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Area Votes: House Approves Marcellus Shale Bill

An account of legislative votes in the General Assembly.

State lawmakers wrapped up a busy week Thursday by approving a gas-drilling bill that tackles the regulations for the controversial Marcellus Shale. Both the Senate and House now have approved versions and need a consolidated one before Gov. Corbett weighs in. Closing out the week before the Thanksgiving recess, General Assembly members also approved unemployment and illegal alien legislation.

Marcellus Shale

By close votes, both the House and Senate approved separate drilling oversight bills in the Marcellus Shale, the region rich in natural gas. Passed by the Senate Nov. 15 by a 29-20 vote, the Senate bill earned Republican support for its fees and regulations, while Democrats opposed it for neglecting to benefit the local communities, CBSPhilly reported.

The House version, approved Nov. 17 in a 107-76 vote, earned praise from governor, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. However, lawmakers say much work is needed to consolidate the two versions before the governor can take it up. By year's end seems optimistic, some say.

HB1950

  • NO: Pamela DeLissio (D-194), Cherelle Parker (D-200)

SB1100

  • NO: Shirley Kitchen (D-3), Vincent Hughes (D-7)

Other House business

HB439: The House approved a bill Nov. 15 in a 122-74 vote that bans licensed entities from knowingly employing illegal aliens. This solidifies other similar bans but is targeted toward organizations or individuals that have state-issued licenses. Violators would lose those licenses.

  • NO: Pamela DeLissio (D-194), Cherelle Parker (D-200)

Other Senate business

SB1310In a 33-16 vote Nov. 15, the Senate approved updates to unemployment compensation law. The bill alters definitions for contribution rate required (potentially increased to $10,000 starting in 2018) and lays out more language regarding interest, recuperation and amnesty.

  • NO: Shirley Kitchen (D-3), Vincent Hughes (D-7)

The General Assembly will reconvene Dec. 5.

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