Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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Week of April 30, 2018

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House for Further Consideration

All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.

Senate Bill 384 – removes certain county exemptions from the Assessors Certification Act of 1992;

Senate Bill 435 – requires motorists to remove snow and ice from their vehicles;

Senate Bill 627 – provides air freight companies with equal tax treatment;

Senate Bill 1041 – creates a Veteran-Owned Business logo;

Senate Bill 1056 – (42-7) restores long-standing depreciation deductions for corporate taxes;

Senate Bill 1070 – creates a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee and allows counties to control fees collected;

Senate Bill 1071 – streamlines placement in State Intermediate Punishment and the process for paroling those with short prison sentences;

Senate Bill 1072 – amends the Crime Victims Act to better provide information and compensation to victims;

Senate Bill 1091 – provides voluntary contributions to the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund by anyone renewing a PA driver’s license, ID card or registration online;

Senate Bill 1136 – extends ability for schools in municipalities without municipal police to enter into cooperative police agreements with adjacent municipalities that have part-time police coverage;

House Bill 478 – establishes the Outpatient Psychiatric Oversight Act.

Bill Passes Senate, Goes to Governor for Further Action

House Bill 1869 – establishes a Maternal Mortality Review Committee within the PA Department of Health.

Senate Resolution 258:  Urging Congress to Reschedule Cannabis

The Senate unanimously adopted Senate Resolution 258, urging Congress to reschedule cannabis to protect Second Amendment rights for those in a state-sanctioned medical cannabis program.  I was proud to be a cosponsor of this important Resolution.

Bills Signed into Law by the Governor

Act No. 15:  House Bill 1486 – exempts agriculture “high tunnels” from the Storm Water Management Act;

Act No. 16:  House Bill 1341 – updates the Bituminous Coal Mine Safety Act (Act 55 of 2008) with changes made in the Emergency Medical Services Act (Act 37 of 2009).

Constituent Highlight:  Dr. Mukund S. Kalkarni

The PA Senate is always pleased to recognize individuals who, through their laudable tenure of service, contribute in a meaningful way toward the well-being of their communities and the Commonwealth.  Mukund S. Kalkarni, Ph.D., was recently honored for his upcoming June 30th retirement from Penn State University following more than 30 years of dedicated and distinguished service.

Dr. Kulkarni earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in his native India and, after relocating to the United States, received a master’s of business administration from Marshall University in West Virginia and a doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky.  He joined Penn State Harrisburg in 1985 as a member of the business faculty and served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs before becoming Chancellor in 2010.

Under his leadership, the university experienced substantial growth in its student population, including a record number of international students.  Dr. Kulkarni oversaw the successful introduction of new degree programs, the development of new and enhanced academic and student-life facilities, the expansion of teaching and learning support to faculty and the enhancement of instructional technology. 

As the Director of the School of Business Administration, he guided the school to receiving its first Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation, and was part of the inter-college leadership team that developed the iMBA program.  Dr. Kulkarni further serves Penn State Harrisburg as a professor of finance.

Throughout his career, Dr. Kulkarni has striven to adhere to the highest standards of service and has rightly earned the respect and admiration of his many friends and colleagues.  Fred Sembach, my Chief of Staff and graduate of Penn State, presented Dr. Kulkarni with a Senate Citation on my behalf for his many years of loyalty and service.  Thank you, Dr. Kulkarni, and best wishes for continued success in the years to come!

Medical Cannabis Program Update

PA Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine recently announced DOH will implement the recommendations of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board and prepare regulations to enact them.

Key recommendations from the Advisory Board include:

  • Allowing the sale of dry leaf/plant material for purposes of vaporization;
  • Expanding the list of serious medical conditions to 21;
  • Eliminating the need for patients to pay for a medical marijuana card more than once per year;
  • Allowing physicians to opt out of the public-facing list of practitioners; and
  • Requiring pediatric patients to be certified by a pediatrician or pediatric specialist.

The final report as prepared, presented and adopted by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board can be read here.

4/24/18 - Hearing on Redistricting Legislation

On April 24, the Senate State Government Committee held a second public hearing on redistricting legislation.  Agenda and testimony can be found here.

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