Senate Weekly Session Wrap
A Report on the Legislative Session Week of April 30, 2012
Important Harrisburg Happenings:
Collection Period for Court Fines to be Extended
Heading to the Governor's desk for enactment into law is legislation extending the time period that a collection agency has to collect fines, court costs and restitution, following the Senate's approval of the bill on May 1st.
House Bill 61 extends the period of time in which a private collection agency has to collect fines, court costs and restitution from the current six months to 48 months. This act will take effect in 60 days after it is signed.
Borough Code Update Measure Advances
The Senate approved legislation on May 2nd that would enact the most significant update of Pennsylvania's Borough Code in 45 years.
House Bill 1702 is a modernization and re-codification of the Borough Code, and is a collaboration between the State Association of Boroughs and the Local Government Commission. This bill removes obsolete provisions from the existing Borough Code, incorporates pertinent court decisions, updates language and organizes common subjects.
The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Approves Bill Reforming School Superintendent Contracts
Pennsylvania school superintendent contract reform is one step closer to becoming law under legislation approved by the Senate on April 30th.
Senate Bill 1296 limits generous contract buyouts to departing school district superintendents and requires more contract details to be made available to the public. The legislation also links superintendent contracts to performance standards tied to student achievement and shortens the contract limit to three years for new superintendents and assistant superintendents, a change from the three- to five-year range under current state law. Additionally, the bill subjects superintendent and assistant superintendent contracts to public access under Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law.
Senate Bill 1296, which I co-sponsored, is now before the House of Representatives' Education Committee for consideration.
Proposed Panel Would Study Education for Homeless Children
Legislation, which I co-sponsored, establishing a task force to study the homeless children population and their educational needs was approved by the Senate on April 30th.
The task force, created by Senate Bill 157, would include the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Public Welfare and, 15 members representing local agencies assisting homeless children, public schools, intermediate units and social service and advocacy organizations with experience working with homeless children and education issues.
The bill is now before the House of Representatives' Education Committee for consideration.
Senate Approves Expanded "Emergency Vehicle" Definition
The Senate unanimously approved a bill on May 2nd expanding the definition of an "emergency vehicle" under state law.
Senate Bill 1067, which I co-sponsored, broadens the definition of "emergency vehicle" to include vehicles owned by a county or regional police association and operated by a police officer, that is used for police transport or victim extraction, and any vehicle operated by a special agent, special agent supervisor, narcotics agent or narcotics agent supervisor while performing official duties as employees of the Office of Attorney General.
SB 1067 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.