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Senate Action

Legislation of Note Passed by the Senate


State budget

Act 1A of 2013, the state budget, holds the line on spending and taxes while providing key investments in areas like education, public safety, economic development and job creation. (More details included in various categories below.)

Act 1A of 2014, the 2014-15 state budget, provides funding for education, public safety and essential social and health services without a tax increase.

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Jobs and Economic Development

Act 1A of 2013 (Budget) increases funding for the Department of Community and Economic Development by $7 million to $236.3 million with a focus on promoting business development and job creation in Pennsylvania.

Act 52 of 2013 (Tax Code) eliminates the Death Tax on small businesses as proposed in Senate Bill 303 (Pileggi).

Act 52 of 2013 (Tax Code) creates Community Revitalization & Improvement Zones as proposed in Senate Bill 947 (Smucker).

Act 52 of 2013 (Tax Code) creates the Innovate in PA Tax Credit program, which provides a predictable source of funding for early-stage venture capital investment through the Ben Franklin Technology Partners Program, the Venture Investment Program and the Life Sciences Greenhouses (Gordner).

Act 44 of 2013 (Eichelberger) amends the Economic Development Financing Law to increase the dollar amount requiring full advertising and bidding of contracts from $10,000 to $18,500.

Act 34 of 2013 (Gordner) directs a portion of the Unemployment Compensation Employee Tax to the newly created Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund to improve the efficiency of the Unemployment Compensation Service Centers.

Act 67 of 2013 (Greenleaf) updates and finishes the codification of the state Nonprofit Corporation Law and makes it consistent with the Business Corporation Law.

Senate Bill 1188 (Vogel) makes substantial regulatory changes necessary to bolster Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry.

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Children and Families

Act 1 of 2013 (Corman) ensures that all proceeds from Penn State University’s $60 million NCAA fine are used to fund programs within Pennsylvania.

Act 74 of 2013 extends the life of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and removes the requirement for children to go six months without insurance before becoming eligible.

Child Protection Package

  • Act 105 of 2013 directs the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to provide for a sentencing enhancement for child pornography, based upon the age of the child victimized, the number of images possessed, and the nature and character of the abuse.
  • Act 107 of 2013 requires the court, in a custody proceeding, to consider factors related to child abuse and involvement with child protective services.
  • Act 108 of 2013 amends the definitions of “child abuse” and related terms in the Child Protective Services Law.
  • Act 109 of 2013 provides that a person who is under 18 years of age when they are victims of physical or sexual abuse may have his or her name withheld from the public domain even if the person is an adult at the time of prosecution.
  • Act 116 of 2013 makes luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure a second-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, up from a first-degree misdemeanor and five years.
  • Act 117 of 2013 (Baker) updates the definition of “perpetrator” and expands the definition of “person responsible for a child’s welfare.”
  • Act 118 of 2013 (Browne) lowers the age of a perpetrator for simple assault from 21 to 18, expands the definition of aggravated assault, and creates the new offenses of “intimidation or retaliation in child abuse cases” and “false reports of child abuse” to help further protect the victims, witnesses and reporters of child abuse.
  • Act 119 of 2013 (Erickson) establishes accountability and due process protections for individuals working with delinquent children, and provides for penalties for making false reports of child abuse.
  • Act 120 of 2013 (Smucker) establishes a comprehensive system for professional educators who are investigated and disciplined for misconduct in Pennsylvania.
  • Act 123 of 2013 provides for multidisciplinary investigative teams to coordinate child-abuse investigations between county agencies and law enforcement.
  • Act 4 of 2014 (Vance) requires health care providers to immediately report if a newborn is identified as being affected by prenatal exposure to illegal substances.
  • Act 27 of 2014 funds Child Advocacy Centers with unused money in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) vehicle license plate fund.
  • Act 28 of 2014 provides for Child Advocacy Centers and creates a grant program to fund those agencies.
  • Act 31 of 2014 requires licensing boards to ensure that mandated reporters receive child abuse recognition and reporting training.
  • Act 29 of 2014 (Vulakovich) requires the Department of Public Welfare to establish a secure, statewide database to include reports of child abuse and children in need of protective services.
  • Act 33 of 2014 (Ward) makes critical improvements to the list of individuals who are required to report child abuse.
  • Act 34 of 2014 (Mensch) provides employee whistleblower protection for anyone who properly and in good faith reports suspected child abuse.
  • Act 56 of 2014 increases penalties for crimes against child-athletes and sets a minimum of 15 years in prison for murder of a child who is under the age of 13.
  • Senate Bill 22 (Ward) increases the penalty for failure to report child abuse by a mandatory reporter to a second-degree misdemeanor and adds three new related offenses.
  • Senate Bill 27 (Mensch) improves the exchange of information among medical practitioners and county agencies by requiring immediate reports and by allowing for follow-up reports.
  • Senate Bill 31 closes a loophole in current law in which there is no requirement to report suspected child abuse when the alleged perpetrator is a school employee unless it rises to the level of a “serious bodily injury.”
  • Senate Bill 46 prevents "passing the trash" -- hiring educators who have been investigated, dismissed or disciplined for abuse or sexual misconduct. 

