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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 September 28, 2015

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 290 – mandatory ignition interlock program for DUI offenders with high blood alcohol levels;
Senate Bill 773 – bans Powdered Alcohol to minors;
Senate Bill 872 – establishes rules for Townships of the Second Class to purchase certain gifts;
Senate Bill 873 – establishes rules for Boroughs to purchase certain gifts;
Senate Bill 879 – Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) tax free savings account for disabled individuals;
Senate Bill 1000 – (30-19) stop-gap budget to address issues related to the ongoing budget impasse (listen to my remarks here);
Senate Bill 1001 – (30-19) fiscal code for the stop-gap budget;
House Bill 175 – extends the application deadline for Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program;
House Bill 224 – (30-19) school code for the stop-gap budget.

Resolutions Adopted by the Senate
Both Resolutions passed unanimously.
Senate Resolution 54 – asks Congress and the President to review unfair government-sponsored anthracite exports to China, Russia and Ukraine;
Senate Resolution 55 – reinstates a legislative Forestry Task Force.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to Governor for Further Action
All bills passed unanimously.
Senate Bill 663 – allows courts to terminate parental rights of a convicted rapist but keeps offender’s obligation to pay child support even if parental rights are terminated;
Senate Bill 678 – clarifies the arrest powers/jurisdiction of state-owned university campus police officers;
House Bill 75 – requires pharmacies outside Pennsylvania to register with the State Board of Pharmacy to fill prescription orders for Commonwealth residents;
House Bill 315 – allows minors to be employed as youth sports officials.

Constitutional Trivia
Thanks to the September edition of “State Legislatures,” I’m testing your knowledge of the Constitution! I’ll reveal the answers in the October 5 edition of Mike’s Memo!

1) How many words are in the original U.S. Constitution?
2) How many amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been repealed?
3) Which state has the shortest Constitution?
4) Which state has the longest Constitution and the most amendments?
5) Which state has the oldest Constitution?
6) Which states have the newest Constitutions?
7) Which Constitution has been amended the least?
8) Which state has adopted the most Constitutions?

Sources: National Archives and Records Administration; National Constitution Center;, and; Center for State Constitutional Studies.

Column: Education or Indoctrination?
One of my Senate colleagues recently received the following email from a school superintendent using the school’s email system:

“I always read with great interest your newsletter, especially your editorializing on the state budget impasse. Certainly I agree that the Governor should not have vetoed every and all items in the Republican suggested budget...especially those dealing with non-profits who experienced drastic cuts over the previous four years of Republican passed budgets.

“I suppose what irks me is your reference to special interests without mentioning special interest groups protected by Republicans such as Charter Schools and the Oil and Gas industry. All whom have contributed greatly to you and your colleagues campaigns.

“Speaking of colleagues, some of mine plan on discussing with our respective school boards, stakeholders and most importantly students (our future voters) exactly what the Republicans nationwide and especially in Pennsylvania have done to their one and only chance of getting an education. They need to be taught this particular part of PA history including why PA has the highest gas prices in the country, charter school favor (even though 8 of 10 PA students attend neighborhood public schools) and protection of the oil and gas industry in PA. We know the oil and gas companies have cash flow issues so let's continue to go after rubber meets the road Pennsylvanians that work in state stores.

“In summary, if we can't vote out Republicans who care only about themselves due to gerrymandering, maybe we can breed them out.

“There, I feel better now and remember, some of us know exactly what is going on!”

Putting aside the issue of using taxpayer-funded resources to express personal opinions, the missive leads me to question the difference between education and indoctrination.

Here’s a definition of “education”: “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university; an enlightening experience.”

Here’s a definition of “indoctrination”: “teaching someone to accept doctrines uncritically – types: brainwashing, forcible indoctrination into a new set of attitudes and beliefs, inculcation, ingraining, instilling, teaching or impressing upon the mind by frequent instruction or repetition.”

I thought schools were to educate, not indoctrinate. However, in at least one of the Commonwealth’s school districts, I’m not so sure. How sad.

Contact Information
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