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.
Week of July 16, 2018
Constituent Highlight: Janice Dishong, LVCC-ABWA Woman of the Year
Congratulations Janice Dishong who was recently elected the 2018 Woman of the Year by The Lebanon Valley Charter Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association! Janice has been a LVCC-ABWA member since 1995 and currently serves as President, recently celebrating four years of perfect attendance. She opened The Beauty Brig in Cornwall in 1992, has been a Reiki Master since 1994, served as President of the Lebanon County Cosmetology Association for 10 years, has been active in fundraising for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life, is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and was a past member of the Amaranth and White Shrine Masonic Women’s group and founding member of the Women Investing Together. Thank you, Janice, for contributing to our community in a meaningful way for so many years!
Column: A Tale of Two Revolutions
Consider the different outcomes of two revolutions: America’s (celebrated July 4th) and France’s (celebrated July 14th, Bastille Day). French military and financial assistance were keys to American independence. Yet, the French Revolution produced a very different result. Why?
The American Revolution largely focused on taxes and representation. France’s issues were grounded in feudalism, repeated food shortages, unemployment, high and rising prices, and out-of-control inflation.
America’s rebellion began with “the shot heard round the world” when colonial militia stood against British royal troops at Lexington and Concord. France’s revolution evolved over many years and produced much more internal upheaval.
Our Declaration of Independence proclaimed: “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (i.e., property). These rights are protected by the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.
France’s 17 articles in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen included liberty, property, and safety and resistance against oppression. However, subsequent French governments assaulted these rights in the face of increasing revolutionary discontent.
The United States has had two constitutions – the latter amended 27 times. France has had at least 15. America has had one Constitutional Republic, France five. The United States Constitution has protected rights. France didn’t always follow or implement constitutions. One of the French constitutions wasn’t implemented because its legislature was invaded by a mob.
As the demands of the populace grew and violence increased, French governments worked to control the population, making the country more and more a police state. Police responded to local demands and sentiment, arresting suspects and holding them for months without trials. As the government became more centralized and powerful, anyone deemed a threat was beheaded. Public opinion became more important than the rule of law.
French citizens could be interrogated with no evidence produced against them, denied lawyers or the ability to call witnesses. And, they could only choose between two verdicts: acquittal or death – neither based upon evidence but, rather, on the moral convictions of jurors.
Property rights were attacked as the government sought to redistribute property and fill holes in public finance. Some warned: “Property is sacred, for us as for you. We are being attacked today, but do not deceive yourselves; if we are despoiled today, your turn will come.”
A major impetus for the French Revolution was lack of food. As food shortages continued to plague France, there were increasing calls to abandon the free market by imposing price controls. However, as controls were imposed, supplies dwindled and often government prices exceeded the black market. Anyone spoiling, losing, or hiding food could face death.
As violence increased, so did the number and breadth of repressive laws. Yet, the government vacillated between catering to popular demands and ordering troops to repress the people. Those who resisted were subject to the guillotine. The press was attacked, using the rationale: “that to set up the Republic, they needed for a while the jurisprudence of despots.”
Individual rights were trampled with increased pressure for conformity and unity. Efforts were made to incorporate the Church into the revolutionary government. Calendars were changed to remove all religious and royal references. Secret ballots weren’t used so as to expose voters to maximum political pressure and intimidation.
Two revolutions, two different outcomes. One remained committed to the rule of law while the other catered to the times. Something to remember whenever anyone says we need a “living constitution” to fit the times and temperament of the people.
Lebanon Valley College #1 in Zippia “The Best Colleges in Each State for Getting a Job 2018”
Lebanon Valley College in Annville has been identified by Zippia as #1 among all US colleges and universities in its listing of “The Best Colleges in Each State for Getting a Job 2018”! Lebanon Valley College’s placement rate is 96.185%, beating out schools including Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt. Zippia used the College Scorecard Data to search “for the college in each state with the highest listed job placement ratings, looking specifically at employment levels at year 10 after students have graduated.” Great job!
Bills Signed into Law by the Governor
Act No. 46 – House Bill 1979 – repeals the sunset for a 20-year statute of limitations on actions on instruments under seal (written agreements with “seal” or “under seal” near the signature line);
Act No. 48 – House Bill 152 – develops a database of contact information for life insurance companies;
Act No. 49 – House Bill 159 – clarifies juvenile summary offense sentences;
Act No. 50 – House Bill 594 – prohibits Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) for sex offenses against children;
Act No. 52 – House Bill 994 – clarifies the gross receipts tax for telephone, telegraph and mobile telecommunications companies;
Act No. 53 – House Bill 1124 – creates the offense of abuse of a care-dependent person;
Act No. 54 – House Bill 1232 – requires schools display posters with the statewide toll-free telephone number to report suspected child abuse or neglect;
Act No. 55 – House Bill 1644 – creates the Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act;
Act No. 56 – House Bill 1419 – Clean Slate legislation to allow those with low-level, nonviolent criminal records to seal their records if crime-free for 10 years;
Act No. 57 – House Bill 1738 – allows non-municipal Act 120 police officers the same jurisdictional flexibility as “municipal police officers”;
Act No. 58 – House Bill 1782 – provides for alternative ratemaking for electric and natural gas distribution companies;
Act No. 59 – House Bill 1898 – requires vehicle dealers openly disclose unremedied recalls at the time of sale;
Act No. 60 – House Bill 1918 – helps prevent and punish fraudulent credit card (scamming and skimming) devices;
Act No. 62 – Senate Bill 431 – increases littering fines;
Act No. 63 – Senate Bill 499 – updates to Board of Prison Inspectors in counties of the eighth class;
Act No. 64 – Senate Bill 552 – establishes the PA Veterans’ Monuments and Memorial Trust Fund;
Act No. 68 – Senate Bill 934 – expands authority of the Elevator Advisory Board;
Act No. 69 – Senate Bill 978 – allows hospice staff to destroy unused drugs when patients die;
Act No. 72 – Senate Bill 1056 – restores long-standing depreciation deductions for corporate taxes;
Act No. 74 – Senate Bill 1101 – reduces the need to obtain a recovered theft vehicle title;
Act No. 75 – House Bill 863 – updates the Real Estate Licensing Law;
Act No. 76 – Senate Bill 530 – updates licensure requirements and scope of practice for clinical social work.
June/July Cable Show: Lebanon County Breweries
My latest Community Report cable show features several Lebanon County breweries, including Mount Gretna Craft Brewery, Rotunda Brewing Company & Batdorf Restaurant, and Snitz Creek Brewery. This show features talented entrepreneurs who have built their small businesses into amazing success stories! You can watch below, and Comcast on Demand and WHBG TV20 should also be airing through June and July!
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