Legislative update: Review recently introduced legislation

wanted to take the opportunity to highlight legislation that I cosponsored which are on the move through the legislature.  These bills and resolution either recently passed their committees and are awaiting a floor vote or passed the House and are in the Senate now.

Local Government Committee

HB664 would permit a minor to operate a small business, on an occasional basis, without having to obtain a business license from either the municipality or the homeowners association of a planned community.

HB926 would extend the grant duration for administrative costs associated with the hiring of a “Main Street Manager” for an additional period of up to 5 years.  The Main Street Act was created to provide grants for commercial downtown revitalization efforts, which may include infrastructure improvements, marketing and promoting the established commercial downtown within the Main Street area, leveraging other public and private investment, and addressing social or economic concerns within the Main Street area. 

Veteran Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee

HB491 would exclude veterans’ compensation benefits from income calculations for Commonwealth programs.

Education Committee

HB232 would permit a school district to change its name after a two-thirds vote of the local school board and approval from the PA Department of Education.

Passed the House

HB192 would require licensed physicians who wish to participate in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act to submit a national criminal background investigation rather than a statewide background check.  This is intended to increase medical access to Pennsylvanians in underserved areas and connect individuals with serious illnesses to specialists in the field. 

HB649 would allow residents of long-term care facilities to select a caregiver to provide in-person support during emergency declarations, so long as they follow protocols (such as testing and use of safety equipment) designed to protect the residents of the facility.

HB803 would establish the Keystone State Challenge Academy Account to administer funding of Pennsylvania’s National Guard Youth Challenge Program.  This is a community-based program that leads, trains, and mentors 16 to 18-year-old high school dropouts so that they may become productive citizens in America. It has been recognized as one of the nation’s most effective and cost-efficient programs for targeting youth who are at the greatest risk for substance abuse, teen pregnancy, delinquency, and criminal activity.

HB365 would eliminate derogatory terminology from the Public School Code. Most of these terms are archaic references to students with mental health issues and disabilities. 

HB412 would allow an individual with an inactive certification who is not an annuitant to be employed as a substitute teacher for up to 180 days during a school year instead of up to 90 days as is currently available.  This is intended to assist in a vast substitute teacher shortage in the Commonwealth.

HR68 would direct the LBFC to conduct a study to review the availability of dental services in rural areas and provide a report detailing the options for improving access to oral health care services.

HB427 would increase the discount provided to restaurant, hotels and club licensees when buying wine and spirits from the PLCB.

HB827 would set up a process for our local governments to develop micro-enterprises in our downtown business communities. The bill is designed to continue our fight against blight, through the re-use of buildings in our down towns, and to move people from social programs to employment. Micro-enterprises employ one to five people.

HB464 would amend the Family Caregiver Support Program (Act 204 of 1990) by updating and broadening how older adults are being cared for by a caregiver, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders, grandchildren being raised by grandparents, and those aged 18- 59 with a nondementia-related disability residing with and being cared for an older relative.

HB290 would permit eligible organizations, including charitable, religious, fraternal or veteran’s organizations; clubs or civic and service associations; and any affiliated non-profit organization to conduct virtual raffles or drawings and increases prize limits during the COVID-19 disaster or until May 1, 2022, whichever is later.  Many of these entities have not only continued to operate, but in some cases, particularly first response agencies, have experienced an increase in their expenses because of the coronavirus.