LEGISLATIVE UPDATE– MARCH 2017

On February 7, 2017, Governor Wolf proposed a 2017‑2018 budget for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (“Proposed Budget”) based on reduced expenditures and a more modest revenue increase than seen in Governor Wolf’s prior budget proposals.  He would cover a $3 billion deficit with, among other things, (1) a Marcellus Shale natural gas tax, (2) lease of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Arena, (3) consolidation of four agencies into a Department of Health and Human Services, (4) elimination ...
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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE– FEBRUARY 2017

The REAL ID Act (the “Act”) was passed by Congress and approved by the President in 2005 to create procedures and rules by which states and territories may lawfully issue drivers’ licenses and other forms of identification that are acceptable for Homeland Security purposes. The Act, called the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief of 2005, has been implemented by regulations found at 6 C.F.R. Chapter I, Part 37 (the “Code...
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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – JANUARY 2017

HB 1653 known as Act 171 of 2016 (the “Amendment”) amends the Pennsylvania Procurement Code (the “Code”) to require the Department of General Services of the Commonwealth (the “Department”) to establish a process to verify a Pennsylvania business, either minority-owned, women-owned or veteran-owned (each a “Diverse and Disadvantaged Business”) as “Pennsylvania home state-certified for the purpose of other state or national disadvantaged business programs.” Such a process w...
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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – OCTOBER 2016

HB 380 known as Act 102 of 2016 (the “Amendment”) amends the Pennsylvania Domestic Relations Code (the “Code”) to authorize Courts of Common Pleas to enter divorce decrees on showing that (1) the marriage of parties is irretrievably broken and (2) the parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year. The Amendment is significant in reducing from two years to one year the separation of the parties and makes Pennsylvania law more consistent with adjacent states whose waiting ...
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Legislative Update – May 2016

THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA act Senate Bill No. 3, known as the Medical Marijuana Act (the “Act”) authorizes the growth, processing, dispensing and consumption of marijuana for medical purposes in Pennsylvania.  The Act is “a temporary measure, pending federal approval of and access to medical marijuana through traditional medical and pharmaceutical avenues.”  Section 102.4.  The Act establishes a program for patients suffering from serious medical conditions under the supervision o...
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Legislative Update – April 2016

On April 7, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed two Executive Orders to further non‑discrimination in state government regarding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and expression” (collectively, “Gender Factors” ).  Executive Order No. 2016‑04 (the “Equal Employment Opportunity Order”) prohibits discrimination, affirms equal employment opportunity programs and prohibits sexual harassment or harassment in agencies of the Governor’s jurisdiction based on Gender Factor...
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Legislative Update – March 2016

SB 166, known as Act 5 of 2016 (the “Amendment”) amends the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (the “Code”) to authorize Courts of Common Pleas, upon petition, to issue orders of limited access to criminal records of individuals convicted of a second degree or third degree misdemeanor or an ungraded offense with a maximum penalty of incarceration for up to two years. The petitioner must have completed any sentence of incarceration or supervision for at least ten (10) years without arrest or pro...
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Legislative Update – February 2016

On February 9, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf proposed a 2016-2017 budget (the “Current Proposal”) with about $2.72 billion in new or increased taxes and totaling $33.3 billion without having a final 2015-2016 budget and fiscal code. Pennsylvania has only the Republican House crafted $30.3 billion spending plan which the Governor line-item vetoed to release approximately $23.4 billion after the House GOP refused to accept the $30.8 billion spending plan agreed to by the Governor and Senate in De...
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Legislative Update – October 2015

SB 678, known as Act 41 of 2015 (the “Amendment”) amends Act 14 of 1949 (the “Public School Code”) to authorize campus police officers employed by any of the 14 universities in the State System of Higher Education (“SSHE”) to have arrest powers “on all highways, trafficways and bicycle and pedestrian facilities that traverse or abut [lands and buildings owned, controlled, leased or managed by SSHE].” Sponsored by Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), the Amendment changes the Publ...
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Legislative Update – July 2015

HB 1276, known as Act 15 of 2015 ((the “Amendment”) amends Act 153 of 2014 (the “Act”) regarding background checks for employees and volunteers who provide services to children. Sponsored by Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Buck), the Amendment clarifies the Act as to which volunteers must get clearances, the renewal period for clearances of volunteers and employees, the reduction of costs to obtain clearances, the clearances needed by post-secondary employees and the deadlines for clearan...
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