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Weekly Wrap

As the June 30 budget deadline looms, the House of
Representatives and Senate were in session for three days this
week. The Senate got the budget process underway, as they sent a
General Appropriations bill vehicle, S.B. 255 (Browne, R-Lehigh), to the House.
Negotiations involving the budget and the corresponding Code bills
will continue over the next week.

In non-budget news, on Monday, the House Health Committee
reported out S.B. 618 (Phillips-Hill, R-York). The bill
would prohibit government entities or institutions of higher
education from requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19, and
prohibit the Secretary of Health from mandating those who have not
been exposed or in close contact with the exposed to wear a mask,
stay at home or be socially distant.

The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee
reported out: H.B. 1445 (Causer, R-McKean), which would
allocate $5.5 million in federal funds from the American Rescue
Plan Act to the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund; and H.B. 1577 (Mako, R-Northampton), which would
limit the scope of Price Gouging Act during a declaration of
disaster emergency.

Also, the Senate Finance Committee reported out four tax-related

  • S.B. 347 (DiSanto, R-Dauphin), which would
    mirror Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 to allow for like-kind

  • S.B. 447 (Brooks, R-Mercer), which would
    reduce the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate by 0.5 percent every
    year over a period of six years until it reaches 6.99%;

  • S.B. 586 (Argall, R-Schuylkill), which would
    allow nonprofits to be part of a development group for a historic
    preservation project under the Historic Preservation Tax Credit
    Program; and

  • H.B. 952 (Oberlander, R-Clarion), which would
    provide for a sales and use tax exemption program for computer data

Three bills of note passed on the House floor and will now the
considered by the Senate:

  • H.B. 409 (Galloway, D-Bucks), which would
    establish a mental health care services clearinghouse;

  • H.B. 993 (Roae, R-Crawford), which would waive
    fees charged by the Department of Labor and Industry for school
    districts; and

  • H.B. 1420 (Thomas, R-Bucks), which would
    establish a public awareness campaign for individuals experiencing
    mental health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate passed S.B. 119 (Pittman, R-Indiana), which would
require approval from the General Assembly before the state could
join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) or similar state
or regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade programs. S.B. 319 (Bartolotta, R-Washington) also
passed finally. The bill would amend the Workers’ Compensation
Act to make clear that employers may recoup the benefits paid to an
employee for medical expenses when the employee wins a verdict or
settlement against a third party. Both pieces of legislation will
now be considered in the House.

Tuesday, the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee held
an informational meeting on bills regarding the PACE/PACENET COLA
moratorium extension and PACENET expansion.

The House Consumer Affairs Committee reported out S.B. 442 (Phillips-Hill, R-York), which would
require the Department of General Services to conduct an inventory
of state-owned communication towers, poles, buildings, and
facilities to leverage existing assets for the provisioning of
high-speed broadband internet. The committee also reported out H.B. 1621 (Marshall, R-Beaver), which would
provide for small wireless facilities deployment. Wednesday, the
Senate Communications and Technology Committee reported out the
companion bill, S.B. 769 (Browne, R-Lehigh)

Furthermore, the House Labor and Industry Committee reported out
H.B. 262 (Diamond, R-Lebanon), which would
make it unlawful for employers to discharge, refuse to hire,
threaten or otherwise retaliate against an employee or prospective
employee that refuses to participate in an invasive medical test or
vaccination required by the employer. Then the House State
Government Committee reported out H.B. 1300 (Grove, R-York), which would provide
for numerous changes to the Pennsylvania Election Code.

