The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council (PADDC) and the Policy Information Exchange (PIE) are pleased to present this summary of legislation of interest to the disability community in the 2011-12 Session. The summary highlights some, though not all, of the legislation which we followed with interest.

The report is organized by chamber and by bill number and includes a listing of the prime sponsor and a phrase indicating the topic of the legislation. A brief summary of the activity that occurred on the bill is included. If the bill became law, the Act number is noted with an asterisk. The report includes a list of adopted Resolutions of interest to the disability community. There is a directory by topic at the beginning of this report to locate bills by subject, as well as a directory of bills signed into law and Resolutions.

The recently ended legislative session was a productive one. We look forward to the 2013-14 legislative session and continued work on the many issues of importance to Pennsylvanians with disabilities. The Council and the Policy Information Exchange are available to provide information about issues of importance to the disability community.

The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council is a group made up of people with disabilities, family members, advocates, and state department representatives working to create favorable conditions for people with developmental disabilities and their families in the Commonwealth. Created under a federal act and Governor’s Executive Order, the Council is both a planning group and a funding body. To learn more about the Council, visit www.paddc.org which contains copies of our newsletters, annual reports and other information about our advocacy and systems change efforts.

It is the mission of the Policy Information Exchange to educate and inform Pennsylvanians with disabilities, their families and advocates, and the general public regarding public policy issues and to further the exchange of policy information between the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council and federal, state and local policy makers. The Policy Information Exchange is funded in part by the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.

Directory by Topic of Selected Bills of Interest to Pennsylvanians with Disabilities+

Bills that became law are denoted by *

Topic Bill Number(s)
Assistive Technology SR 392*
Autism HB 2695
Brain Injury HB 200, SB 200*
Budget Bill 2011 HB 1485
Construction Code HB 377*
Dental Services HB 532*
Drug and Alcohol HB 1297, HR 798*, HR 888*, SB 1536
Disability Placard HB 1755, HB 1936
Education HB 704, HB 1330, SB 1115, SB 1154
Equal Access SR 391*
Family Caregiver HB 210*, HB 224, SB 639
Guardianship HB 1720*
Head Injury HB 200, SB 200*
Human Services Block Grant HB 1261*
Intellectual Disabilities HB 386, HB 761*, HB 789,
HB 1564, HB 2695, HR 225,
HR 798*, HR 888*, SB 458*
Long-term Care Council HB 2665
Long-term Care Facilities HB 420, HB 528
Mental Health HB 58, HB 386, HB 761*, HB 1217
HB 1405, HR 798*, HR 888*, SB 115
Neglect HB 188, HB 1053
Public Assistance HB 1297, SB 719
Office for People with
Disabilities
SB 234
Residential Habilitation HB 2237
Regulatory Changes** HB 960*
Sentencing HB 317, SB 397, SB 968
Service Animals HB 165*, SB 968
Tax Credit HB 386, HB 761*
Transportation HB 1301, HB 2363, HB 2390*
Trusts SB 862
Voting HB 924*, SB 651
Waiting List HB 2695

Bills that became law are denoted by *

**Regulatory Changes

The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) issued draft regulations for many of its programs in the  February  25th issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin www.pacode.com/secure/data/055/055toc.html under the expedited rulemaking allowed by Act 22 of 2011. In Act 22, which passed as part of the 2011-12 state budget, the General Assembly gave DPW the ability to make changes to its regulations without going through the lengthy formal regulation review process. The text of Act 22 and the draft regulations are on the DPW website at www.dpw.state.pa.us/ucmprd/groups/webcontent/documents/communication/p_012028.pdf

 

Back to top

Bills of Interest to Pennsylvanians with Disabilities Signed Into Law+

Bills of Interest to Pennsylvanians with Disabilities Signed into Law

Topic Bill Number Act Number Date Enacted
Brain Injury SB 200 Act 101 of 2011 November 9, 2011
Budget Bill 2011 HB 1485 Act 1A of 2011 July 1, 2011
Construction Code HB 377 Act 1 of 2011 April 25, 2011
Dental Services HB 532 Act 94 of 2012 July 5, 2012
Family Caregiver HB 210 Act 112 of 2011 December 22, 2011
Guardianship HB 1720 Act 101 of 2012 July 5, 2012
Human Services
Block Grant
HB 1261 Act 80 of 2012 June 30, 2012
Intellectual Disabilities HB 761
SB 458
Act 85 of 2012
Act 105 of 2011
July 2, 2012
Nov. 22, 2011
Regulatory Changes HB 960 Act 22 0f 2011 June 30, 2011
Service Animals HB 165 Act 62 of 2012 June 13, 2012
Voting HB 934 Act 18 of 2012 March 14, 2012

