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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 January 11, 2016

Bill Unanimously Passes Senate, Goes to House
Senate Bill 917 – permits county and court agencies involved in child welfare and delinquency cases to share information.

Bills Signed into Law by the Governor
Senate Bill 398 – Act 79 – alters driver’s license and identification card applications to increase organ donor designation;
Senate Bill 442 – Act 90 – my Taxpayer-Funded Advertising Transparency Act requires Commonwealth agencies (executive, legislative and judicial branches) to note whenever tax moneys are used for advertising: “Paid for with Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars”;
Senate Bill 524 – Act 80 – requires providers and law enforcement to receive training and education on FDA-approved medications to help prevent relapses related to opioid dependence while also providing access to these medications;
Senate Bill 756 – Act 81 – eliminates sunset provisions of the First Industries Program;
Senate Bill 1045 – Act 82 – standardizes the definition of a Veteran;
Senate Bill 1046 – Act 83 – standardizes promotions on the retired Pennsylvania National Guard list;
House Bill 777 – Act 91 – extends the PACE and PACENET Social Security COLA moratorium;
House Bill 857 – Act 84 – reauthorizes the PA Children’s Health Insurance Program;
House Bill 907 – Act 85 – establishes posting requirements under the Real Estate Tax Sale Law;
House Bill 909 – Act 77 – provides for the collection of additional costs related to rehabilitation and maintenance under the Real Estate Tax Sale Law;
House Bill 1161 – Act 78 – allows vehicle salespersons to sell at multiple dealerships with a common ownership;
House Bill 1195 – Act 86 – clarifies Act 89 transportation issues regarding Recreational Vehicle Financing;
House Bill 1322 – Act 92 – Public Welfare Code for 2015-16;
House Bill 1332 – Act 93 – updates the SERS and PSERS to comply with IRS rules;
House Bill 1411 – Act 88 – revises Eminent Domain to match federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies under MAP-21;
House Bill 1603 – Act 94 – brings Pennsylvania into compliance with federal Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (IUFSA) changes;
House Bill 1735 – Act 95 and House Bill 1736 – Act 96 – clarifies definitions in the Tobacco Product Manufacturer Director Act and the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Act. 

Senator Scarnati Reelected Senate President Pro Tempore
In accordance with Article II, Section 4 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, the General Assembly returned to Session the first Tuesday of January.  The Senate unanimously reelected Senator Joe Scarnati as Senate President Pro Tempore.

Senate Recesses Awaiting Further House Action
The Senate is in recess until Tuesday, January 19 (unless recalled earlier by the President Pro Tempore) as the remaining budget-related bills are in the House of Representatives awaiting action.

Statement by Senate Republican Leaders on Governor Wolf’s Decision to Release State Funding Approved by Legislature:  Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne and Senate Majority Whip John Gordner released the following statement on Governor Wolf’s decision to release emergency funding approved by the legislature to help schools and social service agencies. 

“We support the Governor’s long-overdue decision to release emergency funding approved by the legislature to help schools and social service agencies. This is something we have been advocating for over many months and is exactly why we sent him a budget last week – to release money that has been collected and is being held by the state to schools and communities. 

“We are glad that the Governor has acknowledged that his actions of full vetoes in the past have meant kids and community organizations have been held hostage by his refusal to release funding and that approach is no longer defensible. He could have used this line item veto months ago and avoided this crisis situation. 

“This action essentially resets the clock – giving us time to work toward a fiscally responsible spending plan without jeopardizing core government services. 

“We have significant differences with this Governor and his calls for increased taxes and spending, and we need to sit down and work through them. We have been negotiating in good faith with him, which is why we are disappointed that he used words like ‘garbage’ and ‘exercise in stupidity’ in his statement.  This kind of name-calling and blaming is not necessary or productive as we work toward compromise. 

“Now the Governor must demonstrate leadership to get a complete budget passed. The Senate has approved three budget proposals already, and because of his latest line-item vetoes will need to produce a fourth. It’s long past time for the Administration to embrace and work toward the compromise needed to enact a fiscally responsible state budget. We remain committed to achieving that goal.”

2015 Senate Accomplishments
“The Senate passed a total of three 2015-16 state budgets in 2015, beginning with a balanced budget passed prior to the June 30 constitutional deadline.  The chamber also passed three historic pension reform bills, beginning with the sweeping Senate Bill 1, which was vetoed by the Governor…”  View the 2015 Senate accomplishments here.

First Round of Endowment Act Awards Distributed
The PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) announced the recipients of the first round of awards to be distributed under the Endowment Act (Act 1 of 2013).  I am pleased three agencies within the 48th Senatorial District are recipients.  Congratulations to the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center (SARCC) of Lebanon County for sexually abused children victim services; Leg Up Farm, Inc. (York County) for equine-assisted therapy groups, and; Turning Point Women’s Counseling and Advocacy Center (York County) for turning point innovative counseling services.

PA DCNR Recreation and Conservation Grants Program
The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recreation and conservation grants program will be accepting applications beginning January 20 through April 13.  The grant program encourages applications that advance local conservation and recreation visions, and implement the 2014-2019 Pennsylvania Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.  Grants are available for projects in the following categories: 

Community Parks and Recreation for the planning and development of safe, clean, accessible and ready-to-use local parks.  Projects that address sustainability and rehabilitation of park and recreation facilities, specifically ADA compliance and small community playground upgrades. 

Land Conservation projects that protect critical habitat, forested watersheds, wetlands and riparian corridors, as well as lands that create critical connections with other public lands and expand green space in urban areas. 

Partnerships of collaborative statewide or regional recreation, conservation or heritage projects that convene, education or provide training; build capacity; undertake special purpose studies or implementation projects, and/or; offer mini-grant programs that implement publically identified priorities. 

Rivers Implementation projects that protect and enhance the conservation or recreational value of Pennsylvania’s waterways, including those that implement river conservation plan recommendations; enhance water trails; expand public access to waterways for recreation, or; increase awareness of the state’s system of waterways. 

Trails and Greenways projects that close priority gaps in statewide major greenways and regionally significant trails, and maintain and upgrade existing trails.

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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