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New bill in effect to address emergency response areas


By Rep. Anita Kulik


-Harrisburg Updates-


It was a busy session for the house and senate this past week in Harrisburg. Twenty-three bills were sent to the governor after votes in the House.


The legislature has previously dealt with dangerous situations in roadway construction areas. Camera monitoring is already in place on some roadways in attempts to enforce safety and speed laws. Protecting those who work on our roadways is paramount. To further address dangerous situations on roadways, Senate Bill 1281 passed through final vote in House.


This bill deals with emergency response areas and disabled vehicle situations on roadways.


Known as the “Steer Clear Law,” the bill, among other things, requires drivers to respond to emergency situations by passing in a lane not adjacent to that of the emergency response area, or if unable to do so, pass the area at a safe speed. Violations are graded as summary offenses subject to monetary fines.


Licenses can be suspended if the violation resulted in serious bodily injury or death or is the violator’s third such offense. This bill protects not only other drivers and persons in disabled vehicles, but also the first responders on site of accidents and other hazards.


The house also moved to further amend the laws that provide for Emergency Management Services. House Bill 1673 significantly amends the law to address the Voluntary Loan Assistance Program, the Office of the State Fire Commissioner, fire relief associations, a fire relief funding study and formula, the Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grant Programs, and first responder tax credits.


Especially in this time of the pandemic, it is important that the needs of our local volunteer fire companies, ambulance services and rescue squads are properly addressed.


I would encourage members of these organizations to reach out to me or their respective representatives for forthcoming information once this bill is signed into law. As a member of the House Emergency Preparedness Committee, I see firsthand the needs of our first responders and understand the problems facing them, especially on the issue of funding.


With the pandemic, changes had to be made to certain services in order to keep people safe and continue business transactions. Remote (electronic) notarizations were allowed under the law for the duration of the pandemic. House Bill 2370, which passed out of the House this week, revises some of the rules governing remote notarization and makes such permanent.


A veto override of House Bill 2513 was attempted but failed by two votes. This bill sought to lift COVID-19 restrictions on the restaurant and bar industry. I voted in favor of this bill last month and voted in favor of the override.


I am proud to see people in the district take the pandemic seriously and practice safety measures.


Our small businesses need to be given the opportunity to survive.


House sessions will more than likely be scheduled for November as budgetary issues must be addressed.


For information on these or other bills, please contact me at akulik@pahouse.net or (412) 264-4260.

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