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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 November 23, 2015

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 62 – revises the Vehicle Code relating to probationary licenses;
Senate Bill 146 – (48-1) requires passengers in a vehicle to render aid to anyone injured in an accident;
Senate Bill 518 – extends fiduciary authority to include digital assets (Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act);
Senate Bill 927 – provides for Senate confirmation of members of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC);
Senate Bill 1045 – standardizes the definition of a Veteran;
Senate Bill 1046 – standardizes promotions on the retired Pennsylvania National Guard list;
House Bill 934 – connects the Keystone Education Yields Success Program (KEYS) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients for Associate Degrees from a PA community college;
House Bill 1411 – revises Eminent Domain to match federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies under MAP-21.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to Governor for Further Action
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 609 – creates the Prostate Cancer Surveillance, Education, Detection and Treatment Act and task force;
Senate Bill 887 – further protects highway workers and first emergency responders in work zones;
House Bill 89 and House Bill 90 – (36-13) raises mandatory retirement age for judges and magisterial district judges from 70 to 75 (I was not able to support this as I believe judicial reform is needed to provide for the re-election of justices rather than retention);
House Bill 753 – expands the Intra-Governmental Council on Long-Term Care at the PA Department of Aging.

Stay Tuned on Elimination of School Property Taxes…
Senators David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks), Mario Scavello (R-Monroe/Northampton), Scott Wagner (R-York), Judy Schwank (D-Berks), John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon), Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh/Northampton), Andy Dinniman (D-Chester), John Eichelberger (R-Blair) and I released the following statement regarding efforts to pass the Property Tax Independence Act in the Senate:

“When we began this bipartisan fight this session to remove the school property tax burden off of property owners, we never said it would be easy. Due to the groundswell of public support and the tireless efforts of thousands of taxpayers advocating for the legislation, we are closer than we have ever been to eliminating school property taxes. Today was supposed to be a full Senate vote to consider the elimination of school property taxes – a proposal drafted by over 80 grassroots taxpayer advocacy groups from across the state. Some minor technical concerns regarding the bill’s implementation have been raised. We agreed to make tweaks to the proposal and have it considered next week by the full Senate.”

Senators Scarnati and Corman Statement on Syrian Refugees
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34) released the following statement regarding Syrian refugees:

“The recent horrific terrorist attacks in Paris emphasize the tremendous need for government to do all that we can to protect our citizens from radicals who want to cause harm. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of victims of this senseless violence last week.

“We recognize there are federal regulatory aspects of this issue, however we are greatly troubled that despite the attacks, Governor Wolf will move forward with plans for Syrian refugees to relocate to Pennsylvania without first ensuring a full-scale review of the screening process for these refugees has been conducted.

“We believe the Governor should put the safety and security of Pennsylvania first by encouraging President Obama, our Congressional delegation and the federal government to further strengthen the refugee screening process. Until there is a clear and transparent process in place to screen refugees to ensure terrorists are not able to enter the United States and threaten our freedoms, we should not be allowing Syrian refugees to relocate to Pennsylvania.”

Increased Security Measures for Refugees
Senator John Rafferty circulated a co-sponsorship memo for a Senate Resolution “directing the Governor to reject the placement of Syrian refugees within the Commonwealth until the federal government establishes increased security procedures to screen refugees coming from this region.”

The Resolution will “request the President of the United States to direct the Department of Homeland Security to review its security procedures for vetting refugees and to send a report detailing the increased measures to the states that are under consideration to receive refugees.”  I have joined Senator Rafferty by co-sponsoring this Resolution.

Contact Information
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