The US Senate has approved without debate a bill that would require court involvement in any future sale of US candy maker Hershey Foods.

The bill, which has now been sent to the House of Representatives, would apply to the directors of any charitable trust holding a majority stake in a publicly traded corporation, reported the Associated Press. The bill was attached as an amendment to an unrelated estates bill.

The bill could make Attorney General Mike Fisher’s attempt to secure court involvement in any future sale of Hershey superfluous. Fisher’s legal application comes in the wake of an attempt by the board of a charitable trust to find a buyer for its controlling stake in Hershey Foods this summer. Following a firestorm of protest from the local community, the trust called off the sale, saying it had not received satisfactory bids.

If the bill is approved, charitable trusts planning to change their control of any corporation will have to give the attorney general at least 60 days notice, and the corporation’s employees at least 30 days notice. Court approval of any sale would also be required, and the trust would have to demonstrate the sale was necessary for the company’s survival or to further the purpose of the trust’s beneficiary, continued the Associated Press report.

Meanwhile, the Dauphin County Orphan’s Court has not said when it will return a decision on Fisher’s request that any sale of Hershey Foods be contingent upon prior notice to the attorney general and court approval. The case was heard yesterday [Thursday]. For further information click here.