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Military Spouse Day
Senate Resolution 350 designates May 6, 2016, as “Military Spouse Day” in Pennsylvania.
Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust
Senate Resolution 347 designates the week of May 2 through 8, 2016, as “Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust” in Pennsylvania. (co-prime sponsor)
Senate Resolution 340 designates May 1, 2016, as “Law Day” in Pennsylvania.
Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month
Senate Resolution 332 designates the month of April 2016 as “Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. (co-prime sponsor)
Workers’ Memorial Day
Senate Resolution 331 designates April 28, 2016, as “Workers’ Memorial Day” in Pennsylvania.
Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail
Senate Bill 1193 would require electronic voting machines in Pennsylvania to have a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), which will allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.
Phi Mu Fraternity Day
Senate Resolution 323 designates April 23, 2016, as “Phi Mu Fraternity Day” in Pennsylvania.
Equal Pay Day
Senate Resolution 322 designates April 12, 2016, as “Equal Pay Day” in Pennsylvania.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Senate Resolution 320 designates the month of April 2016 as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. (co-prime sponsor)
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Senate Resolution 312 designates the month of April 2016 as “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.
Political “Dark Money”
Senate Bill 1165 requires reporting of election expenses by 501(c) and 527 organizations that engage in issue advocacy or other electioneering. Specifically, it requires these groups to file campaign finance reports if their aggregate expenditures exceed $1,000. These reports would include names of donors contributing at least $100.
Citizens Compensation Commission
Senate Bill 1164 establishes the Citizens Compensation Commission to determine salaries for legislators. The ten-member commission would be appointed by the governor, and include two members who are affiliated with organized labor, two members who own or operate a small business, two members who represent the interests of taxpayers, one member who is a major corporate executive of a large company, one member who is the head of a non-profit organization, and two members who are professionals in the field of compensation from different organizations.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month
Senate Resolution 300 designates designates the month of April 2016 as “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month” in Pennsylvania.
Senate Resolution 298 designates March 14, 2016 as “Charter Day” in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania law establishes the observance of March fourteenth of each year as Charter Day.
Housing Awareness Day
Senate Resolution 290 designates February 23, 2016, as “Housing Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania.
Senate Resolution 282 designates the month of February 2016 as “USO Month” in recognition of the 75th Anniversary of the USO and its mission to enhance the quality of life of military members and their families.
Extending the Pennsylvania Cancer Control, Prevention and Research Act
Senate Bill 1107 amends the Pennsylvania Cancer Control, Prevention and Research Act by extending the sunset date to June 30, 2026. It is scheduled to sunset on June 30, 2016. According to Act 224 of 1980, the Secretary of Health is authorized to award grants and contracts for cancer control, prevention and research to governmental agencies and associations that are organized in Pennsylvania upon the recommendation of the Pennsylvania Cancer Control, Prevention and Research Advisory Board, as well as report to the General Assembly annually.
World Cancer Day
Senate Resolution 274 recognizes February 4, 2016 as “World Cancer Day.”
Career and Technical Education Month
Senate Resolution 269 recognizes the month of February 2016 as “Career and Technical Education Month” in Pennsylvania.
International Human Rights Day
Senate Resolution 259 recognizes December 10, 2015 as “International Human Rights Day” in Pennsylvania.
Government Reform Week
Senate Resolution 258 recognizes the week of December 7, 2015 as “Government Reform Week” in Pennsylvania.
World AIDS Day
Senate Resolution 246 designates December 1, 2015 as “World AIDS Day.” in Pennsylvania.
Charter and Cyber Charter School Funding Commission
Senate Bill 1075 creates a Charter and Cyber Charter School Funding Commission to review and make recommendations concerning the appropriate tuition rates and state funding applicable to charter schools and cyber charter education.
Senate Bill 1063 strengthens the provisions regarding debarment or suspension from entering into vendor contracts with the commonwealth. These additional provisions for debarment include the deliberate failure to perform in accordance with the current contract or a contract within the past five years without good cause; operating in a manner to evade provisions of the law regarding procurement); or if the person is a successor, affiliate, or has another type of close business relationship with a person debarred. A person would also be debarred from entering into a contract with the State if that person is a bidder or offeror and knowingly makes an offer or promise of future employment, an offer to give any money or item of value to the purchasing agency, or obtains any propriety or source selection information before the award of the contract.
Explore PA Outdoors Week
Senate Resolution 225 designates the week of October 25 through 31, 2015, as “Explore PA Outdoors Week” in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Career Development Day
Senate Resolution 224 recognizes October 20, 2015, as “Pennsylvania Career Development Day.”
