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Senator Scott Hutchinson

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features events and legislative activities from the Session Week of October 17, 2016.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the "unsubscribe" button at the bottom of the page. If you would like to contact my office, please go to my web page and click the "contact" button. Please do not "reply" directly to this e-mail.



Senate Approves My Bill Clarifying Residency Status for Military Service

Recognizing that military experience should be a benefit and not a deterrent to those seeking government service, the Senate approved legislation I introduced that clarifies residency status for those on active duty.

Senate Bill 1300 amends state law to ensure that that a person remains a resident of municipality during active military service for the purpose of satisfying a residency requirement for election or appointment to a municipal office.

Currently, a gap in residency caused by active duty service may interfere with that person’s ability to fulfill the proper residency requirements under state law.

We must respect and honor the service of the men and women in our armed forces. Active duty service should be recognized as an asset toward their potential as elected officials and not a road block that precludes them from office. This bill does that by maintaining their residency status for the period that they are on active duty.

Senate Bill 1300 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Adopts My Resolution Honoring Forest Products Industry

Recognizing that timber products and associated industries employ 60,000 Pennsylvanians and pump billions of dollars into the state economy annually, the Senate adopted my Resolution on Monday designating the week of October 16-22 as “National Forest Products Week” in Pennsylvania.

As a member of the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council, I have great respect and appreciation for the men and women whose efforts make the wood and paper products industry such a vibrant part of our state’s economy. The forest products industry is made up of 2,100 separate businesses, with a presence in every county of the Commonwealth.

National Forest Products Week is a way to remind the citizens of the Commonwealth of the unique contributions that the forest products industry has made to the history, texture, and quality of life of Pennsylvania.

Click for audio and video of my remarks from the Senate Floor on National Forest Products Week in Pennsylvania.

Local Government Committee Approves Sanctuary Cities Bill

The Senate Local Government Committee, which I chair, endorsed legislation on Wednesday that would prevent municipalities from hindering federal efforts to deport illegal immigrants who pose a danger to Pennsylvania communities. House Bill 1885 targets “sanctuary cities” that refuse to honor detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement for persons of interest who are arrested by local authorities.

This is a basic safety issue. Under the bill we considered, governing bodies such as counties or municipalities would be prohibited from adopting rules or ordinances that contradict federal immigration policy. Municipalities that do not enforce federal immigration policy would not be eligible for state grants for law enforcement purposes and could be sued for negligence for releasing an individual with a detainer that subsequently committed another crime.

The issue gained national attention when San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle was shot by Francisco Sanchez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico with seven felony convictions who has been deported five times. Due to the municipality’s policy not to report Sanchez’s incarceration to the appropriate federal agency, he was promptly released just prior to Steinle’s murder.

The committee also approved two additional bills.

House Bill 297 would create the Release of Coroner and Medical Examiner Information Act establishing parameters for when a coroner may release a decedent’s name, cause and manner of death.

House Bill 2186 establishes uniform residential qualifications of office for those who are seeking election or appointment to a municipally elected office where recent military service may interfere with that person’s ability to fulfill the proper residency requirements. The measure is the House companion bill to Senate Bill 1300, a measure I introduced that was unanimously approved by the Senate on Tuesday.

Nine Bills Sent to Governor

Nine bills received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor’s desk for enactment into law.

Senate Bill 286 increases transparency and accountability regarding the Delaware River Port Authority.

House Bill 447 amends the Landlord and Tenant Act by adding provisions for early termination of a lease if a tenant dies.

House Bill 683 eliminates Federal veterans’ disability payments and State veterans’ benefits from the definition of income when determining a claimant’s eligibility for the Property Tax Rent Rebate program.

Senate Bill 889 extends benefits to enforcement officers and investigators of the Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission.

House Bill 1581 amends the Crimes Code by adding the offense of strangulation.

House Bill 1619 enacts the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act to develop a comprehensive process to allow physicians to become licensed in multiple states and allow eligible licensed physicians in one state to treat patients in other states via telemedicine.

House Bill 1734 provides a one-year extension of the continuing professional education compliance deadlines for schools, teachers and administrators.

House Bill 1841 and House Bill 1842 address temporary permits issued to those seeking to become a licensed perfusionist. A perfusionist is a certified medical technician responsible for extracorporeal oxygenation of the blood during open-heart surgery and for the operation and maintenance of equipment (as a heart-lung machine) controlling it.

Senate Approves Legislation to Protect Responsible Gun Owners

The Senate passed legislation on Monday to prevent municipalities from targeting responsible gun owners with local firearms ordinances that are more restrictive than existing state laws.

Senate Bill 1330 would allow an individual or organization to sue to block an overly restrictive local firearms ordinance. In current practice, gun owners who are accused of violating local ordinances often lack the time and financial resources to engage in a lengthy and costly legal battle necessary to overturn unconstitutional gun regulations at the local level.

The legislation restores the original intent of the Uniform Firearms Act, which was designed to prevent municipalities from enacting their own ordinances. Similar legislation was signed into law in 2014, but a state Supreme Court ruling last year overturned the law based on procedural grounds that had nothing to do with the content of the law.

Senate Bill 1330 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. Eight additional bills were approved by the Senate this week and sent to the House for consideration.

House Bill 49 extends the death benefit that is currently available to other emergency responders to members of the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 535 allows Pennsylvania’s municipal police departments to use radar as a means of speed enforcement.

Senate Bill 840 provides for automated speed enforcement systems in construction zones.

House Bill 869 requires those convicted of second-degree misdemeanor, or higher, animal abuse to forfeit their animals to shelters or other organizations dedicated to preventing animal cruelty. It also permits courts to order similar forfeiture of animals upon conviction of a third-degree animal abuse misdemeanor. The bill also incorporates a number of proposals to prevent animal cruelty, including measures to prevent tethering dogs in unsafe conditions, strengthen penalties for animal abusers and include horses under Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 976 amends the Wiretap Act to permit the use of body-worn cameras by police officers.

Senate Bill 1266 amends the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act to provide for additional consumer protections.

Senate Bill 1271 addresses the school attendance of a child placed in detention or shelter care.

Senate Bill 1313 amends the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act by adding new definitions for “energy-related cost savings,” “energy savings company” and “operating costs” and amends the definition of “energy conservation measure” to clarify what costs are qualified under the act.

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