Senate Weekly Session Wrap
A Report on the Legislative Session Week of March 12, 2012
Important Harrisburg Happenings:
Voter ID Bill Headed to Governor
After extensive floor debate and discussion in the Senate and the House of Representatives, legislation intended to crack down on voter fraud by requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls is headed to the Governor for enactment into law.
The House of Representatives concurred on Senate amendments to House Bill 934 on March 14. The Senate approved the bill on March 7.
HB 934 amends the Election Code to require each voter to present proof of identification when he or she appears to vote at any election. Currently, only first-time voters are required to show a photo ID. The bill would become effective with the April 2012 primary, but photo ID would not be required until the November 2012 General Election.
The original bill approved by the House only allowed for identification issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Federal government. It was amended in the Senate to allow the use of badges issued to county and municipal employees, and unexpired photo identification issued by colleges and universities as well as care facilities, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and personal care boarding homes.
HB 934 also provides for religious exemptions.
Those without valid ID will be permitted to cast "provisional ballots" during the general election, but must show proper identification to election officials within six days in order for their votes to be allowed.
Legislation Supports Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
In an effort to further support our fellow Pennsylvanians who have responded to the call of duty, the Senate unanimously approved legislation on March 13 that directs Commonwealth agencies to buy from veteran-owned small businesses.
Senate Bill 623 requires purchasing agencies to set a goal of not less than 5 percent participation by veteran-owned small businesses. The participation goal is to apply to the overall dollar amount expended by the purchasing agency.
The bill is now before the House of Representatives for consideration.
Measure Sets Standards for Relocated Manufactured Homes
The Senate unanimously approved legislation on March 13 to set standards for relocated manufactured housing units.
Senate Bill 1141 amends state law to require the Department of Community and Economic Development to include relocated manufactured homes in its regulations governing new manufactured homes.
SB 1141 also provides that the permits currently required under the Uniform Construction Code for the installation and occupancy of manufactured housing would also apply to relocated manufactured homes. Furthermore, a permit for occupancy of a relocated manufactured home may not be issued unless the relocated manufactured home meets all requirements to comply with the manufactured home construction and safety standard, and the installer certifies the installation.
The bill is now before the House of Representatives' Labor and Industry Committee for consideration.
Senate Approves Equity in Interscholastic Athletics Disclosure Bill
The Senate unanimously approved legislation on March 14 to help ensure that female students are offered equal athletic opportunities compared to their male counterparts.
Senate Bill 209 requires any public or private school entity that provides interscholastic athletic opportunities for students in grades 7 through 12 to submit annual reports to the state Department of Education demonstrating that they have met the requirements of Title IX, the federal statute mandating equal education opportunities for students. The report would be made available to the public and posted online.
Senate Passes Bill Strengthening Downtown Location Law
Legislation strengthening existing law requiring state agencies to be located in a downtown unanimously passed the Senate on March 12. Senate Bill 276 reinforces Act 32 of 2000, the original Downtown Location Law.
The legislation would require increased coordination between the Department of Community and Economic Development and organizations committed to community, downtown revitalization and historic preservation.
SB 276 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.