Senate Bill 620 (Greenleaf) changes Pennsylvania's powers of attorney law to help protect against elder abuse.

Senate Resolution 62 (McIlhinney) directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study state programs targeted to help working families achieve self-sufficiency and develop a strategic plan to reduce the number of families living in poverty.

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Act 89 of 2013 (Rafferty) establishes a transportation funding plan that provides a critical $2.3 billion investment in Pennsylvania’s aging infrastructure system.

Act 50 of 2014 (Vogel) eliminates statutory requirements for expensive low Reid Vapor Pressure gasoline in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland Counties during the summer months.

Senate Bill 83 (Greenleaf) authorizes the use of neighborhood electric vehicles.

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Health Care

Act 10 of 2013 (Erickson) creates the Community-Based Health Care Program to provide grants to community-based health care clinics.

Act 13 of 2013 (White) prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars for elective abortions under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Act 79 of 2013 (Vance) allows health care professionals to apologize for an error without fear of reprisal as an effective way to avoid conflict and prevent litigation.

Act 86 of 2013 (Mensch) requires facilities offering mammograms to provide patients with the notification of breast density to improve the early detection of breast cancer.

Act 7 of 2014 allows out-of-state dentists to receive temporary dentistry licenses to volunteer their services in underserved Pennsylvania communities.

Act 83 of 2014 (Greenleaf) creates a task force to inform the public about Lyme disease and conduct a tick surveillance program across Pennsylvania.

Act 106 of 2014 (Gordner) ensures that all audiologists and those performing the functions of the profession are properly licensed by the state.

Act 94 of 2014 requires the Department of Health to ensure that all birthing facilities and births occurring outside a birthing facility that are attended by midwives utilize pulse oximetry to screen newborns for congenital heart defects.

Act 130 of 2014 ensures that expectant mothers who receive a prenatal diagnosis for Down Syndrome receive the support and education they need to care for and enhance the quality of life for their child. Senate version Senate Bill 1339 (Vulakovich).

Senate Bill 819 (Erickson) increases access to immunizations by allowing pharmacists to immunize children over the age of 7 with parental consent and permitting trained pharmacy interns to administer immunizations under the direct supervision of a pharmacist.

Senate Bill 1180 (Vance) expands the state’s prescription drug monitoring program to include Schedule II through V controlled substances.

Senate Bill 405 (Vance) amends the Generic Equivalent Drug Law to provide for the substitution of an interchangeable biosimilar product for a brand name biologic.

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Military & Veterans

Act 5 of 2013 (Baker) sets standards and provides uniformity across the commonwealth for county Directors of Veterans Affairs.

Act 82 of 2013 (Vogel) expands job opportunities for military veterans with commercial driving skills.

Act 45 of 2013 (Brubaker) requires Pennsylvania to recognize a service member’s wishes for disposition of their remains in the event they die while on duty.

Act 66 of 2014 (Baker) expands the eligibility guidelines for grants from the state Military Family Relief Assistance Program to include more service members and their families in need.

