Liquor Control Committee Holds Public Hearing in Philadelphia
7/26/2019
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Harrisburg Update

A quick look at what’s happening in Harrisburg
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Liquor Control Committee Holds Public Hearing in Philadelphia

 
As a member of the House Liquor Control Committee, I attended a public hearing this week on the issue of accessibility to old hotel licenses and how being able to obtain and convert those licenses will benefit local business owners across the state.

Under current liquor law, owners of old hotel liquor licenses (H licenses) issued before 1949 were allowed to eliminate the requirement that they maintain hotel rooms but are not permitted to transfer their liquor license if they want to sell or get out of their current business. The H license is tied to the premise where it is located.

House Bill 1617 would allow holders of hotel licenses, issued prior to 1949, the opportunity to convert them to restaurant liquor licenses, which would enable them to be transferred to another location in the county where the need for additional liquor licenses may be greater.

It is estimated that 350 licenses would be eligible for conversion if the legislation is enacted.
                                   

Clean Slate Law Offers Second Chances

The new, automatic sealing of criminal records 10 years or older is now in effect under the state’s Clean Slate Act. Officials expect to process 2.5 million records per month over the next year.

The Clean Slate Act created an automated computer process to seal arrests that did not result in convictions within 60 days, summary convictions after 10 years, and some second- and third-degree misdemeanor convictions if there are no subsequent convictions for a period of 10 years. Certain first-degree misdemeanors can be sealed by petition.

The law is designed to ensure people who have turned their lives around are not haunted by minor, nonviolent indiscretions that occurred a decade earlier. The law does not apply to violent offenses related to danger of a person; firearms or other dangerous articles; sexual offenses and registration; cruelty to animals; and corruption of minors.

The House is considering additional criminal justice reforms this session, including House Bill 1555 that would make a series of probation and parole reforms, and House Bill 1477, which would ensure past convictions are not prohibiting someone from obtaining occupational licensure, unless the conviction is related to the career field.
 

National Guard Parity Bill Now Law

Working to ensure equity for the dedicated members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, a new law requires them to be compensated at the same level as their U.S. military counterparts.

Specifically, the law requires pay for deputy adjutant generals and general officers in command positions permanently employed by the Commonwealth be equivalent to the federal military base pay. In addition to specifying the eligibility requirements and conditions for the pay increase, this new law also determines how the cost-of-living adjustment is to be calculated.

Under previous law, the Pennsylvania National Guard adjutant general and uniformed deputy adjutant generals earned significantly less than their active duty counterparts, though they maintain the same military standards and comparable senior executive responsibilities.
 

New Law Will Help People Stay on Track with Medications

Recognizing the challenges some patients face in staying on track with their medications, the General Assembly has adopted a new state law to make it a little easier.

Act 46 of 2019 will allow consumers to synchronize the refilling of their prescriptions, meaning they can pick up all of their medications on one day rather than having to make multiple trips to the pharmacy. This will be especially helpful for senior citizens, busy families and others who have limited transportation options.

The law will enable consumers to synchronize their prescription refills and bar insurance companies from denying coverage for a partial fill of a script in order to facilitate medication synchronization. Thirty-five other states have enacted or introduced similar legislation.

The law takes effect next summer.
 

Emergency Programs Can Save Lives

Drivers are reminded of two voluntary programs aimed at saving the lives of residents in emergency situations. Participation in both programs is free of charge.

Under PennDOT’s Yellow Dot program, participants fill out the program form with emergency contact, medical contact and medical information, insert it in the program’s folder and then place it in their vehicle’s glove compartment. A yellow dot sticker affixed to the rear window alerts emergency responders to the availability of information to help them provide better care to crash victims.

The Emergency Contact Information program offers Pennsylvania driver’s license and PennDOT-issued ID holders the opportunity to log into a secure database and list two emergency contacts. Participants can update their records as needed, but only law enforcement officials can view the information in the system. In the event of an emergency, law enforcement can use a participant’s ID to find his or her emergency contact information.

The Yellow Dot program is used only in vehicle crashes, but the Emergency Contact Information program can be used in other emergencies as well as crashes.
 

PennDOT Seeks Public Input on Highway Safety through Online Survey

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking motorists’ input on traffic safety and driving behaviors through its annual online Highway Safety Survey found at PennDOT.gov/Safety

PennDOT will use the feedback from this annual survey to better understand the attitude and actions of the public concerning a variety of driving behaviors.
The survey is available on PennDOT’s website through August 12 and should take about five minutes to complete. All responses, including the “comments” fields, are anonymous.

More than 6,000 people responded to last year’s survey. For more information on our highway safety efforts, visit PennDOT.gov/Safety.

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