Back to top

Selected Resolutions of Interest to Pennsylvanians with Disabilities Adopted+

Topic Res. Number Date Adopted
Assistive Technology SR 392 October 16, 2012
Drug and Alcohol HR 798
HR 888
September 24, 2012
October 3, 2012
Equal Access SR 391 October 16, 2012
Intellectual Disabilities HR 798
HR 888
September 24, 2012
October 3, 2012
Mental Health HR 798
HR 888
September 24, 2012
October 3, 2012

Back to top

Selected Bills of Interest to Pennsylvanians with Disabilities+

HB 58. Introduced by Representative Mario Scavello (R-Monroe). The bill would amend the Mental Health Procedures Act, providing for assisted outpatient treatment programs. It was introduced and referred to the House Human Services Committee, January 19, 2011. See also, SB 115.

HB 165. Introduced by Representative John Evans (R-Crawford). The bill would amend the PA Crimes Code to make it a second degree misdemeanor to own a dog which injures or kills a guide, hearing or service dog in certain circumstances. It also provides for repayment of veterinary bills, fines and costs of training a replacement dog. The bill passed the House on March 8, 2011and the Senate on May 22, 2012 with amendments. An agreed to version was signed by the Governor on June 13, 2012 becoming Act 62 of 2012. See also, SB 968.

HB 188. Introduced by Representative Eugene DePasquale (D-York).The bill would amend the criminal law on neglect of care-dependent person and provide for the offense of abuse of care-dependent person. It was introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee, January 24, 2011. See also, HB 1053.

HB 200. Introduced by Representative Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery).The bill would educate student athletes, their parents and coaches about the nature and risk of concussion and head injuries, require coaches to complete a concussion management certification training course and require that a student who shows signs of a concussion or head injury be removed from play. It was introduced and referred to the House Health Committee, January 27, 2011. On February 7, 2011 it was sent to the House Education Committee. See also, SB 200 which became Act 101 of 2011.

HB 210. Introduced by Representative Matthew Baker (R-Bradford). The bill would amend the Family Caregiver Support Act to remove the requirement that the caregiver be a family member; establish priority for services to “functionally dependent older” adults and adults “60 years of age or older with chronic dementia”; and make clear that funding is limited to the appropriation of the General Assembly (no entitlement). In some circumstances, it would raise the maximum amounts that can be paid under the act. It was signed by the Governor, December 22, 2011 becoming Act 112 of 2011. See also, HB 224 and SB 639.

HB 224. Introduced by Representative Phyllis Mundy (D-Luzerne). The bill would amend the Family Caregiver Support Act. Among other changes, this bill would: remove the requirement that the caregiver be a family member; establish priority for services to “functionally dependent older” adults and adults “60 years of age or older with chronic dementia”; and make clear that funding is limited to the appropriation of the General Assembly (no entitlement). It was introduced and sent to the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee, January 25, 2011. See also, HB 210 which became Act 112 of 2011 and SB 639.

HB 317. Introduced by Representative Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre). The bill would change the list of aggravating circumstances related to sentencing for murder in the first degree. It would make it an aggravating circumstance if the victim was “particularly vulnerable due to old age, infirmity or disability.” The bill passed the House on April 4, 2011 and was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, April 8, 2011.

HB 377. Introduced by Representative Garth Everett (R-Lycoming). The bill would amend the Uniform Construction Code to, among other things, require the Department of Labor and Industry to update accessibility standards. It passed both the House and the Senate and was signed into law on April 25, 2011 becoming Act 1 of 2011.

