Below is a recap of this week’s legislative activity in the Senate. It covers votes by the full Senate, bill heading to the governor and a look ahead.
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In this Edition:
A bill addressing individuals who fraudulently pose as doctors and legislation that allows pharmacists to provide flu shots to children received final legislative approval this week and are headed to the governor’s desk for his signature and enactment into law.
Senate Bill 485, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, increases the criminal grading for impersonating a doctor of medicine and providing medical treatment, from a second degree misdemeanor to a first degree misdemeanor.
The legislation is based on a recommendation made by the Philadelphia Grand Jury which investigated and ultimately indicted Dr. Kermit Gosnell and other employees at his "House of Horrors" abortion clinic. Although Gosnell was ultimately sentenced to life in prison for murder, several of his employees, who were practicing medicine without a proper license, received lenient sentences for their crimes. Currently, impersonating a physician is treated the same as impersonating a notary public or other licensed professional under Pennsylvania law.
House Bill 182, which was approved by the Senate on Monday, amends the Pharmacy Act to allow authorized pharmacists to administer flu immunizations to children 9 years of age and older and allows qualified pharmacy interns to administer injections under supervision.
The Senate on Monday unanimously approved a bill that will delay the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement for two years.
Senate Bill 880 will delay the end-of-course exams in algebra, biology and literature as a graduation requirement until 2019.
The purpose of the exams is admirable – to ensure that every student who graduates has been prepared for college or a career. However, the scale and cost of remediation necessary to meet the requirements is not fully understood. The delay will allow lawmakers, schools, parents and other stakeholders to come together and make any needed changes to the requirement.
On Tuesday, the Senate approved House Bill 911, legislation that will reauthorize the Emergency 9-1-1 System in Pennsylvania. The current fee on wireless devices is set to expire on June 30, 2015, unless the law is reauthorized. House Bill 911 would set the fee at $1.65 a month per device. The bill returns to the House of Representatives for a concurrence vote.
I amended this legislation to include a funding mechanism that could be the future of funding for the 9-1-1 Emergency System. The amendment would allow counties the option of raising additional fees on a per household basis as well as a structure to assess an additional fee on businesses. I believe this framework will be needed as it becomes harder and harder to chase technology that accesses 9-1-1.
Senate Bill 590, which ensures that the intellectual property rights of faculty members of state-owned universities are protected at the same level as faculty at private colleges and universities in the Commonwealth.
Senate Bill 687, which amends the Uniform Planned Community Act to correct a conflict which was created by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision.
Senate Bill 688, which amends the Uniform Condominium Act to correct a conflict which was created by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision.
Senate Bill 861, which clarifies liability issues in cases involving auto dealership loaner vehicles.
The Senate returns to voting session on Monday.
On Wednesday at 10 a.m., the Senate Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on the nomination of Timothy Reese for Pennsylvania Treasurer.
You can watch Senate session and hearings live at PASenateGOP.com.
Twitter and Facebook: I post regular updates on legislative action, committee developments, useful state-related information, happenings in the 24th Senatorial District and more on Twitter @SenatorMensch and on my Facebook page.
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