Action Taken This Week to Reduce the Size of the Legislature, Jumpstart Road/Bridge Jobs Projects and Aid Flood Recovery
4/5/2012

The state House was in session this week to debate and vote on various issues of importance.


Getting Our Own House in Order

Reducing the size of the General Assembly took center stage this week on the floor of the House. House Bill 153, sponsored by Speaker of the House Sam Smith (R-Jefferson/Armstrong/Indiana), passed after three days of debating and voting amendments by a final bipartisan vote of 140-49. The bill, a constitutional amendment to reduce the size of the state House of Representatives from 203 members to 153 and the Senate from 50 to 38, is required to be debated and passed by both the House and Senate in two consecutive sessions, and subsequently approved by referendum vote of the people of Pennsylvania.

 

Creating Jobs Through Public/Private Partnerships for Transportation Improvements

As state and local governments are trying to cope with less money, House Republicans worked on an important measure to support bridge and highway improvements statewide. House Bill 3, sponsored by Rep. Rick Geist (R-Blair), provides a broad-based legislative framework authorizing the implementation of transportation-specific public-private partnerships to help the Commonwealth meet its substantial transportation infrastructure needs.

Boosting Flood Relief and Mitigation for PA Communities

A package of bills aimed at helping communities continue their recovery from last fall’s flooding during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee passed the House this week. Although these storms took place more than six months ago, there is still a great deal of infrastructure that needs to be repaired or replaced, and families that still need financial assistance above and beyond what was originally dispersed through the state and federal governments.

Draw down additional federal funds by making a one-time transfer of $1.3 million from the General Fund to be used as state matching funds to repair flood-damaged small stream flood-control infrastructure. (House Bill 2244)

Allow local taxing bodies to adjust real estate taxes for properties substantially affected by the flood. Adjustment is directly proportionate to damage of property.  (House Bill 1913)

Authorize a county-by-county list of bridges affected by the flood that need rehabilitation and need to be added to the Capital Budget Act. (House Bill 1915

Authorize state capital money for projects to rehabilitate or replace railroad bridges damaged or destroyed by the storms. (House Bill 2245

Authorize a county-by-county list of flood control and hazard mitigation projects that could be funded through the Capital Budget Act. (House Bill 1916

Provide additional assistance to certain employers to supplement compensation received from private insurance and the federal government. (House Bill 2077

Authorize $67.6 million in funding for flood-damaged highways through revenue from the Motor License Fund. The funding would be used to cover the matching grants needed to receive funding through the federal government for specific projects in need of repair due to the damage from these storms. (House Bill 2242)

Below is a full list of bills passed by the House of Representatives during the week of April 2, 2012:

HB 3 (Rep. Rick Geist, R-Blair):  Authorizes the implementation of transportation-specific public-private partnerships. Vote: 128-66. HB 3 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 153 (Rep. Sam Smith, R-Jefferson/Armstrong/Indiana):  Constitutional amendment to reduce the number of districts in the House of Representatives from 203 to 153 and in the Senate from 50 to 38. Vote: 140-49. HB 153 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1054 (Rep. Mark Mustio, R-Allegheny):  Allows retired professional engineers, land surveyors and geologists to obtain a retired-status license, and thereby continue to identify themselves by the title PE, PLS or PG, Retired. Vote: 192-2. HB 1054 now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

HB 1478 (Rep. Curt Sonney, R-Erie):  Allows Erie County to impose a maximum hotel room tax of 7 percent. Vote: 142-51. HB 1478 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1500 (Rep. John Bear, R-Lancaster):  Consolidates the Long-Term Patient Access to Pharmaceuticals Act with corresponding repeals, establishes the addition of a lockbox requirement for storing the pharmaceuticals, and outlines the duties and responsibilities of the pharmacy manager in overseeing access to the lockbox. Vote: 194-0. HB 1500 now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