HB 386. Introduced by Representative Scott Boyd (R-Lancaster). The bill would provide for a tax credit program to support community-based “mental retardation” services. (Note: This is the language that the bill uses.) It was reported out of the House Human Services Committee on February 1, 2011 and amended and reported out of the House Finance Committee on June 27, 2012. It was given first consideration by the House on June 27, 2012. On September 24, 2012, it was voted out of the House Rules Committee and tabled. The language of HB 386 was amended into HB 761 introduced by Representative Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster). HB 761 as amended was approved by the Governor, July 2, 2012 becoming Act 85 of 2012.

HB 420. Introduced by Representative Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks). The bill would provide for the buying and selling of medical assistance certified nursing home beds. It was introduced and sent to the House Health Committee on February 3, 2011.

HB 528. Introduced by Representative Karen Boback (R-Luzerne). The bill would require certain long-term care facilities to coordinate with licensing agencies and local area agencies on aging to provide assistance to consumers who are being relocated. The bill was voted out of the House on June 13, 2012 and was sent to the Senate Aging and Youth Committee on June 15, 2012.

HB 532. Introduced by Representative Stanley Saylor (R-York). The bill would provide mandatory insurance coverage for general anesthesia for a dental patient who is seven years of age or younger or who has a developmental disability for whom a successful result cannot be expected for treatment under local anesthesia and for whom a superior result can be expected for treatment under general anesthesia. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on July 5, 2012 becoming Act 94 of 2012.

HB 704. Introduced by Representative Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks). The bill would provide for the special education funding formula. It was voted out of the House Education Committee and sent to the Appropriations Committee on June 28, 2011. On October 17, 2011 the bill was voted out of the Appropriations Committee and sent back to the House Education Committee. See also, HB 1330 and SB 1115; and SB 1154.

HB 761. Introduced by Representative Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster). The budget tax code bill was amended to include the language of HB 386 introduced by Representative Scott Boyd (R-Lancaster), that establishes a tax credit program for businesses that contribute to nonprofit organizations that provide community-based mental health or intellectual disability services. Guidelines are to be developed for the program which will be administrated through the Department of Community and Economic Development. It was signed by the Governor on July 2, 2012, becoming Act 85 of 2012.

HB 789. Introduced by Representative Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny). The bill would change the term “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability.” It was introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee on February 23, 2011. See also, HR 225 and SB 458 which became Act 105 of 2011.

HB 934. Introduced by Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R- Butler). The bill would amend the Election Code to, among other things, require photo identification for voting. The bill passed the House in June 2011 and passed the Senate on March 7, 2012. Because the bill was amended in the Senate, it went back to the House for concurrence, where it passed 104 to 88. Governor Corbett signed it on March 14, 2012 as Act 18 of 2012.

HB 960. Introduced by Representative Mauree Gingrich (R-Lebanon). The bill would amend the Public Welfare Code to give the Secretary of Public Welfare the power to change rules and regulations on benefits, eligibility, fees/co-pays, rates etc. without legislative or public oversight. This expedited review process is intended to allow DPW to make changes in order to get down to the reduced funding level in the final budget deal. It passed as part of the budget package on June 30, 2011, becoming Act 22 of 2011.

HB 1053. Introduced by Representative Mauree Gingrich (R-Lebanon). The bill would amend the crimes code in regard to neglect of people who are “care-dependent” and provides for the offense of abuse of a person who is care-dependent. The bill was voted out of the House on May 23, 2011 and sent to the Senate June 3, 2011. See also, HB 188.

HB 1217. Introduced by Representative Ronald Waters (D-Delaware). The bill would establish a mental health court division. It was introduced and sent to the House Judiciary Committee on March 28, 2011.

HB 1261. Introduced by Representative Thomas Quigley (R-Montgomery). The bill would establish a Human Services Block Grant Pilot Program to be administered by the counties. The language in HB 1261 allows up to 20 counties to receive funding for seven human service funding lines in one block grant payment. Unlike the pilot program plan proposed by Representative DiGirolamo, there is no plan to “sunset,” or limit the length of time that the pilot program continues. It was signed by the Governor on June 30, 2012, becoming Act 80 of 2012.

