Senate Weekly Session Wrap
Important Harrisburg Happenings:
Senate Approves Marcellus Shale Legislation
The Senate approved legislation on Tuesday, November 15th that would establish reasonable fees on gas drillers, establish strong environmental safeguards and strengthen oversight of the Marcellus Shale drilling industry.
Senate Bill 1100 would impose a sliding fee of $50,000 per well in the first year of production, with a $10,000 reduction each subsequent year. Starting in the 11th year through the 20th year of the well, an annual fee of $10,000 would be imposed.
According to estimates, the fee proposal would raise $94 million from wells that were producing gas this year, a figure that would rise to $155 million next year and $255 million by 2014.
Approximately 55 percent of the fees generated would go to counties and municipalities in the Marcellus Shale region and 45 percent to statewide infrastructure projects, environmental programs and other projects related to natural gas production.
Other funds also would be set aside for county conservation districts, firefighter training programs, the Fish and Boat Commission and for boosting availability of affordable housing.
The legislation recognizes local government’s role is zoning matters related to drilling operations while setting uniform standards for the Commonwealth.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
‘Adam Walsh’ Child Protection Bill Sent to House
The state Senate passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, a measure to ensure that Pennsylvania meets federally mandated national standards to strengthen sex offender registration and notification, on Tuesday, November 15th.
Senate Bill 1183 strengthens the state’s efforts to track and prosecute sex offenders, includes the state as part of a national registry that law enforcement officials can access and expands the list of sexually violent offenses covered under the law.
In addition to establishing a national system for the registration of convicted sex offenders, the bill also closes loopholes in the current law that have allowed homeless and out-of-state offenders to avoid registering under the state’s Megan’s Law.
The legislation also increases the amount of information collected from each offender and requires Pennsylvania to include more information on its Internet website.
SB 1183 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Approves Flood Relief Package
In response to the heavy flooding caused by tropical storms Irene and Lee in September, the Senate approved a comprehensive, bipartisan legislative package aimed at bringing relief to those affected by the disaster.
The flood relief package, Senate Bills 1264, 1266, 1267, 1268, 1269, 1271, 1297 and 1323, combines financial assistance, infrastructure funding and tax breaks for affected areas. Among the bills are measures to:
Governor Corbett Signs Five Bills into Law
Governor Tom Corbett recently signed five bills into law.
Act 98 of 2011 (Senate Bill 314) bans texting while driving on Pennsylvania roads. The new law, which makes texting while driving a primary offense, carries a $50 fine.
Act 99 of 2011(House Bill 1459) amends the Third Class City Code to further provide clarification for promotion procedures for Civil Service employees.
Act 100 of 2011 (House Bill 1460)amends the First Class Township Code to further provide that a background investigation of an applicant for examination for an original position in the police force or fire department may be restricted to those candidates on an eligibility list or those certified to the township commissioners for appointment.
Act 101 of 2011 (Senate Bill 200) establishes standards for managing concussions and traumatic brain injuries to student athletes.
Act 102 of 2011 (Senate Bill 566) designates the Route 1077 bridge over the Monongahela River in Washington and Westmoreland counties as the “Stan the Man” Musial Bridge.