A Look Ahead to Next Week

Committee Meetings of Interest to Townships

(All meetings are at the Capitol in Harrisburg unless otherwise noted)

 

Monday, 7/11:

– The House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on State Budget cuts at Lycoming College, Williamsport

 

Tuesday, 7/12:

– The House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on State Budget cuts at McCaskey High School, Lancaster

 

Wednesday, 7/13:

– The House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on State Budget cuts

 

TOWNSHIP-RELATED BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW THIS (LAST) WEEK

 

Act 11 of 2011 (HB 148) (Payne, R-Dauphin):

Amends the Liquor Code to provide for definitions of “catered event” and “happy hour” and to allow a restaurant, hotel, or eating place licensee to sell alcohol in any sized container during a catered event off the licensed premises.  The act also expands the definition of “eligible entity” to include additional certain nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations. The PLCB is disallowed from refusing to renew or transfer a license previously issued for a premises formerly located in a township of the second class in a county of the third class that is a dry municipality based on the fact that the municipality is a dry municipality if the premises have been continually licensed by the board for 50 years or more.  The holder of a restaurant or hotel license will be allowed obtain an off-premises catering permit, use that permit to hold catered functions off the licensed premises, and to sell alcohol in any container during the catered event.  Notification to law enforcement will be needed if the sale is to be made out of the licensed facility.  The holder of a restaurant, hotel, or eating place license may only discount the sale of alcohol for four hours a day, not to exceed fourteen hours per week, and no discounts may run from midnight until closing.  A permit will be required in order for a licensee to hold an off-premises catered event at which alcohol will be served.  The fee for an offsite catering permit will not exceed $500.  Airport restaurants with a liquor license are granted the ability to sell alcohol on Sundays, beginning at 7 a.m.  The act further provides for the issuance of liquor licenses by outlining the conditions under which liquor or malted beverages may be sold for offsite catering permits and for the sale of malted or brewed beverages sold outside the Commonwealth.  The act provides for farmers’ market permits, citations, license revocation, and the hiring of a malt beverage compliance officer.  The act requires a $75 branding fee and for limitations on the use of a holder of a restaurant, hotel, municipal golf course restaurant liquor licensees, and privately-owned public golf course restaurant licensees.

Signed: 6/28/11

Effective Date: This act will fully take effect August 27, 2011

 

Act 34 of 2011 (HB 143) (Major, R-Susquehanna):

Amends the Pennsylvania Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act to allow the owner of property subject to preferential assessment to lease or devote the land to small noncoal surface mining.  Rollback taxes will be applied to the land and the fair market value of the land will be adjusted.  This process will not invalidate the preferential treatment.  Only one permit for such activities could be active at any one time on the land. 

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: July 7, 2011

 

Act 35 of 2011 (HB 144) (Pickett, R-Bradford):

Amends the Pennsylvania Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act to further provide for the utilization of land or conveyance of rights for exploration or extraction of gas, oil, or coal bed methane by restating that the portion of land subject to roll-back tax will be the well site and land which is incapable of being immediately used for the agricultural use or activities required, as determined when a well production report is first due to DEP.   DEP will be required to provide a copy of this report to the county assessor within ten days of its submission.  The tax calculated based on the adjusted fair market value will be due and payable in the tax year immediately following the year in which a well production report is provided to the county assessor.  Roll-back taxes will become due upon the receipt of a well production report by the county assessor. 

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: July 7, 2011

 

Act 44 of 2011  (HB 562) (Gillen, R-Berks):

Amends the Agricultural Area Security Law to define “contiguous acreage” as all portions of one operational unit as described in the deed, whether or not the portions are divided by streams, public roads, bridges, or railroads, and whether or not described as multiple tax parcels, tracts, purports, or other property identifiers.  The term includes supportive lands, such as an unpaved field access roads, drainage areas, border strips, hedgerows, submerged lands, marshes, ponds, and streams.  The definition of “contiguous acreage” in 7 Pa. Code 138e.3 (relating to definitions) is abrogated.  The act also allows for the purchase of conservation easements for the purposes of removing noncoal minerals.

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: Some provisions of the act take effect immediately with the remainder being effective September 5, 2011

 

Act 46 of 2011 (HB 797) (Farry, R-Bucks):

Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to further define “occupational disease” to include cancer suffered by a firefighter which is caused by exposure to a known carcinogen as recognized as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.  Compensation pursuant to cancer suffered by a firefighter will only be to those firefighters who have served four or more years in continuous firefighting, can establish direct exposure to a carcinogen relating to cancer by a firefighter, and have successfully passed a physical examination prior to asserting a claim or prior to engaging in firefighting duties and the examination failed to reveal any evidence of the condition of cancer.  The act further provides that the presumption can be rebutted by substantial competent evidence showing that the firefighter engaged in conduct or activities outside of firefighting duties that posed a substantial risk of causing the cancer, including the continuous use of tobacco products for two or more years for cancers primarily caused by smoking or a tobacco product.  The act also provides that a claim made by a member of a volunteer fire company must be based on the evidence of direct exposure to a known carcinogen which is recognized as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as documented by reports filed pursuant to the Pennsylvania Fire Information Reporting System. 

