Energy, health care, dogs top final session agenda
Last minute negotiations are underway to pass several key pieces of legislation on Gov. Rendell's agenda, among them energy conservation, health coverage for the uninsured and changes to the state dog law.
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Lawmakers and administration officials are locked in eleventh hour negotiations over key pieces of legislation still on the calendar.
With less than three days left before the end of the 2007-2008 legislative session, lawmakers are considering complicated - and controversial - bills relating to energy conservation and utility rate-caps, expanding health insurance for the uninsured and changes to the state dog law.
Also under consideration is a bill to address the problem of "straw" purchases of guns - when a person with a clean record buys weapons for felons. The bill extends the statute of limitations on prosecuting those purchases from two years to ten years. The idea behind the extension, prosecutors say, is that guns bought through straw purchases don't usually show up in crimes for five or six years. The bill also gives the okay for state and local police to create registries of lost and stolen guns. An earlier attempt by handgun control advocates to mandate reporting of lost and stolen handguns failed.
Today the action is in the Senate where all the bills are awaiting action in various committees. The clock is ticking fast.
If the bills fail the process starts from scratch when the new session begins in January.