Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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Week of October 1, 2018

Constituent Highlight: Northeastern Boys’ Volleyball Team

I had the great honor of introducing an outstanding group of athletes on the Senate Floor: the Northeastern High School boys’ volleyball team, who claimed their SIXTH STRAIGHT PIAA 2A State Championship!

Pictured: Zech Sanderson, Nate Wilson, Austin Richards, Alex Finch, Jared Furst, Robby Wolfgang, Jacob Eisenhart, Kyle Williams, Joel Braswell, Coach Matt Wilson and Northeastern School District Athletic Director Bryan Stephens.

This team has demonstrated superior sportsmanship and remarkable athletic abilities, finishing their championship season undefeated at 21-0.  What makes their six-year championship streak even more amazing is their overall record of 131 wins and only 3 losses, all under the direction of Coach Matt Wilson. Watch my introduction below.

9/25/18 – Northeastern HS Boys Volleyball

Senate State Government Committee Public Hearing

The Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, held a public hearing this past week to discuss Senator Vogel’s Senate Bill 1249 to establish an Election Law Advisory Board. If you missed it, you can watch below. The hearing also included a demonstration of Dauphin County’s voting machines.

9/25/18 – PA Election Law Advisory Board

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House for Further Consideration

All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.

Senate Bill 31 – establishes the Spinal Cord Disability Research Grant Program;

Senate Bill 521 – adds a hands-only, 30-minute CPR instruction to high school students’ curriculum;

Senate Bill 668 – (32-17) modernizes the Optometric Practice and Licensure Act;

Senate Bill 891 – requires the PA Department of Aging to cross-check PACE and PACENET beneficiaries with death records maintained by the PA Department of Health;

Senate Bill 1007 – increases training and qualifications of assessment appeal board and auxiliary appeal board members, changes the assessment appeal process and provides for certain notifications to property owners as well as penalties;

Senate Bill 1066 – creates First-time Homebuyers Savings Accounts;

Senate Bill 1096 – authorizes the use of PennDOT and PA Turnpike automated work zone vehicles;

Senate Bill 1098 – allows school bus arm cameras for enforcement of Title 75 (Vehicle) violations when meeting or overtaking school buses;

Senate Bill 1134 – creates the criminal offense of sextortion;

Senate Bill 1181 – requires depression screenings for students;

Senate Bill 1205 – amends Title 40 (Insurance) to provide for corporate governance disclosure;

Senate Bill 1209 – addresses the backlog of untested rape kits. 

Bills Pass Senate, Go to Governor for Further Action

Both bills passed unanimously.

House Bill 1346 – regulates unlawful use of unmanned aircrafts (drones);

House Bill 1917 – strengthens the training and oversight of humane society police officers. 

PA Gaming Control Board Public Input Hearing on Penn National Category 4 Slot Machine License Application in York County

The PA Gaming Control Board will hold a public input hearing at 10 a.m. on Thursday, November 1, in the Springettsbury Township Municipal Administration Building, 1501 Mount Zion Road, York, PA 17402, to collect testimony on the Category 4 casino application submitted by Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, LLC (Penn National).

The purpose of the hearing is to both provide a forum for individuals to voice their support or opposition to the proposed casino and to permit those persons with an interest in the applicant’s proposal to learn more about the project. The Board is accepting requests from citizens, public officials and community groups who wish to provide oral or written testimony regarding the proposed casino. Those wishing to present testimony at the public input hearing must register prior to the hearing at the Board’s website, and by clicking the “Penn National Casino York Public Input Hearing” link under the QuickLinks section. Deadline for registration is noon on October 30. A listing of all those who have been registered to speak will be posted on the Board’s website one week prior to the hearing.

Those who cannot attend the public hearing but would like to place written comments into the record can do so prior to the hearing date through the website link, email to, fax to (717) 265-7416, or mail (postmarked no later than October 30) to: PA Gaming Control Board, Attention: Board Clerk, PO Box 69060, Harrisburg, PA 17106.

Eight Medical Schools Certified as Medical Cannabis Academic Clinical Research Centers

The PA Department of Health has certified eight medical schools as Academic Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) in PA’s Medical Cannabis Program. Each ACRC must be an accredited medical school in the state that operates or partners with an acute care hospital licensed and operating in the Commonwealth.

The eight medical schools are: Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia; Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia; Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey; Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh; Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Erie, and; Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia.

Senate Resolution 419, Honoring the Life of Stephen C. MacNett

The PA Senate unanimously adopted a Concurrent Resolution (Senate Resolution 419) honoring the life of Stephen C. MacNett, former General Counsel of the PA Senate Republicans, which reads:

Stephen C. MacNett (Steve), who dedicated more than 44 years of public service to the Senate, the General Assembly and the government and residents of our great Commonwealth, died on September 18, 2018, at 71 years of age.

Born in Troy, Pennsylvania, to the late Stephen D. and Huldah B. MacNett, and raised on his family’s farm in Bradford County, Steve learned the value of hard, honest work.

Steve graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he served as the vice chairman of the campus Young Republicans. Steve began to work in the Senate on November 1, 1966, as a page and continued in that position until his graduation in 1971 from the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle.

Upon admission to the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Steve began a long career as an attorney with the Senate Republican Caucus as Assistant Counsel, Deputy Chief Counsel and Chief Counsel. Steve was named to the position of General Counsel of the Senate Republican Caucus in 1977 and held that position until his retirement on January 7, 2011.

Steve’s legislative career spanned the administrations of Governors William Scranton, Raymond Shafer, Milton Shapp, Dick Thornburgh, Bob Casey, Tom Ridge, Mark Schweiker and Ed Rendell. Steve worked for the Senate Republican leaders Robert D. Fleming, Richard Frame, Henry G. Hager, Robert C. Jubelirer, John Stauffer, F. Joseph Loeper, David J. “Chip” Brightbill and Dominic F. Pileggi.

Steve was responsible for the supervision of legal services to the Republican members of the Senate, including drafting, review and analysis of legislation. Steve’s knowledge of legislative and parliamentary procedure was exceptional and his uncanny ability to remember legislative history was legendary. Steve’s skill in developing legislative strategy was second to none.

Steve oversaw litigation involving the Senate Republican Caucus, the Senate as an institution and, from time to time, the entire General Assembly. Steve was at the center of every major legislative accomplishment during his career in the Senate. Steve served as a teacher and mentor to countless other staff members in the Senate, sharing his knowledge generously and becoming known as “Master Jedi.”

Steve’s counsel was sought out by legislators and other public officers and public employees from all branches of State and local government and all political parties, as well as lobbyists and members of the media because of his incredible knowledge of the Senate, the Constitution of Pennsylvania, statutory law and important dates and historical milestones in Pennsylvania State Government. Steve earned the respect of all who participated in the legislative process, regardless of their political affiliation, their ideological principles or their advocated positions.

Since his passing, Steve has been described by those who knew him as “brilliant,” “dedicated,” “a scholar,” “a true giant,” “an icon,” “one of the most powerful people in State government,” “a good and fair man,” “honorable,” “honest” and “a legend,” among many other complimentary superlatives.

Steve was the recipient of the William E. Zeiter Award for Exceptional Contributions to Statutory Law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, presented by the Statutory Law Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Through his knowledge and counsel, Steve earning the title as “The 51st Senator.” Steve’s record of service in the Senate is unparalleled and may never be matched again.

The General Assembly express profound sorry over the loss of Stephen C. MacNett, an outstanding and dedicated public servant. The General Assembly express gratitude for Mr. MacNett’s influence and devotion to the Senate, the General Assembly, State Government and the residents of Pennsylvania.

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