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PA House Agenda for May 21 - 25

The state House returns to session on Monday, May 21, to debate and vote on various issues.

Here's this week's schedule for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Information has been supplied by Rep. Mike Turzai, Republican Majority Leader.

Unemployment Compensation for State Pensioners When Signed Contract Expires?

In Pennsylvania, retired state employees who have been called back to work temporarily via a signed contract with a definitive end date have been later collecting unemployment benefits when that contract comes to an end. These are retired individuals already collecting a pension. State law dictates that annuitants who are re-employed may not work more than 95 days in a calendar year without impacting their annuities and health care benefits.
 
House Bill 2346 (Rep. Adam Harris, R-Snyder/Mifflin/Juniata counties) would add a new provision to Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation Law to invalidate an individual’s eligibility for unemployment compensation if he or she voluntarily leaves employment to maintain pension or retirement benefits or if an employer terminates an individual to allow that person to maintain eligibility for pension or retirement benefits.
 
Pennsylvania is currently facing an Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund crisis, with the fund being billions of dollars in debt to the federal government. In 2011, 239 state annuitants received unemployment compensation benefits in this circumstance, collecting a total of more than $1.1 million in benefits.

The Weekly Schedule

Bill numbers will be used to identify the legislation being considered either in committee or on the House floor.  The bills, sponsors and summaries are posted below.

Monday, May 21 

Committee Meetings/Hearings
FINANCE, 9 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

  • Public hearing on HB 1776 (Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks):  Establishes the Property Tax Independence Act, which would replace the school property tax by increasing the state’s personal income tax from 3.07 percent to 4 percent and expanding and increasing the state’s sales and use tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.

LABOR AND INDUSTRY, 11 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

  • HB 1539 (Rep. Stan Saylor, R-York):  Establishes a program that pairs unemployment compensation claimants with interested businesses that are seeking to hire for a period of up to 24 hours per week, for no more than six weeks, at no cost to the business; upon completion of the program the claimant must be considered for the available position.

STATE GOVERNMENT, Noon, Room 205, Ryan Office Building

  • Public hearing on the 2012 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Real Property Disposition Plan.

 
Session
On Monday, the House will convene at 1 p.m. for legislative business. The members will vote the uncontested calendar and Rule 35 resolutions.
 
Votes on Second Consideration

  • HB 235 (Rep. Paul Clymer, R-Bucks):  Requires designated establishments to conspicuously post at least one sign, in various languages, that provides the National Human Trafficking Resources Center Hotline number and notice that victims of human trafficking are protected under both federal and state law; establishes a civil penalty for violations of up to $500.
  • HB 2018 (Rep. Sid Kavulich, D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Susquehanna/Wyoming):  Bridge designation: the 109th Infantry Bridge.
  • HB 2217 (Rep. Dan Truitt, R-Chester):  Reduces the fee for the Gold Star Family specialty license plate from $20 to $7.50 and increases the maximum eligible gross vehicle weight limit from 10,000 to 14,000 pounds.
  • HB 2224 (Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster):  Establishes that public lands or buildings purchased by a political subdivision do not need Orphans’ Court approval prior to reconveyance if the lands or buildings are unencumbered by recorded restrictions or covenants requiring them to be used for public use; clarifies that if a political subdivision acquired the lands or buildings through condemnation, then the assets may be sold or disposed of pursuant to the Eminent Domain Code.
  • HB 2321 (Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon):  Establishes that a veteran holding a professional or occupational license or certificate from a Commonwealth agency will be temporarily exempt from any continuing educational requirements or in-service training requirements when called for active duty for more than 30 days.
  • HB 2331 (Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery):  Imposes a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for felons who illegally possess firearms and includes felons who illegally possess firearms in the definition of “crime of violence.”
  • HB 2343 (Rep. Curt Sonney, R-Erie):  Bridge designation: the Senior Airman Bryan R. Bell Memorial Bridge.
  • HB 2345 (Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery):  Bridge designation: the Albert Earl Momme Bridge.
  • HB 2346 (Rep. Adam Harris, R-Juniata/Mifflin/Snyder):  Establishes that a person who quits or is laid off from a position in order to maintain eligibility for benefits under a retirement plan, annuity, or other similar periodic payment plan after returning to work after retirement is ineligible for unemployment compensation.
  • SB 1395 (Sen. Dave Argall, R-Schuylkill/Berks/Carbon/Lehigh/Monroe/Northampton):  Road designation: the Capt. David Eric Pannabecker POW-MIA Memorial Highway.
  • SB 1429 (Sen. Pat Vance, R-Cumberland/York):  Bridge designation: the Cpl. Paul Walters Memorial Bridge.
  •  

