Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of April 8. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session April 16.
The Pennsylvania attorney general and the state’s district attorneys would be able to use administrative subpoenas to find the Internet Protocol (IP) address of suspected online predators under legislation approved by the state House of Representatives.
State Representative Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny, the prime sponsor of HB 90, said IP addresses are not privacy-protected but also are not readily available.
"Every electronic device connected to the Internet has an IP address," Saccone said. "But a lot of Internet providers don’t like to give them out."
Saccone likened the process to a police officer running the plate on a car.
"It’s public record what the address is, but only the police and certain law enforcement agents are allowed to run the plate," he said.
The General Assembly continues to move bills that stem from recommendations of the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection, formed by lawmakers in the wake of the June 2012 conviction of Jerry Sandusky on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
The House Committee on Children and Youth approved HB 431, which would require professional licensees who are mandated reporters of child abuse to undergo child-abuse recognition and reporting training – two hours every two years – as a condition of licensing and certification. The committee also approved HB 432, which would require child day-care facility operators and employees who come in contact with children to receive three hours of child-abuse recognition and reporting training every five years.
The penalties for making false statements to secure unemployment compensation benefits would increase under legislation HB 403, which has been approved by the House.
Current law sets the penalty range at $100 to $1,000. The new legislation would increase that range to $500 to $1,500.
The legislation would also increase the minimum number of penalty weeks for such actions from two to 10 and would remove the current four-year statute of limitations.
Additionally, HB 403 would allow for penalties to be collected through liens, civil action or any other means available by law for up to 12 years after the end of the benefit year.
Governor Tom Corbett has named Michael Wolf as secretary of the state Department of Health. Wolf, who has served for several months as acting secretary, replaces Eli Avila, who resigned in October 2012.
According to a statement from Corbett’s office, Wolf, 46, of Enola, Pa., joined the department in May 2011 as executive deputy secretary after working as the director of worldwide public affairs and policy at Pfizer Inc.
Wolf was named acting secretary in October 2012.
The Department of Health oversees the regulation of Pennsylvania’s hospitals, nursing homes and various other health care facilities, while organizing and supporting public health initiatives and services, as well as outreach, education, prevention and preparedness activities.
The department has an annual budget of more than $838 million and has approximately 1,700 employees.