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In this email update:
Fighting for school property tax elimination
I have noted time and time again that property taxes are the #1 issue I hear about most from residents in Berks and Schuylkill Counties, and I am not the only one who shares this same story.
Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), a strong supporter of school property tax elimination, noted in a letter he wrote to his constituent who was concerned with Senate Bill 76, that in every legislative survey, town hall event and tele-town hall event, property taxes have been the #1 issue residents in his district complain most about. He also noted that based on surveys conducted across the state, as well as ones completed in his own district, that an average of more than 65% of residents fully support the elimination of school property taxes.
I believe that the constitutional amendment on the ballot November 7 will finally help us get the votes we need to pass Senate Bill 76 once and for all.
You can read more about the amendment and property tax elimination from the Citizens’ Voice here.
House Transportation Committee approves joint bill on work zone speed cameras
On Monday, the House Transportation Committee amended and unanimously approved a joint legislative proposal I introduced with Senator Judy Schwank (D-Berks) which seeks to protect construction workers and improve driver safety in active work zones.
Senate Bill 172, as amended by the Committee, would provide for a five-year trial period for PennDOT to place speed cameras in active work zones on interstate highways and PA federal aid highways in order to determine if the added fine would make drivers reduce speeding in work zone areas.
The main goal of this initiative is to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities that have occurred on our highways due to careless driving and speeding. With the increased investments we have made in our roads and bridges, it is imperative that we ensure the safety of workers and drivers alike.
The amended version of the bill also includes the establishment of a pilot program on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia – an area that has seen a significant number of accidents and fatalities, according to the amendment’s prime sponsor, Representative John Taylor (R-Philadelphia), who represents the area and chairs the House Transportation Committee.
According to data from PennDOT, in 2016, there were 2,075 crashes and 16 fatalities that occurred within work zones. Reports from the previous year indicated there were 1,935 crashes in work zones, including 23 deaths, across Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 172 will now move to the full House for consideration.
Congressman Lou Barletta discusses federal issues in Harrisburg
On Wednesday morning, Congressman Lou Barletta visited the State Capitol. Congressman Barletta represents the 11th Congressional District which covers Columbia, Montour and Wyoming counties, and parts of Carbon, Cumberland, Dauphin, Luzerne, Northumberland and Perry counties.
During his visit to the State Capitol, he provided us with updates on the federal government including the latest on tax reform, immigration, economic development and other national issues.
Bills passed by the Senate
In addition to ongoing state budget discussions, the Senate passed the following bills this week:
Senate Bill 552, which establishes the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Monuments and Memorial Trust Fund.
Senate Bill 888, which modernizes Pennsylvania’s disabled parking laws.
Senate Bill 472, which limits the prescription for a controlled substance containing an opioid to seven days unless there is a medical emergency that puts the patient’s health or safety at risk.
Senate Bill 499, which makes meetings of county board of prison inspectors in counties of the eighth class more user-friendly.
Senate Bill 728, which amends the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions Program (ABC-MAP) to exempt Schedule V epilepsy drugs currently included in the PDMP requirements.
House Bill 1288, which includes optometrists in the list of medical providers who may certify to a disability for the purpose of issuing a handicapped plate or placard for a person with a disability.
House Bill 16, which prohibits checks that are collected by a tax collector from being made payable in the name of an individual.
House Bill 790, which repeals the Noxious Weed Control Law.
House Bill 1287, which authorizes the Department of General Services to grant and convey certain lands situated in Delaware Township, Northumberland County.
Governor undermines liquor privatization efforts
As Chairman of the Senate Majority Policy Committee, my colleagues and I continue to work on initiatives that will reduce wasteful spending, improve government efficiencies and save taxpayers money through initiatives such as welfare reform and exploring cost-savings within our state agencies.
With discussions on the state budget still underway, our goal is no different as we continue to find additional ways to save money in the budget
The governor recently proposed to raise $1.25 billion from the revenue raised from Pennsylvania’s liquor system. The governor’s plan to borrow against the state Liquor Control Board jeopardizes the continued discussions of privatizing the state’s liquor system.
The governor’s proposal simply exacerbates the state’s financial woes.
Read more about the governor’s proposal here.
Vehicles affected by hurricanes may appear for sale in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the PA Insurance Department are reminding potential buyers that a wave of vehicles frequently appear for sale after major floods.
Auto salvage fraud is perpetrated by unscrupulous sellers and dealers attempting to sell flood-damaged vehicles as new or used without having an enhanced vehicle safety inspection and salvage certificate indicating it is a flood or reconstructed flood vehicle.
Reported cases of Chronic Wasting Disease in Pennsylvania
Disease Management Areas (DMAs), established by Executive Order of the Game Commission Executive Director, restrict the removal of high risk deer and elk parts from the areas in order to control any spread of CWD. PA’s Disease Management Areas continue to expand annually with new detections of CWD.
Visible signs of CWD typically include staggering, drooling, wasting, or unusual behavior and should be reported to the nearest Game Commission Regional Office. CWD has no known treatment or vaccine and is fatal to deer and elk. The PGC is offering harvest recommendations and free CWD tests of deer harvested in a DMA.
Enjoying the autumn season
When autumn’s chill begins, outdoor recreation takes on new life in Pennsylvania’s 20 state forests and 121 state parks according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Hiking, picnicking, camping, fishing, hunting, and boating are among the diverse recreational opportunities across 300,000 acres of state parks and 2.2 million acres of forestland in 48 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
Enjoy a planned event or head out along one of 18 designated state forest hiking trails to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smell of the autumn air. Reservations can be made for campsites, cabins, picnic pavilions, whitewater boat launch time permits, and more.
The Senate is scheduled to convene on Monday, October 23 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and view the voting calendar on my website.