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: July 7, 2011

 

Act 47 of 2011 (HB 870) (Everett, R-Lycoming):

Amends the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act to include in the definition of “recreational purpose” recreational noncommercial aircraft operations or recreational noncommercial ultralight operations on private airstrips.  

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: September 5, 2011

 

Act 52 of 2011 (HB 1336) (Godshall, R-Montgomery):

Amends the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act to add the definition of “home improvement retailer,” as well as establishing the Home Improvement Account within the state General Fund, into which the various fees in the act will be paid.  The funds of the account and interest earned could be appropriated to the Office of Attorney General for administering and enforcing the provisions of the act and to protect consumers with respect to home improvements through consumer education and other means.

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: July 7, 2011

 

Act 55 of 2011 (HB 1549) (Masser, R-Northumberland):

Amends the County Code to lower the minimum threshold of people in a fifth class county to 90,000 (currently 95,000).  The act also lowers the maximum population threshold for sixth class counties to less than 90,000 (currently 95,000).  Furthermore, when a county advances from the fifth to the fourth class as a result of census figures certified after the primary election in the year of a municipal election, it will maintain the configuration of offices in effect in the county until the year in which the offices are next up for election, at which time the offices in the county will be held in accordance with the County Code or any other general law applicable to the holding of offices and to the classification of the county. 

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: September 5, 2011

 

Act 56 of 2011 (SB 101) (Smucker, R-Lancaster):

Amends the Sunshine Law to revise the penalty for a member of any agency who participates in a meeting with the intent and purpose by that member of violating certain provisions of the law.  The offense remains graded as a summary offense, however the fine is increased from $100 to between $100 and $1,000 plus the cost of prosecution for a first offense and between $500 and $2,000 plus costs of prosecution for any subsequent offense.  An agency will be prohibited from making a payment on behalf of the offender.

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: September 5, 2011

 

Act 57 of 2011 (SB 151) (Pileggi, R-Dauphin):

Amends the Air Pollution Control Act to require 25 percent of the revenue collected for fines over $50,000 be returned to the municipality in which the incident occurred for parks, recreation projects, trails, or open space projects.  These provisions will not apply if total fine revenue deposited into the Clean Air Fund is less than $1,850,000 or if the fine is from a joint state prosecution of the Clean Air Act with the EPA.  A municipality will be authorized to assign its claims to any fine revenue to the county in which the violation occurred.

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: September 5, 2011

 

Act 71 of 2011 (SB 745) (Scarnati, R-Jefferson):

Amends the Rail Freight Preservation and Improvement Act to allow a railroad company that receives a grant under the act to perform the work at its cost with its own company personnel or its wholly-owned affiliates without putting the project out for contract. 

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: September 5, 2011

 

Act 72 of 2011 (SB 791) (Earll, R-Erie):

Amends the Bluff Recession and Setback Act to add that a “bluff recession hazard area” will not include any area where the horizontal distance, measured perpendicular to the shoreline, between the shoreline and the bluff toe is in excess of 250 feet.  Such an area will not be subject to any Environmental Quality Board regulations or municipal bluff setback ordinance or regulations.  The act also provides definitions of “bluff toe” and “shoreline”. 

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: September 5, 2011

 

Act 74 of 2011 (SB 829) (Robbins, R-Mercer):

Amends the Second Class Township Code to authorize the establishment of an employment agreement between the board of supervisors and the township manager setting forth the terms and conditions of employment.  The term of the employment agreement will be limited to no more than two years after its effective date or the date of the organizational meeting of the board of supervisors following the next municipal election, whichever occurs first.

Signed: 7/7/11

Effective Date: September 5, 2011

 

TOWNSHIP-RELATED BILLS VETOED BY THE GOVERNOR THIS (LAST) WEEK:

 

Veto 1 of 2011 (HB 1696) (Saccone, R-Allegheny):

The Property Tax Reassessment Moratorium Act would have prohibited a county of the fourth class, having a population according to the 2010 US Census of greater than 185,000 but less than 210,000 (i.e. Washington County), from implementing or undertaking a court-ordered countywide reassessment of real property for the purpose of levying property taxes.  The prohibition would have remained in effect until the General Assembly adopted procedures necessary to ensure uniformity among counties in their property assessment systems or until November 30, 2012, whichever came first. 

Vetoed: 7/8/11

 

TOWNSHIP-RELATED BILLS BEFORE THE GOVERNOR:

HB (House Bill), SB (Senate Bill), PN (Printers Number)

 

 

None at this time

 

 

RECENT MOVEMENT ON LEGISLATION OF INTEREST:

HB (House Bill), SB (Senate Bill), PN (Printers Number)

 

HB 763 (Conklin, D-Centre) (PN 831):

The Citizens Constitutional Convention Act of 2011 would require a referendum to be placed on the November 8, 2011, general election ballot seeking voter approval for a constitutional convention.  The legislation provides for the constitutional convention, its membership, and their qualifications.  Salary for a member of the convention would be equal to that of a member of the General Assembly.  The convention would be sworn in on April 2, 2012 and adjourn sine die no later than August 2, 2012.  The process of submitting the new constitution to the electorate is provided and restrictions on lobbying detailed within the bill.  Meetings of the convention would be open to the public and an appropriation of $20 million from the four leadership accounts would be made to finance the convention. 

Last Action: Discussed in Press Conference (7/711)