HARRISBURG, Pa. -- New state laws that take effect in the coming days mandate training for school workers on how to recognize and report child abuse and require more humane methods of putting down animals.
Others increase worker and employee contributions to the state's Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund; require contractors on public works projects to make sure through the federal E-Verify system that their employees are legal residents; and simplify voting rules for servicemen and women and others living overseas.
One new law toughens penalties for underage drinking, sending the maximum fine for someone under age 18 caught drinking from $300 to $500, and the maximum to $1,000 on second offenses.
Certain school employees must be trained on how to recognize the warning signs of child abuse, on the legal reporting obligations, and on what is considered appropriate relationships with children. They must get at least three hours of training every five years.
Some provisions of the animal euthanasia law soon take effect, while others will be phased in. The new law prohibits the use of carbon monoxide gas and drowning among other methods at animal shelters and makes it easier for shelters to obtain drugs for more humane methods.
Beginning in January, workers and their employers will see a rise in their contributions to the unemployment trust fund, which will be used to make bond payments on borrowing to eliminate the state's recession-driven debt to the federal government.
New restrictions on the fund also go into effect, including a cap on maximum weekly benefits that will remain in place until the fund becomes solvent, estimated to occur in 2017.state