Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of November 22, 2010. House and Senate members return to Harrisburg on January 4, 2011.
Governor Rendell Signs Legislation
House Bill 60: Establishes the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Program, to provide funding for housing projects to benefit older adults, people with disabilities and lowincome residents.
House Bill 174: Amends the Public Eating and Drinking Place Law to improve inspections of public eating and drinking places. The bill exempts food facilities owned by a church or other religious order that qualifies for tax exemptions.
House Bill 196: Amends the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. The bill prohibits and prescribes penalties for the retail sale of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or their salts and isomers unless the product is kept behind a counter where the public is not permitted or in a locked cabinet to which the public does not have access. These drugs are commonly misused to manufacture the street drug known as "meth."
House Bill 708: Creates a program to recycle electronic waste such as computers and televisions. The program is funded through a registration fee paid by manufactures and retailers.
House Bill 1394: Allows for agriculture reserve preferential tax treatment to be granted to places that generate electricity for use on site with Tier I energy resources.
House Bill 1482: Amends the Health Care Facilities Act to require the Department of Health to promulgate regulations requiring employees to wear photo identification tags while on the job.
House Bill 1609: Amends the Municipalities Planning Code to provide for traditional neighborhood development.
House Bill 1639: Provides a comprehensive overhaul to child custody laws and ensures domestic violence is taken into account with child custody matters.
House Bill 2172: Provides for the number of court of common pleas judges in the 15th judicial district (Chester County) and for the venue of the Philadelphia Municipal Court and magisterial district judges.
House Bill 2258: Amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes related to the disposition of dependent children. The bill requires that the court, at both disposition review hearings and permanency hearings, determine whether reasonable efforts were made to place siblings together.
House Bill 2338: Establishes a foster care bill of rights, outlining the mental, physical, educational, social and medical treatment to which foster children shall be entitled.
House Bill 2497: Provides for pension reform and creates an independent fiscal office.
House Bill 2547: Provides relief from unintended and unnecessary double Department of Banking licensing requirements for companies that provide financing for the purchase of manufactured and mobile homes.
Senate Bill 976: Amends the Amber Alert law to provide for alerts for missing older adults or people with disabilities.
State Ahead of Its Goals for Solar Power, Environment Department Says
Pennsylvania is now one of the leading states in the nation for clean solar energy, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said in statement that highlighted new data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
NREL's latest open photovoltaic survey ranks Pennsylvania third nationally in the number of solar projects operating today and fourth in installed capacity. According to NREL, the state now has 2,434 projects-behind only California and New Jersey-that account for 38.5 megawatts of generating capacity, or enough to power about 5,800 homes.
Hanger noted that because the survey relies on voluntarily submitted information, the state is actually doing much better than NREL's data shows. In reality, there are more than 3,000 projects online statewide that total 40-plus megawatts of capacity.