Personal and Public Safety, as well as Local Government Reform, on the PA House Agenda
3/4/2011

The state House returns to session on Monday, March 7, to deal with various issues of importance.

 

Castle Doctrine: Protecting Victims Instead of Criminals

The Castle Doctrine, legislation allowing citizens to defend themselves and their families while in their homes, vehicles and any place they have a lawful right to be, will be taken up by the House this coming week.  The legislation gives the benefit of the doubt to the victim of a crime, rather than the criminal as current law allows. The bill also strengthens the penalties related to the trafficking of stolen guns.   

 

Local Government Reforms

The House will vote on several local government reforms dealing with online auctions (such as E-Bay). The bills will allow municipalities to auction personal property through online auctions.

 

Public Safety: From Drunks to Sexual Predators

When operating a vehicle, whether on the road or a waterway, penalties for driving under the influence should be consistent. House Bill 78 was introduced after a 12-year-old child was killed by a person who was previously convicted of a DUI and was operating a boat under the influence. The district attorney and judge both felt hampered by current law; had the death occurred on a road instead of a waterway, the defendant would have faced a much tougher penalty. Therefore, this bill makes penalties consistent for homicides under the influence. Other public safety items on this week’s agenda include House Bill 208, which deals with hit-and-run accidents involving homicides; and House Bill 317, which adds an “aggravating circumstance” to be considered in conjunction with a murder conviction (whether the defendant perpetrated a sexually violent offense and was a registered sex offender). 

 

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, March 7

Committee Meetings/Hearings

JUDICIARY, 11a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building    

  • HB 40 (Rep. Scott Perry, R-Cumberland/York):  Castle Doctrine, changing the benefit of the doubt to the victim of a crime rather than the criminal.
  • HB 828 (Rep. Marcy Toepel, R-Montgomery):  Deems a person to have been convicted of a prior offense for the sale or transfer of firearms whether or not he or she has been sentenced on the previous conviction. 

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 61 (Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar, R-Bedford/Somerset): Extends the time limitation on private collection agencies for the collection of court costs, restitution, and fines from 180 days to 48 months. Essentially, the bill allows an agency enough time to make contact with a defendant and collect the owed money.
  • HB 78 (Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre/Mifflin): Increases the grading for the offense of homicide by watercraft while under the influence. 
  • HB 145 (Rep. Jim Marshall, R-Beaver): Designates the Vietnam Veterans of America Memorial Highway.
  • HB 156 (Rep. John Payne, R-Dauphin): Increases to 14,000 pounds the maximum registered gross weight limit for passenger vehicles and trucks eligible to be issued special registration plates (such as veteran organization or college plates). 
  • HB 165 (Rep. John Evans, R-Crawford/Erie): Adds a penalty to the animal cruelty statute if a dog kills, maims or disfigures a service dog without provocation. The bill holds a dog owner responsible for the actions of the dog toward guide dogs.
  • HB 312 (Rep. Richard Stevenson, R- Mercer/Butler): Designates the Mercer County Veterans Highway.
  • HB 442 (Rep. Sue Helm, R-Dauphin): Creates the “Private Transfer Fee Obligation Act,” which prohibits private transfer fee obligations and calls for notice and disclosure of existing private real estate transfer fee obligations. The bill protects consumers from possible predatory practices.  

Votes on Third Consideration

  • HB 372 (Rep. Chris Ross, R-Chester):  Amends the First Class Township Code provisions on the sale of township property to permit electronic auctions, and for the advertisement announcing these online sales. 
  • HB 373 (Rep. Chris Ross, R-Chester):  Amends the Borough Code provisions on the sale of borough property to permit electronic auction sales, and for the advertisement announcing these online sales.
  • HB 374 (Rep. Dave Millard, R-Columbia):  Amends Act 34 of 1953 governing contracts of incorporated towns to allow the sale of town property through electronic auctions sales, and for the advertisement announcing these online sales.
  • HB 377 (Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming):  Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act to eliminate the Residential Automatic Sprinkler Mandate.
  • HB 562 (Rep. Mark Gillen, R-Berks):   Amends the Agricultural Area Security Law by providing for contiguous acreage. 

Tuesday, March 8

Committee Meetings/Hearings

CONSUMER AFFAIRS, 9 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

  • Informational meeting on overview of the Public Utility Commission.

URBAN AFFAIRS, 9:30 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

  • Presentation by the Philadelphia Parking Authority concerning proposed regulations.

HUMAN SERVICES, 10 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol:

  • HR 42 (Rep. Dick Hess, R-Bedford/Fulton/Huntingdon): Urges the Department of Health to revise its regulations to require the same disease reporting and monitoring measures for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) as for chicken pox.
  • HB 486 (Rep. Mark Cohen, D-Philadelphia): Renames the “Department of Public Welfare” as the “Department of Human Services” and allows for a two-year transition period to facilitate the name change on signs, stationary, and publications.
  • HB 152 (Rep. John Payne, R-Dauphin): Requires family child day care homes to carry a general liability insurance policy, creates informational posting and disclosure requirements, and expands the reasons for emergency closures. 

