Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Senatorial District and the State Capitol. If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to visit my website at www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about my legislative priorities issues that may affect you and your family.
July 1, 2019
Please note: Bill activity included in this week’s edition is through Wednesday, June 26 in order for Mike’s Memo to be circulated at its usual time. Next week’s edition will have bill activity that took place after June 26.
It was an absolute honor to meet World War II Veteran, Lawrence “Gumpy” Bolin, a guest of Senator Mastriano. Gumpy was born in 1923, drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, trained as a military police officer and assigned to the 553rd Military Police Escort Guard Company. He landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, France six days after D-Day. His unit liberated Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps in Germany. Gumpy is a true hero! Pictured left to right: front row – Representative Ryan, Lawrence “Gumpy” Bolin, Senator Folmer; back row – Senator Bartolotta, Senator Brooks, Senator Mastriano and Senator K. Ward.
Happy Belated 100th Birthday to Mamie Reager!
I’m a little late in wishing Mamie Blanche Thompson Reager, of Lebanon, a very happy 100th birthday! Mamie is the mother of five children, and has 12 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. I hope you enjoyed your day, young lady!
Election Law Reform Bills Pass Senate, Go to House
The full Senate passed several election law reform bills that my office developed and were the topic of lengthy Senate State Government Committee deliberations and subsequently reported from the State Government Committee. I was happy to advance these important and meaningful reforms, but was perplexed as to why they became partisan during final Senate passage after months of public vetting and strong support coming out of Committee. The following bills now go to the House of Representatives for further consideration:
Vehicle Emissions Testing Reforms Pass Senate, Go to House
The current PA Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program (I/M) requires motorists in 25 counties to get annual emissions tests for gasoline-powered passenger cars, vans and light-duty trucks years 1975 and newer. Vehicle emissions testing has become less effective at reducing air pollution due to newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and evidence shows vehicles are continuously passing the tests. In PA, from 2011-2017, an average of 5.7 million vehicles were tested each year and an average of 96% passed the test. The following legislation seeks to modernize these onerous and costly regulations:
Further Bills Pass Senate, Go to House
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 325 – expands the role of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs);
Senate Bill 456 – allows multi-county training school branch campuses;
Senate Bill 590 – establishes a Charter School Funding Advisory Commission;
Senate Bill 669 – reinstates the Subsidized Permanent Legal Custodianship Program;
House Bill 1520 – Farming First: creates butchering operation inspection incentives;
House Bill 1590 – Farming First: creates the Dairy Investment Program.
Bills Pass Senate, Go to Governor
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 127 – reauthorizes PA’s 911 Law;
Senate Bill 440 – codifies a three-year pilot program for Flexible Instructional Days;
Senate Bill 478 – Farming First: establishes a beginning farmer tax credit;
Senate Bill 547 – allows First Class Townships to set property tax millage rates by annual resolutions;
Senate Bill 585 – Farming First: establishes the PA Dairy Future Commission;
Senate Bill 634 – Farming First: establishes a Conservation Excellence Grant Program;
Senate Bill 661 – Farming First: establishes the Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Program;
House Bill 370 – Farming First: allows voluntary relinquishment to construct a residence on preserved farmland;
House Bill 548 – allows Boroughs and Third Class Cities to set property tax millage rates by annual resolutions;
House Bill 807 – aligns the compensation of Deputy Adjutant Generals and commanding General Officers with federal military base pay;
House Bill 856 – reinstates the Subsidized Permanent Legal Custodianship Program;
House Bill 1514 – Farming First: reestablishes the Healthy Farms Healthy Schools program into the PA Farm-to-School Program;
House Bill 1516 – Farming First: creates the PA Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account for the PA Department of Agriculture;
House Bill 1524 – allows the transfer of Restaurant Liquor licenses to Mixed Use Town Centers;
House Bill 1526 – Farming First: reestablishes an Agriculture Linked Investment Program.
I was happy to support the multiple bills listed above as part of the Farming First package to help PA’s 59,000 farm families, who are stewards of more than 7.7 million acres of farmland. With $7.5 Billion in cash receipts, farming is the leading economic driver in our state.
2019-2020 Budget Statement
Contrary to what the media and our colleagues on the other side of the aisle say, the PA Senate Republicans DO understand the needs of our constituents and are focused on #FundingWhatWorks, committed to helping those in need while respecting taxpayers hard earned dollars. The 2019-2020 budget includes increases for some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable. Listen to my comments on both the budget, and the unfortunate and blatant disregard to the rules of the Senate by Lt. Governor Fetterman:
Executive Nominations Unanimously Confirmed by the Senate
Secretary of Education – Pedro A. Rivera, Lancaster
Professional Standards and Practices Commission – Michael J. Davis, Muncy; Nicole R. Hill, Shippensburg, and; Robert M. Hollister, Lancaster
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