News from Second and State

by Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
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Weekly Wrap:

Yesterday was the first day of fall, and it seems the summer is truly behind us. The House of Representatives reconvened this week for the final stretch of the 2015-2016 legislative session.

This week most of the action was in the committees. On Monday, the House Insurance Committee met to vote on two bills: H.B. 2241 (Boback, R-Luzerne) addressing timeliness of retroactive reimbursements from insurers to health care providers; and H.B. 2115 (Quinn, R-Bucks), calling for a statewide life insurance database. The House Rules Committee also reported out H.B. 1945 (Delozier, R-Cumberland), establishing training requirements for building code officials, as well as two bills by Rep. Sonney (R-Erie), H.B. 2008 and H.B. 2009, providing for  disclosures to tenants and potential buyers where properties had previously been used to manufacture methamphetamine.

On Tuesday, the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee sent H.B. 2303 (Causer, R-McKean) to the full floor for consideration; the bill would address distribution of awards to breeders and owners of PA Bred and PA Sired Thoroughbred race horses. The House Consumer Affairs Committee also met to vote on H.B. 2308 (Godshall, R-Montgomery), extending the Pennsylvania One Call Law for another year. Finally, the House Judiciary Committee voted out H.B. 1516 (Farry, R-Bucks), criminalizing leaving an animal unattended in a motor vehicle in extreme heat, and H. B. 2258 (Keller, R-Perry) providing that State laws on firearms would preempt local ordinances on the same.  Finally, the House State Government Committee sent H.B. 1885 (White, R-Philadelphia) to the full floor for consideration; the bill would impose liability for criminal actions of illegal actions on the state’s “sanctuary cities.”

On Wednesday, the House Health Committee reported out H.B. 1663 (Baker, R-Tioga), which streamlines the physician credentialing process in the Commonwealth. In addition, the House Urban Affairs Committee voted out H.B. 1715 (Petri, R-Bucks), providing for revised eviction proceedings, and S.B. 486 (Argall, R-Schuylkill), which allows counties to apply up to a $15 fee for each deed and mortgage recorded.

From the Governor’s office, Gov. Wolf nominated Patrick McDonnell to permanently serve as Secretary of Environmental Protection. McDonnell had been serving in that post since May. For more, to go: https://www.governor.pa.gov/governor-wolf-nominates-patrick-mcdonnell-to-serve-permanently-as-secretary-of-environmental-protection/

Pittsburgh made national headlines this week (autonomous vehicles). Gov.  Wolf and Secretary of the Department of Transportation Leslie Richards applauded the new federal guidelines. Read more here: http://www.penndot.gov/Pages/all-news-details.aspx?newsid=256

Finally, on Thursday the Commonwealth Court ruled that a majority of Gov. Wolf’s Executive Order that gave direct care workers a new process to meet and discuss certain issues to be invalid. While the provisions relating to collective bargaining were found invalid, the court did uphold the provision creating an Advisory Group of Participant-Directed Home Care. Gov. Wolf said that he is “reviewing the decision and considering options for the best path forward.”

The executive order can be found here:  http://www.oa.pa.gov/Policies/eo/Documents/2015_05.pdf

A Look Ahead:

Next week could be a busy one, with both the House and Senate in Harrisburg for voting session. On Monday, the House Education Committee and the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee will hold a joint hearing on H.B. 1858 (Kortz, D-Allegheny), which would require high school students and students seeking a GED to take and receive a passing grade on a U.S. Citizenship Test on Civics. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a voting meeting to consider, among other bills, S.B. 1323 (Argall, R-Schuylkill); calling for penalties for operators that fly drones over critical facilities, such as hospitals and prisons, without consent.

Read more on H.B. 1858: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1858

Read more on S.B. 1323: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&sInd=0&body=S&type=B&bn=1323

On Tuesday, the House Gaming Oversight Committee will hold a public hearing on fantasy sports and I-gaming. The House Finance Committee will met to consider H.B. 2213 (Mustio, R-Allegheny) and H.B. 1804 (Caltagirone, D-Berks). H.B. 2213 provides for the neighborhood assistance tax credit, and H.B. 1804 establishes a Pediatric Cancer Research state income tax form check-off.

For more about fantasy sports, see our earlier blog: http://www.knowinggovernmentrelations.com/worth-another-look-regulating-fantasy-sports/

Read more on H.B. 2213: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=2213

Read more on H.B. 1804: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1804

Committee activity is light on Wednesday, but the Governor will address a joint session of the House and Senate, speaking about how to tackle the state’s growing opioid epidemic. Also on Wednesday, the House Children and Youth Committee will hold a public hearing on the impact of the opioid epidemic on infants and children.

Read more about the joint session here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/governor-wolf-requests-joint-session-to-address-opioid-epidemic/

In Other News:

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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