HB 1588 (Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams/Franklin):  Allows Adams County to impose a maximum hotel room tax of 5 percent and provides for the distribution of revenue. Vote: 140-54. HB 1588 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1701 (Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster):  Creates the State Geospatial Coordinating Council and establishes the Pennsylvania Mapping and Geospatial Technologies Fund in the State Treasury.  Vote: 194-0. HB 1701 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1749 (Rep. Edward Staback, D-Lackawanna/Wayne):  Allows Lackawanna County to impose a maximum hotel room tax of 7 percent and alters the allocation of the tax revenue to provide at least 40 percent to the county’s designated tourist promotion agency and not more than 60 percent to the county. Vote: 136-57. HB 1749 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1751 (Rep. Deberah Kula, D-Fayette/Westmoreland):  Road designation: the POW/MIA/KIA Memorial Highway.  Vote: 194-0. HB 1751 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1839 (Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Lycoming):  Bridge re-designation: the Lance Corporal Abram Howard Memorial Bridge. Vote: 193-0. HB 1839 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1891 (Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin):  Provides civil immunity to the operator of a commercial bowling center, excepting willful misconduct or gross negligence, when posting notification requirements have been met. Vote: 190-4. HB 1891 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1898 (Rep. Gary Haluska, D-Cambria):  Bridge designation:  the Sergeant Derek Lee Shanfield Memorial Bridge. Vote: 194-0. HB 1898 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1906 (Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton):  Bridge designation:  the Clarence Bridge of Freedom for All Veterans. Vote: 194-0. HB 1906 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1916 (Rep. Dave Millard, R-Columbia):  Authorizes a county-by-county list of flood control and hazard mitigation projects that could be funded through the Capital Budget Act. Vote: 193-2. HB 1916 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2077 (Rep. Kurt Masser, R-Montour/Columbia/Northumberland):  Establishes the Small Business Flood Relief Supplementation Act of 2011 to provide financial assistance to small businesses impacted by the flooding that resulted from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Vote: 194-0. HB 2077 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2136 (Rep. Deberah Kula, D-Fayette/Westmoreland):  Provides courts with guidelines to follow during custody disputes and divorce proceedings, to help courts identify families at risk for abduction, and to provide methods to prevent the interstate or foreign abduction of children. Vote: 193-0. HB 2136 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2137 (Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny/Washington):  Provides for a temporary moratorium of court-ordered countywide reassessments. Vote: 189-0. HB 2137 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2242 (Rep. Matt Baker, R-Tioga/Bradford): Itemizes $66.78 million to be expended for highway capital budget projects for flood-damaged highways to be financed from revenue from the Motor License Fund.Vote: 193-1. HB 2242 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2243 (Rep. Scott Hutchinson, R-Venango/Butler):  Road designations: the Venango County Veterans Highway; the Forest County Veterans Highway; and the Warren County Veterans Highway.Vote: 194-0. HB 2243 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2244 (Rep. Sandra Major, R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming):  Creates the Watershed Disaster Reconstruction Act of 2012 to allocate $1.3 million to the governor for payment of the Commonwealth’s share necessary to secure federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service for stream restoration. Vote: 193-0. HB 2244 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2245 (Rep. Karen Boback, R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming):  Authorizes state capital money for projects to rehabilitate or replace railroad bridges damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irene and/or Tropical Storm Lee in the summer and fall of 2011. Vote: 190-4. HB 2245 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

SB 354 (Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon/Berks/Chester/Dauphin/Lancaster):  Prohibits PennDOT or any other Commonwealth agency from participating in either the REAL ID Act of 2005 or any regulations promulgated under the act. Vote: 189-5. SB 354 now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

SB 375 (Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-Chester/Delaware):  Prohibits municipal authorities from making financial expenditures for any purpose other than a service or project directly related to the mission of the authority and establishes a cause of action in the court of common pleas for any ratepayer to the authority. Vote: 194-0. SB 375 now goes to the Senate for concurrence.

SB 539 (Sen. John Rafferty, R-Berks/Chester/Montgomery):  Establishes driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances with a minor in the vehicle as a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine, with increased penalties for subsequent violations. Vote: 193-1. SB 539 now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

SB 817 (Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Pike/Wayne/Wyoming/Luzerne/Monroe/Susquehanna):  Requires that restraints be removed from a child during a juvenile court hearing, with enumerated exceptions, and requires that the child be afforded an opportunity to be heard on the question of restraint and, if restraints are ordered, a statement of reasons must be provided by the court before the restraints are used. Vote: 194-0. SB 817 now goes to the Senate for concurrence.

State Representative Mike Turzai
28th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Stephen Miskin
smiskin@pahousegop.com
717.705.1852
PAHouseGOP.com
Twitter:
www.Twitter.com/SAM1963

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