Fire Prevention Week
Senate Resolution 207 observes the week of October 4 through 10, 2015, as “Fire Prevention Week” in Pennsylvania.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Senate Resolution 206 designates the month of October 2015 as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month
Senate Resolution 204 designates the month of October 2015 as “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.
United States Colored Troops Grand Review Week
Senate Resolution 196 designates the week of November 9 through 15, 2015, as “United States Colored Troops Grand Review Week” in Pennsylvania.
Staff Sergeant Brian K. Mowery Memorial Bridge Designation
Senate Bill 1040 commemorates the life and service of Staff Sergeant Brian K. Mowery by naming the bridge over Armstrong Creek in Halifax Township, Dauphin County, as the Staff Sergeant Brian K. Mowery Memorial Bridge.
Office of Veterans Mental Health Awareness
Senate Bill 1019 establishes the Office of Veterans Mental Health Awareness. This new office would provide veterans with full access to a range of support services and programs; provide equal access to all support services and awareness programs; provide information to veterans and their health care providers regarding emotional trauma, mental disability, mental illness, sexual and other personal trauma; provide a list of available health care providers; and assist in maintaining employment and support services for veterans in their homes and communities.
Property Tax Relief
Senate Bill 1010 ensures that Pennsylvanians finally see the property tax relief they were promised when casino gambling was legalized more than a decade ago by designating a single oversight entity to take charge of property tax relief, coordinating the fragmented process, relieving local governments of this burden, and making the process more accountable to taxpayers.
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Improvements
Senate Bill 1008 requires the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to improve its tunnel maintenance and inspection procedures, to expand its customer service telephone access, and to tighten its oversight of the Commission’s toll-free travel policies.
PennDOT Issuing Agents
Senate Bill 1007 improves PennDOT’s oversight of its contracted agents, requires PennDOT to provide a comprehensive listing of all messenger and agent services and fees, and requires all agents to obtain basic agent training before they provide PennDOT services.
100th Anniversary of the Harrisburg Jewish Community Center
Senate Resolution 193 commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Harrisburg Jewish Community Center.
Fairweather Lodge Day
Senate Resolution 186 designates September 25, 2015 as “Dr. George W. Fairweather Day” in Pennsylvania.
Recognition of the Jewish High Holy Days
Senate Resolution 178 recognizes the observance of the Jewish High Holy Days beginning with Rosh Hashanah and concluding with Yom Kippur; and acknowledging the importance and sacred nature of this time of year that is observed by Jewish families across the Commonwealth.
Giving Tax Credit to Wildland Firefighters and River Rescuers
Senate Bill 999 provides the option of a tax credit to wildland firefighters and river rescuers who are members of a crew or team and have volunteered during the taxable year.
SERS and PSERS
Senate Bill 982 amends the State Employees’ Retirement System Retirement Code and the Public School Employees’ Retirement Code to require both SERS and PSERS to maintain formal training programs for board members and to develop conflict of interest standards that relate to a board member’s fiduciary duty. The legislation also requires all investment advisory consultants and investment managers to provide an up-to-date comprehensive disclosure statement of all campaign contributions made by their investment firms to board members within the past ten 10 years.
Unsolicited Text Messaging
Senate Bill 981 prohibits commercial mobile service providers from sending unsolicited text messages without the consent of the subscribers. Commercial mobile service providers would not be permitted to sell, or offer to sell, such text message services without offering the subscriber the ability to block all incoming and outgoing text messages.
Protecting Pets in Unattended Vehicles
Senate Bill 977 prohibits the confinement of a dog or cat in an unattended motor vehicle in a manner that would endanger the health and well being of the animal.
Professional Licensure Portability for Military Spouses
Senate Bill 964 allows military spouses to move more rapidly and efficiently into the workforce by providing a streamlined process in obtaining the transfer of their professional licenses into the Commonwealth.
State Tax Return PA 529 College Savings Account Designation
Senate Bill 963 creates a checkbox on the state’s income tax form that designates a refund amount to be deposited directly into a PA 529 college savings plan. The PA 529 College Savings Plan aims to make college more affordable for families, and this bill would stress the importance of saving for college, help citizens maximize their college savings, and encourage more individuals to take advantage of the plan’s benefits.
Establishing a State Board of Professional Music Therapy Licensure
Senate Bill 947 create a State Board of Professional Music Therapy Licensure. The legislation is similar to current licensing statutes, and will offer a comprehensive system to issue licenses, develop regulations, and administer the provisions of this measure.