Session

On Tuesday, the House will meet at 11 a.m. for legislative business. Gov. Tom Corbett will give his budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly at 11:30 a.m. A media availability with House Republican leaders will take place immediately after the budget address. More details to come.

 

Votes on Third Consideration

  • HB 61 (Metzger)
  • HB 78 (Benninghoff)
  • HB 145 (Marshall)
  • HB 156 (Payne)
  • HB 165 (Evans) 
  • HB 312 (Stevenson) 

Wednesday, March 9

Committee Meetings/Hearings

ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, 9:15 a.m., Room B-31 Main Capitol

  • HR 87 (Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong/Indiana): Urges the Environmental Protection Agency to stop its application of the Guidance Memo regarding the federal Water Pollution Control Act and to restore the previous regulations where the Commonwealth’s Department of Environmental Protection was the sole agency with permitting authority of mine-related National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits.
  • HB 608 (Rep. Michele Brooks, R-Crawford/Lawrence/Mercer): Directs the Department of Environmental Protection to encourage the planting of bioenergy crops on abandoned mine lands and establishes a full-cost bonding program to provide sum certain guarantees to cover State III reclamation liabilities on areas replanted with bioenergy crops.

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

  • HB 137 (Rep. Bob Godshall, R-Montgomery): Establishes that the first day of school for students occurs no earlier than the day after Labor Day.
  • 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.
  • HB 855 (Rep. Scott Boyd, R-Lancaster): Provides school districts the ability to suspend the employment of professional employees for economic reasons.

GAME AND FISHERIES, 10 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol

  • HB 575 (Rep. Matt Baker, R-Bradford/Tioga): Amends the Pennsylvania Constitution to state that people shall forever have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest game.

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

  • HB 63 (Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Centre/Clinton): Creates and establishes the procedures for issuing vintage snowmobile permits for snowmobiles that are at least 25 years old and that are only operated at vintage snowmobile events.
  • HB 293 (Rep. Mark Keller, R-Franklin/Perry): Increases the dollar amount of a sale or purchase before a metropolitan transportation authority is required to seek competitive bids from $10,000 to $25,000 and provides for the annual adjustment of that amount based on the change in the Consumer Price Index.
  • HB 553 (Rep. Scott Petri, R-Bucks): Expands the definition of “fire department vehicle” to include vehicles owned or leased by fire relief associations that are used by paid or volunteer fire departments.
  • HB 584 (Rep. Peter Daley, D-Fayette/Washington): Designates the Claysville Interchange of Exit 6 on Interstate 70 in Washington County as the Sergeant Nathan P. Kennedy Memorial Interchange.
  • HB 585 (Rep. Peter Daley, D-Fayette/Washington): Designates the bridge on State Route 2023 over Pigeon Creek in Carroll Township, Washington County, as the Stanley Jurgaitis Memorial Bridge.
  • HB 712 (Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin): Designates State Route 997 within the limits of the Borough of Mont Alto, Franklin County, as the Sgt. Edward W. Shaffer Memorial Highway.
  • HB 864 (Rep. Rick Geist, R-Blair): Increases the membership of the Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee from 15 to 17 by adding two more public appointees and generalizes the requirements for the public appointees.  

Session

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 11 a.m. for legislative business.

 

Votes on Second Consideration

  • HB 40 (Perry):  Castle Doctrine/Illegal Gun Trafficking. 

·     HB 208 (Reed):  Increases the minimum term of imprisonment for hit-and-run accidents involving death or personal injury from one year to three years.

  • HB 317 (Benninghoff):  Adds an aggravating circumstance to be considered in conjunction with a first-degree murder conviction (whether the defendant perpetrated a sexually violent offense and was a registered sex offender). 
  • HB 344 (Baker): Amends the Public Utilities Code to provide the PUC with regulatory oversight with respect to the safety of certain activities related to the natural gas transportation process. 
  • HB 365 (Swanger): Amends the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act to include salvia divinorum as a Schedule I substance.   

Votes on Third Consideration

  • HB 442 (Helm) 

Thursday, March 10

Committee Meetings/Hearings

CONSUMER AFFAIRS, 9 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

  • Informational meeting with the Natural Gas Industry.

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

  • Public hearing on compulsive gambling issues.

LIQUOR CONTROL, 10:30 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

  • Meeting with Liquor Control Board to discuss its duties. 

State Representative Mike Turzai
28th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Stephen Miskin
RepTurzai.com
smiskin@pahousegop.com
717.705.1852
PAHouseGOP.com
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/SAM1963

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