Corbett Signs 46 New Laws

Sari Heidenreich
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As his first six months in office draw to a close, Gov. Tom Corbett gave Pennsylvania 46 new laws Thursday.

Signing bills and resolutions into law that had been sent to him by the House and Senate before they recessed a week ago, Mr. Corbett put the final stamp on legislation that enables firefighters to seek workers’ compensation if they are diagnosed with cancer, makes HIV testing a routine part of general medical care and makes murder through drug delivery easier to prosecute by removing the requirement to prove the defendant acted with malice.

The signings bring the total number of bills enacted during Mr. Corbett’s 6-month-old administration to 89.

A sampling of bills signed Thursday includes:

  • Parents of stillborn children can now apply to receive a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth from the Department of Health. Previously, stillborn children were only issued death certificates.
  • Motorcycle dealers can now be open on Sundays. However, car dealerships will remain closed. The prohibition stems from century-old Blue Laws and the 28-year-old Board of Vehicles Act of 1983.
  • Military service members who are on leave or have recently returned from overseas deployment may now obtain reduced fee hunting licenses from any commonwealth licensing agency. Until now, only the Game Commission or county treasurer could sell them at a reduced rate.
  • Underaged drinkers are now immune from prosecution for drinking if their alcohol consumption is discovered because they sought medical assistance for someone else. The immunity applies only if they identify themselves to authorities, reasonably believe they are the first to call for assistance and stay put until help arrives.
  • Municipalities in which a clean air fine was levied will qualify to receive 25 percent of that fine if it is more than $50,000. The money must be used for use for projects that eliminate or reduce air pollution. There have been 16 fines over $50,000 since the start of the 2008 fiscal year. Previously, all the money would go to the Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Public officials who conduct public business in secret with the intent of violating any of the state’s regulations under the Sunshine Act may now be levied a maximum fine of $2,000 — if they are a repeat offender. The fine may not be paid by their employer.
  • Individuals in the greyhound racing business now can be fined $10,000 for receiving payment for transmitting or receiving live broadcasts of greyhound races. Doing so is a first-degree misdemeanor.

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