SB 43 (Act 11 of 2019) Honoring a Westmoreland County Hero
Designated the portion of Route 30 from North Greengate Road, Hempfield Township, to East Pittsburgh Street, Hempfield Township, as the J. Edward “Hutch” Hutchinson Memorial Bypass. Chief Hutchinson was a long-serving member and chief of Greensburg Hose Company No. 3, having been continuously active in the fire department for more than 78 years, except while serving in the Marine Corps during World War II. Aside from being a leader in both fire services and the Greensburg community at large, Chief Hutchinson was the very first recipient of the “Pennsylvania Fireman of the Year” award.
SB 250 (Act 1 of 2017) Reducing Call-Wait Times for Unemployment Compensation
Provided up to $15 million of additional funding to operate the state’s unemployment compensation system in order to reduce significant call-wait times to unemployment compensation centers.
SB 133 (Act 3 of 2017) Enabling Pennsylvania to Comply with Real ID
Repealed the Pennsylvania Real ID Non-Participation Act of 2012 and directed the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to request an extension from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to comply with the provisions of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 in order to ensure state driver’s licenses and identification cards would continue to be a valid form of identification when boarding domestic flights, visiting military installations or entering federal buildings. Lead to full state compliance with REAL ID.
SB 260 (Act 51 of 2017) Crime Victim Representation
Established more varied crime victim representation to the Victims’ Services Advisory Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency by expanding the committee’s membership. The committee provides perspectives on behalf of crime victims in the development of the Commission’s policies, funding priorities, legislation and outcomes. Specifically, the Victims’ Services Advisory Committee advises the Commission in the approval and disbursement of financial assistance, and reviews and comments on applications from crime victim assistance organizations seeking funding through PCCD grant programs.
SB 837 (Act 20 of 2018) Honoring a Westmoreland County Hero
Designated a portion of Route 981 in Smithton Borough and South Huntingdon Township as the Specialist 4 William J. Kolenc Memorial Highway. Specialist 4 William J. Kolenc was born in South Huntingdon Township, was drafted into theUnited States Army, and served in Vietnam where he was killed in action. He received the National Defense Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal.
SB 329 (Act 33 of 2015) Ready to Succeed Program
Created the Ready to Succeed Scholarship Act in the Public School Code to help students from middle
income families defray the cost of higher education at state grant approved institutions. The scholarships are administered through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) for students of families whose total income does not exceed $110,000; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index. Eligible students must be enrolled at least a half-time in an approved course of study, demonstrate outstanding academic achievement by maintaining a 3.25 GPA or higher, and be in compliance with all aspects of the State Grant program except financial need.
SB 330 (Act 34 of 2015) Addressing Dilapidated Properties
Decreased the number of municipal building, housing, or property maintenance code violations necessary to charge a property owner with a misdemeanor crime.
SB 494 (Act 3 of 2016) Saving Paper by Eliminating Duplicative Flood Reports
Repealed a requirement for the Insurance Commissioner to issue a flood insurance consumer education plan annually to encourage PA residents to purchase and maintain flood insurance. The report and other flood-related insurance data are readily available online at the Department’s website, and paper copies were duplicative and costly.
SB 956 (Act 98 of 2016) Honoring Westmoreland County Heroes
Designated the Route 1017 bridge over the Mill Creek in Ligonier Township as the Lieutenant Eric Eslary Memorial Bridge and the section of Rt 981 in Mount Pleasant Township, from the intersection of Route 981 and Route 2021 to the intersection of Route 981 and Route 130, as the James Paul Takitch Honorary Highway. Lieutenant Eslary had served with the Ligonier Township Police Department for 17 years before being killed while on duty in 2015 when a drunk driver struck his patrol SUV. Takitch was a Seaman 2nd Class who during the Battle of Okinawa and was wounded by enemy fire. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal, and Victory Medal of World War II for his courageous service during World War II.
SB 21 (Act 33 of 2014) Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse
Broadened the scope of mandated reporters (those required by law to report suspected child abuse) and made reporting requirements more definitive. The following persons (limited to adults) are now required to report child abuse:
- Licensed professionals in health-related fields.
- Medical examiners, coroners and funeral directors.
- Employees of health care facilities/providers licensed by the Department of Health who are involved with patient admission, examination, care or treatment.
- School employees.
- Employees of a child-care service, who have direct contact with children.
