PBA Legislative News

Bills Supported by the PBA Signed into Law

Act 73 of 2013 (House Bill 25), sponsored by Rep. Glen Grell, prohibits notaries public from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law by prohibiting the preparation of legal documents and the providing of legal advice. The new law prohibits deceptive advertising and bans notaries public from the misuse of the term "notario publico," a designation in Spanish-speaking countries that permits an appropriately licensed individual to practice law. The bill also provides minimum standards for all notarial acts, facilitates acts on electronic records and provides for the recognition of unsworn foreign declarations to facilitate international commerce, among other things.

Act 67 of 2013 (S.B. 304), sponsored by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, completes the codification of the Nonprofit Corporation Law, updating the law and making it consistent with the Business Corporation Law while also enacting the Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act.

Act 55 of 2013 (H.B. 1075), sponsored by Rep. Dan Moul, amends the Public Welfare Code. The PBA supported the part of the act that requires counties to conduct ongoing efforts to find family for children who become involved with a county Children and Youth Agency, as "family finding" is a successful strategy for serving families whose children have experienced or are at risk for abuse, neglect or other inadequate parental care or control.

Act 36 of 2013 (H.B. 515), sponsored by Rep. Richard Stevenson, amends the MPC, further providing a definition for "electronic notice" and "mailed notice," which is a notice given by a municipality by first-class mail or Internet to a landowner or an owner of mineral rights within a municipality, of the time and place of a public hearing and the particular nature of the matter to be considered at the hearing.

Act 35 of 2013 (House Bill 513), sponsored by Rep. Richard Stevenson, amends Title 20 (Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries), further providing for settlement of small estates on petition. Under current law a small-estates petition can be used as an alternative to probate if the estate has no real estate and the value of other assets is less than $25,000. As an alternative to a formal accounting a probated estate can be settled by petition if the value of all estate assets (excluding real estate) does not exceed $25,000. The act raises both amounts to $50,000. In addition the act further provides for payments to family and funeral directors, raising various limits from $3,500 and $4,000 to $10,000 and changing language as follows: "Any bank, savings association, savings and loan association, building and loan association, credit union or other savings organization, at any time after the death of a depositor, member or certificate holder, may shall pay the amount on deposit or represented by the certificate, when the total standing to the credit of the decedent in that institution does not exceed. ..."

Act 30 of 2013 (Senate Bill 381), sponsored by Sen. John Eichelberger Jr., provides limited but key UCC, Article 9 (secured transactions), changes. Most significantly, it defines an individual borrower's correct name on the relevant secured transaction paperwork: the name on the borrower's Pennsylvania driver's license or non-driver's license PennDOT-issued ID card. For those without either ID, the borrower's individual name or surname and first personal name is to be used.

S.B. 4, sponsored by Sen. Michael Brubaker, is a Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution stating that the General Assembly may by law establish uniform standards and qualifications that shall be the criteria to determine qualification as institutions of purely public charity. The bill passed the Senate 30-20 on March 20 and then passed the House 118-82 on June 26. Per the Constitution, the legislation awaits passage again during the next session of the General Assembly (2015-16) and, should it obtain such passage, will then be placed on the ballot for final decision by the voters.

Additional information on bills, as well as other legislation and State Capitol happenings of interest to the PBA, is available by emailing the Legislative Department and by checking the PBA Legislative Boxscore at www.pabar.org/legbox/bar_box.htm.

Please note that the Legislative Boxscore is updated each night to reflect the legislative activity of bills during the previous session day. If you are tracking particular bills on which the PBA has a position, the Legislative Boxscore will provide you timely information.

 

capitol complex
Courtesy of Pennsylvania Legislature Web site at www.legis.state.pa.us

 

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Nov./Dec. 2012 Pennsylvania Lawyer magazine "On the Hill" column by William P. Carlucci, PABAR-PAC board chair

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