Act 82 of 2014 (Robbins) clarifies that state grants under the Pennsylvania National Guard Educational Assistance Program will be applied after federal assistance programs such as the GI Bill and Federal Tuition Assistance.

Act 78 of 2014 (Hutchinson) creates the Military Physician Incentive Program to help the Pennsylvania National Guard recruit and retain military resident physicians.

Act 80 of 2014 & Act 81 of 2014 (Baker, Scarnati) offers disabled Pennsylvania veterans reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses.

Act 109 of 2014 (Argall) establishes several specialty license plates for veterans who earned the Combat Infantry Badge, served in the Merchant Marines after World War II, or received a Combat Action Ribbon, Combat Action Badge, Combat Action Medal or Combat Medical Badge.

Senate Bill 81 (Greenleaf) allows volunteer doctors to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families.

Senate Bill 803 (Baker) reinstates the local tax exemption for Pennsylvanians serving in the active-duty military.

Senate Bill 1224 (Vance) allows pharmacists associated with assisted living residence and personal care homes to repackage medications received from the Veterans’ Administration into single doses so veterans could utilize their full pharmacy benefit.

Senate Bill1405 (Baker) makes it a summary offense to falsely claim to be a veteran on a Pennsylvania driver’s license application.

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Act 1A of 2013 (Budget) adds $130 million to Basic Education, $5 million to Pre-K Counts, $2 million to Head Start and $6.5 million to Safe Schools Initiatives.

Act 3 of 2013 (Browne) establishes the Special Education Funding Commission, which issued its report and recommendations on December 11.

Act 70 of 2013 (Scarnati) provides Safe Schools Initiatives grants to Pennsylvania schools to address the issue of school violence and improve school safety.

Act 120 of 2013 (Smucker) protects students by expanding mandatory reporting requirements for schools to include reports of child abuse and "grooming" behaviors by educators, such as the use of sexually explicit text messages. A related bill, Senate Bill 46 , prevents the hiring of educators who have been investigated, dismissed or disciplined for abuse or sexual misconduct by requiring more thorough employment background checks of applicants for school positions involving direct contact with children.

Act 9 of 2014 (Alloway) allows video recordings on school buses to include audio to improve safety and allow school districts to resolve disciplinary incidents on school buses faster and with more certainty.

Act 51 of 2014 establishes a bipartisan  Basic Education Funding Commission to study and make recommendations for a new funding formula.

Act 85 of 2014 (Vogel) allows schools to transport students on a bus up to 45 feet in length, up from 40 feet, allowing districts to choose vehicles based on their needs.

Act 107 of 2014 (Vance) requires all school nurses be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Act 122 of 2014 (White) gives public and private school districts in communities covered solely by State Police the option to contract with municipal police from nearby jurisdictions to provide security.

Senate Bill 1085 (Smucker) reforms to the state charter school law by requiring open records and measurement of student performance.

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Government Reform & Transparency

Act 17 of 2013 (Pileggi) abolishes the scandal-plagued Philadelphia Traffic Court. Senate Bill 333 (Pileggi), approved by both chambers, eliminates Traffic Court in the state constitution.

Senate Resolution 339 (Baker) changes Senate Ethical Conduct Rules by implementing an immediate ban on cash gifts to Senators and Senate employees. Senate Bill 1327 (Baker) prevents the acceptance of cash gifts for all state and local public officials and employees and sets penalties.

Act 4 of 2013 (Smucker) gives county commissioners the option of abolishing the jury commissioner row officer position.

Act 75 of 2013 prohibits “triple dipping” so that individuals cannot collect unemployment compensation if they leave employment to preserve pension benefits (similar to Vance’s SB 297).

Act 77 of 2013 establishes in statute Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project reforms and debt reduction.

Act 72 of 2013 (Scarnati) restructures the composition of the Allegheny County Port Authority Board to provide state government oversight.

Act 2 of 2013 (Gordner) moves the State Tax Equalization Board from an independent board to a division within the Department of Community and Economic Development, improving oversight.

