State Sen. David G. Argall has released his weekly recap of legislative action. The report provides information on state legislators did last week.
The Senate passed a bill on Monday, May 6, creating the offense of theft of secondary metal. The bill is intended to deter the theft of wire, cable, or pipe from homes, businesses, construction sites and utility infrastructure. The rising market value for metals, especially copper, has spurred an increase in these thefts.
Under Senate Bill 688, the theft of secondary metal would be a misdemeanor of the third degree when the value of the metal is less than $50, a misdemeanor of the second degree if the value of the metal is between $50 and $200, a misdemeanor of the first degree if the value of the metal is between $200 and $1,000 and a felony of the third degree when the value of the metal is more than $1,000.
Senate approves landowner liability measure
The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday that would limit the liability of land owners who allow hunting on their property. Senate Bill 648 would prevent land owners from being prosecuted for Game Code violations committed by hunters who are permitted to use the property.
Under current law, land owners who allow hunting on their property could be held responsible for violations by hunters, such as taking an animal out of season. Property owners could still be held responsible for violations if they receive a fee, payment or gratuity from the hunter. SB 648 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Transportation improvement plan advances
The Senate Transportation Committee approved on Tuesday and sent to the full Senate a comprehensive transportation improvement funding package. Senate Bill 1 raises approximately $2.5 billion in sustainable annual funding by fiscal year 2017-18 through a number of sources including adjusting vehicle and driver fees for inflation, surcharging fines for drivers who violate traffic laws, uncapping the Oil Company Franchise Tax over three years, and achieving significant cost savings by modernizing many PENNDOT services.
In addition to providing additional funding for Pennsylvania's highway and bridge infrastructure and 36 transit agencies, the plan addresses rail, aviation, ports, and bicycle/pedestrian funding needs.
Committee approves ban on taxpayer-funded elective abortions
The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved a measure on Tuesday that would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars for elective abortions under ObamaCare. House Bill 818, which is the companion bill to Senate Bill 3, which I co-sponsored, explicitly prohibits health insurers participating in taxpayer subsidized state health insurance exchanges, slated to be operational by 2014 from providing coverage for elective abortions except for cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger. Currently, 21 states have passed legislation to opt-out of abortion funding.
Senate returns industrialized building bill to House
The Senate approved House Bill 124 on Tuesday. This bill amends the Industrialized Housing Act to clearly give the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) the power to issue regulations to create a certification program for the construction/installation of industrialized commercial buildings. The bill was amended by the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, so it returns to the House for concurrence.
Other bills approved by the Senate this week and sent to the House include:
Senate Bill 304 updates and finishes the codification of the state Nonprofit Corporation Law and makes it consistent with the Business Corporation Law.
Senate Bill 835 would allow stepchildren to share in any recovery obtained through a lawsuit alleging wrongful death.
Senate Bill 777 is intended to encourage the multiple agencies that are normally involved in child welfare and delinquency cases to share information and work together toward the goal of achieving the best possible outcomes in these cases.