Governor Signs a Series of Bills

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Governor Wolf signed dozens of bills into law last week, including several the PA Chamber has been following closely in the final weeks of session.

House Bill 440 (now Act 83 of 2020) expands Pennsylvania’s successful “Clean Slate” law that was supported by the PA Chamber and is helping to improve employment prospects for low-level former offenders in the Commonwealth. The new law allows for automatic sealing of a criminal history record if an individual has been unconditionally pardoned or fully acquitted following a trial.  It also expands eligibility to individuals who have paid all restitution, even if they have not yet finalized payment of underlying court fees associated with the conviction.

House Bill 716 (now Act 85 of 2020) creates a Joint Task Force on Misclassification of Employees within the Department of Labor and Industry to investigate the practice of employee misclassification and develop recommendations to reduce such practices. The task force will be in place for two years, and the PA Chamber will be engaged in the task force and tracking its work closely.

A PA Chamber-backed measure – H.B. 2370 (now Act 97 of 2020) allows for remote notarization. Early in the pandemic, a measure was enacted to provide for temporary remote notaries to allow for social distancing; and the new law now makes remote notarization permanent.

Other notable legislation that received the governor’s signature last week includes:

  • H.B. 2438 (Act 98 of 2020) – Allows rural electric cooperatives to use existing infrastructure to deploy fiber lines for broadband.
  • H.B. 1439 (Act 89 of 2020) – Ensures that those who purchase insurance are able to access coverage for addiction treatment already included in the health plan.
  • H.B. 1696 (Act 92 of 2020) – Amends the state’s Insurance Company Law requiring insurance carriers that cover behavioral health to submit certain information to the state Department of Insurance to help ascertain compliance with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.    

Another bill that earned the PA Chamber’s support became law today without the governor’s signature. Senate Bill 1199 (Act 106 of 2020) supports the investment, creation and deployment of personal delivery services – autonomous robots designed to deliver packages to consumers and from business to business, within a small radius. The new law encourages innovation and helps businesses overtime operational challenges, while continuing to allow for social distancing.