Senate Sends Ban on Taxpayer-Funded
Elective Abortions to Governor
The Senate approved a measure on June 5th that would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars for elective abortions under the Affordable Care Act.
House Bill 818 now goes to Governor Tom Corbett for his signature and enactment into law. The measure explicitly prohibits health insurers participating in taxpayer-subsidized state health insurance exchanges – slated to be operational by 2014 – from providing coverage for elective abortions. HB 818 includes the same language as Senate Bill 3 , a measure I co-sponsored in the Senate
House Bill 818 provides exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger. The bill also bars health insurance exchanges from excluding coverage for any post-abortion complication, any miscarriage or any complication associated with a miscarriage. Under the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, states have the authority to prohibit certain abortion coverage made available in taxpayer-subsidized health plans. Currently, 21 states have passed legislation to opt-out of elective abortion funding.
Educator Misconduct Measures Approved by the Senate
The Senate approved two bills on June 3rd addressing teacher misconduct. Both bills, which I co-sponsored, are now before the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 34 would protect students by expanding mandatory reporting requirements for school districts under the Professional Educator Discipline Act to include reports of child abuse and “grooming” behaviors by educators, such as the use of sexually explicit text messages.
Senate Bill 46 would prevent 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.
Senate Approves Bill Honoring Wishes of Fallen Soldiers
The Senate approved legislation on June 4th that would honor the wishes of service members should they die in the line of duty. Service members designate on their personnel forms – Department of Defense Form 93 (DD93 – their requests for the disposition of their remains in the event they die while on duty. These forms are updated before a deployment or every 12 months during an annual personnel review, making the information more current than a will in most cases.
Since some states do not officially recognize the DD 93 designation, there have been instances of civil actions between family members over the ultimate disposition of a fallen service member’s remains. Senate Bill 586 , which I co-sponsored, would require Pennsylvania to recognize a service member’s wishes as indicated on the DD Form 93. Currently, 40 states use the DD Form 93 in cases involving the death of a service member in active duty status.
Other Bills Passed by the Senate This Week
The Senate approved a number of other bills this week:
Senate Bill 441 creates a state plumbers licensing program and establishes minimum standards that individuals must meet in order to obtain a
House Bill 492 changes the Crime Victims Act to allow a victim or victim representative to appear personally before the Pennsylvania Board of
Probation and Parole and provide testimony in connection with an inmate’s application for parole.
Senate Bill 681 , which I co-sponsored, allows victims of sexual violence to petition the court for a protective order for up to 36 months.
Senate Bill 732 , which I co-sponsored, provides protections for franchised new vehicle dealers from unfair treatment by the vehicle manufacturers.
Senate Bill 763 , which I co-sponsored, removes antiquated Game Code requirements pertaining to rosters of members of a permanent camp who hunt together for deer, bear or elk.
Senate Bill 797 amends the Public School Employees’ Retirement Code and the Pennsylvania Military and Veterans Code and Senate Bill 798 amends the Public School Code to comply with federal law governing military leaves of absence. I am the prime sponsor of both bills.
Senate Bill 859 amends the state Uniform Planned Community Act.
Senate Committee Hearing:
Senate Continues its Study of PLCB Privatization
The Senate Law and Justice Committee held its third public hearing on the governor’s proposal to privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania on June 4th. More information about the hearing is available at: https://pasenategop.com/committees/law.htm.