2011-12 Legislation

Senate Bill 845: Lackawanna County Intermodal Center Land Conveyance – ACT 43 of 2011

Among other land conveyance measures, this bill was included in Act 43 of 2011 which authorized the time-extension of a conveyance of a parcel of state-owned land to the COLTS Authority. The original land conveyance was sponsored by Representative Ken Smith. Act 43 extended the sunset of the conveyance to 2016. This conveyance has enabled COLTS to begin the process of planning and construction of the eventual Lackawanna County Intermodal Center. The Center would be a true multi-modal facility for local and intercity buses, taxi cabs, bicycles, and the proposed eventual passenger rail service from Scranton to New York City.

Signed into law July 7, 2011


Senate Bill 1005: Non-Profit Organization Special Occasion Liquor Permits – ACT 11 of 2011

Among other changes to the Pennsylvania Liquor Code, this bill was included in Act 11 of 2011 to enable the Everhart Museum and “Scranton Tomorrow” – a non-profit economic and community development group – to continue to hold their annual fundraisers to benefit their respective missions.

Signed into law June 28, 2011


Senate Bill 1267: Flood Real Estate Tax Abatement – ACT 71 of 2012

After successful passage of SB1267 in the Senate, the House version of this bill (HB1913) was signed into law as Act 71 of 2012. This act allows local taxing authorities to abate real estate taxes for the 2011 tax year for properties substantially affected by storm damage of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, for not more than $30,000 for any single property.

Signed into law June 27, 2012


Senate Bill 1252: Andrew A. Pompey and Durando J. Pompey Memorial Bridge – Act 177 of 2012

After successful passage of SB 1252 in the Senate, this bill was included in Act 177 of 2012.
This bill renamed the noteworthy Davis Street bridge over I-81 in Moosic, PA as the “Andrew A. Pompey and Durando J. Pompey Memorial Bridge.” Brothers Andrew and Durando Pompey were killed in combat during WWII.

Signed into law October 24, 2012


Senate Bill 984: County Commissioner Vacancy

The bill would provide for the filling of a vacant seat on a board of county commissioners by appointment by the remaining commissioners within 30 days of the vacancy, rather than by a judge. The appointee will serve through the end of the term. This is the only difference from the municipal process where a replacement is elected for the balance of the term if there is a municipal election more than 60 days after the vacancy; appointment for the balance of the term is necessary to preserve the majority/minority commissioner balance.

Since no other local government involves the judiciary in filling a vacancy, this bill would make the process for filling vacancies in the office of commissioner consistent with the process for filling vacancies in other local government offices. The bill would not affect home rule counties who have vacancy provisions in their charter.


Senate Bill 685: PA Works Package: Job Creation Tax Credit – Act 85 of 2012

Amends the Tax Reform Code to state that in order to receive a tax credit for hiring new employees, an employer must submit a plan as part of the application process that agrees to increase the number of employees by ten percent within three years of the start of the plan. The amount of the tax credit is increased to $2,000 per each job created and $4,000 for each new employee who was an unemployed person. $25,000,0000 in total tax credits shall be made available by the Department of Revenue.

A modified version of this proposal was included in Act 85 of 2012, signed into law on July 2, 2012.


Senate Bill 1085: Tourism Promotion Funding: Hotel Room Tax – Act 143 of 2012

The House version of this bill (HB1749) was signed into law as Act 143 of 2012. The Act authorizes the increase of the Lackawanna County Hotel Room Tax from 4-7%. Of the amount collected, 40% would be dedicated to the county’s tourism promotion agency and the remaining 60% dedicated to the county for maintaining and promoting tourism assets.

Signed into law July 12, 2012


Senate Bill 1340: Game Commission Officer Assault – Act 150 of 2012

The House version of this bill (HB1417) was signed into law as Act 150 of 2012. This Act increases the penalties for assaulting a Game Commission Officer and brings parity with other law enforcement personnel by instituting the following offense schedule: Assault resulting in serious bodily injury – Felony 1; assault resulting in simple bodily injury – Felony 2.

Signed into law October 24, 2012


Senate Bill 1166: Returning the State Treasurer to the Tobacco Settlement Investment Board

Amends The Tobacco Settlement Act providing for the Tobacco Settlement Investment Board by requiring one member to be the State Treasurer and decreasing the number of appointments by the Senate President Pro Tempore and Speaker of the House to one. Bill would allow the State Treasurer to make an appointment to the board.


Senate Bill 1253: Mineral Rights Lease Notification

As measure of consumer protection, the bill would require that any lease agreement for the purposes of granting mineral rights include a specific provision notifying the owner or lessor that such a lease agreement may be the subject of a mortgage by the drilling company. Within 30 days of the recording of any mortgage of these leased properties, the company shall notify the landowner.


