March 10, 2014 – Weekly Session Wrap

Senate Weekly Session Wrap

A Report on the Legislative Session Week of March 10, 2014

Harrisburg Happenings:

Senate Sends Bills to Governor for Enactment into Law

The Senate gave final approval to three bills the week of March 10th and sent them on to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law.

House Bill 21 would permit licensed psychologists to perform court-ordered competency examinations and would allow licensed psychologists retained by the defense to observe and participate in the examination. Currently, only licensed psychiatrists may perform those duties.

Senate Bill 497 updates and recodifies the Third Class City Code.

House Bill 1985 amends the Judicial Code concerning the registration of sexual offenders, making multiple changes to the existing law. 

Senate Action:

Senate Approves New Specialty License Plates

The Senate unanimously approved legislation on March 10th that would authorize PENNDOT to issue two new specialty license plates and expand the eligibility for another.

Senate Bill 1187, which now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration, would:

  • Authorize a Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) plate honoring Army infantry soldiers who served in a Combat Zone for more than 30 days or fought in ground action with enemy soldiers.
  • Expand eligibility for the United States Merchant Marine plate to include those who served in the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict or any of the Gulf Wars, including Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Desert Shield.
  • Create a Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage plate, which would support funding to non-profit organizations that coordinate the processing and distribution of donated wild game from hunters and municipal herd reduction sources to Pennsylvania residents through a distribution network of food banks in the Commonwealth and for wildlife conservation efforts.

Other bills approved by the Senate this week include:

Senate Bill 771 would establish an advisory board to provide advice and recommendations on geospatial issues, uniform data standards, coordination and efficiency in geospatial policy and technology issues among federal, state and local governments, the private sector and academic institutions. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

House Bill 798 reduces the length of terms of service for members of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Board of Commissioners from eight years to four years. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 1195 amends the Workers’ Compensation Act and provides for a $4 million transfer to replenish the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Bill 1239 corrects language that the Superior Court determined to be technically flawed in Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code pertaining to certain repeat DUI Offenders. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Committee Action:

Committee Reviews Emergency Response to Accidents on Major Highways

The Senate Transportation Committee held a public hearing on March 11th to review policies and procedures used by state agencies to address serious accidents on the Turnpike and Pennsylvania’s other major highways.

State Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch and officials from the Turnpike Commission, Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency detailed the state’s emergency response to vehicle accidents on those roads.

Click here to watch the hearing.