Basic Education Funding Commission’s School Funding Formula
Senate Bill 910 codifies a funding formula for basic education funding, as developed and unanimously approved by the Basic Education Funding Commission. (co-prime sponsor)
Gift Transparency and Limitations for Public Officials
Senate Bill 885 prohibits the acceptance of any gifts related to transportation, lodging, hospitality or anything of economic value, with limited exceptions. The bill also prohibits the soliciting or acceptance of meals intended for consumption by a specific individual.
(with Sen. John Eichelberger as co-prime sponsor)
Remember Everyone Deployed (“RED”) Friday
Senate Resolution 157 designating June 26, 2015, as “Remember Everyone Deployed” Friday (RED Friday)” in Pennsylvania.
230th Anniversary of Dauphin County
Senate Resolution 143 commemorates the 230th anniversary of Dauphin County.
Louis “Lou” De Lancey Memorial Highway Designation
Senate Bill 868 names the section of Pennsylvania Route 849 in Newport, Perry County, as the United States Navy Petty Officer 1st Class A. Louis “Lou” De Lancey Memorial Highway.
Increasing the lifetime limit in the REAP Act
Senate Bill 848 amends the current Resource Enhancement and Protection Act, also known as the REAP Act, to increase the lifetime limit from $150,000 to $225,000. The REAP ACT allows farmers and businesses to earn tax credits on agricultural operations that enhance farm production and protect natural resources. Increasing the lifetime limit for the REAP Act ensures that Pennsylvania’s proud heritage of farming is preserved for future generations.
Senate Resolution 135 designates May 29, 2015, as “529 Day” in Pennsylvania.
Military Spouse Day
Senate Resolution 110 designates May 8, 2015, as “Military Spouse Day” in Pennsylvania.
Anniversary of the State of Israel
Senate Resolution 105 commemorates the 67th anniversary of the birth of the State of Israel.
Workers’ Memorial Day
Senate Resolution 96 designates April 28, 2015, as “Workers’ Memorial Day” in Pennsylvania.
Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month
Senate Resolution 78 designates the month of April 2015 as “Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. (co-prime sponsor)
Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust
Senate Resolution 77 designates the week of April 13 through 19, 2015, as “Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust” in Pennsylvania.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Senate Resolution 66 designates the month of April 2015 as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. (co-prime sponsor)
Local Government Day and Local Government Week
Senate Resolution 62 designates the week of April 13 through 17, 2015, as “Local Government Week” and April 15, 2015, as “Local Government Day” in Pennsylvania. (co-prime sponsor)
Gaming Control Board Procurement Policies
Senate Bill 718 requires the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to make its procurement policies more transparent and accountable to the taxpayers. The Gaming Control Board would prepare detailed, written justifications with supporting documentation for sole source contracts. Additionally, the board, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General and the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, would establish a policy governing expense documentation that would clearly define allowable reimbursable expenses.
Paul Reider Bridge Designation
Senate Bill 716 names the bridge on State Highway 34 that connects the banks of the Juniata River in Newport, Perry County, as the Paul Reider Bridge.
Animal Adoption Tax Credit
Senate Bill 693 provides a tax credit for the adoption of a dog or cat from an animal care facility or shelter.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Senate Resolution 44 designates the month of April 2015 as “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.
70th Anniversary of the Silver Academy
Senate Resolution 37 commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Silver Academy.
Housing Awareness Day
Senate Resolution 30 designates February 24, 2015 as “Housing Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania.
Career and Technical Education Month
Senate Resolution 17 designates the month of February as “Career and Technical Education Month” in Pennsylvania.
Prostate Cancer Task Force
Senate Bill 605 directs the Department of Health to establish an 18-member task force on prostate cancer and related chronic prostate conditions. The task force will investigate and make recommendations on ways to properly inform the public about screening, diagnosis and treatment options for prostate cancer and the related conditions associated with it.
Reporting of Child Exploitation by Computer Technicians
Senate Bill 583 adds computer technicians to the list of mandated reporters of child abuse. It requires computer technicians who may, in their professional capacity, observe child pornography that has been intentionally saved to a computer (or other computer-related device), to report the matter to the Department of Human Services child abuse reporting hotline.
Child Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations
Senate Bill 582 raises the age for an adult victim of child sex abuse to file a civil claim from 30 years old to 50 years old, consistent with criminal law.
Veterans Treatment Courts
Senate Bill 517 establishes a veterans court in those counties in Pennsylvania that do not currently have one. Lackawanna County was the first county to establish a veterans court in November 2009 and 16 counties have followed their lead, but 50 counties have not yet established a veterans court. These courts assist veterans charged with nonviolent crimes who are struggling with addiction, mental illness or co-occurring disorders.
