Weekly Wrap

The Senate was in session for two days this week, their first time back in Harrisburg since 2021.

On Tuesday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee reported out S.B. 1019 (Brooks, R-Mercer), which would require each authority that initially authorized a suspension of regulations due to COVID-19 to issue an updated report as to whether the suspension should be extended beyond March 31, 2022 or enacted permanently. Also, the Senate State Government Committee reported out H.B. 2146 (Grove, R-York), which would establish the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2021.

Wednesday, the Senate Education Committee reported out S.B. 527 (Regan, R-Cumberland), which would increase the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) caps by 25 percent each fiscal year when at least 90 percent of the respective available tax credits are claimed. Furthermore, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported out H.B. 979 (Dowling, R-Fayette), which would prevent local jurisdictions from imposing ordinances relating to regulation of firearms and ammunition that are more restrictive state laws.

The following bills passed finally in the Senate and will now be considered by the House:

  • H.B. 1588 (Mercuri, R-Allegheny), which would make permanent a waiver allowing mortgage originators to work remotely;
  • S.B. 482 (Phillips-Hill, R-York), which would provide for the administration of the state's information technology portfolio under a new Office of Informational Technology;
  • S.B. 696 (Laughlin, R-Cambria), which would make numerous amendments to the Breach of Personal Informational Notification Act;
  • S.B. 726 (Phillips-Hill, R-York), which would provide for the offense of ransomware and require the Office of Administration to study the susceptibility, preparedness, and ability to response on the part of state agencies to ransomware attack;
  • S.B. 818 (Ward, R-Blair), which would allow ambulatory surgical facilities to seek an exception or waiver for procedures not specified on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Ambulatory Surgical Center Covered Procedures List (ASC-CPL), or otherwise provided by law or regulation; and
  • S.B. 861 (Stefano, R-Fayette), which would authorize the state to join the Emergency Medical Services Compact.

Thursday, the House State Government Committee held a public hearing with the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) to discuss pension legislation.

The Week Ahead

Both chambers are in session next week for three session days.

Monday, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold an informational meeting to discuss H.B. 1901 (Hershey, R-Juniata), which would allocate $250 in American Rescue Plan dollars for a Clean Streams Fund. The House Liquor Control Committee will hold a public hearing on a constitutional amendment to privatize.

Additionally, the House Education Committee will consider: H.B. 1330 (Ortitay, R-Allegheny), which would establish a central repository of online courses; and H.R. 163 (Mackenzie, R-Lehigh), which would direct the Joint State Government Commission  to establish an advisory committee regarding training mandates for public educators.

The House Professional Licensure Committee has four bills on their agenda:

  • H.B. 19 (Mehaffie, R-Dauphin), which would create a professional licensure for behavior analysts;
  • H.B. 1328 (Greiner, R-Lancaster), which would provide updates and revisions to the Certified Public Accountant Law regarding professional conduct, peer review, and degree requirements;
  • H.B. 1440 (Millard, R-Columbia), which would provide for the regulation and licensure of medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals; and
  • H.B. 1862 (Gillespie, R-York), which would make permanent the waiver that allows physicians with an institutional license in a teaching hospital to serve patients at more than two facilities in a given health system.

On the Senate side, the Senate Aging and Youth Committee will consider the following bills:

  • H.B. 1737 (Flood, R-Northampton), which would allow a county children and youth agency to petition the court for an order to compel drug screening when there is evidence that substance use may be a contributing cause of child abuse or neglect;
  • H.B. 996 (Davanzo, R-Westmoreland), which would allow visitation to long-term care facilities by members of the clergy during a declaration of disaster emergency; and
  • S.B. 936 (Boscola, D-Northampton), which would require the reporting of any infant born with an addiction to opioids or other illegal substances.

Tuesday, the House Children and Youth Committee will hold a public hearing to discuss: H.B. 2213 (Klunk, R-York), which apply the damage award limitations that currently apply to county children and youth agencies to social service providers; and H.B. 2214 (Klunk, R-York), which would make indemnification language unenforceable in government contracts with private children and youth social service agencies and children residential services.

The following two bills of note will be considered by the House Transportation Committee: H.B. 1958 (Hennessey, R-Bucks), which would establish a driver improvement program for chronic offenders; and S.B. 153 (Langerholc, R-Cambria), which would increase the maximum allowable gross weight for commercial vehicles powered by electric battery power.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will consider:

  • H.B. 1420 (Thomas, R-Bucks), which would establish a public awareness campaign to provide information regarding the programs and services available for first responders, healthcare workers, and other workers suffering from mental health issues related to COVID-19;
  • S.B. 152 (Ward, R-Blair), which would establish a priority of awards for public funds used for family planning services and provides that the Department of Human Services may not enter into a contract with or make a grant to any entity that performs abortions that are not federally qualified abortions or operates a facility where such abortions are performed except as required by federal law; and
  • S.B. 956 (Ward, R-Blair), which would amend the state Constitution to prohibit abortions and the public funding of abortion.

The Senate Community, Economic, and Recreational Development Committee will consider S.B. 962 (Langerholc, R-Cambria), which would establish Rural Co-Working and Innovation Centers for individuals needing an office space in rural communities. The committee will also meet on Wednesday to hold a public hearing on small business assistance and economic recovery.  

Also on Wednesday, the House State Government Committee will consider:

  • H.B. 709 (Zabel, R-Delaware), which would require applicants for state contracts to disclosure campaign contributions;
  • H.B. 1925 (Herrin, D-Chester), which would authorize state procurement officials to consider a prospective contractor's documented performance in other states or with other public entities prior to awarding, renewing, or extending a contract to that bidder; and
  • H.B. 2159 (Ortitay, R-Allegheny) which would require requests for an emergency procurement to be made by the head of the state agency.

The Performance-Based Budget Board will meet throughout the week to hold public hearings to review the following agency's budget reports:

  • Department of Aging;
  • Department of Agriculture;
  • Department of Education;
  • Department of Human Services;
  • Department of Labor and Industry; and
  • Historical and Museum Commission.

The Board will also review reports of the following tax credit programs:

  • Brewers' Tax Credit;
  • Coal Refuse Energy and Reclamation Tax Credit;
  • Education Tax Credits;
  • Keystone Special Development Zone Tax Credit; and
  • Mixed-Use Development Tax Credit.

A full list of committee meetings can be found here:



In Other News

  • The Department of Environmental Protection released for public comment the draft Pennsylvania 2022 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report.
  • The Governor announced the investment of $168 million for 15 drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater projects across 13 counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).
  • The Governor announced a $15 million increase in funding to further support grassroots gun violence prevention efforts.

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