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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 29, 2015

Please note: All bill updates are as of 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24 in order for Mike’s Memo to be circulated at its usual time. Next week’s edition of Mike’s Memo will have bill activity that took place after Wednesday, June 24.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Resolution 149 – urges Congress to prohibit force changes and transfers of Apache helicopters, and maintain Army National Guard soldiers until the National Commission on the Future of the Army reports its findings;
Senate Bill 299 – municipal tax credit option for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service technicians;
Senate Bill 352 – (25-24) updates the Race Horse Industry Reform Act;
Senate Bill 356 – my bill to amend the Local Tax Enabling Act;
Senate Bill 370 – removes sunset provision for volunteer fire companies that merge and receive grants through the Fire and EMS Grant program;
Senate Bill 398 – alters driver’s license and identification card applications to increase organ donor designation;
Senate Bill 655 – extends the sunset date of the State Workers’ Insurance Fund for investments in equities;
Senate Bill 663 – allows courts to terminate parental rights of a convicted rapist and keeps offender’s obligation to pay child support even if parental rights are terminated;
Senate Bill 737 – allows for the limited use of semi-automatic sporting rifles for hunting coyotes and woodchucks;
Senate Bill 775 – consolidates and revises the Third Class City Code;
House Bill 131 – exempts residency requirement for in-state tuition to Commonwealth colleges and universities for veterans, their spouses and dependent children;
House Bill 189 – (31-18) allows direct shipment of wine, reduces markup on special liquor orders and establishes the PA Wine Marketing Program and Research Board.

Bill Passes Senate, Goes to Governor for Further Action
Senate Bill 397 – privatizes and regulates Bail Bondsmen.

Bills Signed into Law by Governor
Senate Bill 293 – Act 7 – requires Health Exchange “Navigator” certifications from the Insurance Department and criminal background checks;
House Bill 341 – Act 6 – requires real estate disclosures include locations of “storm water facilities” and sinkholes.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform, Fix Forfeiture Press Conference
Respect for the Constitution is a key part of my “Promise to Pennsylvania” and it’s also why I introduced Senate Bill 869 to reform laws governing asset forfeitures. No Pennsylvanian should have their homes, cars, and even cash taken without due process and Constitutional protections. You can read my most recent column on this topic here.

On June 23, I participated in a press conference organized by Fix Forfeiture, a bipartisan organization pursing efforts to ensure no agent of the government can take an individual’s property without due process of the law. The following also participated in the press conference to support this important legislation: Holly Harris, Senior Project Director of Fix Forfeiture; Senator Anthony Williams; Representative Jim Cox; Matthew Brouillette, President of Commonwealth Foundation; Andy Hoover, Legislative Director ofACLU of Pennsylvania, and; Neal Lesher, Legislative Director of NFIB PA. You can listen to my comments from this event here.

Senate Education Committee Approves School Funding Formula Legislation
The Senate Education Committee, in which I serve as Vice-Chair, unanimously passed Senate Bill 910, legislation to implement the school funding formula developed over the past year by the Basic Education Funding Commission, on which I also serve. This is an important first step in crafting a fair, equitable and transparent formula. The Committee also unanimously reported House Bill 224, the Public School Entity Web Accountability and Transparency (SchoolWATCH) Act, to require the Pennsylvania Department of Education continue to provide taxpayers with financial transparency.

PA Liquor Control Board Bureau of Alcohol Education Grants Awarded
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) Bureau of Alcohol Education has awarded $2,274,291 to 65 entities across Pennsylvania to support initiatives to reduce underage and dangerous drinking. The awards support a range of activities, including: training, law enforcement patrols, the development of environmental management strategies, and other prevention programs. Two grantees are in the 48th Senate District: Community Health Council of Lebanon County was awarded $40,000, and North Cornwall Township was awarded $35,364.

Cleona Borough Police Sergeant Matthew P. Rager Honored
Congratulations to Sergeant Matthew P. Rager of the Cleona Borough Police Department on being honored and recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for his outstanding efforts against aggressive driving in Pennsylvania!

Girl Scout Gold Award Recipients from the 48th Senate District
I am pleased four girl scouts from the 48th Senatorial District have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award. The Gold Award is the highest award Girl Scouts of the USA can bestow, and symbolizes outstanding accomplishments in leadership, community service, career planning and personal development. I also had the opportunity to prepare a Senate Citation for each to recognize their efforts. Congratulations to:

Brooke N. Scheaffer, daughter of Matthew and Paula Scheaffer
Brooke is a member of Troop 11054 in Dauphin County. For her Gold Award project, she coordinated with the Penn State Hershey Sweet Survivors group to create hats for distribution by the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition to benefit women undergoing treatment throughout Pennsylvania.

Christin Cesari, daughter of Joe and Theresa Cesari
Christin is a member of Troop 70994 in Palmyra. For her Gold Award project, she initiated a butterfly garden on the grounds of the Lingle Avenue Elementary School to create an area for children to plant seeds outdoors.

Hope Snyder, daughter of Tim and Elaine Snyder
Hope is a member of Troop 70376 in Lebanon. For her Gold Award project, she created first aid kits and booklets and taught CPR sessions to promote first aid awareness.

Megan Hoffmaster, daughter of Kevin and Rebeccah Hoffmaster
For her Gold Award project, Megan created a hula hoop summer camp for children. She also made a tutorial DVD to teach them exercise can be fun.

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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