In this Edition:
Legislation Eliminating Child Abuse Statute of Limitations Approved by Senate
The Senate on Wednesday eliminating the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases.
Senate Bill 261 eliminates the statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes and gives victims additional time to file civil actions against their abuser. Currently, victims have until age 30 to file a civil claim. Senate Bill 261 would set the deadline at 50 years of age.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Approves Protections for Natural Gas Leaseholders
Two bills protecting natural gas leaseholders were approved by the Senate on Monday.
Senate Bill 138 gives royalty interest owners the opportunity to inspect records of the gas company to verify proper payment. It also requires that proceeds from production of oil and gas be paid within 90 days unless otherwise stated in the lease.
Senate Bill 139 prohibits gas companies from retaliating against a royalty owner by terminating the lease agreement or ceasing development simply because the landowner questions the accuracy of the royalty payments. The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Measure to Improve Law Covering Cruelty to Horses Passes Senate
On Tuesday, the Senate approved legislation to improve the enforcement and application of Pennsylvania’s cruelty laws covering horses.
Senate Bill 69 will amend Title 18 (Crimes) to better define “torture” and to provide appropriate penalties with language drafted with the assistance of the Farm Bureau. The bill will also amend Chapter 37 of Title 22 (pertaining to Humane Society Police Officers) to provide necessary guidance and uniformity to those who are tasked with protecting the humane treatment of these large animals. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Votes to Update Review of Volunteer Firefighter/EMS Support
On Tuesday, the Senate approved a measure to review Pennsylvania’s progress in providing essential support to its volunteer fire departments and EMS organizations.
Senate Resolution 6 calls for a “reboot” of Senate Resolution 60 of 2003, the comprehensive study of fire and EMS issues completed in 2004. SR 6 calls for a new commission made up of legislators, first responders and representatives from municipalities. The panel would follow up on the impact of SR 60 and study issues currently affecting first responders. The commission would then provide its recommendations to the General Assembly by June 30, 2018.
Judiciary Committee Votes to Reform Pennsylvania’s Asset Forfeiture Law
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation I am co-sponsoring to reform Pennsylvania’s Asset Forfeiture Law.
Senate Bill 8 would increase transparency of how forfeited funds are used and raise the burden of proof required to seize assets.
Key reforms include:
Senate Bill 8 advances to the full Senate for consideration.
Legislation Adding Common Pleas Judges in Montgomery, Bucks Counties Approved by Committee
Legislation I am co-sponsoring to increase the number of Common Pleas Court judges in Montgomery and Bucks counties was approved Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Under Senate Bill 222, Montgomery County would add one judge for a total of 24, and Bucks County would add two for a total of 15. The measure also adds judges in four other Pennsylvania counties.
The additions will help the counties deal with increased caseloads. If the measure gains final approval, these judges would be elected in the municipal election of 2019 and would take office in January 2020.
Appropriations Committee Round-Up
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved three bills on Tuesday:
Senate Bill 170 imposes comprehensive reform measures at the Delaware River Port Authority.
Senate Bill 181 establishes a performance-based budget component.
Senate Bill 261 eliminates the statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes.
The Senate reconvenes Monday at 1 p.m. You can watch session at PASenateGOP.com.
Twitter and Facebook: I post regular updates on legislative action, committee developments, useful state-related information, happenings in the 24th Senatorial District and more on Twitter @SenatorMensch and on my Facebook page.If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatormensch.com for more information about your state government.
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