The House Commerce Committee reported out H.B. 520 (Mackenzie, R-Lehigh), which would
allow charities to transfer their risk to an insurance company,
which will match all future payments of the charity from a
charitable gift annuity contract obligation. The companion
legislation, S.B. 731 (Mensch, R-Montgomery), passed in the
Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Wednesday. H.B. 1377 (Boback, R-Luzerne), which would
prohibit qualified businesses from zone-hopping from one Keystone
Opportunity Zone to another and receiving multiple tax breaks, and
H.B. 1588 (Mercuri, R-Allegheny), which would
allow for remote mortgage origination, were also reported out of

On the Senate side, the Senate Aging and Youth Committee
reported out H.B. 253 (Owlett, R-Tioga), which would
establish a task force to examine the opioid epidemic’s impact
on infants and children. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee
reported two bills of note out of their committee: H.B. 331 (Brown, R-Luzerne), which would
permit financial institutions to conduct savings promotion
programs; and H.B. 859 (Delozier, R-Cumberland), which would
convert the Banking Fund into a trust fund and clarify usage of the
Institution Resolution Account.

The Senate Community, Economic, and Recreational Development
Committee reported out S.B. 594 (Ward, R-Blair), which would
establish a $200 million nonprofit economic emergency delivery
system grants program for eligible community-based nonprofit
organizations. S.B. 1 (Martin, R-Lancaster) was reported from
the Senate Education Committee. The bill would make changes to the
School Code related to charter schools and the Education
Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) and the Opportunity
Scholarship Tax Credit Program (OSTC).

Three bills were reported from the Senate Environmental
Resources and Energy Committee:

  • S.B. 284 (Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would
    establish bonding requirements for alternative energy production

  • S.B. 302 (Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would
    restrict per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals from
    firefighting foam; and

  • S.B. 545 (Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would direct
    the Environmental Quality Board to establish spill reporting
    requirements under the Clean Streams Law.

Also, the Senate Law and Justice Committee reported out H.B. 1024 (Schemel, R-Franklin), which would
make omnibus changes to the Medical Marijuana Act. The Senate State
Government Committee reported out SB 735 (Ward, R-Blair), which would amend the
Pennsylvania Constitution to require voters to provide valid
identification to vote in an election.

The full Senate passed S.B. 533 (Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would
prohibit the consideration, adoption or publication of a regulation
during a disaster emergency unless it is directly related to the
disaster emergency or adhering to a statutory timeline or court

On the House floor, S.B. 445 (Mensch, R-Montgomery) passed finally
and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. The bill would give
individuals renewing their vehicle registration or driver’s
license an option to donate to the Breast Cancer Coalition. H.B. 931 (Toohil, R-Luzerne), which would
provide for title designation and certification of certified
registered nurse anesthetists, passed finally and will now be
considered by the Senate. The companion bill, S.B. 416 (Gordner, R-Columbia), passed in the
Senate and will be considered by the House Professional Licensure
Committee on Tuesday.

In addition, the following bills passed finally and head to the
Senate for consideration:

  • H.B. 1387 (Nelson, R-Westmoreland), which
    would require additional documentation in order to qualify for a
    wage-loss benefit from the Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund;

  • H.B. 1428 (Masser, R-Northumberland), which
    would permit the use of video surveillance devices in long-term
    care nursing facilities;

  • H.B. 1429 (Culver, R-Northumberland), which
    would provide for the offense of financial exploitation of an older
    adult or care-dependent person; and

  • H.B. 1431 (Klunk, R-Cumberland), which would
    provide of the offense of abuse of social media by employees who
    post pictures of care dependent individuals without

Finishing up the week, on Wednesday, the House Local Government
Committee reported out H.B. 1591 (Knowles, R-Schuylkill), which would
keep the classification of all counties unchanged until the 2030
federal census. Also, the Senate Consumer Protection and
Professional Licensure Committee reported out S.B. 25 (Bartolotta, R-Washington), which
would modernize the Professional Nursing Law for advanced practice
registered nurses.

