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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 May 30, 2016

Bills Signed into Law by the Governor
Senate Bill 811 – Act 27 – Fiscal Year 2015-16 maximum bond indebtedness for the Commonwealth;
House Bill 944 – Act 28 – addresses management of Philadelphia neighborhood improvement districts;
House Bill 1200 – Act 29 – repeals redundant railroad viaduct and bridge maintenance fees;
House Bill 1310 – Act 30 – protects privacy of individuals who make 911 emergency calls; House Bill 1574 – Act 31 – applies anti-hazing laws to schools and student organizations;
House Bill 1788 – Act 32 – amends the Philadelphia Community and Economic Improvement Act.

Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarships Awarded
Comcast Foundation Leaders and Achievers scholarships were awarded to select college-bound high school seniors with demonstrated leadership skills, positive attitude, academic achievement, and strong commitment to community service. I’m proud of the recipients from the 48th Senatorial District: Natasha I. Garcia (Steelton-Highspire), Jamie E. Wilson (Central Dauphin), and Kayli Rentzel (Northeastern). Each received a $1,000 scholarship. Congratulations!

EMS Providers Actively Involved for Over 25 Years of Active Involvement
The week of May 15-21, 2016 was declared Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week in Pennsylvania (Senate Resolution 376). On May 19, the Emergency Health Services Federation held its award ceremony at the Capitol to honor and congratulate EMS service providers who have been actively involved for 25 years or more. Thank you to the following individuals from the 48th Senatorial District for your dedicated service:

Melissa Altland, York
Keith Blauch, Annville
Tammy Blauch, Annville
James Bohr, Annville
Cindy Dietz, York
William Herr, Schaefferstown
Jessica Iacono, York
Michael Keiter, York
Amanda Rosito, Harrisburg
H. Dean Sallada, Annville
Joan Sallada, Annville

Palmyra Area High School Team to Compete in National TEAMS Competition
Congratulations to a team of sophomores from Palmyra Area High School, Brock Culver, Ryan James, Lucas Richardson, AJ Akins, Joey McInerney, Zach Quinn, Ethan Moore, and John Brettler, who placed first in the state TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) competition, and will be competing at the national competition in Nashville, Tennessee this summer. You can read more about the team in Merriell Moyer’s Lebanon Daily News article here.

Dog License and Rabies Compliance Checks in Lebanon County
During the week of June 13, dog wardens will conduct checks in Lebanon County to ensure all owners have current licenses and rabies vaccinations for their dogs. Checks in Dauphin and York Counties have not yet been announced. Under PA law, all dogs three months or older must be licensed by January 1 of each year. The fee is $6.50 for each spayed or neutered dog, and $8.50 for other dogs. Older adults and persons with disabilities may purchase licenses for $4.50 and $6.50. All dogs and non-feral cats (three months and older) must also be vaccinated against rabies. Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs. For more information, visit www.licenseyourdogPA.com.

Lebanon County PennDOT Maintenance Work Schedule
The following is the Lebanon County PennDOT maintenance work schedule for the week of May 30. The schedule is subject to change due to weather conditions, emergencies, or other unforeseen interruptions. Road concerns can be called into 1-800-FIX-ROAD (if calling after hours, please leave a name and phone number).
Tuesday, May 31: State Route 1004, Maple Street, North Lebanon – pipe trench repair – lane restrictions/flaggers
Tuesday, May 31 – Wednesday, June 1: State Route 322, Horseshoe Pike, West Cornwall/South Lebanon – base repair – lane restrictions/flaggers
Wednesday, June 1 – Friday, June 3: State Route 3015, Lawn Road, South Londonderry – base repair – lane restrictions/flaggers
Wednesday, June 1 – Friday, June 3: State Route 1011, Mt. Zion Road, North Lebanon – crack sealing – lane restrictions/flaggers

Column: A Week to Remember
In his Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln said: “The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.” The same can be said for the work of the many advocates in passing Senate Bill 3, medical cannabis. Little of what was said about their efforts may be remembered, but no one will forget what they did to get this much needed and long overdue measure enacted into law.

As a student of history, a thought occurred to me on April 17, the day the Governor signed SB 3: what would I have done in times past?

For example, April 19, 1775, a group of American patriots twice stood before what was then the strongest army in the world to stand up for their rights and their freedoms. Would I have stood with these patriots on the village green of Lexington and the bridge at Concord, Massachusetts?

Later that same year, June 17, 1775, other patriots stood behind trenches dug overnight, rocks, and fences to again face the British army. As the Americans’ ammunition ran out, some broke and ran while others fought hand-to-hand to the bitter end. What would I have done?

Finally, about a half-hour before midnight on April 14, 1912, the pride of the ocean, RMS Titanic, struck an iceberg, foundered, and sank early the next morning with a tremendous loss of lives. Would I have given up a seat on one of the few lifeboats for someone else?

Thanks to the issue of medical cannabis, I now have a better idea what I would have done during these times. April 17, 2016 was the day SB 3 was signed into law. But, the three weeks before were trying ones.

The Senate had twice passed medical cannabis legislation – the second time, SB 3, a 69-page bill. SB 3 as it returned from the House had become a 154-page bill with questions and concerns. Should the Senate concur in the House amendments without addressing these issues or risk losing the entire bill by amending it?

Frustrated advocates called for concurrence. They were afraid. I understood and felt their fears. After three weeks of careful consideration and draft after draft of possible changes, we decided to amend – to make sure it worked. There were many who disagreed. It was a lonely feeling to not agree – the Senate seemingly standing alone.

Then, despite all the hard work over the previous three weeks in drafting amendments to address various issues, we learned additional – technical – amendments were needed. As the remaining two days of April Session wound down, we feared action would be delayed until May’s Session – more delays, frustrations, fears, and tears for the long-suffering advocates. Even as we rushed to finish changes, address additional issues, and answer questions, the clock ticked away. It would have been easier to simply concur and hope changes could be made later. Our time and our ammunition in support of making changes was running out.

But, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the changes and the bill itself – for a third time. However, there were other issues of importance that also had to be voted. Would SB 3 be lost in the mix of these other issues – would we lose our seat in the line?

Fortunately, it all worked out. SB 3 passed the Senate 42–7, passed the House 149–46, and was signed into law by the Governor. It was long – but successful – especially the final week.


Contact Information
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