Votes on Third Consideration

  • HB 626 (Rep. John Bear, R-Lancaster):  Requires the Department of Revenue to develop a certification of no tax liability form and provides for special tax provisions to be claimed by filing the certification of no tax liability in lieu of filing a tax return so long as enumerated requirements are met.
  • HB 881 (Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong/Indiana):  Allows the use of leashed tracking dogs to track and recover legally wounded or harvested white-tail deer and black bear.
  • HB 1100 (Rep. Peter Daley, D-Fayette/Washington):  Excludes the sale at retail or use of aircraft parts exclusively in repair, maintenance or rebuilding of aircraft and the sale at retail or use of fixed-wing aircraft from the Commonwealth’s 6 percent Sales and Use Tax.
  • HB 2293 (Rep. Mike Peifer, R-Monroe/Pike/Wayne):  Creates a new category of offenses for serious poaching incidents and taking or possessing by illegal methods, and provides for penalties and assessment of cost for related violations.

Tuesday, May 22 

Committee Meetings/Hearings
STATE GOVERNMENT, 9 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

  • HB 64 (Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre):  Designates the Piper J-3 Cub as the official state aircraft of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • HB 876 (Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Cumberland/Franklin):  Constitutional amendment that reduces the size of the state House of Representatives in the graduated manner of 10 districts every 10 years, beginning with the reduction to 193 members in January 2013 and ending with 153 members in January 2053.
  • SB 10 (Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-Cameron/Elk/Jefferson/McKean/Potter/Tioga/Clearfield/Warren):  Constitutional amendment that prohibits the enactment of any law that requires an individual to purchase health insurance coverage and prohibits the imposition of any fines or penalties on an individual who declines to purchase health insurance.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT, 9 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

  • HB 2325 (Rep. Mark Keller, R-Perry/Franklin):  Reenacts recent changes to the bidding limits in the Public School Code so that the new bid limit of $18,500 will become effective immediately and the indexing of the amount can commence on Jan. 1, 2013, rather than delaying the new bid limit to Jan. 1, 2013, and the indexing to Jan. 1, 2014.
  • HB 2252 (Rep. Peter Daley, D-Fayette/Washington):  Authorizes executors or administrators of deceased tax collectors to settle unpaid taxes as the collector would have if still living.
  • HB 2167 (Rep. Tom Quigley, R-Montgomery):  Allows earned income tax revenue dedicated to the purchase of open space to be used for expenses incurred preparing the resource, recreation or land use plan and for costs associated with the design, engineering, improvement and development of the open space.
  • HB 2223 (Rep. Mauree Gingrich, R-Lebanon):  Allows up to 25 percent of the annual property or earned income tax revenue dedicated to the purchase of open space to be used for the maintenance of the property acquired, but only after the costs and debt associated with the acquisition have been satisfied.

