Harrisburg Happenings

A report on the Legislative Session Week of July 13, 2015

Senate Adopts Resolution Marking “Year of Soil” in PA

On Tuesday, the Senate adopted a Resolution I introduced recognizing 2015 as the “Year of Soil in Pennsylvania” as a way to recognize and appreciate our great fortune to have a fertile base that supports a wide range of agricultural activities across our state.

Click here to watch my comments on the floor of the Senate on this Resolution.

Senate Passes Bill Protecting Utility Workers during Emergencies

The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would add electric utility workers to the list of protected workers during disaster emergencies. Senate Bill 765 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Currently, state law provides additional protection for first responders, highway maintenance and construction workers and tow truck operators during emergencies. Motorists are required to travel cautiously at reduced speeds and carefully follow traffic markers, road flares, signs, or directions of emergency responders.

Additionally, emergency service responders may file a written report with the police officer upon observing a violation. Violators may be fined up to $500 per offense and pay restitution costs if warranted.

Other bills approved by the Senate this week include:

Senate Bill 404 sets guidelines and procedures for the investigation and interrogation of correctional officers by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections as a result of a complaint of alleged misconduct.

Senate Bill 430 expands access to the State Intermediate Punishment Program to those convicted of crimes due to a gambling addiction.

Senate Bill 474 requires Senate confirmation of the Chief Executive Officer of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Senate Bill 652 amends the Local Tax Enabling Act to exclude active duty military pay from the existing definition of “earned income.”

Senate Bill 683 strengthens the use of DNA technology to fight violent crime. (Hutch no)

Senate Bill 925 updates the qualification standards for the commercial driver learner’s permit and the commercial driver’s license.

DHS Will Waive Some Clearance Fees for Volunteers as of July 25

I am pleased to report that under a new policy, the state Department of Human Services will waive some fees for mandated state background checks for volunteers beginning July 25.

The policy calls for the waiver of the $10 fees charged for the Department of Human Services child abuse clearance and the Pennsylvania State Police background checks required for volunteers. The Department also announced a reduction of those fees for all other applicants, other than volunteers, from $10 to $8.

Fees for required Federal Bureau of Investigation federal criminal history clearances ($27.50 through the Department of Human Services and $28.75 through the Department of Education) are not affected by the policy change.

For more detailed information about Pennsylvania’s background check requirements, visit www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

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