The Pa. Senate has three days left to consider languishing bills

    The Pennsylvania state Senate has three days left to take up bills like a severance tax on natural gas and pension reform before lawmakers go home for the year. It’s not clear yet which, if any of the languishing bills will get the treatment.

    This week’s state Senate session will determine which high-profile bills become law, and which will have to wait until 2011. The Senate meets for three days this week, before it adjourns for the rest of 2010.

    It’s not clear whether the Senate will vote on a natural gas severance tax this week, 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 non-violent inmates with short sentences to community corrections centers.

    Some unfinished bills may need to be reintroduced next year to both houses.

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