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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 13, 2016

Happy Flag Day!
June 14th marks the 239th Birthday of the United States flag. On this date in 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Act establishing the American flag as consisting of 13 alternative red and white stripes and 13 stars to symbolize a fresh constellation – one for each of the 13 states. At the time, there was no meaning attached to the colors. However, the same colors were used to design the Seal of the United States in 1782 and as Charles Thompson, secretary to the Continental Congress, noted: "The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice."

The flag was changed in 1795, when two more stars and two more stripes were added to reflect the admission of two new states (Vermont and Kentucky). However, in 1818, Congress enacted legislation pertaining to set the number of stripes at 13 and add stars to match the number of states. June 14 th also marks the birthday of the United States Army, which was established by Congress June 14, 1775.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House for Further Consideration
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 428 – adds “evaluation for gambling disorder” as a sentencing option for trespassers on the PA casino self-exclusion list;
Senate Bill 1195 – (41-9) extends amount of time the General Assembly has to review PA’s compliance for the Federal Clean Power Plan;
Senate Bill 1227 – transfers pension calculation responsibilities of PERC to the IFO and Auditor General;
Senate Bill 1270 – brings PA into compliance with updated Federal real estate appraiser standards.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to Governor for Further Action
All bills passed unanimously.
Senate Bill 61 – recognition of bike medics;
Senate Bill 489 – changes government check cashing requirements;
House Bill 57 – expands natural gas competition;
House Bill 264 – requires carbon monoxide detectors in residential care facilities;
House Bill 1241 – amends definition of “public utility” to provide an exception for a resort offering water or sewer services to private homes.

Bills Signed into Law by Governor
House Bill 150 – Act 36 – creates a bicycle Share-the-Road registration plate;
House Bill 608 – Act 37 – gives the PA Department of Health the authority to add chemicals to the Drug Act’s “precursor substances” list;
House Bill 1484 – Act 38 – further preserves “Soldiers’ Grove”;
House Bill 1552 – Act 35 – authorizes the PA Department of Education to enter into interstate reciprocity agreements for distance education;
House Bill 1690 – Act 39 – expands the sale of wine, beer, and certain spirits to grocery stores, gas stations, and other locations.

Executive Nominations Confirmed by the Senate
The Senate unanimously confirmed the following executive nominations:
Ronald Gray, Jr., Hatboro – State Board of Barber Examiners
Donald A. Koontz, Mercer – State Conservation Commission
Ross Orner, Jr., Rockton – State Conservation Commission
Mary Ann Warren, New Milford – State Conservation Commission
James M. Farrell, II, Erie – State Board of Cosmetology
Mary Lou Michaels, Frackville – Board of Trustees of Hamburg Center
Keith E. Loiselle, Gibsonia – State Board of Medicine
Jeffrey N. Brown, Philadelphia – Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority
Robert G. Loughery, Perkasie – Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority
J. Steve Hoffman, Middleburg – Board of Trustees of Selinsgrove Center
Mary A. Soderberg, Camp Hill – State Employees’ Retirement Board
Georgiann Eckrote-Jones, Freeland – Board of Trustees of White Haven Center
Gregory M. Smith, Mountain Top – Board of Trustees of White Haven Center

Senate State Government Committee Update
The Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, continues to be active, having held two public hearings the week of June 6, as well as a voting meeting, and will be holding another public hearing the week of June 13. On June 7, the Committee held a public hearing on how the PA Human Relations Commission is serving the public. Testimony and video of the hearing can be viewed here.

On June 8, the Committee held a public hearing on the nomination of Harry Gamble for reappointment to the Board of Claims, followed by a voting meeting to consider Senate Bills 495 and 1157, and House Bills 1934, 1990, 2003 and 2014. All bills were unanimously reported as committed, and now go to the full Senate for further consideration. SB 495, my “Voters’ Choice Act”, was advanced to address a recent court decision on the number of petitions required for third parties. This issue must be resolved before July 31 so as to not negatively impact the November General Election.

On June 14, the Committee will hold a public hearing on Senator Alloway’s Senate Bill 413, to revise provisions on judicial review, and practice and procedure of Commonwealth agencies, establish the Office of Administrative Hearings, and create a panel of administrative law judges in the executive branch in place of agency employee hearing officers. Live coverage of the hearing will be here, as well as testimony as it is received.

