Weekly Wrap

It was the second week in a row that the House of Representatives and Senate were in session.

On Monday, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held an informational meeting on PJM's Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) proposal and maintaining competitive and reliable energy markets. The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held a similar hearing the following day. In addition, the Senate Transportation Committee held a public hearing on emissions and electrification.

The Senate passed S.B. 153 (Langerholc, R-Cambria), which would increase the maximum allowable gross weight for commercial vehicles powered by electric battery power. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

For voting meetings, the House State Government Committee reported out four bills of note:

  • B. 1596(Wheeland, R-Lycoming), which would require voters to provide valid identification;
  • B. 1800(Grove, R-York), which would make numerous changes to the Election Code;
  • B. 1893(Staats, R-Bucks), which would make disease information under the Disease Prevention and Control Act fall under the Right-to-Know Law; and
  • B. 533(Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would prohibit the consideration or adoption of a regulation during a disaster emergency except under certain conditions.

Furthermore, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee reported out the following bills:

  • B. 782(Pittman, R-Indiana), which would allow FDA-approved anti-obesity drugs to be considered a compensable service under the state Medicaid program;
  • B. 815(Muth, D-Montgomery), which would prohibit pelvic, rectal, and prostate exams without explicit consent of the patient; and
  • B. 818(Ward, R-Blair), which would align procedures permitted in licensed ambulatory surgery centers with that of other states and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Sticking with the health care space, on Tuesday, the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee reported out:

  • B. 291(Labs, R-Bucks) and S.B. 323 (Ward, R-Blair), which would extend the current Social Security cost-of-living adjustment moratorium until December 31, 2023;
  • B. 1260(Thomas, R-Bucks), which would increase the maximum income limits for the PACE/PACENET programs; and
  • B. 668(Ward, R-Blair), which would expand PACENET eligibility, eliminate monthly premiums on PACENET claimants, and provide discretion to the Department of Human Services to enroll PACENET claimants in a Medicare Part D plan.

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee reported out H.B. 723 (Mizgorski, R-Allegheny), which would amend the Workforce Development Act to bring it into compliance with federal requirements in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Also, the Senate Education Committee reported out S.B. 846 (Mastriano, R-Adams), which would allow parents to opt their child out of having to comply with a school's mask mandate.

The House Education Committee reported out four bills:

  • B. 1332(Lewis, R-Dauphin), which would require school districts to publish on their websites the actual curriculum that will be taught for each grade and for each subject area;
  • B. 1642(White, R-Philadelphia), which would make changes to the Economically Disadvantaged Schools Program, which is part of the EITC and OSTC program;
  • B. 1685(Topper, R-Bedford), which is a comprehensive charter school reform bill; and 
  • B. 1892(Sonney, R-Erie), which would ensure that payments due to a charter school are accurate and updates the process used to reconcile the payments due to a charter school from school districts, including addressing any disputes that arise.

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

  • B. 525(Gordner, R-Columbia) which would establish the Growing Greener III program using $500 million from the American Rescue Plan;
  • B. 806(Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would require entities making natural gas royalty payments to landowners to provide more description, clarity and uniformity on their royalty check statements; and
  • B. 832(Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would establish a Clean Streams Fund used to protect and restore Pennsylvania's streams and rivers.

The full Senate adopted S.R. 172 (Langerholc, R-Cambria), which urges the federal government to take action on the nationwide school bus driver shortage. The upper chamber also passed: S.B. 729 (Ward, R-Blair), which allow individuals participating in a state-approved nurse aide training program to complete the education portion of their instruction via online courses; and S.B. 859 (Langerholc, R-Cambria), which would extend the temporary regulations for the school bus stop arm camera enforcement program for an additional two years. The bills now go to the House for consideration.

On Wednesday, two bills updating provisions related to physician assistants, S.B. 397 (Pittman, R-Indiana) and S.B. 398 (Pittman, R-Indiana), passed finally and are now on the Governor's desk awaiting his signature. Two other bills also passed and were signed into law: H.B. 1774 (Flood, R-Northampton), which would extend the expiration date of the Achieving Better Care By Monitoring All Prescriptions Program (ABC-MAP) until December 31, 2028; and H.B. 1861 (Lewis, R-Dauphin), which would extend certain regulatory suspensions that were initially issued during the COVID-19 declaration of disaster emergency until March 31, 2022.

Thursday, the House Transportation Committee held a public hearing on PennDOT's Major Bridge P3 Program.

The Week Ahead

While the Senate is in recess until October 18, the House is back in Harrisburg for three session days next week.

On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Education and House Education Committee will hold a joint public hearing on higher education funding. Furthermore, the Senate Community, Economic, and Recreational Development Committee will hold a joint public hearing with the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on consumer and economic impacts of failing to invest in natural gas infrastructure.

The House Professional Licensure Committee will consider two pieces of legislation to note: H.B. 889 (Miller, R-Lancaster), which allow the State Board of Nursing to approve graduates of international professional nursing education programs to sit for the RN licensure examination, provided such programs are determined to be equivalent to that which is required in Pennsylvania; and H.R. 142 (Heffley, R-Carbon), which would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a comprehensive study and review of the State Board of Nursing.

Tuesday, the Senate State Government Committee will hold a public hearing S.B. 878 (Argall, R-Schuylkill), which would implement recommendations from the Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform.

Wednesday is filled with public and informational meetings:

  • The House Education Committee Subcommittee on Special Education will hold a public hearing on the delivery of special education services to students;
  • The House Finance Committee will hold an informational meeting on the revitalization of Pennsylvania's business tax climate;
  • The House Professional Licensure Committee will hold an informational meeting on B. 1440(Millard, R-Columbia), which would provide for the regulation and licensure of medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals;
  • The House Consumer Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on B. 1594(Tomlinson, R-Bucks), which would require third-party sellers to disclose certain information to the online marketplace and consumers; and
  • The House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee and House Game and Fisheries Committee will hold a joint informational meeting on the increase of outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic and ways to help maintain the increase.

A full list of committee meetings can be found here:



In Other News

  • The Department of Health announceda booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be immediately available for certain adults who were fully vaccinated by Pfizer at least six months ago.
  • The Department of Human Services announcedplans to distribute $655 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to stabilize the child care industry.
  • The Department of Community and Economic Development announceda new $5 million grant program to help grassroots organizations with encouraging vaccine-hesitant populations to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission announcedthat it is accepting applications from qualified museums and official county historical societies for nearly $2 million in cultural and historical support grants.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.