Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gov. Rendell Signs SB 628 into Law!

Late on Wednesday afternoon, November 29, 2006, Governor Rendell signed Senate Bill 628, in its Printer's No. 2117, into law.

I was told this at 6 pm on Wednesday evening by Harriet Withstandley, the Chief Counsel to the
PA Department of Aging, when we met to teach an Elder Law class at Widener Law School (Hbg Campus). She had received an email message from the Governor's Office to this effect just a half hour before our conversation.

The bill had been presented by the Legislature to the Governor on November 22nd, and required action by Saturday.

Interestingly, the Governor's website notes
here, in five press releases, certain other legislation signed or initiatives announced on Wednesday, November 29, 2006, but not SB 628. Perhaps he intends to announce it during his visit tomorrow when he speaks at a University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing event honoring Claire Fagin to be held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Given the good effects that SB 628 will bring to caring nursing professionals, that certainly would be appropriate.

I do not know the Act's number yet, but that should be known tomorrow. News stories about the signing should also appear tomorrow. [UPDATE: It was signed as Act 169 of 2006.] And likely the Governor's website will be updated via a press release. [UPDATE: The Governor's Press Release, referencing the signing of SB 628 (among other bills) on November 29, 2006, is found here.]

By virtue of its signing on November 29, 2006,
SB 628 will become law 60 days thereafter. By my strict count, that would be on Sunday, January 28, 2007. But it ain't so.

Since the effective date is stated as a number of days (60, measured from the date of signing), and the date falls on a weekend, the actual effective date will be the next business day, that is, on
Monday, January 29, 2007.

Harriet indicated that the Department of Aging will post the recommended forms suggested by
SB 628 very soon -- within a few days -- on its website.

Harriet has agreed to join me & Bob Wolf, of Pittsburgh, to present a
Pennsylvania Bar Institute "Conference Call Course" about SB 628 in the new format similar to those already scheduled here. Planning is already underway. It is scheduled from 12:30 until 1:30 pm on January 16, 2007 -- just before the new law will take effect.

In connection with this PBI call-in course, we intend to make a "clean" version of the new Act available for participants on a site in an unofficial, but much more readable, form than presented by the final form of the legislation.

For me, Thanksgiving Day came a little late this year -- it fell on a Wednesday evening.

UPDATE 11/30/06:

I found the following confirming Press Release, issued by the Office of the Governor, here:

Governor Rendell Signs Bills
Wednesday November 29, 7:25 pm ET

HARRISBURG, Pa. /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today signed into law the following bills: * * *
Senate Bill 628, sponsored by Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf (R-Bucks/ Montgomery), amends Title 18 (Crimes & Offenses) and Title 20 (Decedents) related to health care power of attorney, living wills and out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate orders. The bill re-writes and replaces Chapter 54 of Title 20 to provide a statutory means for competent adults to control their health care through written instructions or by health care agents or representatives and requested orders, for execution and revocation of living wills, for health care power of attorney and for the appointment and revocation of health care agents and selection and duties of health care representatives.

The bill passed the House 191-0 and the Senate 48-0. The bill becomes effective in 60 days.