AGRICULTURE AND RURAL AFFAIRS, 9:30 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

  • HB 2371 (Rep. John Maher, R-Allegheny/Washington):  Establishes that implements of husbandry and vehicles not exceeding 12 feet in width can be used to transport an agricultural commodity on highways during the day and that implements of husbandry and vehicles not exceeding 14 feet 6 inches may be used to transport or harvest an agricultural commodity at any time during the day or night.
  • HB 2372 (Rep. Dave Hickernell, R-Dauphin/Lancaster):  Allows implements of husbandry not exceeding 14 feet 6 inches in width to be driven between sunrise and sunset on highways between farms no more than 50 miles apart; allows implements of husbandry exceeding 14 feet 6 inches in width to be driven between farms no more than 50 miles apart or to a service mechanic or dealer no more than 150 miles from the owner’s farm, so long as enumerated requirements are met.
  • HB 2373 (Rep. Michele Brooks, R-Crawford/Lawrence/Mercer):  Amends the definition of “multipurpose agricultural vehicle” to increase the width from 60 to 62 inches and to increase the weight from 1,200 to 2,000 pounds; increases the distance any multipurpose agricultural vehicle exempt from registration can travel between farms from two to five miles.
  • HB 2374 (Rep. Jim Marshall, R-Beaver):  Expands the operating radius for non-commercial implements of husbandry exempt from registration from 25 to 50 miles and clarifies farm vehicle classifications and processing fees for certificates of exemption.
  • HB 2375 (Rep. Mark Keller, R-Perry/Franklin):  Allows a person 14 years of age or older to drive farm equipment from their residence to an annual agricultural-related education event hosted by a school, so long as the distance between the person’s residence and the site of the event does not exceed 15 miles.
  • HB 2366 (Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, R-Berks/Lehigh):  Requires local government units to have their parking meters inspected and tested at least once every five years, and authorizes the Department of Agriculture to establish training and certification requirements and procedures for certified parking meter inspectors.

FINANCE, 10 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

  • HB 2348 (Rep. Duane Milne, R-Chester):  Requires the Department of Revenue to automatically authorize a filing extension of 30 days for corporate taxpayers if a federal extension has been granted and extends the time period a corporation has to notify the Department of Revenue that the total taxable income on the annual report has been changed by a federal agency from 30 days to six months.
  • SB 1150 (Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster/York):  Establishes a tax credit of up to 25 percent of qualified expenditures incurred to restore certain historic structures and limits the amount of total tax credits granted to no more than $10 million in any fiscal year.
  • HB 1509 (Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery/Philadelphia):  Increases the loan assistance available to municipalities from the Department of Community and Economic Development for the purchase of equipment from $25,000 to $50,000 and for the purchase, construction, renovation or rehabilitation of facilities from $50,000 to $100,000.

JUDICIARY, 10 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

  • HB 1815 (Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster):  Constitutional amendment that establishes an Appellate Court Nominating Commission and requires the governor to nominate for appointment individuals for the offices of justice of the Supreme Court and judge of the Superior and Commonwealth Court exclusively from the list of individuals recommended by the Appellate Court Nominating Commission.
  • HB 1816 (Rep. Bryan Cutler):  Statutorily establishes an Appellate Court Nominating Commission to nominate individuals for the offices of justice of the Supreme Court and judge of the Superior Court and Commonwealth Court and sets forth the powers and duties of the commission.
  • HB 2189 (Rep. Bryan Cutler):  Establishes the impersonation of a law enforcement officer as a third-degree felony, punishable with up to seven years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine, and requires the seller of an emergency vehicle equipped with flashing lights or audible warning systems to remove the system or lights prior to selling the vehicle.

TOURISM AND RECREATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, 10 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol

  • Informational meeting on HB 1495 (Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams/Franklin):  Expands the Recreational Land and Water Use Act to clarify landowner liability protection regarding property improvements; to expand the definition of “recreational purpose”; and to award attorney fees and legal costs to landowners found not to be liable for an injury.

 
 
Session
On Tuesday the House will meet at 11 a.m. for legislative business.
 