Act 23 of 2013 (Brubaker) encourages the state's four remaining savings and loan institutions to convert into state-chartered savings banks, eliminating the need for a separate state regulatory program.

Act 87 of 2014 extends whistleblower protections to employees of nonprofits and private companies that receive public money to perform services.

Act 88 of 2014 extends whistleblower protections to employees of the General Assembly and its agencies.

Senate Bill 114 (Pileggi) requires state agencies to provide notice of data breaches involving personal information within one week.

Senate Bill 99 (Greenleaf) consolidates Pennsylvania's administrative procedure laws to make them more accessible and readable for the public.

Senate Bill 37 (Smucker) allows Pennsylvania residents to register to vote online.

Senate Bill 308 (Scarnati) requires lobbyists and principals to register and report expenditures electronically, and the reports to be posted on the Department of State website within a week.

Senate Bill 120 (Pileggi) requires all campaign finance reports filed with the Department of State to be submitted electronically.

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Public Safety

Senate Resolution 6 (Greenleaf) directs the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to study the underlying causes of mass shootings and other violent crimes.

Act 1A of 2013 (Budget) includes a $3 million increase for the Child Predator Interceptor Unit and $2.5 million for a new Mobile Street Crimes Unit to combat gang-related activity. 

Act 14 of 2013 (Baker) allows crime victims or their families to testify before the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole when a perpetrator is being considered for parole. 

Act 43 of 2013 (Rafferty) clarifies that troopers assigned to the Delaware River Toll Bridge Commission, Gaming Enforcement and Liquor Control Enforcement are not counted against the overall State Police complement.

Act 68 of 2013 (Erickson) permits the establishment of municipal stormwater authorities for improved stormwater management and flood prevention.

Act 91 of 2013 increases the punishment for the offense of harassment where the offender has previously violated a Protection from Abuse Order involving the same victim or the victim’s family or household member.

Act 121 of 2013 (Browne) establishes the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Standards Act.

Act 129 of 2013 doubles the amount of money fire companies are permitted to borrow for equipment and apparatus under the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program.

Act 131 of 2013 (Rafferty) closes a loophole in current law that enables repeat retail theft offenders to avoid more serious penalties.

Act 16 of 2014 (Rafferty) significantly strengthens Pennsylvania’s arson laws and creates the new crime of “aggravated arson.”

Act 25 of 2014 (Greenleaf) authorizes a sexual assault victim to petition the court requesting protection from the defendant regardless of whether the victim seeks criminal prosecution.

Act 79 of 2014 (Argall) adds several railroad materials to the list of items that a scrap processor or recycling facility may purchase strictly from a commercial entity, not an individual.

Act 105 0f 2014 (Greenleaf) greatly strengthens Pennsylvania’s laws against human trafficking by improving definitions, increasing fines and penalties, adding penalties for business entities involved in this crime, creating the Pennsylvania Council for the Prevention of Human Trafficking, increasing training for first responders, and expanding resources available to victim service providers.

Act 85 of 2014 (Baker) increases the penalty for a hit-and-run accident resulting in death to a minimum of three years in prison.

Senate Bill 150 (Pileggi) strengthens and modernizes the laws governing the collection and use of DNA technology to fight violent crime in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1164 (Pileggi) provides immunity from prosecution for certain crimes to those who call for help in the case of a drug overdose.

Senate Bill 1290 (Vulakovich) 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.

Senate Bill 1266 extends the time to apply for Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits from 90 days to three years.

Senate Bill 1423 (Mensch) increases the maximum loan to Volunteer Fire and EMS departments for heavy duty rescue trucks from $150,000 to $300,000 to reflect inflation.

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Environment and Energy

Act 66 of 2013 (Yaw) requires natural gas companies operating in Pennsylvania to standardize all deductions on royalty check payment stubs.

Senate Bill 1236 (Yaw) allows royalty interest owners to inspect records of natural gas companies and requires royalty payments to be made within 60 days.

Senate Bill 1237 (Yaw) prohibits gas companies from retaliating against royalty interest owners by terminating lease agreements or ceasing development because the owner questions royalty payment accuracy.