HB 1297. Introduced by Representative Garth Everett (R-Lycoming). The bill would provide for random drug testing of at least 20% of public assistance recipients as well as drug and alcohol assessment and treatment of recipients. This is one of a package of bills introduced by House Republicans to address welfare fraud and abuse. It passed the House on April 27, 2011 and was sent to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on May 3, 2011. See also, SB 719.

HB 1301. Introduced by Representative Donna Oberlander (R-Armstrong). The bill would tighten the rules for the medical assistance transportation program. This is another of the House Republican welfare reform bills. It passed the House and was sent to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on May 6, 2011.

HB 1330. Introduced by Representative Thomas Quigley (R-Montgomery). The bill would, among other things, establish a Special Education Funding Commission. It has passed both the House and Senate in different forms and is currently in the House Rules Committee for a concurrence vote June 30, 2012. See also, HB 704 and SB 1115 and SB 1154.

HB 1405. Introduced by Representative Glen Grell (R-Cumberland). The bill would amend the Mental Health Procedures Act to allow psychologists to testify to competence in criminal justice proceedings. It was voted out of the House on March 12, 2012. It was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 2, 2012, given two considerations by the full Senate and tabled on October 16, 2012.

HB 1485. Introduced by Representative William Adolph Jr. (R-Delaware). The final budget was signed on the night of June 30, shortly before the new fiscal year began on July 1, 2011 becoming Act 1A of 2011.

HB 1564. Introduced by Representative Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery). The bill would establish a bill of rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It cites Olmstead and calls for a plan to address the intellectual disabilities waiting list. It was referred to the House Human Services Committee on May 23, 2011.

HB 1720. Introduced by Representative Tim Hennessey (R-Chester). The bill would provide for a procedure for determining who has authority in guardianship proceedings. The bill was signed by the Governor on July 5, 2012 becoming Act 108 of 2012.

HB 1755. Introduced by Representative Chelsa Wagner (D-Allegheny). The bill would tighten the rules on disability plates and placards. Among other things, it would require photos on placards and require recertification every five years. HB 1755 was introduced and referred to the House Transportation Committee on June 29, 2011. See also, HB 1936.

HB 1936. Introduced by Representative Douglas Reichley (R-Lehigh). The bill would require that disability parking placards be renewed every three years and that a $7.50 fee be charged for each new application and renewal. Eighteen percent of the fee would go to the shared ride program and the other eighty-two percent would go to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for grants to Centers for Independent Living. The bill was introduced and referred to the House Transportation Committee on October 26, 2011. See also, HB 1755.

HB 2237. Introduced by Representative Jaret Gibbons (D-Lawrence). The bill would amend the Public Welfare Code to provide for unlicensed residential habilitation waiver services and reimbursement. The bill was introduced and referred to House Human Services Committee March 5, 2012.

HB 2363. Introduced by Representative Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny).The bill would extend the provisions of the law which established the Shared Ride Program for People with Disabilities in the Programs of Statewide Significance funding stream to include Allegheny County. It was voted out of the House Transportation Committee and, on May 22, 2012, given first consideration by the full House.

HB 2390. Introduced by Representative Nick Miccarelli (R-Delaware). The bill would provide for accessible taxicabs in Philadelphia. It was signed by the Governor, July 5, 2012 becoming Act 119 of 2012.

HB 2665. Introduced by Representative RoseMarie Swanger (R-Lebanon). The bill would establish the Pennsylvania Long-term Care Council in state law. It was introduced and referred to the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee, October 2, 2012.

HB 2695. Introduced by Representative Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery). The bill would require places with slot machines to charge a $2 per person admission fee. All funds collected would go into a special Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Waiting List Account. It was introduced and referred to the House Gaming Oversight Committee, October 17, 2012.

SB 200. Introduced by Senator Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh). The bill would establish standards for managing concussions and traumatic brain injuries to student athletes. The bill passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor on November 9, 2011 becoming Act 101 of 2011. See also, HB 200.

SB 234. Introduced by Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia). This bill would establish a Governor’s Office for People with Disabilities and Advisory Committee. It was introduced and referred to the Senate State Government Committee, January 24, 2011.

