial benefit in the Workers’ Compensation Act from $3,000 to $7,000.

House Bill 1884 creates the Patient Test Result Information Act.

House Bill 1885 allows a Register of Wills to determine and direct the personal representative of an estate to post additional security after examining the inventory or inheritance tax return of an estate.

House Bill 1886 updates Orphans’ Court report procedures.

House Bill 1936 makes editorial and technical changes to the Snowmobile and All-Terrain Vehicle Law.

House Bill 1951 provides a new offense for selling dextromethorphan to minors.

House Bill 1958 authorizes the use of highly automated work zone vehicles by PENNDOT and the Turnpike Commission and allows for the platooning of motor carrier vehicles.

House Bill 2049 creates the Assistance and Service Animal Integrity Act to address documentation requirements for service animals in housing, and establishes penalties for misrepresentation.

House Bill 2052 amends the Public School Code by adding a new section concerning military parent student support.

House Bill 2075 authorizes rate recovery by a water public utility for costs incurred to replace customer-owned lead water service lines.  

House Bill 2124 requires institutions of higher education to send annual letters to students with information on their student loan debt, including estimates of their total debt at graduation and estimated monthly payments.

House Bill 2133 creates the Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program.

House Bill 2297 renames several roads and bridges.

House Bill 2453 amends the Check Casher Licensing Act to strengthen enforcement provisions, increase penalties and permit cashing of certain postdated checks.

House Bill 2476 allows Commonwealth employees to carry or store a lawfully owned firearm and ammunition in a vehicle at a state correctional institution.

House Bill 2557 extends Harrisburg’s expanded taxing capabilities after its exit from Act 47.

Bills Vetoed by the Governor

House Bill 83 requires that, except in cases of refunding bond issuance, all debt amortization must be done using an equal annual maturities plan. This was a commonsense, bipartisan solution to ensure state debt is paid down quicker and at lower interest costs. The Governor’s decision may cost taxpayers more in the long run if the state backloads debt payments to avoid near-term budgetary pressures.

Senate Bill 1172, passed with bipartisan supports, amends the Price Gouging Act. Since January, the Governor’s opioid disaster declaration has triggered the Pennsylvania Price Gouging Act and imposed pricing restrictions on all manufacturers, distributors, and retailers statewide, creating an unnecessary burden on businesses completely unrelated to the disaster.

House Bill 2138 adds work requirements for eligible enrollees in Medical Assistance. Currently, half of healthy adults on Medicaid are not working at a time when unemployment is at record lows with more job openings than there are candidates to fill them. Work requirements for healthy adults put beneficiaries on a path towards financial independence and preserve limited government resources for those most in need. 

House Bill 2157 amends the Public School Code concerning the Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence, the utilization of credits, and the classification of program codes. This bill would have created a standard application form to make it easier for schools to establish and renew vocational education programs. Additionally, the bill would have identified opportunities for students to apply for course credit toward the completion of a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.

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