HARRISBURG, Pa (WTAJ) — Governor Tom Wolf signed 9 new bills into Pennsylvania state law and vetoed one that would require public school teachers to continually post curriculums, books, and more online.
Before Christmas comes to the Commonwealth, Wolf signed into law House bills 291, 1255, 1260, 1837 and 2071, and Senate bills 208, 772, 729 and 869. Gov. Wolf also vetoed House Bill 1332.
Here’s what has passed:
House Bill 291 – This bill amends the State Lottery Law, in pharmaceutical assistance for the elderly, further providing for determination of eligibility.
House Bill 1260 – This bill amends the State Lottery Law, in pharmaceutical assistance for the elderly, further providing for the pharmaceutical assistance contract for the elderly needs enhancement tier, to coordinate benefits and provide for modernization of the program.
Together, these bills will ensure that older adults in Pennsylvania continue to have access to crucial savings through PACENET, a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of older adults who need assistance with paying for their prescription medications.
House Bill 2071 – This bill establishes the PA Broadband Development Authority to provide broadband Internet access to unserved or underserved residents, and provides for powers and duties of the authority.
Expanding access to broadband has been a priority for Gov. Wolf throughout his administration. This legislation will help bring high-speed internet to students, businesses and residents across Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority created by this bill would help to manage a minimum of $100 million in federal aid the state will receive for the broadband rollout in a coordinated and strategic way to support the construction of new towers, lines and broadband equipment and other uses in line with federal law and guidance.
House Bill 1255 amends Title 42 (Judiciary) providing for a five-year statute of limitations to recover damages against real estate appraisers when there is no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation.
House Bill 1837 amends the Workers’ Compensation Act, in procedure, streamlining the compromise and release agreement process.
Senate Bill 208 amends Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, in subdivision and land development, further providing for completion of improvements or guarantee thereof prerequisite to final plat approval.
Senate Bill 772 amends the Insurance Company Law related to model laws on annuities.
Senate Bill 729 amends the Nurse Aide Resident Abuse Prevention Training Act authorizing virtual instruction for certain components of nurse aide training programs.
Senate Bill 869 amends Title 63 (Professions and Occupations), in powers and duties, authorizing licensing boards and licensing commissions to conduct virtual public meetings.
Gov. Wolf vetoed House Bill 1332. A bill that many public school teachers across the state also opposed.
Here is the governor’s veto message:
“Under the guise of transparency, this legislation politicizes what is being taught in our public schools. State regulations adopted by the State Board of Education already require that public schools provide parents and guardians with course curriculum and instructional materials upon request. In addition, textbooks are adopted by school boards in meetings open to the public. Therefore, requiring all public schools to publish on their website the details of every textbook, course syllabus or written summary of each course, and the relevant academic standards for each course is not only duplicative, but overly burdensome. The onerous requirements of this bill fall on educators who should be focused on critical issues such as addressing learning loss, managing the impacts of the pandemic on students, and working through staffing shortages. Many education stakeholder groups voiced significant concerns and opposition to this bill, including its underlying purpose, the lack of need, and its burdensome impact.
“This legislation is a thinly veiled attempt to restrict truthful instruction and censor content reflecting various cultures, identities, and experiences. My Administration is committed to creating a safe learning environment for all students, and we will not take part in this dangerous and harmful imposition.”