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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 March 21, 2016

Senate Bill 3 (Medical Cannabis) Passes House, Returns to Senate
After passing 13 of nearly 40 amendments considered, and three days of deliberations, the PA House of Representatives passed my Senate Bill 3 to provide for medical cannabis in Pennsylvania with a vote of 149-43. Click here to see an entire list of amendments and votes. SB 3 has been returned to the Senate, where we will look at the effects of all the passed amendments to ensure the bill that reaches the Governor’s desk and becomes law will work quickly and meet the needs of the suffering patients across the Commonwealth who have been waiting for far too long.

These children are why I started this journey. Along the way, through educating myself, I found that cannabis, a non-toxic plant, could help thousands of Pennsylvania’s suffering. Through educating others, the help of the advocates, and support from my colleagues – We are where we are today. I’m so very thankful I was able to make this journey.

Penn’s Charter
This week, I saw Penn’s Charter up close at the PA State Museum. Penn's Charter is Pennsylvania’s founding document and cornerstone of our state’s government. The 335 year old document was written on sheepskin parchment using iron gall ink. To preserve it, the State Archives protects it in a high security vault, shielded from strong light and environmental fluctuations. The document is shown publicly only once a year during the PA Historical and Museum Commission’s celebration of Charter Week.

Penn's Charter is considered to be the official version of Pennsylvania's "Birth Certificate." It was retrieved from the Penn family warehouse in England and brought to America around 1802 by Philadelphia lawyer John Coates. On February 21, 1812, Coates deposited the Charter at the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of PA.

Guest Chaplain of the Senate: Reverend Nicholas Keeney
On March 14, Reverend Nicholas Keeney of Chambers Hill United Methodist Church, served as guest Chaplain of the Senate, offering the opening prayer. Pastor Nick is passionate about the ways congregations can connect to and serve their neighborhoods.

Reverend Keeney’s prayer and my introduction can be heard here: .

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House for Further Consideration
All bills passed unanimously.
Senate Bill 50 – permits the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp in PA;
Senate Bill 1013 – allows for voluntary veterans preference in private employment;
Senate Bill 1056 – updates law on assignment of custody and visitation rights by deployed parents.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to Governor for Further Action
House Bill 1327 – (30-19) fiscal code for 2015-16 state budget;
House Bill 1801 – (31-18) supplemental 2015-16 state budget.

Executive Nominations Confirmed by the Senate
Click here to see an entire list of the nominations unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

PennDOT Driver’s License and Photo ID Four-Year Photo Fee Increase
According to PennDOT, effective April 29, 2016, the driver’s license and photo identification card four-year photo fee will increase from $8.50 to $9.50, which PennDOT says is the result of increased costs at PennDOT’s 97 photo license centers.

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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