By Senator Dan Laughlin
The start of a new year marks the beginning of the 2021-22 Legislative Session – which makes this an appropriate time to look back at the 2019-20 Session.
Overall, a total of 1,330 bills were introduced in the Senate during the 2019-20 Session.. In addition, 2,868 bills were introduced in the House of Representatives over the course of the two-year Session.
Most of the measures were introduced in 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic not only severely impacted the General Assembly’s ability to do business –it quickly became the focus of a large majority of the bills we considered in 2020.
As part of the legislative process, several hundred pieces of legislation – bills and resolutions – were considered by Senate committees and more than 400 were ultimately approved the full Senate.
Some of the bills were rather simple, such as measures that renamed highways and bridges in honor of fallen service members. Others, such as the appropriations bills in this year’s budget package, were a quite a bit more complex. In any event, I can assure you that every bill that came before the Senate received a comprehensive review before a final vote was taken.
Of the measures approved by the Senate, more than 130 bills were enacted into law in 2019 and four bills were vetoed by the Governor. An additional 140 bills were enacted in 2020 and the Governor vetoed 19 measures.
On a personal note, I was the prime sponsor of 19 bills and a co-sponsor of 55 other bills that were introduced by my Senate colleagues during the 2019-20 Session. I also introduced one Senate Resolution and co-sponsored eight additional Resolutions.
I am pleased to report that five of the measures I introduced made it to the finish line during the Session:
Senate Bill 147 (Act 107 of 2019) provides for hunting on three Sundays each year: one during rifle deer season, one during the statewide archery deer season and one on a Sunday determined by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Senate Resolution 174 (which was adopted by the Senate in June 2019) recognized the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment, the constitutional amendment extending equal voting rights to women.
Senate Bill 469 (Act 30 of 2019) extends Pennsylvania’s existing Tender Years Hearsay Exception for court testimony to those with intellectual disabilities or autism.
Senate Bill 934 (Act 62 of 2020) – which I introduced in response to a tragic fire that claimed the lives of five young children in Erie – requires family daycare homes have a smoke detector on each floor and in the basement, as well as a portable fire extinguisher, and meet occupancy and licensing requirements.
Senate Bill 995 (Act 103 of 2020) helps Pennsylvania’s farmers by updating size restrictions on multipurpose agriculture vehicles.
I am pleased that these measures are now law in Pennsylvania, and I look forward to another productive year when the General Assembly returns to session later this month.
In closing, I encourage local residents to visit my website, www.senatorlaughlin.com, and my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/senatorlaughlin/, to keep up to date with state government news – including the state budget — and learn more about state services and agencies.