Today, three of State Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf’s (R, Mont., Bucks) proposals were signed into law.
Rabies Vaccine Exemptions for Health Reasons
Senator Greenleaf’s SB 155 exempts dogs and cats from rabies vaccines in cases where it would be detrimental to the health of the animal.
Under current law, dog and cat owners must vaccinate against rabies. However, administering the vaccination to animals with certain health conditions could jeopardize their health. Pet owners can face up to a $300 fine for failing to vaccinate.
SB 155 would put Pennsylvania in line with 17 other states that have provided exemptions from rabies vaccines.
“This is an important issue for many pet owners around the state who have animals that could be sickened by the rabies vaccine,” said Senator Greenleaf. “This law will better protect the health and safety of our animals.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture agrees with the manufacturers of vaccine that it is for healthy animals only.
PHEAA Grants for Online Education
Senator Greenleaf’s SB 78, providing financial aid for students pursuing degrees online, which was approved by the Senate Education Committee in June, but then amended into HB 1141, was signed into law today.
Senator Greenleaf’s proposal created a test program for 5 academic years administered through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). Under the Distance Education Program, eligible students enrolled in participating institutions of higher education would be able to take more than 50% of their coursework online and seek a state grant. Currently, students must earn at least 50% of their credits through classroom instruction to quality for PHEAA grants.
“Student debt is making headlines today, and more students are seeking degrees online because it is more cost effective,” said Senator Greenleaf. “This proposal will increase competition with traditional classroom programs and help suppress tuition costs for all students.”
According to the Babson Survey Research Group’s annual survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities, more than 6.1 million students took at least one online class during fall 2010—a 10.1% increase over the year before. The study, “Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011,” also stated that the 10% growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 2% growth in the overall higher education student population.
The Senator said, “More than ever, today’s students are making great sacrifices to go to school. It’s only fair that we make financial aid available to all qualified students whether they seek degrees online or in the classroom.”
The 5 year test program will allow PHEAA to collect sufficient data to assess the program’s performance and help make informed policy decisions at the end of the program.
Business Law Amendments
SB 304 brings Pennsylvania’s business laws in line with other states.
The law will allow nonprofit corporations to make use of electronic communications technology to provide for notice of meetings, granting of proxies and acting by consent without a meeting.
The bill also makes changes relating to filings with the Department of State’s Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations. A filing fee schedule is added for the Corporation Bureau’s new expedited filing service. These fees do not take effect until the Department of State is ready to provide expedited services and notice is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Pennsylvania law does not currently have a coherent body of statutory law governing the internal affairs of unincorporated nonprofit associations. Enactment of the Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act will fill that void.
The bill defines an unincorporated nonprofit association as a “nonprofit association” consisting of two or more members joined for one or more common, nonprofit and lawful purposes. The bill recognizes nonprofit associations as legal entities separate from their members and managers.
Senator Greenleaf said, “These amendments will keep our business law competitive with that of other states. It will help make Pennsylvania a better place to do business, attracting both for-profit and not-for-profit companies and creating jobs.”