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Upcoming Senate Schedule:
The Senate will convene on Monday, February 2 at 1 p.m.
Senate approves oil and gas lease protection bills
The Senate gave final approval Wednesday to two bills intended to protect and expand the rights of landowners who currently hold leases with natural gas companies.
Senate Bill 147 would expand the Oil and Gas Lease Act by allowing royalty interest owners the opportunity to inspect records of natural gas companies to verify proper payments. The bill also requires all royalty payments to be made within 90 days of production unless otherwise stated in the contract.
Senate Bill 148 would prohibit a gas company from retaliating against a royalty interest owner by terminating the lease agreement or ceasing development because a landowner questions the accuracy of the royalty payments.
The Senate also approved Senate Bill 283 which continues the process to amend the state Constitution to eliminate the Philadelphia Traffic Court.
All three bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Argall co-sponsors bill to increase penalties for impersonating a physician
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati is going to introduce legislation that would increase the criminal penalties for individuals impersonating medical doctors.
According to Senator Scarnati’s co-sponsor memo, the legislation comes at the suggestion of a Philadelphia Grand Jury, which investigated and indicted Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his “House of Horrors” abortion clinic.
As a co-sponsor of Sen. Scarnati’s forthcoming legislation, I am pleased to see more attention given to this important issue. In 2011, I strongly supported two bills that were signed into law that were in response to the devastating news coming out of an abortion clinic in West Philadelphia which require stronger oversight and regulation of these clinics.
You can read an op-ed I wrote on the issue a few years ago here.
House Education Committee approves “Eileen’s Law” dealing with student truancy
On Wednesday, the House Education Committee approved Representative Mark Gillen’s (R-Berks) House Bill 141, also known as Eileen’s Law. According to Representative Gillen, his bill would ensure that parents and guardians will no longer bear the brunt of the punishment for a student’s truancy.
The bill is named after Eileen DiNino, a Berks County resident who was jailed and eventually died in jail after being unable to pay fines for her children’s truancy charges.
The legislation would remove the harsh punishment of monetary fines and jail time and allow parents and guardians to complete community service work instead.
The bill moves to the full of House of Representatives for consideration.