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The House and Senate are in recess until December 5, 2011.

Texting Ban Becomes Law

Governor Tom Corbett signed legislation banning texting while driving on Pennsylvania roads. Act 98 makes texting on an “interactive wireless communication device” while driving a primary offense carrying a $50 fine.

Public-Private Partnership (P3) Moves Forward

Legislation reported by the Senate Transportation Committee would establish public-private partnerships to provide funding for transportation infrastructure improvements S.B. 344 (Rafferty, R-Montgomery) is slightly different than the versions proposed by the House and the Corbett administration, and more changes are expected to be made on the Senate floor, Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty explained in committee. S.B. 344 has been re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Advisory Panel on Economic Development Formed

Governor Corbett signed Executive Order 2011-08, creating the Interagency Coordination Advisory Group for Economic Development — also known as the “Economic Advisory Group” — to provide recommendations and input regarding best practices for policies and strategies to promote the coordination of economic priorities in the commonwealth.

IRRC Commissioners Appoint New Executive Director

The commissioners of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission appointed David Sumner to serve as executive director. He will replace Acting Executive Director Fiona E. Wilmarth.

Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) Launches Website

The IFO unveiled its website, , accessible at, to provide details on the state's economy and finances. A “careers” tab provides information on the jobs the office is seeking to fill and the required qualifications for interested applicants.

Petition Filed to Appoint Receiver for City of Harrisburg

Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker filed a petition with the Commonwealth Court to appoint David Unkovic as the receiver for the distressed city of Harrisburg.

House Members Elected to New Positions

Statewide, the November election produced a new Superior Court judge, David Wecht, and a new Commonwealth Court judge, Anne Covey. In addition, several House members were elected to new positions.

Members Announce Retirements

Senator Jeffrey E. Piccola (R-Dauphin) announced he will not run for re-election in 2012. Piccola has served in the Senate since he won a special election in 1995 after serving in the House of Representatives from 1977-1995. From 2001 to 2006, Piccola served as majority whip, the third-ranking member of the Senate Republican leadership. He currently serves as chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Piccola is also a member of a number of Senate committees, including Community, Economic & Recreational Development, Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure, Judiciary, and Rules & Executive Nominations.

Approved by the Governor

Act 101 - S.B. 200 (Browne, R-Lehigh) which establishes standards for managing concussions and traumatic brain injuries to student-athletes.

Legislative Actions

For the latest information regarding the status of bills and resolutions, please contact Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s State Government Relations Center directly at 717-237-4800.

H.B. 439 (Mustio, R-Allegheny)
Creates the Professional Licensees Illegal Employment Act, which prohibits licensees of a board or commission under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs from knowingly employing or permitting the employment of an unauthorized alien. The bill passed the House by a vote of 122 to 74 and has been referred to the Senate State Government Committee.

Committee Actions

For the latest information regarding the status of bills and resolutions, please contact Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s State Government Relations Center directly at 717-237-4800.

Natural Gas Pipelines The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee reported H.B. 344 (M. Baker, R-Tioga) which amends Title 66 (Public Utilities) to give the Public Utility Commission the authority to regulate non-public utility natural gas pipelines. The bill received first consideration in the Senate and was re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Nominations and Appointments

The Senate confirmed the nomination of Pedro Ramos of Philadelphia to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission.

Political Grapevine

Senator John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) announced his decision to seek the Republican nomination for attorney general.

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) recently said he is considering entering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate to challenge Senator Bob Casey, Jr.

Committee Meeting Calendar

Editor’s Note: For the most up-to-date listing of the standing committee meeting schedule, please contact Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s State Government Relations Center at (717) 237-4800 or log on to

Thursday, December 1

House Liquor Control Committee
10:00 a.m., PA Convention Center, Room 201 (A, B, C), 12th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia

The committee will hold a public hearing on H.B. 11 (amends the Liquor Code to provide for privatization of sales of wine and spirits through abolition of State Liquor Stores, through establishment of a franchise and license system and through imposition of a tax).