PA DEP Extends Comment Period for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Permits
The PA Department of Environmental Protection extended the comment period on water obstruction and encroachment permits related to the proposed Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline to close on August 1, 2016. The proposed project will involve approximately 195 miles of pipeline across Clinton, Columbia, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties. Interstate pipelines are overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and need to meet applicable state law and permitting requirements.

The water obstruction and encroachment permits can be viewed in this PA Bulletin, beginning on page six. A full draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) of the Atlantic Sunrise project can be viewed here. To submit comments on the permits for Lancaster and Lebanon Counties, you can e-mail, or mail to PA Department of Environmental Protection, South-Central Regional Office, Waterways and Wetlands Program, 909 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110.

In addition, Williams Partners will hold public meetings for stakeholders to provide comments on the Atlantic Sunrise DEIS. The Lebanon County public meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14 at Lutz Auditorium, Lebanon Valley College, 101 North College Avenue, Annville. According to Williams Partners, anyone wanting to comment is welcome, and will need to sign up at the meeting. An advanced RSVP is requested, which can be completed here. The public input process will run through June 27.

New Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority Loan Approvals
The PA Department of Community and Economic Development announced state investments through the PA Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) program to help statewide development, create over 350 new jobs, and retain close to 100 jobs. Over the last month, PIDA approved more than $8.1 Million low-interest loans for 10 projects in Adams, Berks, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Tioga and Washington Counties, that will generate more than $28.1 Million in private investments.

In the 48th Senatorial District, two loans were approved for the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation. One, a $2,000,000, 15-year loan at 3.25%, on behalf of Blue Ridge Capital LLC, for a new facility in Lebanon County. The total cost is projected to be $14,663,617, and will create 131 new jobs. And, a $400,000, 15-year loan at 2.25% for the first seven years, on behalf of Curvin and Dawn Good, to expand their farming operation through the construction of two broiler houses located at their existing farm in Myerstown. The Goods have entered into a seven year contract with Bell and Evans to produce poultry.

2016 NCAA Division One National Champions Visit PA Capitol
The Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball team, the 2016 NCAA Division 1 National Champions, visited the PA Capitol this week. It was great meeting these athletes!

Met-Ed Electrical Safety Demonstration for First Responders
First Responders, including volunteer and professional firefighters, EMTs, police, and 911 dispatchers, are welcome to attend an electric safety training workshop offered by Met-Ed. The workshop uses a 35’ high voltage demonstration trailer connected to an energized distribution circuit. The demonstration will take place June 23 at 6:00 p.m. at Met-Ed, 600 South 5th Avenue, Lebanon. RSVP is requested by June 15 at (717) 270-4788 (please provide contact information, including e-mail). Rain date is June 28.

Dauphin and York County Town Hall Meetings
I’m excited to have town hall meetings scheduled throughout Dauphin and York Counties in July and August. Below is the updated schedule of confirmed meetings and locations. All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 13: Steelton Borough, Dauphin County
– Borough Council Chambers, 123 North Front Street, Steelton, PA 17113
Thursday, July 14: Springettsbury Township, York County – Township Administration Building Board Room, 1501 Mt. Zion Road, York, PA 17402
Thursday, July 21: Londonderry Township, Dauphin County – Township Building Board Room, 783 South Geyers Church Road, Middletown, PA 17057
Monday, July 25: Newberry Township, York County – Newberry Township Fire Department, 2145 York Haven Road, Etters, PA 17319
Thursday, August 4: Middletown Borough, Dauphin County – MSCO Building, 60 West Emaus Street, Middletown, PA 17057
Tuesday, August 9: Swatara Township, Dauphin County – Township Building, 599 Eisenhower Boulevard, Harrisburg, PA 17111
Thursday, August 11: Mount Wolf, York County – Northeastern Middle School Auditorium, 4855 Board Road, Mount Wolf, PA 17347
Monday, August 15: Highspire Borough, Dauphin County – Borough Building, 640 Eshelman Street, Highspire, PA 17034
Monday, August 29: Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County – Lower Swatara Fire Hall, 1350 Fulling Mill Road, Middletown, PA 17057
Suggestions for locations in the 48th Senatorial District to host a town hall meeting can be sent to Please note, I use no taxpayer dollars to hold these meetings.

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.

When contacting my office by e-mail, mail, or telephone, please be sure to share your e-mail, telephone number, and address so that we can follow up with you in a timely manner. Many inquiries can be handled with a phone call or email.

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