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Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress of my legislative priorities. If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to visit my website at www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about issues that may affect you and your family.

Week of April 20, 2015

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 43 Pennsylvania Stolen Valor Act;
Senate Bill 61 recognition of bike medics;
Senate Bill 286 Delaware River Port Authority reform;
Senate Bill 287 Gubernatorial veto power over Delaware River Port Authority Board;
Senate Bill 333 (37-12) pre-emption and local employer leave laws;
Senate Bill 485 increased penalties for impersonating a physician;
House Bill 152 Emergency & Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act changes.
The Senate also unanimously confirmed the executive nomination of Richard A. Steigerwald to the State Athletic Commission.

Senate State Government Committee
On April 13, the Senate and House State Government Committees held a joint public hearing on amendments to the US Constitution through a Convention of States as provided by Article V.  The hearing and testimony can be seen here.

On April 14, the Senate State Government Committee unanimously reported out the following legislation:
Senate Bill 442 my Taxpayer Funded Advertising Transparency Act (listen to my brief comments in regards to this legislation here);
Senate Bill 622 Legislative Budget & Finance Committee report removal;
Senate Bill 699 Luzerne County land transfer;
House Bill 192 Veterans Preference Civil Service Act Reform.

Senate Finance Committee
On April 15, the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Eichelberger, unanimously reported out my Senate Bill 623 0% inheritance tax for disabled child beneficiaries; as well as Senate Bill 386 ensures equal tax treatment on all air freight companies; and Senate Bill 580 clarifies the inheritance tax exemption for family-owned farms.

The Senate Finance Committee also held a public hearing on proposals to change the design of public pensions.  The hearing and testimony can be seen here.

Lack of Transparency in Union Contract Negotiations
On March 17, I sent a letter to the Budget Secretary requesting his insights into how the Administration develops cost estimates to properly budget for proposed changes in public union contracts.  My interest is neither the specifics of the contracts nor the details of the negotiations, but rather to gain a better understanding of the impacts these agreements will have on the General Fund, and the health care and pension systems.

I received no response.

On March 31, Senate Republican Leadership, including President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, Majority Leader Jake Corman and Appropriations Chairman Patrick Browne, sent a letter requesting a prompt response to my letter.

They received no response.

During Session on April 15, I spoke up about the lack of openness, transparency and accountability with the Administration and their handling of collective bargaining agreements.  You can view the video here.

Palmyra Field Hockey Team:  PIAA Class AAA Co-Champions
I was honored to introduce the Palmyra Field Hockey team at the Capitol on April 14.  This amazing group of young athletes makes Lebanon County extremely proud!

Listen to my introduction here.

Union Road Bridge over Little Swatara Creek, Lebanon County, Closing
On April 14, PennDOT closed the bridge that carries Union Road over the Little Swatara Creek in Bethel Township, Lebanon County.  The bridge will remain closed for repairs for about two months, and is scheduled to reopen mid-June.  Union Road is designated as SR 1009, and carries approximately 800 vehicles daily.  Traffic will be detoured by way of Freeport Road (SR 1008), Mt. Zion Road (SR 1011) and Greble Road (SR 1014).


Contact Information
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are of concern to you. I may be reached through my website or my Lebanon or Harrisburg offices.

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