Votes on Second Consideration

  • HB 1972 (Rep. Justin Simmons, R-Lehigh/Northampton):  Codifies an existing research and development tax credit of 10 percent of the excess of qualified expenses and up to 20 percent if the taxpayer is a small business; the total amount of credits approved by the Department of Revenue in any fiscal year after 2015 is limited to no more than $75 million, $15 million of which must be allocated exclusively to small businesses.
  • HB 2254 (Rep. Mike Fleck, R-Blair/Huntingdon/Mifflin):  Bridge designation: the Sgt. 1st Class Sidney N. Hamer Memorial Bridge.
  • HB 2289 (Rep. Jerry Stern, R-Blair):  Bridge designation: the Williamsburg Memorial Bridge.
  • HB 2324 (Rep. Mark Keller, R-Perry/Franklin):  Reenacts recent changes to the bidding limits in the Public Auditorium Authority Law so that the new bid limit of $18,500 will become effective immediately and the indexing of the amount can commence on Jan. 1, 2013, rather than delaying the bid limit to Jan. 1, 2013, and the indexing to Jan. 1, 2014.
  • HB 2326 (Rep. Mark Keller):  Increases the minimum limit for requiring full advertising and bidding of contracts under the Economic Development Financing Law from $10,000 to $18,500 and establishes the annual indexing and adjusting for inflation.
  • HR 16 (Rep. Will Tallman, R-Adams/York):  Resolution requesting Congress to address concerns regarding the Transportation Security Administration and newly implemented security procedures.

 
Votes on Third Consideration
HB 235 (Rep. Paul Clymer)
HB 2018 (Rep. Sid Kavulich)
HB 2217 (Rep. Dan Truitt)
HB 2224 (Rep. Bryan Cutler)
HB 2321 (Rep. Doyle Heffley)
HB 2331 (Rep. Todd Stephens)
HB 2343 (Rep. Curt Sonney)
HB 2345 (Rep. Mike Vereb)
HB 2346 (Rep. Adam Harris)
SB 1395 (Sen. Dave Argall)
SB 1429 (Sen. Pat Vance)

Wednesday, May 23

Committee Meetings/Hearings
EDUCATION, 9 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

  • SB 1406 (Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon/Berks/Chester/Dauphin/Lancaster):  Allows private, non-profit colleges or universities to offer additional degrees and institute additional programs and majors without the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Education if the college or university has operated continuously in Pennsylvania for at least 10 years and is accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, 9 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

  • HB 1775 (Rep. Camille George, D-Clearfield):  Establishes retroactively that, unless a contractual provision explicitly assigns alternative energy credits in a different manner, the owner of an alternative energy system or a customer-generator owns any and all alternative energy credits associated with or created by the production of electric energy and shall be entitled to sell or transfer the credits.
  • HB 1659 (Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong/Indiana):  Establishes a submission and review process that all future applicants for permits from the Department of Environmental Protection must go through.
  • SB 367 (Sen. Don White, R-Indiana/Armstrong/Butler/Clearfield/Westmoreland):  Authorizes the Department of General Services to make and execute contracts or leases in the name of the Commonwealth for the mining or removal of valuable coal, oil, natural gas, coal bed methane, limestone and mineral resources which may be found in or beneath state-owned land and to convey Commonwealth rights to mineral resources; establishes the process for advertising and bidding; and sets forth the distribution of revenue.
  • HB 2359 (Rep. Martin Causer, R-Cameron/Potter/McKean):  Requires the Environmental Quality Board to establish procedures for the removal of flood-related hazards or related stream clearing activities by persons owning adjacent property, or municipalities where the flood-related hazards are located or related stream clearing activities are to be completed.

HUMAN SERVICES, 9 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

  • SB 1351 (Sen. Pat Vance, R-Cumberland/York):  Allows certified nurse practitioners to sign death certificates.
  • HB 386 (Rep. Scott Boyd, R-Lancaster):  Establishes a mental retardation services tax credit for business firms contributing money, property, or services to a non-profit community-based mental retardation service provider.

