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My annual Kids’ Extravaganza will be Saturday, June 24 from 11:00 – 2:00 PM at the CCBC Dome. See flier above for more information.
Senate Approves Pension Reform for New Hires
On June 5, I voted for and the Senate approved legislation reforming Pennsylvania’s two largest public pension systems, the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) and the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS).
Senate Bill 1 would not affect retirement benefits for those who are already retired or current public-sector employees. The legislation would provide newly hired employees with different retirement options to suit each individual employee’s needs, including a defined contribution plan that is similar to the 401(k) plans offered by most employers in the private sector.
For years, school boards and fiscal watchdogs throughout Pennsylvania have been sounding the alarm about the unchecked growth of the state pension systems. In fact, the exponential growth of pension obligations is the #1 reason cited by school boards for property tax increases. This legislation, approved by bipartisan majorities in the Senate, will protect taxpayers from billions in financial liabilities while still providing a competitive, and most importantly, sustainable retirement plan for future employees.
Real ID Compliance Legislation Enacted into Law
I voted for and both the House and Senate approved legislation guaranteeing Pennsylvania’s compliance with the national REAL ID Act. It was recently signed by the Governor and enacted into law.
Senate Bill 133 provides for the creation of the Pennsylvania REAL ID Card which will be acceptable identification for residents travelling on domestic flights as well as for residents entering federal facilities and military installations. Individual participation in the Pennsylvania REAL ID Card program will be voluntary; residents wishing to forgo the REAL ID Card can still obtain a standard driver’s license.
I will update you on how and when to obtain this Pennsylvania REAL ID Card in the near future as more information becomes available.
It was great to see so many constituents make the trip to Harrisburg in support of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Senate Approves Legislation Protecting 2nd Amendment Rights
I voted for and the Senate approved legislation to reaffirm the right of Pennsylvanians to Keep and Bear Arms as set forth in both the US and PA Constitutions.
Senate Bill 5 would ensure statewide uniformity of firearm laws by preempting local jurisdictions from imposing firearms ordinances more restrictive than laws passed by the General Assembly. In the event of a municipality enacting such an ordinance, citizens would be empowered to take court action to block the measure.
I believe law-abiding gun owners should be able to live and travel freely throughout our Commonwealth without running afoul of a patchwork system of local gun laws.
Senate Bill 5 now awaits consideration by the House of Representatives.
The Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education (A.B.A.T.E.) Rally at the Capitol was particularly special this year as we were joined by the Gallatin Family of Lawrence County, who lost their husband & father—Daniel—to an incident involving someone texting and driving. Thanks to their advocacy, Daniel’s Law was enacted to crack down on texting & driving.
Gaming Bill Passed by Senate
I voted for and the Senate approved legislation to legalize online gaming and daily fantasy sports, provide for consumer protections, and bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in estimated revenue without raising taxes on working Pennsylvanians.
House Bill 271, which was amended and passed by the Senate last week, would allow in-state casinos that have applied for and received an Interactive Gaming (“i-Gaming”) Certificate to offer online gaming, such as online poker and other table games, to Pennsylvanians over the age of 21. Consumer protection measures—such as requiring age verification as a condition to play—would also be implemented. It is estimated that the initial application fees, renewal fees, and state taxes on i-Gaming revenue would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars on a recurring basis.
Online daily fantasy contests (e.g. Fanduel, Draftkings, etc.) would also be legalized, taxed, and regulated in a similar manner.
The Senate-amended version of House Bill 271 now awaits reconsideration by the House of Representatives.
It was wonderful to meet with constituents from Ellwood City & Koppel visiting the Capitol on behalf of the PA State Association of Boroughs!
Senate Conducts Hearing on Election Reforms
On Tuesday, June 6 the State Government Committee held a public hearing to collect testimony from elections officials and experts from across the state. Two county elections directors from the 47th Senate District—Mr. Ed Allison of Lawrence County and Ms. Shari Brewer of Butler County—provided their expert testimony to the committee. Click here to watch that hearing in its entirety.
Last session, I introduced and the Senate approved Senate Resolution 394, a measure which got the ball rolling on this initiative to examine current election laws and identify areas where we can improve the process and save taxpayer dollars.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Approaching
Applications for the annual Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are due June 30, 2017. I encourage all eligible residents age 65 and older, widows and widowers age 50 and older, and people with disabilities age 18 and older to stop in to my district offices to see if you qualify. My staff will assist you with the application process free of charge.
Municipal officials and local builders/developers are invited to attend a half-day workshop to learn about the principles, policies and practices of the Stormwater Management Act (Act 167), municipal Stormwater Ordinances, permit requirements for earth disturbance activities, and considerations for development near waterways and wetlands. Presentations will be made by DEP, County Conservation Districts and local engineering firms focusing on the issues that local municipalities, builders and developers face on a day to day basis with the programs.
Tuesday, June 13 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesday, June 20 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
For more information, contact the Lawrence County Dept. of Planning and Community Development at 724-656-2144.
Historical Grants Awarded
I’m pleased to announce that two historical societies in the 47th Senate District were recently awarded grants by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
Both the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation and the Lawrence County Historical Society were each awarded $4,000 to support their general operations.
Year after year, these two organizations continue to showcase our rich heritage here in Beaver and Lawrence Counties as well as preserve it for future generations. These grants will help to offset some of their day-to-day costs.
I was in Economy Borough for the ribbon cutting of the Ambridge Sportsmen’s Club's new rifle & pistol range. Congratulations on the new facilities!
Hampton Township, in Allegheny County, will host the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall at Hampton Community Park (3101 McCully Road, Allison Park, PA 15101) this summer. The Memorial Wall will open on June 29th at 6:00 PM and will remain open 24 hours a day until 12:00 PM on July 4th. The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall is an 80% replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. and is the largest traveling Vietnam wall in the United States. Veterans, their families and the general public are welcome to visit the display as Hampton Township pays tribute to veterans in all communities.
Prior to visiting, please check the Hampton Township website at www.hampton-pa.org/ for additional information and to confirm event times.
PennDOT Manuals Available Online
PennDOT has discontinued printing paper copies of several of its largest manuals and made them available online for easy access. These include driver’s manuals, motorcycle operator’s manuals and CDL manuals. You can find them all here.
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Senate Box 203047