Senate Bill 1238 (Yaw) requires a gas company to record a surrender document in the county Recorder of Deeds office within 30 days upon expiration, termination or forfeiture of an oil and gas lease.

Senate Bill 738 (Yaw) requires every natural gas distribution utility operating in Pennsylvania to submit a plan to the Public Utility Commission outlining plans to make natural gas service available to more Pennsylvanians.

Senate Bill 739 (Yaw) amends the Alternative Energy Investment Act to provide grants to schools, hospitals and small businesses to help them obtain access to natural gas service.

Senate Bill 1155 (Scarnati) establishes the Aggregate Advisory Board to advise the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on surface mining.

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Community Development

Senate Bill 4 (Brubaker) approved by both chambers, amends the Pennsylvania Constitution to clarify that the Legislature has the exclusive role in determining what constitutes institutions of purely public charity.

Act 72 of 2013 (Vulakovich) increases the amounts municipalities can borrow through the Local Government Capital Project loan program for equipment purchases and facility upgrades.

Act 90 of 2013, Act 92 of 2013 expands the type of small games of chance that private clubs and organizations such as fire companies can use to raise funds and legalizes tavern games.

Senate Bill 1096 (White) reduces the cost of public infrastructure projects by limiting reimbursement rates for services associated with right of way acquisitions and easements related to underground piping for water or sewer infrastructure.

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Pension Reform

Senate Bill 922 (Brubaker) creates a 401(k)-style pension plan for current legislators, the Governor, the Attorney General, the Auditor General, and Treasurer upon re-election and the judiciary upon retention.

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Liquor Sales Reform

House Bill 790, as amended by the Senate Law & Justice Committee and again on the Senate floor, would make the purchase of beer, wine and spirits far more convenient in Pennsylvania.

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Act 130 of 2013 (Vogel) ensures that High Tunnels or Hoop Houses are not considered permanent structures and categorized as real estate for tax purposes.

Senate Bill 1010 (Yaw) helps Pennsylvania dairy farmers compete with surrounding states by authorizing overload permits for trucks hauling up to 95,000 pounds of bulk milk, including condensed and evaporated milk.

Act 124 of 2013 (Argall) would allow Pennsylvania potato packagers to package potatoes without any weight restrictions.

Senate Bill 995 (Vogel) creates the Pennsylvania Livery Providers Fair Lien Act as a way to ensure stable owners are properly compensated for the costs of caring for horses placed in their care.

Senate Bill 1301 (Vogel) restores the exemption to registration-exempt farm vehicles from intrastate motor carrier safety regulations.

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Hunting and Fishing

Act 7 of 2013 (Corman) authorizes the Pennsylvania Game Commission to expand its successful Mentored Youth Hunting Program to all ages.

Act 83 of 2013 (Alloway) limits the liability of land owners who allow hunting on their property.

Act 25 of 2013 (Scarnati) provides common-sense regulation of wild boar preserves.

Act 92 of 2014 allows the use of crossbows in archery deer, bear and turkey seasons.

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Consumer Protection

Senate Bill 145 (Ward) eliminates mechanics' lien rights for subcontractors who performed work on residential property if the property owner has already paid the prime contractor in full.

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animal protection

Act 50 of 2013 helps shelters care for abused animals by permitting shelters to petition the court for an order requiring defendants in animal abuse cases to pay the cost of care pending prosecution.

Act 65 of 2013 (Greenleaf) exempts dogs and cats from rabies vaccines in cases where it would be detrimental to the health of the animal.

Act 110 of 2014 increases the offense for torturing or killing a K-9 officer to a felony of the second degree, allowing for a prison term of up 10 years and a fine of $25,000.

Senate Bill 82 (Greenleaf) amends Pennsylvania's "Puppy Lemon Law" to extend the time period in which a congenital condition may be certified by a vet in order to recover any losses from a seller, and extends the time frame for a veterinarian to certify an illness.

Senate Bill 1107 (Alloway) prevents kennel owners who lose their license due to violations of the Dog Law from continuing to operate a kennel by having a license issued to an immediate family member.

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