OOIDA State Watch

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor


Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a bill to regulate the use of military-grade surveillance devices used by police and other government agencies to track the movements of anyone nearby with a cellphone. Effective Jan. 1, law enforcement is required to get a warrant before activating the surveillance tool. Police are also required to delete within 24 hours any data from the general public not part of an investigation.


In effect the first of the year is a new law that revises the state’s rule on carrying concealed weapons. Previously SB656, the new law authorizes people to carry hidden guns in locations they can already carry weapons openly.

The law also includes a "stand your ground" provision to no longer require people who believe they are in danger to first attempt to retreat before using lethal force. The rule applies to any place they are legally entitled to be present.

The state’s "castle doctrine" law is also revised to allow invited guests in a home to use deadly force on intruders. The revision includes people legally allowed in a vehicle, business or property.

The stand-your-ground and castle doctrine rules took effect in mid-October.

(Correction: In the November 2016 issue Land Line incorrectly reported that SB656 eliminates a requirement to pass a criminal background check before purchasing a gun.)


The Senate voted to advance a bill to allow three third-party vendors to administer the test required to obtain a CDL. State law already allows for third-party testing, but no program exists because the state never put into effect regulations. S2364 would institute a pilot program until regulations can be formally adopted.

Another bill awaiting consideration by the full Senate would give local governments more motor vehicle fine revenue. New Jersey law now makes available for the state’s general use all motor vehicle fine, penalty and forfeiture revenue generated through tickets written by state troopers. S568 would route one-third of fine revenue generated through tickets issued by the State Police to the municipality where the violations occurred. The other two-thirds would stay with the state.

The Assembly could soon vote to send to the governor a bill that covers driving truck with a suspended CDL. State law now gives prosecutors up to 30 days after the offense to file complaints to a judge. S1148 would extend the time period to 90 days.


Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill to overhaul how business is done at the Delaware River Port Authority. The governor said he would have signed the bill into law except for a provision that gubernatorial appointees to the DRPA be confirmed by the Senate. Other changes sought in SB286 included forcing the bi-state agency to provide 30 days’ public notice prior to any vote concerning a contract and adhering to open records laws.

Two Senate-approved bills are of note. SB840 would set up a five-year pilot program for the state DOT and the Turnpike Commission to post speed cameras in active work zones.

SB535 would permit local police to enforce speed limits with radar. The bill includes a requirement for municipalities to first pass an ordinance allowing the use of radar. Points would be assigned only if the speed recorded is at least 10 miles over the speed limit.

Both bills have moved to the House.