This week the PA House passed several House bills and resolutions and passed many Senate bills in one of our last meetings of the 2021-22 term. Here are some highlights of the legislative work I supported this week.
HB1486 would allow you to make a $5 contribution to the Children’s Trust Fund when electronically renewing your license, ID, or registration through PennDOT’s website.
HB2426 would open additional resources to foster families otherwise known as resource families.
HR228 would create a study to see if any child-related policies implemented by the state are exacerbating trauma in children and families.
SB522 would ensure universal lead testing in all pregnant women and children up to the age of 6 in PA. This is legislation I have been assisting in bringing awareness for and is backed by our local public health providers.
HB2174 would create better due process for those accused of child abuse.
HB2525 would allow crime victims to access information learned by law enforcement during the investigation of a crime, for crime victims to use that information in subsequent civil legal actions to recover damages for their injuries.
HB2648 would provide that the Inspector General be required to provide a report to the General Assembly regarding its ability to investigate fraud in the unemployment compensation program.
Environment and Conservation
HB1486 would create the Pollinator Conservation special fund license plate.
SB153 would allow for larger electric trucks on PA roadways, which can help more businesses consider using electric-powered vehicles for their transportation needs.
SB431 would expand hunters’ ability to obtain antlerless deer (doe) licenses through license vendors. This will help free up the 65 county treasurer offices by expanding to 605 additional vendors, including online sales, making this process much more efficient for recreationists.
HB220 would prohibit drug and alcohol treatment facilities from denying treatment to individuals solely on the basis of a negative drug test and provides for the establishment of suicide and overdoes death review teams. This legislation passed the House on concurrence this week, meaning it had previously passed but was amended in the Senate. This is now enroute to the Governor to sign. This bill will help those seeking treatment even if they have not been currently using. I am happy to support our ability to ensure treatment can now happen before relapse even occurs.
HB1630 would allow Medicaid to permanently pay for healthcare visits if they were not provided in person. This allowance was used during COVID but the regulation prohibiting this would permanently be waived if signed into law. It also requires psychiatric service staff to be supervised by someone in person. Also, it allows the Auditor General to audit Pharmacy Benefit Managers
SB225 would streamline and standardize the process for prior authorization of medical services.
SB317 would allow healthcare practitioners and pharmacists to provide a patient diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection with an antibiotic prescription for the patient’s sexual partner. This will help cut down on STI infection rates in PA.
SB1201 would ensure insurance coverage for early refills of prescription eye drops. As you may know, those with chronic vision conditions and other users of prescription eye drops a certain amount of eye drops miss the eye, or easily get spilled. This can cause those with these prescriptions to go without prior to the expiration of the intended period. I am proud to support any help for constituents with their prescriptions.
Business and Non-Profit
SB696 would make substantial changes to protect your personal information with government organizations and contractors who obtain and store that information, and notification requirements when security is breached.
SB731 would make it easier for charities to avoid risk in financial assets made through charitable gifts.
Employment and Career
SB1173 would allow employees in dental health professions to use up to three hours of volunteer practice to count toward their continuing education house required for their license. This will help encourage dental health professionals to participate in dental charitable services to serve communities in need. You may recall I participated in lauding such volunteer dental services that came to York this year on a large scale.
SB1287 would allow more cosmetologists to have their own salon by reducing the size requirements for spaces to be considered a salon. This is possible due to better HVAC systems and other ventilation technology.
Military and Veterans
HB1486 would create the Blue Sar Family license plate and the Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans plate.
SB1083 would clarify unemployment eligibility for employees who must voluntarily leave a job to accompany a souse who is on active duty in the US Armed Forces and is required to relate. This bill also makes changes to the shared-work program and adjusting unemployment compensation tax rate for certain employers.
SB1194 would establish a program to provide education assistance benefits to eligible graduates of the Valley Forge Military College of PA who continue their education and agree to serve in the PA National Guard for ten years. I do want to be sure you are aware that as a legislator I get to choose one appointment to the Military College each school year. If you are not familiar with the VFMC and want to learn more about this opportunity for graduating seniors, please contact my office.
HB1486 would require the PA Turnpike Commission to notify EZPass account holders if the account has been charged a Flat V-Toll because of EZPass transponder malfunctioning. It also increases enforcement of unpaid tolls and addresses license plate frames.
HB1958 would provide driver improvement courses established by PennDOT and mandate retraining to improve the driving skills of chronic offenders to reduce rates of recidivism.
HB397 would allow merged fire and EMS companies to be eligible for grants they may have lost out on due to the merger.
HB1988 would change the way State System Campus Police officers and some school police officers are certified, to help streamline the process and allow our schools to more efficiently hire safety professionals.
SB1027 would allow junior firefighters to be completely trained prior to turning 18 years old. By allowing 17-year-old minors to complete their fire training, this will help fire companies with staffing and volunteer opportunities with less delay. This training involves live burns if properly supervised and with permission from a parent/guardian and the fire chief.