State Sen. David G. Argall on Friday released his weekly legislative update.
The Senate unanimously approved bills improving and expediting access to lobbying disclosure and campaign finance data, and creating an online voter registration system on Wednesday. The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
SB 120 will require electronic submission of all campaign finance reports with the Department of State. Only about 35 percent of those reports are currently filed electronically. Any candidate committee or political action committee raising or spending $10,000 or more in a calendar year will be required to submit additional filings.
SB 308 will require lobbyists and principals to register and report expenditures electronically, making this information available quicker and more accurately. The bill also requires the Department of State to post the information on its public website within a week.
SB 37 will allow online voter registration up to 30 days prior to an election. About 16 other states now allow online voter registration and most have reported significant cost savings as a result.
Bipartisan Transportation funding proposal unveiled
Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty, Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch, the three majority and minority chairmen of the Senate and House Transportation Committees and several other senators unveiled a comprehensive transportation funding proposal at a Tuesday news conference.
"The Bridge to Pennsylvania's Future," which will be introduced as SB 1, would provide $2.5 billion annually. The proposal includes the major recommendations made by the Governor's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission.
This is just the first step in the process and the legislation will certainly be subject to extensive committee review before it could come to the Senate floor for final consideration.
Safe schools bill sent to the House
The Senate passed legislation on Wednesday intended to improve the safety of Pennsylvania's schools. SB 10 would expand and enhance the current Safe Schools Grant program in the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, a new program will be established to provide dedicated grant funding to school districts for the purpose of training and hiring armed guards to provide security for their schools.
Senate approves measure providing flexibility for PENNVEST
The Senate approved SB 196, legislation introduced by Senator Don White that will enable the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) to more effectively use federal monies for storm water management projects. The bill is now before the House Environmental resources and Energy Committee for consideration.
Committee moves bill to end "triple dipping"
The Senate Labor and Industry Committee approved SB 297, legislation to end so-called 'triple dipping' of Unemployment Compensation benefits by retirees on Tuesday. The practice involves an individual who collects a public pension or private retirement benefit while returning to temporary work, only to collect unemployment compensation when leaving the job. In the past three years, more than 600 state retirees have returned to work on a temporary basis and then collected $2 million in benefits while receiving a state pension.
Other legislation approved by the Senate this week
SB 381– providing several amendments and updates to Pennsylvania's Uniform Commercial Code, the law governing secured financial transactions; SB 351 – allowing the establishment of municipal storm water authorities; and SB 808– allowing third through eighth class counties to adopt a resolution abolishing the office of jury commissioner upon of the completion of the current jury commissioner's term.