During each legislative session, thousands of bills and amendments are introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Only a fraction become law, and an even smaller portion receive wide media coverage.
These bills impact the lives of people living in Pennsylvania every day.
As the Legislature heads back into session, here is where the bills that have been featured in this column stand:
Bills that cleared the Legislature
House Bill 1071 — Preempting plastic bag taxes and bans by local municipalities.
HB1071 passed both the state House and Senate largely along partisan lines and was the first bill to be vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf this year.
Bills out of committee
House Bill 1008 — Allowing former mayors who left office midterm to take higher political office to perform marriages.
HB1008 was unanimously approved by the House and is awaiting Senate consideration.
Senate Bill 577 — Banning the possession and sale of shark fins.
SB577 unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting full Senate consideration.
Senate Bill 662 — Creating the crime of “drug delivery resulting in serious bodily injury.”
SB662 was unanimously approved by the Senate and is awaiting consideration by the House.
House Bill 111 — Eliminating elections of appellate court judges and instituting a merit-based system.
HB111 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in May and is awaiting consideration from the full House.
Bills still in committee
House Bill 66 — Banning the sale of “novelty” lighters.
House Bill 209 — Creating the Independent Office of the Repealer to review and recommend repealing redundant or outdated regulations.
House Bill 661 — Stopping the spread of “fake news” by requiring media literacy education in public schools.
House Bill 642 — Making it a crime to store or access pornographic materials on state-owned computers.
House Bill 687 — Banning the use of cellphones at gas pumps to prevent “distracted pumping.”
House Bill 248 — Banning the sale and trade of ivory.
House Bill 1127 — Increasing the pay for jurors.
House Bill 682 — Banning the sale of real-looking toy guns.
House Bill 1227 — Eliminating the prevailing wage requirements for certain bridge repair contracts.
House Bill 1367 — Prohibiting concealed carrying firearms while intoxicated.
House Bill 1400 — Expanding background checks for the sale of firearms and creating a pre-approval process for background checks at gun shows.
Senate Bill 313 — Allowing domestic violence victims to remove their abuser from a shared telephone contract.
House Bill 487 — Increasing the grading and penalties for the crime of concealing the death of a child.
House Bill 928 — Decriminalizing the possession of a small amount of marijuana.
House Bill 343 — Preventing extreme fluctuations in heating bills by capping rates for variable rate electricity plans.
House Bill 917 — Eliminating “motorcycle profiling” by police.
House Bill 1637 — Setting up guidelines allowing autonomous vehicles to travel on public roads.
House Bill 1652 — Deciding pet custody in a divorce.
House Bill 1228 — Allowing students to use sunscreen and other “sun protective materials.”
House Bill 1228 — Extending electioneering-free zones at polling places.
Senate Bill 96 — Expanding protections from ethnic intimidation to include ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.
House Bill 140 — Creating the felony offense of “assault by knocking out” as a way to deter youths from playing the “knockout game.”
House Bill 1733 — Creating the crime of “academic fraud” and making cheating in a college a potential felony.