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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 to learn more about issues that may affect you and your family.

Week of June 6, 2016

Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program Update
The PA Department of Health has updated their website to reflect the progress on implementation of Act 16, the Medical Marijuana Program. Over the next few months, the Department will be posting a series of questions for public input. The first set of questions is specific to medical marijuana growers/processors. Input will be valuable as the Department continues the process of drafting temporary regulations.

DATE CHANGE: Dog License and Rabies Compliance Checks in Lebanon County
Changed to the week of June 6 as per the PA Department of Agriculture. Dog Wardens will conduct checks in Lebanon County to ensure all owners have current licenses and rabies vaccinations for their dogs. More information can be found in the May 30 Mike’s Memo.

Bills Signed into Law by the Governor
Senate Bill 290 – Act 33 – mandatory ignition interlock program for first-time DUI offenders with high blood alcohol levels;
Senate Bill 1108 – Act 34 – defines “autocycle” in the Vehicle Code.

Met-Ed Electrical Safety Demonstration for First Responders
First Responders, including volunteer and professional firefighters, EMTs, police, and 911 dispatchers, are welcome to attend an electric safety training workshop offered by Met-Ed. The workshop uses a 35’ high voltage demonstration trailer connected to an energized distribution circuit. The demonstration will take place June 23 at 6:00 p.m. at Met-Ed, 600 South 5th Avenue, Lebanon. RSVP is requested by June 15 at (717) 270-4788 (please provide contact information, including e-mail). Rain date is June 28.

Dauphin and York County Town Hall Meetings
I’m excited to have town hall meetings scheduled throughout Dauphin and York Counties in July and August. Below is the schedule of confirmed meetings and locations. A town hall in Newberry Township, York County is also pending. All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 13: Steelton Borough, Dauphin County – Borough Council Chambers, 123 North Front Street, Steelton, PA 17113
Thursday, July 14: Springettsbury Township, York County – Township Administration Building Board Room, 1501 Mt. Zion Road, York, PA 17402
Thursday, July 21: Londonderry Township, Dauphin County – Township Building Board Room, 783 South Geyers Church Road, Middletown, PA 17057
Thursday, August 4: Middletown Borough, Dauphin County – MSCO Building, 60 West Emaus Street, Middletown, PA 17057
Tuesday, August 9: Swatara Township, Dauphin County – Township Building, 599 Eisenhower Boulevard, Harrisburg, PA 17111
Thursday, August 11: Mount Wolf, York County – Northeastern Middle School Auditorium, 4855 Board Road, Mount Wolf, PA 17347
Monday, August 15: Highspire Borough, Dauphin County – Borough Building, 640 Eshelman Street, Highspire, PA 17034
Monday, August 29: Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County – Lower Swatara Fire Hall, 1350 Fulling Mill Road, Middletown, PA 17057
Suggestions for locations in the 48th Senatorial District to host a town hall meeting can be sent to Please note, I use no taxpayer dollars to hold these meetings.

Column: When Government Goes Beyond its Boundaries
The preamble to the United States Constitution lists five basic functions of government: (1) to form a more perfect union, (2) insure domestic tranquility, (3) provide for the common defense, (4) promote the general welfare, and (5) secure the blessings of liberty.

From the very first Congress, debate has raged as to what powers, duties, and responsibilities these words and the Constitution itself allows. This argument was especially contentious when the first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, proposed a national bank.

Congressman James Madison (often called the “father of the Constitution”) argued the Constitution granted government only limited and enumerated powers and no others. Otherwise, government could do anything it wanted “and pay out of the Treasury of the United States.”

Thomas Jefferson, the first Secretary of State, agreed with Madison (but recommended President Washington sign the bill anyway as the legislature – thought to be the dominant branch of government – had approved it). Jefferson cited the yet-to-be-adopted 10th Amendment: “To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power.” Jefferson added the “necessary and proper” provision of the Constitution applied to government’s enumerated powers only.

Hamilton won the day, arguing: “The powers contained in a constitution of government, especially those which concern the general administration of the affairs of a country, its finances, trade, defence &c ought to be construed liberally in advancement of the public good.”

In the 225 years since the creation of the First National Bank of the United States, the federal government has grown from four Cabinet Secretaries (Attorney General, State, Treasury, and War) to 15: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, and Office of the Attorney General. This bureaucracy is supported by at least 2,000 subsidy programs, billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded systems, thousands of pages of red tape (aka “regulations”), and various government-owned, government-subsidized enterprises.

Some form of government impacts every phase of our lives from the time we wake up until after we go to bed. As all levels of government have grown, so too have their boundaries – sometimes going far beyond the so-called “core government functions”: defense, public safety, interstate commerce, minting of currency, and infrastructure.

For example, the citizens of Flint, Michigan have suffered high levels of lead in their water. As the City of Flint was failing to ensure the safety of its drinking water, it was offering a host of other municipal services, including: nutrition and wellness programs (including the “Mayor’s Wellness Challenge”), expanded public benefits (including Medicaid), recycling programs, voter registration efforts, holiday events and summer festivals, various donation drives for neighborhood and community initiatives (including “Love Your City” and the “New Ideas Challenge”), housing assistance, carbon monoxide detectors, various clean up events, public service recognitions, biking trails, and basketball, walking and running, and other physical activity events (Flint was named the “Playful City USA” in recognition of its opportunities for physical activities). Flint was also honored as “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico, which Congress is deliberating whether to bail out or to allow to declare bankruptcy due to its $70 Billion debt, is now facing the reality of having had its government grow faster than the ability of its taxpayers to cover ever-rising costs.

Puerto Rico has cut spending, raised taxes, limited services, and laid off tens of thousands of government workers – all at a time when its economy is facing a Zika virus outbreak, its unemployment rate is nearly 12%, and its poverty rate is 45%.

These are just two examples of governments moving outside the boundaries of core functions. The results are negatively impacting their citizens each and every day. They should be both a reminder and a warning whenever there’s a call to expand government services – especially while claiming: “we can afford it.”

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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