Harrisburg Happenings

“Kelsey Smith Act” sent to Governor

A measure intended to save lives by speeding up a process for locating missing people received final legislative approval on Wednesday and was sent to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law.

Senate Bill 1290 requires wireless providers to “ping” the cell phone of a missing person at the request of law enforcement officials when there is sufficient information to believe there is a risk or threat of death or serious physical harm.

The measure is named after an 18-year old Kansas woman who was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered in 2007.  The tragedy resulted in a movement by her parents to ensure that law enforcement authorities can receive assistance from cell phone providers to help find missing persons.

Since 2005, the FCC has required cell phone manufacturers to include GPS receivers in all devices.  This has allowed first responders to pinpoint the location of 911 callers in an emergency.  While Pennsylvania law enforcement officials can request this information from cell phone providers, in most cases a subpoena is required.  SB 1290 would expedite the process when there is the threat of imminent danger to the victim.

In addition to Kansas, thirteen states have passed similar legislation.  They are Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.

Other bills receiving final legislative approval and sent to the Governor this week include:

Senate Bill 83 would allow Neighborhood Electric Vehicles on any highway or roadway where the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less.

House Bill 90 provides for administrative subpoenas for use in investigations involving the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.

 House Bill 241 expands the definition of “fire department vehicle” in state law to include vehicles that are owned or leased by a fire relief association and used by an organized paid or volunteer fire department.

House Bill 473 requires the Department of General Services to establish an internet website to serve as a standardized system for filing construction notices by December 31, 2016.

House Bill 359 requires charitable organizations to file registration statements by the fifteenth day of the fifth month following the close of the fiscal year.

Senate Bill 799 updates Pennsylvania’s laws regarding self-storage facilities.

Senate Bill 807 creates a voluntary license for individuals who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social work or social welfare from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Senate Bill 814 amends the Board of Vehicles Act pertaining to the sales of recreational vehicles at shows and other events in the Commonwealth by defining out-of state recreational vehicle dealers and clarifying requirements for an entity to exhibit in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1224 would extend pharmaceutical cost-saving measures to veterans residing in assisted living residences and personal care homes.

Senate Bill 1356 and Senate Bill 1357 simplify the manner in which auto insurance and homeowner insurance customers are transferred between corporate affiliates.

House Bill 1363 makes the process easier and faster for non-profits and other entities to eliminate blighted properties in their communities.

House Bill 1440  amends the definition of “agricultural building” in the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act to include structures used to grow agricultural and horticultural products and exempts those structures from the provisions of the Construction Code.

House Bill 1543 amends the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act to permit the use of “time and materials” contracts.

House Bill 1654  adds the following Lysosomal storage disorders to the current newborn screening regimen: Krabbe; Fabry; Pompe; Niemann-Pick; Gaucher and Hurler Syndrome.

House Bill 1672 establishes the State Agency Green Technology Implementation Act to test a technology, product or process that will promote energy conservation, energy efficiency or demand-side management in state agencies.

House Bill 1702 authorizes the Department of Aging to establish, license and regulate a community adult respite services program.

House Bill 2204 amends the Early Intervention Services System Act by adding a sixth category of at-risk children to trigger automatic tracking of homeless infants or toddlers by early intervention services.

House Bill 2353 would enable insurance companies to offer different types of assets as collateral, namely commercial real estate holdings.


Senate approves public safety measures

The Senate approved several bills this week intended to crack down on crime and improve public safety. The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

House Bill 435 extends current clearance requirements for professionals who work with children to include anyone applying for a paid or unpaid volunteer position in which they would be responsible for the welfare of a child.

Senate Bill 476, the Corrections Officers Bill of Rights, ensures that Pennsylvania corrections officers maintain their constitutional rights when under investigation and subject to interrogation by the state Corrections Department.

House Bill 764 adds a new section to the Crimes Code concerning online impersonation in the chapter covering forgery and fraudulent practices. It also makes changes to laws governing DNA data and testing. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

House Bill 1357 increases the grading of the offense of impersonating a public servant from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a felony of the third degree if the public servant being impersonated is a law enforcement officer. The bill also includes ignition interlock requirements for those convicted of driving under the influence. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 1367 bans the practice of allowing persons sentenced to community service to purchase gift cards in lieu of performing the service.

Other bills approved by the Senate and sent the House this week include:

House Bill 201 makes changes to state procurement regulations and policies. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

House Bill 573 provides for the definition, regulation and operation of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles in the Commonwealth and provides for the operation of electric assist pedalcycles. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

House Bill 939  makes omnibus amendments to the Public Utility Code relating to responsible utility customer protection. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 1310  establishes the Penn Grade Crude Development Advisory Council to study existing regulations and assist the Department of Environmental Protection in making changes that better address the differences between conventional and unconventional oil and gas production.

Senate Bill 1361 provides for a new “Ready to Succeed” scholarship program administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

House Bill 1436 requires health insurance policies to cover the cost of amino acid-based elemental medical formula for infants and children. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 1441 privatizes and regulates the Bail Bondsman industry in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1481 amends the Solid Waste Management Act providing for transportation of residual waste.

House Bill 1550 consolidates several business loan programs under the jurisdiction of the PA Industrial Development Authority and establishes the Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

House Bill 1590 makes the tax collector education program mandatory for all tax collectors to become certified by Department of Community and Economic Development. It also mandates a criminal history check for anyone running for the office of tax collector and provides for the submission of property taxes. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

House Bill 1714 amends the Landlord and Tenant Act to address the disposition of abandoned personal property. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

House Bill 1816 amends the Public School Code concerning continuing professional development and Pennsylvania school leadership standards. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

House Bill 2092 updates the commercial driver’s license exemption for certain farm vehicles. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.



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