Harrisburg Happenings

Bill Designating Battery B Memorial Highway Sent to Governor

I’m pleased to report that my legislation designating the section of State Routes 108 and 551 in Lawrence County from the intersection of State Route 108 and Old Hickory Road at the Battery B Monument to State Route 551 ending at the railroad tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Enon Valley as the “Battery B Memorial Highway” was recently approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Senate Bill 1153 now awaits the Governor’s signature into law.

On the morning of June 8, 1961, the Mount Jackson Guards of Mount Jackson, Lawrence County, gathered at the Mount Jackson Methodist Episcopal Church on present-day State Route 108 to bid goodbye to loved ones before going off to fight in the Civil War. This group of more than 80 young men started off on foot for the nine-mile journey to the railroad station in Enon, traveling on present-day State Routes 108 and 551, being hailed by local supporters as they began their journey. The Mount Jackson Guards, later designed Battery B, First Pennsylvania Light Artillery, boarded the train to Camp Wright, Camp Wilkins, and other camps in the Pittsburgh area to prepare to fight the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

Recently, the Enon Valley Community Historical Society brought to my attention an old New Castle News article reporting that on September 26, 1925, a parade was given to celebrate the completion of a concrete road from Derringer’s Corners, North Beaver Twp., continuing to the village of Enon Valley. The article suggested on that historic occasion that State Routes 108 and 551 from Mount Jackson to Enon Valley be named the “Battery B Highway.” 

Liquor Modernization Bill Signed by the Governor

The Governor signed into law Wednesday a new law that will allow grocery stores to sell wine, increase opportunities for the sale of beer, and improve consumer convenience for overall liquor sales.

House Bill 1690 provides many changes that increase customer convenience, including:

  • Allowing grocery stores that sell beer, licensed restaurants, and hotels to sell up to four bottles of wine per customer.
  • Permitting licensed wine producers to ship their products directly to Pennsylvania consumers.
  • Allowing “six-pack” shops to upgrade their “eating place” licenses to “full” restaurant licenses to sell wine as well as beer.
  • Lifting the requirement that State Stores close on certain holidays and only operate on limited hours on Sundays.
  • Allowing special discounts and sales at State Stores.
  • Permitting casinos, for a fee of $1 million, to receive a license to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Allowing lottery tickets sales in State Stores.

Four bills received final legislative approval and were sent to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law.

House Bill 57 amends the Public Utility Code to change the interest rate associated with recovery of purchased gas costs, eliminate the migration rider, and provide for recovery of costs incurred to implement customer choice.

Senate Bill 61 officially recognizes bike medics and permits them to operate their bicycles in the same manner as a police officer on a bicycle.

Senate Bill 489 reduces the maximum fee that a check casher may charge for cashing government checks.

Senate Bill 847 adds a representative from the Korean War Veterans Association to the State Veterans Commission, a panel comprised of representatives from Pennsylvania’s major veterans associations.  

Senate Approves Bill to Protect Energy-Related Jobs

The Senate approved a bill on Wednesday intended to protect family-sustaining Pennsylvania jobs placed at risk by the federal Clean Power Plan.

Senate Bill 1195 provides procedures for the General Assembly’s consideration of the Department of Environmental Protection’s implementation strategy for the federal Clean Power Plan before its submission to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Senate Bill 1195 is a compromise agreement between the General Assembly and Governor Wolf that provides important safeguards that protect local energy-producing industries and the thousands of workers they employ from overreaching regulations that could come with Pennsylvania’s compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan.

Senate Bill 1195 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The Senate also approved and sent to the House five additional bills this week.

House Bill 264 requires carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in long-term care nursing facilities, personal care homes and assisted living residences that use fossil fuel burning devices or appliances. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 428 provides additional sentencing provisions for trespassing at gaming establishments.

Senate Bill 1227 transfers the responsibilities of the Public Employee Retirement Commission with regard to pension legislation to the Independent Fiscal Office and the Office of the Auditor General.

House Bill 1241 amends the definition of public utility in state law to exempt water or sewer service provided by a resort and to exempt the provision of service by a municipal corporation under certain circumstances. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 1270 amends the Real Estate Appraisers Certification Act to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with updated Federal appraiser standards.

Committee Approves Measure to Increase Education for Opioid Prescribing

The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee approved legislation on Tuesday that would require continuing medical education training as a way to stem the tide of opioid and prescription drug abuse in the state.

Senate Bill 1202 requires state licensing boards to call for two hours of continuing education in “pain management” and two hours in “opioid prescribing practices” for individuals applying for an initial license or renewal of an existing license or certification to prescribe medications in the Commonwealth.

The increased use of heroin, which often has roots in the abuse of prescription painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin, has catapulted Pennsylvania to seventh in the nation for drug-related overdose deaths in recent federal statistics.  According to a National Survey of Primary Care Physicians, nine out of 10 doctors reported prescription drug abuse as a moderate to large problem in their communities, and 85 percent believed that prescription drugs are overused in clinical practice.

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