Lifeguards at State Beaches
Senate Bill 516 requires certified lifeguards to be employed at all Pennsylvania state parks with public beaches.
School Security Drills
Senate Bill 515 requires all public schools in Pennsylvania to conduct school security drills. A school security drill allows school staff and students to practice procedures that are used during an emergency situation such as an active shooter or a lockdown drill.
First Class City Swaps Restrictions
Senate Bill 343 places certain restrictions on the use of interest-rate management agreements (otherwise known as “swaps”). Currently, there are no restrictions on the use of interest-rate management agreements by a First Class City or a First Class County.
Municipal Swaps Restrictions
Senate Bill 342 puts in place best practice standards regarding the use of qualified interest rate management agreements, or so-called municipal “swaps,” by local governments, school districts and municipal authorities. (co-prime sponsor)
Ethics Commission and Municipal Authorities
Senate Bill 341 allows the State Ethics Commission to investigate alleged ethical violations by individuals involved in financial transactions by municipal authorities. Currently, the Ethics Commission does not have this jurisdiction. If ethical violations are found, they would be considered a violation of the state Public Official and Employee Ethics Act and those individuals would be subject to the scrutiny of the Ethics Commission, district attorney, or the Office of Attorney General. (co-prime sponsor)
Senate Bill 340 makes several reforms to the Local Government Unit Debt Act (LGUDA), including limiting local government guarantees of municipal authority borrowings, eliminating the ability to charge a fee for issuing a guarantee, and giving the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) greater authority over the borrowing processes of local government units. (co-prime sponsor)
Spousal Consent to PA Municipal Retirement Benefits
Senate Bill 304 requires spousal consent when a retiring municipal employee chooses how his or her pension benefits should be paid. When a municipal employee applies to begin receiving pension benefits, he or she may select a single-life annuity, which would not provide continuing payments to his or her spouse in the event that the retiree passes before the spouse. Because no notification or consent is currently required, the spouse may not know that he or she will not receive any pension benefits after the retiree dies.
Senate Bill 303 strengthens Pennsylvania law to eliminate the gender wage gap by increasing the protection to employees who have filed a complaint against an employer and prohibiting retaliation against employees for discussing wages (“pay secrecy”). The bill also closes the “factor other than sex” defense to apply only to bona fide business related factors. Bona fide factors other than sex include education, training, or experience. In order to file a complaint, a plaintiff must still identify a comparable employee who makes more money for performing equal work, requiring effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.
Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) Act
Senate Bill 302 requires every law enforcement agency that is involved in the investigation of a sexual assault case, to provide a written notice to the Pennsylvania State Police of the number of sexual assault cases in possession that have not been submitted to a laboratory for testing.
Disposition of Judicial Campaign Funds
Senate Bill 194 amends the Election Code to allow judicial campaign committees to donate their residual funds to a non-profit community organization, as opposed to a political entity. (co-prime sponsor)
Charter School Appeal Board Member Recusal
Senate Bill 193 amends the Public School Code, requiring a member of the State Charter School Appeal Board who is also an employee of a charter/cyber school to recuse himself or herself from any decisions regarding charter applications from competitors of the charter/cyber school at which he or she works.
Senate Bill 192 amends the Election Code to allow registered independents to vote in primary elections.
Bribery of Legislators
Senate Bill 191 addresses bribery in official matters. A member of the General Assembly would be guilty of a felony of the third degree if he or she accepts an offer or promise of an appointment to a position from the governor, or a person acting on behalf of the governor, in exchange for a member’s official vote. This would also be true if the member’s immediate family was to gain an appointment. The governor, or a person acting on behalf of the governor, would be guilty of making such an offer or promise.
Ethics Commission Investigations
Senate Bill 190 allows the State Ethics Commission to request and receive assistance from state and local law enforcement agencies during an investigation of an Ethics Act violation.
Disclosure of Political Contributions by Appointees
Senate Bill 189 requires the governor to report the political contributions, in-kind donations, or political expenditures of an appointee that has been nominated to a cabinet office, board, commission or any other position that requires confirmation by the Senate. This report would be sent to the President pro tempore, majority leader, and minority leader of the Senate within 10 days of the nomination.
Lobbying Sister State Agencies
Senate Bill 188 prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars by all three branches of state government to hire lobbyists to lobby a sister agency. (co-prime sponsor)
Suspension of Pay for Late Budget
Senate Bill 187 suspends compensation for the governor, lieutenant governor, cabinet officers, and the General Assembly if a general appropriation bill is not passed by the June 30 deadline. (co-prime sponsor)
Lame Duck/Interregnum Sessions
Senate Bill 186 prohibits the General Assembly from holding votes in even-numbered years during the period of time following a general election and the swearing in of the new legislature, and also prohibits votes during the period in January between the swearing-in of a new legislature and the swearing-in of a new governor.