The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee reported out the
following bills:

  • H.B. 264 (Heffley, R-Carbon), which would
    require potential bidders at a scheduled upset or judicial sale to

  • H.B. 827 (Gillespie, R-York), which would
    establish a microenterprise loan program to assist start-up

  • S.B. 574 (Brewster, D-Allegheny), which would
    establish a demolition and rehabilitation fund in each county;

  • S.B. 763 (Argall, R-Schuylkill), which would
    authorize $10 million for the low-income housing tax credit

The House passed H.B. 1348 (Saylor, R-York), which would allow
the Department of Human Services to transfer federal funds from the
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant to the Child
Care and Development Fund Block Grant and the Social Services Block
Grant. The Senate Finance Committee will consider the bill on
Monday. H.B. 1082 (DelRosso, R-Allegheny), which would
establish an education program for early diagnosis of dementia and
Alzheimer’s disease, also made its way to the Senate.

Then the Senate sent H.B. 649 (Rapp, R-Warren) to the Governor. The
bill would require the Department of Health to establish protocol
for essential caregivers to have access to congregate care
facilities. Lastly, H.B. 1154 (Masser, R-Northumberland), which
would make numerous changes to the Liquor Code, including
permanently allowing to-go cocktails, passed as amended in the
Senate and will go back to the House for concurrence.

The Week Ahead

While there aren’t many committee meetings scheduled at the
moment, expect a jam-packed calendar throughout the week.
Here’s a look at what’s on the schedule so far. 

Tuesday, the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee will
hold a public hearing on the Living Independence for the Elderly
(LIFE) Program. Likewise, the House Environmental Resources and
Energy Committee will hold a public hearing on CO2 and climate.

The House Education Committee will consider three bills:

  • H.B. 1446 (Sonney, R-Erie), which would allow
    students aging out of special education to opt in to an additional
    year of educational support and services;

  • H.B. 1533 (Topper, R-Bedford), which would
    require public schools to establish programs of accelerated
    learning to govern the set-aside dollars for learning loss under
    the American Rescue Plan; and

  • H.B. 1660 (Sonney, R-Erie), which would reduce
    a school board’s temporary emergency powers from up to four
    years to 60 days.

In the Senate, the Senate Labor and Industry Committee will hold
a public hearing on the nomination of Jennifer Berrier of Secretary
of the Department of Labor and Industry. Then the Senate Education
Committee will consider S.B. 729 (Ward, R-Blair), which would provide
for online education instruction for nurse aid training

Wednesday, the House Labor and Industry Committee will hold a
public hearing to receive an update on the benefit modernization
system rollout. Also, the House Environmental Resources and Energy
Committee will consider H.B. 604 (Fritz, R-Susquehanna), which would
establish a framework for environmental permit and plan approvals.
Moreover, the House Health Committee will consider: H.B. 1280 (Jozwiak, R-Berks), which would
exempt specific cardiac testing from notification requirements
under the Patient Test Result Information Act; and H.B. 1443 (Hershey, R-Juniata), which would
permit laboratory services to be marketed to consumers under
certain circumstances.

The Senate Finance Committee will consider S.B. 321 (Bartolotta, R-Washington), which
would change the Film Production Tax Credit to the Film Industry
Incentive and increase funding from $70 million to $125 million.
Finally, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will

  • S.B. 225 (Phillips-Hill, R-York), which would
    streamline and standardize the process for prior authorization of
    medical services;

  • S.B. 705 (Vogel, R-Beaver), which would
    provide for telemedicine services; and

  • H.B. 1349 (Pickett, R-Bradford), which would
    modernize the process by which the Insurance Department receives
    national criminal history background checks for insurance licensing

A full list of committee meetings can be found here:



In Other News

  • The Governor signed Executive Order 2021-04, which updates
    workplace policies regarding sexual harassment to reinforce
    protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

  • The Department Of Aging and a public-private task force released recommendations to address financial
    exploitation of older adults.

  • The Department of Labor and Industry announced that Pennsylvania’s unemployment
    rate was down two-tenths of a percentage point over the month to
    6.9 percent in May.

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