Senate Bill 1292: Licensed Public Adjusters

Would add licensed public adjusters to the list of exclusions from the definition of “employment” in the Unemployment Compensation Law – so that public adjusters receive the same classification as their counterparts in other industries that are remunerated solely by way of commission. Adding pubic adjusters to this exclusion will give clarity to the industry by allowing them to continue to utilize public adjusters who are remunerated solely on a commission basis as independent contractors without fear of an audit or unemployment compensation challenge, and will allow the public adjusters to continue to be self-employed with the tax status that confers, without fear of a later audit based on a common law challenge to their independent contractor status.


Senate Bill 1366: Statewide Housing Trust Fund

As an effort to incent greater investment in adequate and affordable housing in Pennsylvania, this bill would grant counties the option of raising fees on “other writs” such as easements, declarations of plans or rights of way. Deed and mortgage fees could not be increased. Once counties increase their currently-charged fees: 75% would be directed to a state fund to enable PHFA to issue a bond to pay for affordable housing projects in participating counties. Those counties can keep 25% for affordable housing projects or deposit into already-established county-housing-trust funds.


Senate Bill 1367: Sudden Cardiac Arrest Protection – Act 59 of 2012

The House version of this bill (HB 1610) was signed into law as Act 59 of 2012. The Act requires any student who faints while training, practicing or competing in a school sanctioned activity, or is known to have fainted during strenuous activity, be prohibited from further participation until cleared by a licensed cardiologist.

Signed into law May 30, 2012


Senate Bill 1377: Right to Know – State-Related Universities

The bill would remove certain exceptions that State-Related Universities Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln currently have under our Open Records statute as an effort to bring the same level of transparency that currently applies to our 14 state-owned Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) institutions, all of which receive state appropriations.


Senate Bill 1379: Mobile Home Tax Delinquency

The bill would amend Title 75 (Vehicles) to require sellers of mobile homes to obtain a tax status certification as a condition of the sale. This would prevent the sale or reselling of an abandoned, tax-delinquent mobile home; and possibly an eventual county tax sale unbeknownst to the new owner.


Senate Bill 1384: District Attorneys Opt-Out of Prison Boards

The bill would address an existing, perceived conflict of interest as district attorneys must occasionally prosecute inmates, guards, or employees of a prison on whose board they are a member. As a result of this conflict, district attorneys are potentially liable for any incidents that may occur at the prison. This bill would allow counties of the 3rd, 4th and 5th class to opt out of the requirement of district attorney representation on the prison board, via resolution of the county commissioners. Counties of the 6th, 7th, and 8th class currently have this option.


Senate Bill 1457: Closing Delaware Loophole/Lowering Corporate Net Income Tax

As an effort to create a friendly business climate as well as achieve greater tax fairness, this bill would gradually reduce the Corporate Net Income Tax over a five-year period from its current 9.99%, to 6.99%. The bill would also provide for a phased closing of the so called “Delaware Loophole” by implementing mandatory combined reporting.


Senate Bill 1502: Property Tax Relief and Collaborative Services Act

Designed to reduce local reliance on the real property tax and to find local solutions to the fiscal and service delivery crisis that is facing local governments, the bill would grant counties the option to increase their sales, use and occupancy tax by 1% to be shared with municipalities in the county. Counties and municipalities may use no less than of 60% their share for dollar-for-dollar homestead and property tax reductions with no more than 40% going for general fund purposes.


Senate Bill 1600:  Innovate in PA

Innovate in PA is a job-creation proposal which would provide for the structured auctioning of $175 million worth of insurance premium tax credits with auction proceeds to be distributed to a number of economic development programs via the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA).


Senate Bill 1601:  Military time buyback for Scranton first-responders 

This legislation would remove a three-year time limit within which members of the Scranton Police and Fire pension systems must begin working for the city in order to be eligible for purchasing credit for time spent in the armed forces.


Senate Bill 1602:  Military time buyback for Scranton public employees

This legislation would remove a three-year time limit within which members of the Scranton employee pension system must begin working for the city in order to be eligible for purchasing credit for time spent in the armed forces.


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May 10, 2017: Senator Blake welcomed one of our Lackawanna County hometown heroes, Staff Sgt. Earl Granville, to the state Capitol. June 9, 2017: Senator Blake joins a number of local officials at a groundbreaking ceremony for the $11.3 million Academy II Senior Housing project in Moscow. June 9, 2017: Senator Blake joins a number of local officials at a groundbreaking ceremony for the $11.3 million Academy II Senior Housing project in Moscow. June 2, 2017: Senator Blake welcomed Governor Tom Wolf back to Lackawanna County to tour Gertrude Hawk Chocolates and to discuss the company's important role in our local economy and their presence in the global food services market.

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