Legislation

SB 686: Energy Saving Contracts (ESCO)

This legislation that would help develop new financial incentives for smaller communities to make energy efficiency investments through Energy Saving Contracts (ESCO’s).  The ESCO’s will finance improvements through future utility savings and are funded by $5 million that is redirected from other programs.

It is one part of a legislative package called PA Works that is designed to create 28,000 new jobs, leverage over $2 billion in new private investment and save $150 million.

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SB 714: Freedom to Shoot Act

The purpose of this legislation is to establish a task force, The Task Force for Protection and Management of Sport Shooting and Training Ranges.  This task force will serve to study lead management and reclamation at firing ranges, ensure that best management practices are implemented by developing a training and notification program to assist sport shooting facilities and training ranges to identify, develop and implement best management practices for their particular facility, and to determine and establish qualifications for lead management and reclamation professionals.

Additionally, The Freedom to Shoot Act is designed to stop unnecessary litigation and burdensome regulation by governmental agencies of sport shooting and training ranges that impair the ability of residents of this Commonwealth to ensure training in the safe handling of firearms and to enjoy the recreational opportunities ranges provide.  The cost of defending these actions is prohibitive and threatens to curtail and destroy the sport shooting and training range industry in Pennsylvania.

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SB 715: Landlord/Tenant Rights

This legislation would hold the tenant responsible for unpaid water/sewer bills, provided the bill for service is in the tenant’s name.  This does not apply to typical apartments where the owner of the building pays for all water/sewer for all apartment units.  Only home renters, condo renters, and apartment tenants who have agreed, prior to signing the lease, are to be responsible for water and/or sewer services.

It brings water authorities in line with other utilities like gas and electric who seek payment from the individual whose name appears on the bill.

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SB716: Dental Anesthesia

Provides for the allowance of dentists to administer anesthesia services in a hospital or other medical facility or to receive payment for services rendered at a hospital or other medical facility.

Under current regulations, the only eligible places of service for dentists are the dentist’s office and/or a dental clinic.  This would expand the eligible places to include a hospital or a medical facility.

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SB 717: Piper J-3 Cub as State Airplane

This bill would make the Piper J-3 Cub the official state plane of PA.  This aircraft was built in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania and played a major role in the growth of the small aircraft aviation industry.  The Piper J-3 Cub played a central role in civilian pilot training when war broke out in Europe in 1939.  By the time war ended, 80% of the US military pilots had trained on Piper Cubs.

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SB 718: Renaissance City Initiative

This legislation would provide grants to renaissance cities for purposes of furthering economic development and urban revitalization.  A “Renaissance City” is any city of the second class A or third class.  This initiative would provide grants to establish:

  • public safety programs,
  • purchases of equipment relating to law enforcement and firefighting,
  • crime prevention programs, and
  • blight removal programs

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SB 719: Drug Screening

 This legislation amends the Public Welfare Code to allow for screening for illegal drug use by applicants for public assistance.

Under this amendment, the department shall develop and implement a drug test and drug retest program approved by the Department of Health to screen applicants for, and recipients of, cash assistance benefits.  Each applicant or recipient over eighteen years of age but under sixty-five years of age must meet the requirements of this section as a condition for receiving cash assistance benefits.

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SB 720: Paternity Tests

This legislation amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for determination of paternity.

Under current law, which is grounded in English common law, the court assumes the husband is the legal father of any child born by his wife during their marriage.   A judge has the authority to deny a paternity request based on this assumption.  This “presumption of paternity” is designed to preserve the marriage and ensure the financial and emotional needs of the child.  I believe every child should be properly taken care of.  However, it is the responsibility of the biological father.

I believe this law to be unfair and I want to amend it to allow for paternity testing when requested.  It is unfair that a man, when afforded the chance to prove he is not the biological father, is forced to pay child support for a child that is not his.  In addition, the biological father has no legal right to his child.  He cannot petition the courts for a DNA test.

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SB 721: Megan’s Law Loophole

This legislation is designed to close the loophole in Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law.  My bill would amend Title 18 making it mandatory for all registered sex offenders living in PA to register every time they change their address.  As it’s written now, only offenders that have committed a crime and convicted in PA must register whenever they change addresses.

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SB 793: School District Efficiency and Consolidation Act

This legislation provides for the reorganization of school districts.  More than 40% of Pennsylvania’s school districts currently educate fewer than 2,000 students, and more than 80% of school districts educate fewer than 5,000 students.

Reducing the number of school districts would not require the closure of individual schools but could instead improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public education through other means.  A commission would be established to recommend plans for the reorganization of PA school districts.

