Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of April 21. Members of the General Assembly were set to return to session April 28.
• State Rep. Michael McGeehan, D-Philadelphia, has introduced HB 2192 in the state House of Representatives, which would require the Pennsylvania Department of State to compile a list of state sponsors of criminalized sexual orientation or gender identity to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The state would be prohibited from investing in them under the bill.
• State Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, has introduced HB 2193, which would authorize the speaker of the House to assemble a panel of five judges chosen at random who would then appoint a special investigator to conduct a 30-day preliminary investigation on the conduct of a House member. The investigation would take place if the speaker were to receive sufficient evidence to believe a member might have committed any crime that would constitute a breach of the public trust. After the preliminary investigation were conducted, if four of the five judges on the panel were to vote to appoint a special independent counsel, then one would be appointed. The independent counsel would operate with all the powers and authority of the Attorney General’s Office to investigate only the issue as prescribed by the panel.
• State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Philadelphia, has introduced HB 2198, which would prohibit cable and satellite television companies from collecting video or audio from the set-top box used to display television programming to consumers. Cruz said the bill grew out of recent news about cable and video programming companies planning to develop boxes with motion sensors and cameras to track movements, record conversations and monitor consumer behavior, which renewed privacy concerns related to technology.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reports that Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points in March to 6.0 percent, the lowest rate since October 2008.
The rate was 0.7 percentage points below the U.S. rate, which was unchanged from February at 6.7 percent. The state rate was down 1.7 percentage points from its March 2013 rate of 7.7 percent.
Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force—the number of people working or looking for work—increased by 12,000 in March and is at 6.4 million. Resident employment was up 19,000, the third consecutive gain exceeding 10,000. The number of unemployed residents, which trended downward for the eighth consecutive month, was down by 8,000 in March to 390,000.