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Senator Pat Stefano

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to send you this edition of my electronic newsletter. These e-newsletters enable me to provide information about issues, events and activities in Harrisburg and around the 32nd Senatorial District to you in a timely manner while saving postage costs.

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Sincerely,

Pat Stefano


Stefano Sponsored Bills Passed Out of Committee

Three bills I sponsored to assist cash-strapped municipalities passed key Senate committees this past week.

  • Senate Bill 594  would exempt firefighters from paying the sales and use tax when purchasing protective equipment and accessory communications equipment using their own personal funds.  The cost of a firefighter’s protective equipment alone can cost firefighters up to $2,500 out of pocket.  According to recent statistics, more than 51,000 Pennsylvania firefighters – approximately 86 percent — spend personal funds on equipment they use to protect communities.  Firefighters who put their lives on the line as volunteers and pay for their own supplies deserve this exemption on supplies that they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.  It is no wonder that retention rates are going down because volunteers have to spend so much money out of pocket. This bill provide them with assistance in paying for supplies and equipment so they can focus on protecting our communities and spend less time on fundraising.
  • Senate Bill 667 will provide local redevelopment authorities with more authority and resources to combat neighborhood blight, granting redevelopment authorities the same powers currently allotted to land banks through the Pennsylvania Land Bank Act and enabling them to take an active role in rehabilitated blighted properties and neighborhoods.  Blighted, abandoned properties can be a danger to the public, increase crime rates and reduce property values. This legislation will give communities another tool to effectively address a growing problem in many areas of our state.
  • Senate Bill 592 would require school boards to publicly disclose employment information before hiring a district superintendent, assistant district superintendent or principal.  Under Stefano’s legislation, when a school board extends an offer of employment to a district superintendent, assistant district superintendent, associate superintendent, or any principal, it must first post the terms of employment on the school district’s public website at least two weeks prior to it being approved. The posting must provide the details of the final offer, including salary and the length of the employment contract.  The failure to notify or inform the public cannot and should not be tolerated.  Taxpayers should have information on employment contracts and decisions – they shouldn’t be railroaded through and approved in secrecy.

Each bill awaits consideration before the full Senate and I look forward to advocating for them on the Senate floor so that Pennsylvania’s struggling municipalities are given the tools to improve their communities.

Somerset Senior Expo a Success

  

Thank you to all the constituents and vendors who came out for our third Somerset Senior Expo.  We had over 300 seniors from all over Somerset County come to receive information from agencies and organizations aimed at assisting the senior population.  I enjoyed the opportunity to meet everyone and hear from each of you directly about your concerns about the direction of the Commonwealth.  Thanks to all who made the day a success!

Important Update on Real I.D. Act

The House last week passed a bill that enables Pennsylvania to begin the process of compliance with the Department of Homeland Security’s Real I.D. Act.  The Governor has signaled his intent to sign this legislation.

For constituents concerned with what this means for them, the passing of this bill grants Pennsylvania an extension to comply with the standards set forth by DHS.  That means that PA licenses will still be acceptable for the time being as proof of identification for all domestic flights as well as for entrance into a federal building or military base. 

The bill then gives residents the option to obtain a driver's license or other ID that comply with DHS standards once Pennsylvania resolves compliance issues with the Federal Government.  Constituents may also choose an option for a noncompliant, traditional driver's license or ID, but these constituents would need a passport for entrance into all federal facilities and in order to fly on domestic flights.  Residents who choose the compliant ID will not need a passport for identification purposes in those cases.

Around the 32nd District

Appreciated the opportunity to visit Boswell and learn about the issues they are dealing with by touring the borough with some of the leaders.  I did these walking tours last year in Smithfield, Meyersdale, Somerset, and Windber.  Keep an eye out this week for me on tours like this one in Redstone Township, Uniontown, Salisbury, Confluence, and Masontown.

  

I was honored to participate in Monday's Memorial Day Observances in Dunbar this year.  Thanks to all who worked to put on the parade and ceremony at the memorial. The Connellsville Area Middle School band sounded great, as did several vocalists from Geibel Catholic High School.  A beautiful tribute to those who have fallen while in service to our country.

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Offices

Senate Box 203032
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-7175
Fax: 717-787-0195

171 West Crawford Ave
Suite 2
Connellsville, PA 15425
Phone: 724-626-1611
Fax: 724-626-1665

118 West Main Street
Suite 204
Somerset, PA 15501
Phone: 814-443-2053
Fax: 814-443-2057

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