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Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act – Senate Bill 479 of 2017
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of protected, unpaid leave for mothers and fathers caring for sick children or newborns and adult children caring for ailing parents.
The Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act calls for extending similar rights to siblings, grandparents and grandchildren in certain, specific cases. It would provide up to six weeks of protected, unpaid leave to an employee to care for a sibling, grandparent or grandchild with a serious health condition if such sibling, grandparent or grandchild has no living spouse, child over 17 years of age or parent under 65 years of age. The bill also ensures that no one double-dips and takes leave time from the federal and state extension program.
The Pet Protection from Domestic Abuse Act – Senate Bill 480 of 2017
All too often, an estranged spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend will get back at his or her spouse or partner by hurting or killing their cat, dog or other pet.
This bill would stiffen Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Law to increase the penalty when animal abuse happens in a domestic-violence situation.
Pennsylvania Premise Alert System – Senate Bill 573 of 2017
The Pennsylvania Premise Alert System (PAS) is an effective and efficient system to allow anyone with any special need, complex medical diagnosis or disability to share pertinent information with local law enforcement and the 911 system. In 2008, the PA Premise Alert System was gifted to the state by its creators and put in place as policy but not as law. This legislation will establish the PAS as law so that every community across the Commonwealth has access to this proven system that protects our most vulnerable residents and supports our police and other first responders.
The PAS is in use in communities across the nation and replicated by law in Illinois and Wisconsin. In recent years, the PAS has been proven to be effective, efficient and cost neutral in our largest cities and in our smallest towns.
Local Taxation of Natural Gas, Hazardous-Liquid Pipelines – Senate Bill 574 of 2017
This legislation would make natural gas and hazardous-liquid transmission pipelines subject to taxation by local governments, including school districts. Under this bill, Pennsylvania would join the long list of states that recognize the fairness of having pipeline companies financially support the local communities they must pass through in order to bring their product to market.
Volunteer Firefighters Length of Service Award Program – Senate Bill 575 of 2017
This legislation calls for establishing a Volunteer Firefighters Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP), as used in a number of other states, to increase recruitment and retention efforts in volunteer fire companies throughout the Commonwealth. A LOSAP provides tax-deferred income benefits to active volunteer members of a fire service. It can be used as a tool to ensure retention of existing volunteer members and to provide incentives for recruiting new volunteer firefighters.
The bill will also ensure that funds are available for the assistance and protection of volunteer firefighters in order to provide necessary training and life preserving safeguards.
Pipeline Impact Fee – Senate Bill 605 of 2017
Throughout Pennsylvania, residents have been affected by the construction of natural gas lines. With the surge in natural gas drilling, many residents of Pennsylvania are experiencing the effects of the growth in this industry. Although the construction of this energy infrastructure is often done very efficiently, many communities experience a period of reduced quality of life and long term impacts to the environment as a result of the construction process.
The legislation would establish a pipeline impact fee calculated based on the acreage of linear feet plus right-of way width of a pipeline using the county average land value in an affected area. The funds would be distributed to the counties and municipalities affected by the pipeline.
Healthcare Facilities Violence Prevention Act – Senate Bill 815 of 2017
According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Healthcare and social assistance workers were the victims of approximately 11,370 assaults by persons nationwide last year; a more than than 13 percent increase over the previous year. Almost 19 percent of these assaults occurred in nursing and residential care facilities alone. Unfortunately, experts believe that many more incidents probably go unreported.
This important legislation, which has been introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as House Bill 326 by state Rep. Florindo Fabrizio, is geared at protecting the selfless, tireless doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health care professionals who care for us when we are most vulnerable by preventing violence.
Land Broker Registration – Senate Bill 835 of 2017
This legislation would regulate land agents through the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. It calls for defining the role of “Land Acquisition Broker” and creating a public registry. In addition, the bill would require criminal history background checks for brokers and provides the Commission with authority to revoke or suspend registration for a number of reasons such as fraud or misrepresentation. Other states, including Texas and North Carolina, have similar laws in place.
Encouraging the Use of Mushroom Compost – Senate Bill 917 of 2017
The bill amends Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, to expand the definition of “compost materials” to include spent mushroom substrate (SMS), also referred to as “mushroom compost.” SMS is registered as a Pennsylvania Preferred Product by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and is already utilized by PennDOT in roadside reclamation and commercial redevelopment projects.
This legislation also expands the use of compost products as best management practices to include pipelines and related facilities for the transportation of natural gas and its derivatives and any other product transported through pipelines and well pads and related facilities for the extraction, production or storage of natural gas and oil.
Pipeline Placement Review – Senate Bill 928 of 2017
This bill aims to better protect citizens and the environment by ensuring a thorough review of the placement of natural gas pipelines. It calls for pipeline companies to apply to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) for authorization regarding the “siting” or placement of pipelines to be constructed under safety and environmental standards. It also requires consultation with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the county’s local governing body, and the local emergency management organization coordinators in evaluating each standard.
Pipeline Emergency Response Fund – Senate Bill 929 of 2017
Citizens living near natural gas and natural gas liquids pipelines have raised significant concerns about emergency services in the event of a pipeline emergency. This legislation calls for pipeline companies to fund necessary emergency response and preparation efforts. It allows counties or local municipalities to levy a fee on pipelines to fund increased emergency response services and related expenses, such as training, equipment, and planning.
Pipeline Emergency Notification – Senate Bill 930 of 2017
This legislation calls for much-needed communication and coordination between emergency management agencies and pipeline companies in the event of a catastrophic release of natural gas or natural gas liquids in a highly populated community. It requires pipeline companies to meet with county emergency coordinators to identify and share vital information regarding a potential pipeline emergency. Currently, the PUC is prevented from disclosing this information due to security concerns.
Pipeline Safety Valves – Senate Bill 931 of 2017
As natural gas and natural gas liquid pipelines are constructed in Pennsylvania they frequently impact highly developed communities and may come within direct proximity to schools, churches, hospitals, or residential neighborhoods. However, many existing pipelines rely on manual safety valves that require on site coordination to stop the escape of natural gas or natural gas liquids. The time it takes for a manual safety valve to be activated following the identification of leak could result in significant harm to the community. This legislation calls for incorporating automatic or remote shutoff valves on pipelines in high consequence areas throughout Pennsylvania.
Budget Impasse Bill – Senate Bill 1124 of 2016
Pennsylvania’s budget runs past the July 1 deadline 37 percent of the time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That is unacceptable and it cannot be allowed to continue.
This legislation calls for moving up the Pennsylvania’s budget calendar and imposing severe consequences on the legislature and the governor when budgets run late. It bill would require the legislature to remain in continuous session, meeting every day without leave, without pay, without reimbursements, and without per diems, if a complete budget is not passed and signed by July 1. The same goes for the governor, his senior staff and cabinet members.