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In this email update:
Reforming the way the lieutenant governor is elected
On Tuesday, I held a press conference with some of my colleagues in the Senate to discuss our proposed legislation reforming the process in which the lieutenant governor is elected in Pennsylvania.
Pictured from left to right: Senators DiSanto, Folmer, Alloway and Martin
Given the troublesome relationship between our current governor and lieutenant governor, we introduced this legislation which would amend the state’s constitution to allow gubernatorial candidates to select their running mate after the primary election – subject to the approval of their state committees – which is a similar process to how presidential candidates select their vice presidential running mates.
Both the governor and lieutenant governor have stated to various media sources that they, in fact, go weeks without speaking to one another. This is not only embarrassing, but unacceptable behavior. Pennsylvania’s citizens deserve to have their #1 and #2 members of the executive branch communicate and function together.
You can watch the press conference below or listen to it here:
PoliticsPA is also conducting an online poll asking residents whether or not Pennsylvania should change the way it elects lieutenant governors. I encourage you to participate in this poll here.
Watch news coverage of the event here.
School property tax elimination
The battle over the burdensome school property tax is continuing. In a recent article published by Keystone Crossroads, Ron Boltz, who heads the Pennsylvania Liberty Alliance – one of the 80+ grassroots advocacy groups leading the charge on Senate Bill 76 – shares his personal story and discusses the importance of eliminating the school property tax once and for all.
Read the article here.
Senator Folmer (R-Dauphin/Lebanon/York) recently discussed his support for getting rid of the school property tax this week on the Senate floor. You can watch his comments below:
On Thursday, June 22, Senators Mario Scavello (R-Monroe/Northampton) and Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh/Northampton) and I will be holding a bipartisan telephone town hall meeting on school property tax elimination. The event will take place at Pocono Mountain East High School at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited!
Governor signs bipartisan pension reform bill
In 2015, Governor Wolf vetoed a much-needed pension reform bill. This week, he signed a different version of the legislation.
Projected to save Pennsylvania between $5 to 15 billion over 30 years, this pension reform bill is a step in the right direction by curtailing future financial risks for the state’s taxpayers.
Pew Charitable Trusts stated their support for this bill saying, “…it would build upon previous legislation to achieve full funding of the state’s pension system, with significantly lower costs for taxpayers and preserving a path to retirement for skilled public workers.”
Read more about Senate Bill 1 here.
Bills passed by the Senate
The following bills were passed by the Senate this week:
Senate Bill 527, which establishes the Office of Inspector General in statute. The office currently operates under Executive Order and could be eliminated at any time. The bill would provide the office its own appropriation in the state budget and broaden the office’s authority to bring criminal charges, issue subpoenas and investigate and eliminate fraud in human services programs.
Senate Bill 646, which amends Act 101 of 1988, the Municipal Waste Planning Recycling and Waste Reduction Act.
Senate Bill 561, which requires the approval of the General Assembly and the Governor for all new regulations with an economic impact or cost exceeding $1 million to the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions, and the private sector.
Legislation sent to the governor
The following bills were sent to the governor’s desk this week:
House Bill 1071, which prohibits political subdivisions from imposing a recyclable plastic bag ban or levying a fee, surcharge or tax on plastic bags.
House Bill 267, which adds the new offense of theft of secondary metal. Secondary metal is defined as wire, pipe or cable commonly used by communications, gas, water, wastewater, and electrical utilities and railroads and mass transit or commuter rail agencies, copper, aluminum or other metal, or a combination of metals valuable for recycling or reuse as raw material.
Combatting blight and abandonment in Pennsylvania
My latest Argall Report highlights the bipartisan efforts currently underway by the Statewide Blight Task Force and the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.
In this program, two events are shown which focus on the successes of the Statewide Blight Task Force – one at a press conference at the State Capitol, and the second at a roundtable discussion at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC).
Senator John DiSanto (R-Dauphin/Perry) hosted the Senate Majority Policy Committee, which I chair, and the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee for the roundtable discussion at HACC with city officials, local developers and industry experts. The goal of this discussion was to find solutions to combat blight and abandonment in Pennsylvania. The roundtable discussion featured presentations by the City of Harrisburg, WCI Partners and Community Blight Solutions to review ways the state can assist local officials and developers to revitalize the city and all blighted communities.
Watch the latest Argall Report here.
Local police officers recognized for service
Last Friday, I presented recognition certificates to Patrolman Bradley Hess from Rush Township, Patrolman Rick Bekesy from Tamaqua and Police Chief Brian Johnson from West Penn Township.
These three men were recognized for their efforts to reduce the number of aggressive drivers on our roads. It is the efforts of these police officers, and those across the state that have made our roadways safer for motorists to travel on.
Thank you for your service!
Public hearing on Pennsylvania’s recycling program
This week, the Joint Legislative Conservation Committee held a public hearing at the capitol to review the state’s recycling program which started in 1988 under Act 101, the Municipal Waste Planning Recycling and Waste Reduction Act. Under Act 101, larger municipalities are required to recycle.
Read more about the state’s recycling program here.
Pennsylvania Downtown Center’s 30th Anniversary gala
On Tuesday evening, I presented the Pennsylvania Downtown Center with a citation from the Senate at their 30th anniversary gala.
Since its establishment in 1987, the Pennsylvania Downtown Center has been committed to the revitalization and redevelopment of our state’s communities. The Pennsylvania Downtown Center has been instrumental over the years in providing quality services, outreach and assistance to communities across the state so they can reinvigorate their business districts and residential neighborhoods, including many communities, small and large, across Berks and Schuylkill Counties.
The Senate is scheduled to convene on Monday, June 19 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and view the voting calendar on my website.