- Clergy and other religious leaders.
- Individuals (paid or unpaid) who accept responsibility for a child as part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service.
- Employees of social service agencies, who have direct contact with children.
- Peace officers or law enforcement officials.
- Employees at public libraries, who have direct contact with children.
- Emergency medical services providers.
- Persons supervised by any of the above, and who have direct contact with children.
- Independent contractors of organizations that care for children.
Mandated reporters must report when they have reasonable cause to suspect child abuse under the following circumstances:
- The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child through their work or volunteer service.
- The mandated reporter or the organization they are affiliated with is directly responsible for the child.
- A person makes a specific disclosure about the abuse of an identifiable child.
- A person (14 or older) makes a specific disclosure that the person has committed child abuse.
SB 145 (Act 117 of 2014) Homeowner Protection
Protected residential property owners and tenants from mechanics’ liens by subcontractors if the homeowner or tenant has paid the contractor in full.
SB 622 (Act 118 of 2014) Licensure of Debt Settlement Services
Established licensure and regulation by the Department of Banking and Securities of businesses that provide debt settlement services.
SR 250 Taskforce on Child Protection
Established an 11-member task force of members experienced in issues relating to child abuse or in providing services to victims of child abuse. The task force was charged with making recommendations:
- To improve the reporting of child abuse.
- To implement necessary changes in state statutes, practices, policies and procedures relating to child abuse.
- To train appropriate individuals in the reporting of child abuse.
From the task force came the most significant reforms of Pennsylvania’s child welfare system through the passage in 2014 of multiple pieces of legislation.
SB 638 (Act 121 of 2011) Medicaid Transportation Savings
Reduced Medicaid costs by requiring individuals who receive state-subsidized transportation to methadone treatment services to have treatment at the clinic closest to their residence. The Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP) provides transportation to Medicaid-eligible individuals who are receiving methadone treatments for opioid addiction by either reimbursing them per mile for use of their private vehicles or by providing rides in vans and taxis. More than one in three trips paid through the MATP was for methadone maintenance and recipients chose their preferred service location, regardless of distance.
SB 866 (Act 78 of 2012) Volunteer Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program
Re-authorized the Volunteer Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program and expanded the program to include municipal fire companies. Also increased program funding by $5 million, to help emergency responders pay for equipment, construction or renovation of facilities, training and debt reduction.
SB 637 (Act 127 of 2012) E-Verify for State Projects
Required state public works contractors, prior to the execution of the work, to provide a verification form ensuring employees are legally permitted to be in the U.S. The verification will be made by checking employees’ status via the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s online E-Verify system.
SB 1144 (Act 186 of 2012) Non-Covered Dental Services
Prohibited dental insurers from requiring dentists with whom they have a contract from to provide non-covered services to a patient at a fee set by the insurer.
SB 1572 (Act 195 of 2012) Second-Class City Law Enforcement Residency
Allowed second-class cities the option to require police officers to reside within the city as a condition of employment. At the time, state law required police officers employed by a second-class city to live in the city.
SB 960 (Act 28 of 2010) State Veterans’ Commission Membership
Added a representative of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) as a member of the State Veterans’ Commission. The MOAA is the nation’s largest association of military officers, with more than 350,000 members from every branch of service – including active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired, former officers, and their families.
SB 1181 (Act 97 of 2010) Civil Protections for Insurance Employees Investigating Fraud
Designed to assist law enforcement in fraud investigations by limiting the ability of individuals under investigation to bring civil cause of action against an insurer, or their employees, who are assisting law enforcement with the case.
Other Legislative Accomplishments
Senator Ward was also instrumental in gaining legislative wins through the inclusion of her prime-sponsored bills in other legislation that was ultimately signed into law. These included:
- Increased penalties for failure to report child abuse;
- Extended benefits granted under the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act to survivors of trained campus police who are killed in the line of duty;
- Allowed health-care practitioners to prescribe, dispense or distribute Narcan to a family member, friend or other person in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose, so long as that person has completed a training course approved by the Department of Health and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs;
- Ensured continued access for eye patients to quality care.
Additionally, the Statewide Uniform Registry System is currently being audited for the first time ever in response to legislation introduced by Senator Ward to mandate the Auditor General to do so in order to determine the accuracy of voter records and assess the security protocols in place and make recommendations to ensure future security of the database. The audit is expected to be completed in November, 2019.