SB 397. Introduced by Senator Mary Jo White (R-Venango). This is the legislation supported by the advocacy community which would establish procedures for prohibiting the imposition of the death sentence in cases of intellectual disabilities (Note: the language used in bill is mental retardation). SB 397 was voted out of the Senate on October 18, 2011 by a vote of 43-7. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on October 19, 2011.

SB 458. Introduced by Senator Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester). The bill would amend the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act to change the term “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability.” It was approved by the Governor on November 22, 2011 as Act 105 of 2011. See also, HB 789 and HR 225.

SB 639. Introduced by Senator Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland). The bill would amend the Family Caregiver Support Act. Among other changes, the bill would: remove the requirement that the caregiver be a family member; establish priority for services to “functionally dependent older” adults and adults “60 years of age or older with chronic dementia” (thus making younger people with chronic dementia a lower priority); raise the maximum amounts payable under the act; and make clear that funding is limited to the appropriation of the General Assembly (no entitlement). It was voted out of the Aging and Youth Committee and given first consideration by the full Senate. It is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee, April 6, 2011. See also, HB 210 which became Act 112 of 2011 and HB 224.

SB 651. Introduced by Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh). The bill would include a number of election reforms including provisions on selecting accessible polling places. It was introduced and sent to the Senate State Government Committee on February 25, 2011.

SB 862. Introduced by Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny).The bill would provide for pooled trusts for people with disabilities. It was introduced and sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 28, 2011.

SB 968. Introduced by Senator Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester). The bill would amend the PA Crimes Code to make it a second degree misdemeanor to own a dog which injures or kills a guide, hearing or service dog. It was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and given two considerations by the full Senate. See also, HB 165 which became Act 62 of 2012.

SB 1115. Introduced by Senator Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh). This bill would have, among other things, established the state’s first special education funding formula in over twenty years. The bill was passed by the Senate on June 4, 2012 and by the House on June 30, 2012 with amendments. The bill went back and forth between the House and the Senate with additional amendments. The House did not vote on the final Senate version, so the bill did not become law. While there was general agreement on the special education portion of the bill, there was not the same agreement on charter school provisions of the bill. See also, HB 1330 and HB 704 and SB 1154.

SB 1154. Introduced by Senator Robert Tomlinson (R-Bucks). The bill would amend the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, providing for special education services for nonpublic school students. It was referred to the Senate Education Committee on June 17, 2011. See also, SB 1115 and HB 704.

SB 1536. Introduced by Senator John Wozniak (D-Cambria). The bill would abolish the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and transfer its powers and duties to the Department of Health. The bill was referred to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, May 29, 2012.

Back to top

Selected Resolutions of Interest to Pennsylvanians with Disabilities+

HR 225. Introduced by Representative Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia).The resolution urges Pennsylvanians to use the term “intellectually disabled”. It was introduced and sent to the House Health Committee on April 20, 2011. It was voted out of the House Health Committee on February 6, 2012. See also, SB 458 which became Act 105 of 2011 and HB 789.

HR 798. Introduced by Representative Scott Petri (R-Bucks). The resolution directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to evaluate the delivery of services by non-profit providers for Intellectual Disability Consolidated Waiver services, Child Welfare, Community-Based Mental Health, Intellectual Disability Community-Based Program and Drug and Alcohol services. It was adopted on September 24, 2012.

HR 888. Introduced by Representative Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny). The resolution directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to evaluate the delivery of services by for-profit service providers for Intellectual Disability Consolidated Waiver services, Child Welfare, Community-Based Mental Health, Intellectual Disability Community-Based Program and Drug and Alcohol services and to submit a report. It was adopted on October 3, 2012.

SR 391. Introduced by Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia). The resolution designates December 3, 2012, as “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” to promote accessibility in Pennsylvania. It was introduced and adopted on October 16, 2012.

SR 392. Introduced by Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia). The resolution designates the month of November 2012 as “Assistive Technology Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. It was introduced and adopted on October 16, 2012.

Policy Information Exchange (PIE)
c/o The Arc of Pennsylvania
301 Chestnut Street, Ste. 403
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
800-692-7258
pie@thearcpa.org

This publication is supported by a grant from:

The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council
Forum Building, Room 561
Commonwealth Ave.
Harrisburg, PA 17120
877-685-4452
info@paddc.org
www.paddc.org

Back to top