Elimination of Automatic Legislative COLAs
Senate Bill 184 eliminates the automatic mid-term cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for legislators. Senate Bill 185 amends the state constitution to make clear that no legislator can receive a COLA in the middle of a term.
Independent Audits of the General Assembly
Senate Bill 182 amends the state constitution to authorize an independent audit of the General Assembly. Senate Bill 183 requires that those audits be conducted annually by the Pennsylvania Auditor General.
Receipt of Gifts by Public Officials
Senate Bill 181 reduces the reporting thresholds for gifts from $250 to $50 and for hospitality, lodging, and entertainment from $650 to $100. It will also encourage voluntary reporting below these new lowered thresholds. (co-prime sponsor)
Capital Complex Public Safety Reimbursement
Senate Bill 160 permanently requires full reimbursement from the state for providing fire protection and emergency services to the 40 tax-exempt state-owned buildings located in the City of Harrisburg.
Office of New Americans
Senate Bill 159 provides for the creation of the Office of New Americans within the Department of Community and Economic Development. The office would provide internal coordination of services that commonly affect the lives of immigrants, as well as promote the state abroad in order to be more competitive in attracting and retaining skilled workers.
Volunteer Firefighter Employment Protection
Senate Bill 158 protects volunteers of fire companies, ambulance services, or rescue squads from being penalized by employers for missing time at work to respond to a call.
Made in PA Program
Senate Bill 157 creates the Made in PA program, which expands the PA Preferred concept to more products made here in Pennsylvania. It would establish a new “Made in PA” logo to include a broader range of products made in Pennsylvania that are not currently covered by the registered PA Preferred label in order to generate additional interest in and demand for Pennsylvania products and, thereby, creating and retaining good manufacturing jobs for Pennsylvania families.
Procurement Code Modernization
Senate Bill 156 promotes participation by small and disadvantaged businesses in government contracting. This bill creates targeted initiatives that would enable small and disadvantaged businesses to better compete for government contracts. Among other initiatives, this legislation establishes a small business reserve, a statewide bonding program and a mentor-protégé program.
Veteran’s Entrepreneurial Training and Support Act
Senate Bill 155 assists veterans and reservists in obtaining the necessary skills to create, manage, and operate a small business by creating a training and support program. Working in consultation with the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, this program would be tasked with providing small business and entrepreneurial focused services to veterans and reservists.
Economic Development and Fiscal Accountability Act
Senate Bill 154 requires the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to submit an annual economic development budget report to the General Assembly providing details regarding uncollected tax revenues resulting from tax credits, abatements, exemptions and reductions, as well as all state-related expenditures for economic development. This legislation also enacts further limitations on and procedures for allocation of grant funding, provide for penalties for noncompliance and impose requirements for public disclosure.
Expansion of Distracted Driving Law
Senate Bill 153 makes the driver’s use of a handheld mobile telephone while operating a motor vehicle a summary secondary offense and upon conviction subject to a fine of $50 for the first violation, $100 for a second violation and $150 for a third or subsequent violation.
Pennsylvania First Program
Senate Bill 152 requires the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to institute policies and procedures to improve the administration of the Commonwealth’s Pennsylvania First Program (formerly known as the Opportunity Grant Program). This bill would maximize each and every grant award and make the program more accountable to taxpayers.
Weatherization Assistance and Energy Efficiency
Senate Bill 151 establishes energy-efficient and energy-savings performance goals for commonwealth buildings and requires the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to institute policies and procedures that will lessen potential fraud and abuse within the commonwealth’s Weatherization Assistance Program and make the program more accountable to taxpayers.
Gift Card Protections
Senate Bill 150 prohibits the sale or issuance of a gift card or gift certificate that contains an expiration date or any type of post-sale charge or fee like a service charge, dormancy fee, account maintenance fee, cash-out fee, replacement card fee or activation or reactivation fee.
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement
Senate Bill 108 makes the process of approving out-of-state distance learning programs simpler and more cost efficient by giving the Pennsylvania Department of Education the authority to enter into a State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), a voluntary interstate agreement with postsecondary institutions that offer distance learning programs.
Senate Bill 107 creates a program called the STEM Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), which completely pays for a student’s tuition when they attend a Pennsylvania institution of higher education while participating in an approved Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Program. In exchange, the students agree to pay back the state a percentage of their future earnings over a period of time after graduation and agree to stay in Pennsylvania for a short period of time after graduation.