Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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Week of May 13, 2019

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House

All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.

Senate Bill 89 – updates the School Code to rename “vocational-technical schools” as “career and technical schools”;

Senate Bill 145Farming First: amends the Agricultural Area Security Law relating to farmland preservation;

Senate Bill 146 – allows online training for firefighters;

Senate Bill 178 – requires electronic filing of campaign finance reports;

Senate Bill 338Farming First: increases the allowable width of farm vehicles on roads;

Senate Bill 453 – (27-20) Farming First: exempts agricultural buildings from the Uniform Construction Code;

Senate Bill 478Farming First: establishes a beginning farmer tax credit;

Senate Bill 583Farming First: protects agritourism on preserved farms;

Senate Bill 585Farming First: establishes the PA Dairy Future Commission;

Senate Bill 588 – (32-15) Farming First: allows milk haulers to travel on highways during a declaration of disaster emergency;

Senate Bill 613 – requires criminal history background checks of employees and contractors with access to federal tax information. 

PA Senate Republicans Farming First Initiatives

I was happy to support the multiple bills listed above as part of the Farming First package championed by my Senate Republican colleagues to help PA’s 59,000 farm families, who are the stewards of more than 7.7 million acres of farmland.  With $7.5 Billion in cash receipts, farming is the leading economic driver in our state. Learn more by watching the Farming First news conference here.

5/8/19 - Farming First

It was also great speaking with Millena Bashore, the PA FFA Chaplain, and Roarke Miller, the PA FFA Sentinel, both constituents of Lebanon County, at the Farming First news conference. We need to preserve our farmland and allow PA farmers to keep land in production for future generations.

Bill Unanimously Passes Senate, Goes to Governor

House Bill 279 – provides civil immunity for forceful entry into a vehicle when necessary to rescue a child in danger.

Executive Nominations Unanimously Confirmed by the Senate

Robin L. Wiessmann of Newtown – Secretary of Banking and Securities

W. Gerard Oleksiak of Dresher – Secretary of Labor and Industry

Elliot C. Howsie of Pittsburgh – Judge, Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County

Marshall J. Piccinini of Edinboro – Judge, Court of Common Pleas, Erie County

Senate State Government Committee Activity

The Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, held a voting meeting to consider the following bills, which were all unanimously reported from committee to the full Senate for further consideration:

Senate Bill 412Election Reforms: proposed constitutional amendment repealing the exclusion of federal, state, county and municipal employees from serving as poll workers;

Senate Bill 413Election Reforms: proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate the requirement of a separate ballot for judicial retention elections;

Senate Bill 538 – authorizes the conveyance of an easement in Shippensburg Twp., Cumberland Co. to the Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails Council;

Senate Bill 617 – authorizes the conveyance of an easement from the State Fire Academy in Lewistown Borough, Mifflin Co. to Mifflin Co.;

House Bill 223 – authorizes the conveyance of lands in Asylum Twp., Bradford Co.;

House Bill 227 – clarifies the Election Code as it relates to School Director petition signatures.

“Kids win when parents choose!” These were my sentiments during the PA Coalition of Public Charter Schools advocacy day press conference as part of National Charter School Week.

I was pleased to attend the Capitol Hunger Garden opening with my colleagues (left to right) Representative Wheatley, Senator Gordner, Senator Vogel, Senator K. Ward, Senator Scarnati, Senator DiSanto, and others. The Hunger Garden provides healthy food to those in need and raises awareness of hunger issues in the Commonwealth.

I was happy to visit with Stony Brook and North Hills Elementary Schools, from Central York School District, at the PA Association for Education Communications and Technology (PAECT) Student Technology Showcase! Both projects were very impressive!

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