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SB 835: Consolidation of School Administrators

This legislation would request the consolidation of all administrative functions of school districts of the second, third, or fourth class within a county to the county level.  The governing body of each county shall appoint a single county superintendent for all schools within the county and may employ a solicitor and any such other appointees and employees as it deems proper.

Each school district would pay a pro-rata share of the costs based on the number of employees of each school district divided by the total number of employees within the county.

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Senate Bill 1027:  Vintage Snowmobiles

 

This legislation would add the term “Vintage Snowmobile” to the definitions in the Vehicle Code.  Vintage snowmobiles would be snowmobiles that are at least 25 years old and only operate for “special events.”  “Special events” would be Vintage Snowmobile Events defined as a ride or rally intended for the participation by vintage snowmobiles on a designated trail, on a specific date and with a specified beginning and end point.  The fee for a vintage snowmobile permit would be $10.

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SB 1160: Children’s Benefits

This legislation requires the provision of a child’s birth certificate to receive benefits.  No child or mother of a child, when applying for or receiving benefits concerning the child, shall be eligible for benefits from a State program unless the mother of the child provides to the department administering the benefits a copy of the child’s birth certificate that shows the names and Social Security numbers of the child’s father and mother.

This bill is not intended to deny any child the benefits afforded by the State.  It is designed to make sure both parents are identified on the child’s birth certificate and to enforce personal responsibility on behalf of the parents.

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SB 1161: Marriage License Fraud

This legislation amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes prohibiting fraud on marriage license applications.

Under the amendment, any applicant who commits fraud on a marriage license application shall relinquish any right to alimony, spousal support or property rights in the event of annulment or divorce based upon the discovery of fraud.

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SB 1162: Casino License

This legislation that deals with the horse racing casino(racino) in Lawrencville.  When the clock runs out on that license I want it to go back up for bid to whatever private entity that can successfully get a racino up and running.  The private entity may petition the appropriate commission to relocate a racing plant from the municipality in which the license was originally granted if said entity has obtained the license through any means, including through sale or bankruptcy proceeding, and at the time of acquisition of the license, the previous license holder has not begun construction on the racing plant at the location originally authorized in the license.

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SB 1163: US Army Corps of Engineers

This legislation would authorize the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Cambria Transit Authority, on behalf of the Commonwealth, to agree to hold and save the United States Army Corps of Engineers free from certain damages arising from certain construction projects.

These projects include the construction, operation, and maintenance of a collapsible dam in the Conemaugh River in Cambria County and other related projects involving cooperative agreements between the Commonwealth and US Army Corps of Engineers except where damages are due to the fault or negligence of said engineers.

 

SB 1164 and 1165: Mobile Home Permits

These are two pieces of legislation that would amend county assessment taxation acts.  These companion bills would increase the mobile home removal permit fees from $2 to $10.

The first bill would amend the General County Assessment Law to provide for the fee increase.

The second would amend the Fourth to Eighth Class County Code to accomplish the same.  The genesis for this increase is because I have received inquires from local tax collectors saying that the administrative cost to collect this fee is greater than the permit fee itself.

This would help to offset these costs and bring the fees up to the date with the current rate of inflation.  The fees have not been increased since 1943, and that is the justification for the increase.

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SB 1330: Borough Codes

This legislation would amend the Borough Code to allow for the dissolution of nonviable boroughs.

There are certain non-viable municipalities, in this case Franklin in Cambria County and Braddock in Allegheny County, which have been distressed for so long that the prospects of being relieved of Act 47 status are unrealistic, particularly given a steady reduction in population.  Under current law, no mechanism exists for a municipality to dissolve absent a voluntary merger or consolidation with another municipality.  This language would provide a mechanism to dissolve “non-viable” boroughs that have suffered significant population reductions and cause their re-integration into the township from which they originated.   This would occur via a court proceeding.  Petitioning borough residents could present testimony from DCED and others establishing the non-viability of the borough.  The court may grant a decree dissolving the borough upon finding that it is nonviable and its reintegration into the township will not seriously damage the financial viability of the township.  Townships absorbing non-viable boroughs under the proposal would receive priority for certain state funds.

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SB 1331: Disaster Relief Fund

This legislation would create a Disaster Relief Fund in Pennsylvania under which the first 20% of revenue derived from the Johnstown Flood Tax would be deposited into the fund.

The first $250 million deposited in the fund during a fiscal year may be used to provide disaster relief grants or loans to the citizens of this Commonwealth who sustained property damage as a result of a disaster emergency as was declared by the Governor.  Any remaining moneys deposited in the fund or the interest that accrues in the fund during a fiscal year in excess of the first $250 million may be used by the Governor to repair roads and bridges that failed their most recent inspection by the Department of Transportation.

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