AGING AND OLDER ADULT SERVICES, 9:30 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

  • Informational meeting to discuss the issue of property tax relief for seniors and to discuss HB 273 (Rep. Dick Hess, R-Bedford/Fulton/Huntingdon): Establishes a demonstrative program where select school districts can allow senior citizens living in their district to volunteer in the schools in exchange for a property tax credit, the rate of which will be $5 an hour and may not exceed the total amount of property tax owed.

TOURISM AND RECREATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, 9:30 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

  • Informational meeting on fairs and festivals in Pennsylvania.

VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, 9:30 a.m., Room 39, East Wing

  • HB 305 (Rep. John Hornaman, D-Erie):  Increases the monthly payment for the paralyzed veteran’s pension from $150 to $200 per month.
  • HB 173 (Rep. Ron Miller, R-York):  Clarifies the current law regarding leaves of absence for members of the Pennsylvania National Guard by stating that the 15-day leave of absence is to be applied to a 24 hour day and prohibits an officer or employee from being required to return to duty within 18 hours of being relieved of federal or state active duty.

CHILDREN AND YOUTH, 10 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

  • HB 451 (Rep. Scott Petri, R-Bucks):  Reduces the amount of time a parent can revoke his/her consent for adoption from within 30 days to within 96 hours of the birth of the child or the execution of consent.

INSURANCE, 10 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

  • HB 32 (Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny):  Requires insurers to give the Insurance Department at least 90 days advance written notice of the expiration date of a contract with a hospital and clarifies that the Insurance Department has the authority to extend the contract for another term if the expiration would leave insured individuals without adequate access to a viable alternate health care delivery system.
  • HB 508 (Rep. Tony DeLuca):  Requires all health insurers to cover the costs that are directly associated with a cancer clinical trial in which an insured individual participates voluntarily.
  • HB 532 (Rep. Stan Saylor, R-York):  Requires health insurers to provide coverage of general anesthesia and associated medical costs for dental care provided to children who are 7 years old or younger or to special needs patients.
  • HB 1537 (Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery/Philadelphia):  Prohibits an insurer from setting fees for dental services which are provided to its subscribers unless the insurer is compensating a dentist for the services.
  • HB 2135 (Rep. Marguerite Quinn, R-Bucks):  Requires vendors to hold a limited lines license to sell, solicit, or negotiate coverage under a policy of portable electronics insurance, requires vendors to maintain a list of the Pennsylvania locations where they offer coverage, and outlines the written materials that must be made available to customers at all of the vendor’s locations.
  • SB 388 (Sen. Pat Vance, R-Cumberland/York):  Requires dentists to maintain medical professional liability insurance in the minimum amount of $1 million per occurrence or claim and $3 million per annual aggregate.

URBAN AFFAIRS, 10:15 a.m., Room 39, East Wing

  • SB 1433 (Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland/Snyder/Dauphin/Luzerne):  Establishes the Homeowner Assistance Settlement Fund, from which no more than $12 million will be distributed annually at the following rate: 90 percent of the funds will be given to the Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, 5 percent will be given to the Attorney General for the purpose of funding housing consumer protection programs, and 5 percent will be given to the Access to Justice account for civil legal assistance related to housing issues.

GAME AND FISHERIES, Call of the Chair, Room 205, Ryan Office Building

  • SB 1049 (Sen. Richard Kasunic, D-Fayette/Somerset/Washington/Westmoreland):  Allows the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to make available licenses and permits that cover multiple years, licenses and permits that cover a group of individuals who meet certain criteria as established by the commission, and allows for promotional discounts.

Session
On Wednesday the House will meet at 11 a.m. for legislative business.
 
Votes on Third Consideration
HB 1972 (Rep. Justin Simmons)
HB 2254 (Rep. Mike Fleck)
HB 2289 (Rep. Jerry Stern)
HB 2324 (Rep. Mark Keller)
HB 2326 (Rep. Mark Keller)

 

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