2016 House Legislation
(11/2016) This has been a particularly productive legislative session for me, having succeeded in getting eight of my bills through the House and over to the Senate for consideration. Every one of these bills would benefit the citizens of Adams County and I am hopeful the Senate will take action to move this legislation to the governor’s desk
before time runs out.
Just this week, the House unanimously passed legislation that I sponsored to prevent the Department of Revenue from retroactively taxing agricultural easements and land bank transfers prior to the exemption that became effective on Sept. 11. House Bill 2370 would also permit taxpayers to petition for a refund of taxes improperly imposed on transactions that occurred prior
to that date. A Realty Transfer Tax would have a chilling effect on Pennsylvania’s successful farmland preservation program. The Commonwealth leads the nation in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production.
My other bills awaiting Senate action are:
House Bill 544, which would protect landowners who permit their property to be used – free of charge – for recreational purposes. Adams County has a lot of open space that would be accessible to the general public for recreational purposes if landowners could be assured they will not be sued if someone gets hurt on their property. Current law limits landowner liability for
such activities as hunting and fishing, with few exceptions, but House Bill 544 would expand recreational uses to include exercise, sport, education, recreation, relaxation or pleasure. My bill would guard against frivolous lawsuits and would award legal fees to property owners who are sued by recreational users and found not liable.
House Bill 1353, "Angie’s Law," which would strengthen penalties for repeat DUI offenders who cause the death of another by choosing to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Named for 33-year-old Angela Rigby of Fairfield, who was killed by a drunk driver with a prior DUI conviction, my bill would grade the crime as a first-degree felony, carrying a mandatory minimum
sentence of five years in prison with consecutive five-year terms for each additional victim. Offenders would also have their driving privileges revoked for life.
House Bill 1528, which would enable adoptive families to appeal the amount of the state subsidy provided to them by their county Children & Youth Services agency. The Adoption Opportunities Act provides adoption subsidies for families who adopt a child or children, but in situations in which the adoption placement is difficult due to a physical or mental disability or
other extenuating circumstances, the normal subsidy may be insufficient for the care and maintenance of the child. My legislation would remedy this by enabling these families to appeal their adoption subsidy to the Department of Human Services. The subsidy may cover maintenance, medical, surgical and psychological expenses, and other costs stemming from the adoption.
House Bill 1313, which would eliminate the cap on weekly prize payouts for nonprofit and club licensees that offer small games of chance, enabling them to make larger contributions to local charities. My bill would allow for three-year games of chance licenses and expand the number and types of games offered by clubs, nonprofits and tavern liquor licensees. It would cut
costs and sharply reduce or eliminate fees associated with small games applications, investigations and renewals. It would also curb penalties for violations associated with small games licenses.
House Bill 1204, which would amend the Pennsylvania Liquor Code to permit limited winery licensees to obtain a restaurant, hotel or malt/brewed beverages liquor license for a premises not located on or near the licensed limited winery.
House Bill 1940, which would clarify the law as to what does not constitute fundraising activities. Volunteers, members or affiliates of nationally chartered veterans organizations, volunteer fire companies, ambulance associations and rescue squad associations, and an auxiliary or affiliate of any of the aforementioned, can provide assistance with fundraising activities
provided they are not receiving direct or indirect compensation for it.
House Bill 577, which would enable members of the General Assembly who serve on the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin to have a designee with proxy voting rights. On occasion, the legislative duties and rigorous schedule make it difficult or impossible for members to attend all commission functions or meetings. My bill would enable members to have a voice
and a vote on the commission.
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