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Advocates, Lawmakers Rally for Stronger Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence has left deep and lasting wounds on individuals and families throughout the region. I recently joined with a number of my colleagues in the Senate and advocates from all corners of the state for a news conference in support of stronger laws to protect victims of this horrific crime.
During my remarks, I focused on the story of Tierne Ewing, a devoted mother and grandmother from Washington County who was abducted and murdered by her estranged husband after he was released on bail following a domestic violence arrest. This tragedy and other troubling cases of domestic violence inspired me to introduce Tierne’s Law – legislation that would clarify the use of risk assessment tools for judges. The goal is to make sure judges have the information they need to ensure the most dangerous abusers are not granted bail if they present a clear threat to their victims.
I appreciate all of the lawmakers and advocates who joined me for this event, and the many more who are working in our communities to help victims. More details about the news conference are available here.
Committees Study Agency Merger Proposal
As Chair of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, it was an honor to lead a joint hearing of several Senate committees last week to examine Governor Wolf’s proposal to merge several state agencies. The plan has the potential to save a considerable amount of money, but questions remain about how services to vulnerable state residents would be affected.
Heads of the various agencies and high-ranking members of the Wolf Administration helped answer a number of those questions during the hearing, and I appreciated their participation. Additional hearings are scheduled in the weeks to come to ensure the plan would not compromise the state’s ability to combat the opioid epidemic, ongoing efforts to provide assistance to Pennsylvanians in need, and other state services for residents. The next hearing will be held on April 13 in Reading, followed by a hearing in Pittsburgh on May 1.
More details about the hearing are available here.
ABLE Savings Accounts Available Now for Pennsylvanians with a Disability
Last year, I cosponsored a new law that allows Pennsylvanians with a disability to use tax-exempt savings accounts to cover a wide variety of expenses, such as housing, medical care and transportation. The new program, the Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program, is similar to college savings plans that allow individuals to set aside funds in a tax-free account for qualifying expenses without losing access to benefits.
More information on the program is available at www.paable.gov.
The Senate approved several bills last week aimed at addressing problems in communities throughout the state, including legislation to address the ongoing problems pertaining to the Unemployment Compensation customer service system. Other bills approved by the Senate include:
Senate Bill 30, which gives the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission the authority to establish the fees that it charges for licenses.
Senate Resolution 36, which urges Congress to renew the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to prevent the Department of Justice from spending funds to interfere with implementation of state medical marijuana laws.
Senate Resolution 44, which condemns the recent acts of hate against the Jewish community in Pennsylvania and across the nation.
Senate Bill 133, which repeals the REAL ID Nonparticipation Act (Act 38 of 2012), which prohibits Pennsylvania from complying with the Federal REAL ID Act.
Senate Bill 171, which requires Senate confirmation of the Chief Executive Officer of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
Senate Bill 192, which gives the Pennsylvania Game Commission the authority to set hunting and fur-taking license fees.
McGuffey High School was one of 13 schools in Pennsylvania to be recognized for their outstanding work in Career and Technical Education. I enjoyed visiting the school to learn more about its program.
REMINDER: Satellite Office Open on April 10
In addition to my full-time district offices in Canonsburg, Waynesburg and Monongahela, I also have a satellite office in Beaver County to help meet the needs of community residents. This office is open the second Monday of each month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Hopewell Township Building, located at 1700 Clark Blvd. in Aliquippa.
If my staff and I can assist you with any questions or concerns pertaining to state government, I encourage you to stop in for help.
Trout Stocking Schedule Available Now
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recently announced its 2017 trout stocking schedule for all Pennsylvania waterways. Please visit www.fishandboat.com for most up-to-date stocking information and possible weather related changes. A link to the schedule is also available on my website at www.senatorbartolotta.com.
For more information on issues of importance to southwestern Pennsylvania, please visit my website at www.senatorbartolotta.com and connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/senatorbartolotta) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/senbartolotta).
SouthPointe District Office
Greene County Office Building