Agenda full as Pennsylvania Senate term winds down

    Any bills that don’t become law by the end of this two-year General Assembly session will need to be reintroduced next year.

    This week in Pennsylvania, three state Senate session days will determine which high-profile bills become law – and which will have to wait until 2011.

    The Pennsylvania Senate meets for just three days this week before it adjourns for the rest of 2010. Any bills that don’t become law during a two-year General Assembly session need to be reintroduced the next year.

    It’s not clear whether the Senate will vote on a natural gas severance tax this week; Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati said Tuesday that Republicans and Democrats are “worlds apart” on a compromise. But lawmakers are expected to approve an amended version of a bill reducing pension benefits for future state employees.

    Under the language passed by the House, employees would need to work longer before they become vested in the state pension system, and the retirement age would be increased.

    Votes are also expected on a bill expanding a person’s right to self-defense, a measure fighting urban blight, and legislation aimed at reducing Pennsylvania’s state prison population. The prison bill would divert nonviolent inmates with short sentences to community corrections centers.

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