Harrisburg Highlights from Second and State – The Week of April 7

by Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

Both the House and Senate will convene for voting sessions Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

On Tuesday, be prepared to see red in and about the Capitol Building as part of the 7th annual Bayada Home Health Care Day. Each year, representatives from Bayada meet with legislators to advocate for their home health care interests. Special guests at an 11:30 media event in the Rotunda will be Secretary of Aging Brian Duke, Senator Patricia H. Vance and Representative Marguerite Quinn. Follow Bayada and its events all day long on social media at #BAYADAday

In the House, some of the bills we are expecting to see votes on include:

H.B. 1846 (Quinn, R-Bucks), which would regulate and reform the practice of physician dispensing within the Pennsylvania  workers’ compensation system. On Monday, expect the bill to be voted on second with final passage slated for Tuesday.

H.B. 1907 (Saylor, R-York), which would require the hospital to provide oral and written notice to the patient of their outpatient status after they have spent a full day in the hospital outside the emergency department. H.B. 1907 was scheduled for third consideration and final passage last week in the House. An agreed to amendment was offered to the bill to reflect concerns raised by the hospital community. Due to House rules, a bill cannot be amended on third consideration so a vote to “reconsider” the second consideration was taken in order to allow the sponsor to “go back in time” procedurally to a stage in the process where amendments could be offered. This vote, which was taken on Wednesday, passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 195-4. The bill will now be reposted on the calendar, and the House will be able to take up the amendment it agreed upon. The vote on the amendment and final passage is what we expect to see this week.

S.B. 21 (Ward, R-Westmoreland), which would clarify who is a mandatory reporter in Pennsylvania, or persons required to make a report of suspected child abuse. The bill incorporates suggestions made by the report released by the Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection last year. Expected to move out of the Appropriations Committee on Monday and final passage could come as soon as later in the day.

Transportation and public private agreements with local municipalities will be the focus of  an informational hearing to be held by the State Government Committee on Tuesday. H.B. 1838 (Evankovich, R-Armstrong) will be the focus of the committee’s discussion. The bill provides definitive guidelines for the use of Public-Private Partnerships (P3) agreements by municipalities and school districts to build and/or operate various public facilities. A P3 agreement involves a contract between a public sector authority and a private party, in which the private party provides a public service or project and assumes substantial financial, technical and operational risk in the project.

On Wednesday, the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will consider S.B. 1037 (Vogel, R-Lawerence), which would amend the Air Pollution Control Act to eliminate statutory requirements for low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) gasoline (Summer Gas) in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene and Washington Counties. In addition, the Education Committee will consider H.B. 2138 (O’Neil, R-Bucks) to create a new special education funding formula based on recommendations by the  Special Education Funding Formula Commission.

On Thursday, the  Consumer Affairs Committee will be in Pittsburgh to hold the next in a series of public hearings on variable electric rates.

In the Senate, on Tuesday, the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee will hold a public hearing on the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) budget initiatives, an overview of the DCED programs available for businesses and a summary of the economic impact of the PA travel and tourism industry. The Senate does not post its voting schedule until late morning on Monday, but some of the votes we may see this week include:

H.B. 434 (Maloney, R-Berks), which is legislation to remove the separate standards and procedures that exist for school employees accused of abusing a student. This bill will ensure that school employees are subject to the same investigations and held to the same standards as parents, child care workers and other perpetrators of child abuse.

H.B. 436 (Stevenson, R-Montgomery), which would expand and clarify the list of mandated reporters of child abuse. This bill will also clarify a mandated reporter’s basis to report child abuse and enhance the penalty scheme for those who fail in this obligation.

S.B. 1237 (Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would prohibit a gas company from retaliating against leaseholders by threatening to shut off production or terminate a lease agreement if the landowner makes “a good faith action” to question a royalty payment.

S.B. 1238 (Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would require a company to file a surrender document within 30 days after the expiration, termination or forfeiture of an oil and gas lease in a court recorder of deeds office.

Another drilling-fee related bill sponsored by Senator Yaw is S.B. 1236, which would allow leaseholders to audit post-production costs to verify royalty payments, is also currently awaiting floor action.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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