PRINTER'S NO. 768
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
633
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY COSTA, BARTOLOTTA, FARNESE, FONTANA, LEACH, MUTH,
YUDICHAK, SCHWANK, TARTAGLIONE, HUGHES AND BREWSTER,
MAY 10, 2019
REFERRED TO HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, MAY 10, 2019
AN ACT
Providing for the declaration of a public health emergency, for
duties of the Department of Health, for temporary regulations
and for immunity from liability.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Public Health
Emergency Act.
Section 2. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Department." The Department of Health of the Commonwealth.
"Executive agency." A department, board, commission,
authority, officer or agency or the Executive Department,
subject to the policy, supervision and control of the Governor.
"Government agency." Any of the following:
(1) An agency of the Commonwealth, including
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departments, boards, commissions or authorities.
(2) A political subdivision or agency of a political
subdivision.
(3) A local or municipal authority or other local
government unit.
(4) A court or related agency.
"Public health emergency." An occurrence or imminent threat
of a disease or condition of public health importance with both
of the following characteristics:
(1) Is believed to be caused by any of the following:
(i) A bioterrorist event, a biological, chemical or
nuclear agent, a chemical attack or a nuclear attack.
(ii) The appearance of a novel or previously
controlled or eradicated infectious agent or biological
toxin.
(iii) A natural disaster, an accidental chemical
release or a nuclear incident.
(iv) A disease outbreak, including an outbreak of
substance use disorder or unusual expression of illness.
(2) Poses a high probability of any of the following in
the affected population:
(i) Death.
(ii) Serious or long-term disabilities.
(iii) Widespread exposure to an infectious or toxic
agent that poses a significant risk of substantial
present or future harm to the public health.
"Public health worker." A person employed by, under contract
with or serving as a registered volunteer of the department or a
local health department to carry out prophylaxis, treatment,
notification and prevention services to individuals reported to
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the department or local health departments as having a
reportable disease under the act of April 23, 1956 (1955
P.L.1510, No.500), known as the Disease Prevention and Control
Law of 1955.
"Secretary." The Secretary of Health of the Commonwealth.
Section 3. Declaration of a public health emergency.
(a) Authorization.--The secretary may declare a public
health emergency by disseminating the declaration promptly by
means calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the
general public and shall file it with the Legislative Reference
Bureau for publication under 45 Pa.C.S. Pt. II (relating to
publication and effectiveness of Commonwealth documents).
(b) Declaration, renewal and termination.--
(1) The declaration of a public health emergency shall
be valid for a period of up to 90 days unless renewed or
terminated by the secretary by publishing a subsequent
declaration in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
(2) The General Assembly by concurrent resolution may
terminate a public health emergency at any time. If the
Governor approves the concurrent resolution, or if
disapproved, the General Assembly repasses the concurrent
resolution by two-thirds of both houses, the Governor shall
issue an executive order or proclaim ending the public health
emergency declaration.
(c) Duties of department.--Upon a declaration under
subsection (a), the department is authorized to perform the
following duties:
(1) Suspend departmental regulations.
(2) Promulgate temporary regulations under subsection
(f) to address the public health emergency.
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(3) Require reporting, in the manner and form prescribed
by the department, relating to a disease, infection or
condition.
(4) Set forth the requirements for health care
facilities and licensed health care practitioners to manage a
disease outbreak or unusual expression of illness.
(5) Authorize public health workers to dispense,
administer, furnish or otherwise provide prescription
medication for prophylaxis or treatment of a reportable
disease or condition as necessary to prevent and control the
spread of disease or condition.
(d) Requirements.--Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, all government agencies shall, at the request of the
department and to the extent not prohibited by Federal law,
provide information as prescribed by the department during a
public health emergency. The department shall provide for the
frequency and format, which may include automated data
exchanges, for the collection of the information required under
this subsection.
(e) Confidentiality of information.--Any information
provided or collected under this section shall be confidential
and is not subject to public access under the act of February
14, 2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the Right-to-Know Law, and is
neither discoverable nor admissible as evidence in any civil,
criminal or administrative action or proceeding.
(f) Temporary regulations.--The department may promulgate
temporary regulations regarding measures to reduce harm and
control disease. The temporary regulations are not subject to:
(1) Sections 201, 202, 203, 204 and 205 of the act of
July 31, 1968 (P.L.769, No.240), referred to as the
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Commonwealth Documents Law.
(2) Section 204(b) of the act of October 15, 1980
(P.L.950, No.164), known as the Commonwealth Attorneys Act.
(3) The act of June 25, 1982 (P.L.633, No.181), known as
the Regulatory Review Act.
(g) Expiration and subsequent promulgation.--The temporary
regulations promulgated under subsection (f) shall expire 90
days following the end of the declaration of a public health
emergency. Regulations adopted after this period shall be
promulgated as provided by law.
(h) Suspension of regulations.--An executive agency, in
consultation with the department, may suspend a regulation that
prevents, hinders or delays necessary action in responding to a
public health emergency.
Section 4. Immunity from liability.
The provisions of 42 Pa.C.S. § 8331 (relating to medical good
Samaritan civil immunity), 8332 (relating to emergency response
provider and bystander good Samaritan civil immunity) or 8332.4
(relating to volunteer-in-public-service negligence standard)
shall apply to any person who provides assistance in carrying
out the provisions of this act.
Section 5. Prohibitions.
The prohibitions under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6107 (relating to
prohibited conduct during emergency) do not apply to a
declaration of a public health emergency under this act.
Section 6. Effective date.
This act shall take effect immediately.
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