Legislative update: Recently introduced legislation
To keep you informed, I am highlighting recently introduced bills this term that I will be following closely. I broke them down into categories so you can find your specific interests and provided short descriptions that the bill’s sponsor has claimed. If you click on the link for the bill number, you can find out more information about the bill. If you would like to advocate for the bill, follow the link, then click on the link for what committee the bill has been assigned to. This will bring up information about the Chairs and other members of that committee who you can contact and advocate for or against the bill.
HB196 would extend current employment protections to Pennsylvania citizens who are members of another state's National Guard. Current law provides employment rights protection to citizens of this state who are members of the PA National Guard.
HB226 would provide Pennsylvania nurses and personal care and assisted living facility employees with student loan forgiveness.
HB197 would make cyber charter management companies subject to audit by the Auditor General. This would hold cyber charter schools accountable and at the same standards we expect of our public schools.
HB242 would require personal finance instruction for every public-school student from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The bill would also create a financial literacy capstone course as a graduation requirement for students in public schools. Additionally, this legislation would require the Department of Education to submit a report to the House and Senate Education Committees with data on statewide assessment results for questions relating to financial literacy.
HB308 would allow school districts to take appropriate disciplinary measures against a public-school employee who engages in sexual misconduct with a student by including sexual misconduct as a matter of inherent managerial policy.
HB203 would prohibit discrimination in the provision of life, accident, and health insurance based on the status of an insured as a living organ or tissue donor; authorize the provision of family leave to provide care during transplantation preparation and recovery from surgery related to organ or tissue donation; and direct the Secretary of Health to develop and distribute informational materials relating to the benefits of being a living organ or tissue donor.
HB208 would require nursing homes to disclose the aggregate total number of COVID-19 cases that are present in the facility when this information is requested by a family member or individual who can make health care decisions on behalf of the nursing home resident.
HB209 would mandate prescription drug companies to provide a transparency report that includes certain cost parameters behind the medications they are selling.
HB212 would increase the minimum required daily hours of direct resident care in nursing homes from 2.7 to 3.5.
HB220 would specify that a person does not need to test positive for drugs to begin addiction treatment.
HB241 would extend a prior authorization that was in force at the beginning of the pandemic through the course of the disaster emergency, and for 90 days thereafter. This extension would apply to elective and non-urgent procedures and would not impact emergency medical procedures.
HB227 would expand Maternal Home Visiting by at least 20 percent each year, leverage federal dollars to support the program, and charge the Department of Health to create a plan to make these visits available to every parent who needs them. Maternal home visits bring in professionals like nurses and social workers to give new parents the tools they need to help their kids grow up happy and healthy.
HB293 would allow U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved (FDA) anti-obesity drugs to be considered a compensable service under our State Medicaid Program.
HB323 would incentivize companies to find cures for diseases rather than simply continuing to treat them.
HB205 would transfer the onus of voter registration from individuals to the Department of State through a process referred to as automatic voter registration. Qualified voters who utilize services through the Department of Transportation, Department of Human Services, or the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs would be automatically registered to vote unless they choose to opt-out. Those who remain registered would have the opportunity to choose a political affiliation if they wish and would receive a voter identification card in the mail.
HB215 would allow for same day voter registration on Election Day. Voters will have the opportunity to register at their polling place on Election Day by providing a form(s) of identification that includes a photo, name, and permanent address. Examples include a valid driver’s license or government ID card. Expired forms of ID can also be provided along with a current proof of address. In the years since 21 other states have instituted same day voter registration, there has not been one documented incident of voter fraud because of same day voter registration.
HB316 would permit early voting. Early voting sites would be established by county boards of election. All county early voting sites would be required to have uniform hours and days of operation and must be open at least eight hours on each weekday and a total of eight hours on weekends. County boards of election will be required to keep track of early voters to ensure they do not vote again at another early voting site or on Election Day.
HB204 would downgrade the possession of a small amount of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a summary offense.
HB231 would expand the list of prohibited activities that constitute the crime of unlawful contact with a minor.
HB254 would make it easier for victims of domestic violence to obtain police reports concerning their own abuse.
HB306 applies to drivers who are stopped due to an expired vehicle registration, inspection sticker or driver’s license less than 30 days after the expiration date. These drivers would be given 10 days to correct their error and produce evidence of such to avoid receiving a citation or fine. Such forgiveness would ONLY apply if the driver in question is NOT charged with another offense at the same place and time.
HB319 would establish Consolidated General Microhydropower Permits, a Microhydropower Pilot Program, and Microhydropower Tax Credits.
HB219 would increase the income thresholds for the Property Tax Rent Rebate Program. Specifically, the legislation would increase the current income thresholds of $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters to $40,000 and $20,000, respectively.
HB267 would ensure businesses using the Second Stage Loan Program would create more job opportunities in Pennsylvania. To accomplish this, businesses who receive loan guarantees must not only be located in Pennsylvania but continue to conduct business here as well.
HB287 would amend the liquor code to permit clubs to sell beer for off-premises consumption.
HB310 would prohibit an auto insurer from denying a discount to an applicant because of an accident for which the applicant was not primarily responsible.
HB329 and HB330 would require landlords to create a payment plan option for tenants that may have lost income due to a statewide emergency like COVID-19 and create a landlord-tenant mediation and counseling program to help resolve issues before an eviction is required.