Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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July 1, 2019

Please note:  Bill activity included in this week’s edition is through Wednesday, June 26 in order for Mike’s Memo to be circulated at its usual time.  Next week’s edition will have bill activity that took place after June 26.

It was an absolute honor to meet World War II Veteran, Lawrence “Gumpy” Bolin, a guest of Senator Mastriano.  Gumpy was born in 1923, drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, trained as a military police officer and assigned to the 553rd Military Police Escort Guard Company.  He landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, France six days after D-Day.  His unit liberated Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps in Germany.  Gumpy is a true hero!  Pictured left to right:  front row – Representative Ryan, Lawrence “Gumpy” Bolin, Senator Folmer; back row – Senator Bartolotta, Senator Brooks, Senator Mastriano and Senator K. Ward. 

Happy Belated 100th Birthday to Mamie Reager!

I’m a little late in wishing Mamie Blanche Thompson Reager, of Lebanon, a very happy 100th birthday!  Mamie is the mother of five children, and has 12 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.  I hope you enjoyed your day, young lady!

Election Law Reform Bills Pass Senate, Go to House

The full Senate passed several election law reform bills that my office developed and were the topic of lengthy Senate State Government Committee deliberations and subsequently reported from the State Government Committee.  I was happy to advance these important and meaningful reforms, but was perplexed as to why they became partisan during final Senate passage after months of public vetting and strong support coming out of Committee.  The following bills now go to the House of Representatives for further consideration:

Senate Bill 300 – (42-8) allows for PA Open Primaries;

Senate Bill 418 – (31-19) reduces the number of ballots needing to be printed;

Senate Bill 421 – (30-20) eliminates straight party voting in PA;

Senate Bill 422 – (28-22) establishes the PA Election Law Advisory Board.

Vehicle Emissions Testing Reforms Pass Senate, Go to House

The current PA Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program (I/M) requires motorists in 25 counties to get annual emissions tests for gasoline-powered passenger cars, vans and light-duty trucks years 1975 and newer.  Vehicle emissions testing has become less effective at reducing air pollution due to newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and evidence shows vehicles are continuously passing the tests.  In PA, from 2011-2017, an average of 5.7 million vehicles were tested each year and an average of 96% passed the test.  The following legislation seeks to modernize these onerous and costly regulations:

Senate Bill 742 – (26-24) exempts gas-powered passenger cars, vans and light-duty trucks from the I/M program for the first eight years of the vehicle;

Senate Bill 743 – (27-23) eliminates annual vehicle emissions testing and replaces with two-year testing for gas powered passenger cars, vans and light-duty trucks older than eight years;

Senate Bill 744 – (27-23) exempts eligible counties from vehicle emissions testing;

Senate Bill 745 – (27-23) replaces the tailpipe test and dynamometer/treadmill two-speed idle test with a gas cap test and visual inspection for 1994-1995 vehicles;

Senate Bill 746 – (33-17) extends the transition date for new emissions testing equipment at existing emissions inspection stations. 

Further Bills Pass Senate, Go to House

All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.

Senate Bill 147 – (36-14) allows Sunday hunting and increases trespassing penalties;

Senate Bill 325 – expands the role of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs);

Senate Bill 456 – allows multi-county training school branch campuses;

Senate Bill 575 – (33-17) establishes a nutrient procurement program to meet federal Chesapeake Bay requirements;

Senate Bill 590 – establishes a Charter School Funding Advisory Commission;

Senate Bill 607 – (49-1) allows RADAR for local law enforcement;

Senate Bill 619 – (26-24) establishes spill reporting requirements under the Clean Streams Law;

Senate Bill 669 – reinstates the Subsidized Permanent Legal Custodianship Program;

Senate Bill 751 – (38-11) changes teacher evaluations;

Senate Bill 778 – phases out PA Turnpike Commission payments to the PA Department of Transportation through the Public Transportation Trust Fund;

House Bill 786 – (41-9) addresses outcomes and funding formulas for PA trauma centers;

House Bill 1520Farming First: creates butchering operation inspection incentives;

House Bill 1590Farming First: creates the Dairy Investment Program.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to Governor

All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.

Senate Bill 127 – reauthorizes PA’s 911 Law;

Senate Bill 128 – codifies the Civil Air Patrol under the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs;

Senate Bill 440 – codifies a three-year pilot program for Flexible Instructional Days;

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

Senate Bill 547 – allows First Class Townships to set property tax millage rates by annual resolutions;

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

Senate Bill 634Farming First: establishes a Conservation Excellence Grant Program;

Senate Bill 661Farming First: establishes the Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Program;

Senate Bill 698 and Senate Bill 699 – allows physicians to appoint a designee to assist with agreements for the PA Department of State’s online PALS system;

House Bill 33 – (26-24) eliminates the general assistance cash benefit program;

House Bill 370Farming First: allows voluntary relinquishment to construct a residence on preserved farmland;

House Bill 448 – (48-1) adds the PA Emergency Management Agency Director and PA State Police Commissioner to the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission (250th birthday of the United States);

House Bill 548 – allows Boroughs and Third Class Cities to set property tax millage rates by annual resolutions;

House Bill 615 – includes PA Game Commission Officers as Enforcement Officers in the State Employees Retirement System;

House Bill 751 – updates Title 66 (Public Utilities) relating to water and wastewater public utilities;

House Bill 807 – aligns the compensation of Deputy Adjutant Generals and commanding General Officers with federal military base pay;

House Bill 826 – (46-3) creates the Sports Raffle Charities Act for 50/50 raffles;

House Bill 856 – reinstates the Subsidized Permanent Legal Custodianship Program;

House Bill 915 – (32-18) Farming First: allows milk haulers to travel on highways during a declaration of disaster emergency;

House Bill 1172 – requires the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs to issue certain licenses;

House Bill 1514Farming First: reestablishes the Healthy Farms Healthy Schools program into the PA Farm-to-School Program;

House Bill 1516Farming First: creates the PA Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account for the PA Department of Agriculture;

House Bill 1524 – allows the transfer of Restaurant Liquor licenses to Mixed Use Town Centers;

House Bill 1526Farming First: reestablishes an Agriculture Linked Investment Program.

I was happy to support the multiple bills listed above as part of the Farming First package to help PA’s 59,000 farm families, who are 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.

2019-2020 Budget Statement

Contrary to what the media and our colleagues on the other side of the aisle say, the PA Senate Republicans DO understand the needs of our constituents and are focused on #FundingWhatWorks, committed to helping those in need while respecting taxpayers hard earned dollars.  The 2019-2020 budget includes increases for some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable.  Listen to my comments on both the budget, and the unfortunate and blatant disregard to the rules of the Senate by Lt. Governor Fetterman:

6/27/19 – Senate Republicans: Funding What Works

Executive Nominations Unanimously Confirmed by the Senate

Secretary of Education – Pedro A. Rivera, Lancaster

Professional Standards and Practices Commission – Michael J. Davis, Muncy; Nicole R. Hill, Shippensburg, and; Robert M. Hollister, Lancaster

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