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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 February 6, 2017

Asset Forfeiture Reform Legislation Advances from Committee
The PA Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly passed my and Senator Scarnati’s Senate Bill 8, to reform Pennsylvania’s Asset Forfeiture Law. Several groups worked together on this issue and reached a good compromise to help advance this important legislation. SB 8 makes technical changes and removes unfunded mandate language while maintaining unprecedented changes to civil asset forfeiture legislation from last session. This is a first step towards smarter forfeiture practices and to provide at least some level of due process for property owners. Thanks to Senator Greenleaf for allowing this bill to be considered in his Committee, and all the groups who worked tirelessly on these reforms! The bill will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

“I am pleased to work with Senator Folmer on this important legislation,” Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said. “This is an issue of finding good balance and fairness. Senate Bill 8 will take a positive step forward to increase transparency of how forfeited funds are used, as well as raising the burden of proof required to seize assets.”

Key reforms in SB 8 include:
• Higher burdens of proof imposed on the Commonwealth.
• Protections for third party owners by placing additional burdens of proof on the Commonwealth.
• Improved transparency in auditing and reporting at both the county and state levels.
• Specific and additional protection in real property cases by prohibiting the pre-forfeiture seizure of real property without a hearing.
• Additional procedural protections for property owners, such as returning property to the forfeiture proceeding if there is undue hardship, and an extra level of protection for anyone acquitted of a related crime who is trying to get their property back.

Senate State Government Committee Activity
The Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, held its first meeting to consider the following legislation:
Senate Bill 9 (Senator Stefano) – Proof of Citizenship for Receipt of Public Benefits Act to require anyone applying for public benefits in the Commonwealth to provide identification proving they are a legal resident, reported as committed 8-4;
Senate Bill 166 (Senator Eichelberger) – Public Employee Paycheck Protection to ensure political campaign funds are not collected with taxpayer resources, reported as amended 8-4;
Senate Bill 167 (Senator Wagner) – Public Employee Paycheck Protection Constitutional Amendment, reported as amended 8-4;
Senate Bill 169 (Senator Laughlin) – requires lobbyists and lobbying firms to register and file reports electronically through the computerized system developed by the PA Department of State, reported as committed 12-0.
Video of the meeting can be viewed here.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House for Further Consideration
All bills passed unanimously.
Senate Bill 69 – strengthens animal cruelty laws as they pertain to horses;
Senate Bill 138 – allows royalty interest owners to inspect gas company records to verify payment and requires oil and gas production proceeds be paid within 60 of production;
Senate Bill 139 – prohibits gas companies from terminating lease agreements with royalty interest owners or ceasing development because landowners question royalty payment accuracy;
Senate Bill 261 – statute of limitations for sexual abuse;
Senate Resolution 6 – creates a commission to study and make recommendations on Fire and EMS services.

A Commonwealth Crisis: Telephone Town Hall Meeting
Please join the PA Senate Republican Caucus on the “A Commonwealth Crisis” telephone town hall meeting February 7th at 6:30 p.m. regarding the heroin and opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania. To participate, text keyword “TalkHeroin” to the number 828282, or sign up at (where you will also be able to live audio stream the event). Ask questions, have your voices be heard regarding your local community, listen to experts and hear what is being done to help combat this statewide public health crisis.

Congressman Costello February Lebanon Community Office Hours
Congressman Ryan Costello will hold Community Office Hours in my Lebanon District Office (101 Municipal Building, 400 South 8th Street, Lebanon) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15th. If you have any questions, please contact Kori Walter, Congressman Costello’s District Director at (610) 376-7630.

Lebanon County Career & Technology Center Cable Show

Lebanon County Career and Technology Center - Feb 2017

I recently filmed my February Community Report cable show while learning more about the wonderful hands-on programs offered by the Lebanon County Career & Technology Center. You can also watch the show on my website, and Comcast on Demand (Lebanon), Harrisburg Broadcast Network (Harrisburg, WHBG-20), and Blue Ridge Communications (York, Channel 8) should also be airing the show through the month of February.

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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