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In this Email Update:
“Stop Gap” budget passes Senate
This past Friday the Senate approved a “stop gap” budget package which would provide $11.2 billion dollars in state funding. These funds would be allocated to Pennsylvania’s schools, social services and non-profit organizations as we continue to resolve the budget stalemate.
As we head into day 85 of the budget impasse, our schools are still without funding and many of the state’s social services that provide aid and assistance to our most vulnerable communities are faced with severe hardships. This short-term spending plan approved by the Senate would provide four months of funding to help alleviate the financial strains and challenges that are a direct result of this budget impasse and the governor’s refusal to compromise on measures.
Given the governor’s veto of the entire budget that was passed by the House and Senate on June 30 – a budget that brought increases in education funding to historic levels and funded our state’s vital programs and services – it comes as no surprise that the governor has already threatened to veto this latest budget proposal.
The budget package has been sent to the House for consideration.
Here is what a few newspaper editorial boards are saying:
Anthracite coal resolution adopted unanimously by the Senate
Last Wednesday, the Senate unanimously adopted my resolution calling on Congress and the President to impose tariffs on imported anthracite coal in order to level the playing field.
Senate Resolution 54 paves the way for our coal industry to remain competitive so it can continue to contribute to our growing economy and help to create thousands of family-sustaining jobs in Pennsylvania.
The resolution will be sent to President Obama, members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation and leaders in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
Read more about the resolution’s adoption here.
Timber resolution adopted by the Senate
Senate Resolution 55 was adopted unanimously by the Senate last week to reinstate a Forestry Task Force under the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee. This task force will have the responsibility of thoroughly reviewing measures that will enhance and improve Pennsylvania’s forests, as well as creating a long-term forest management plan.
Rape Survivor Child Custody and Support Act
House Amendments to Senate Bill 663 were concurred by the Senate last Thursday. Senate Bill 663, also referred to as the Rape Survivor Child Custody and Support Act, would fortify the rights of victims of rape who have conceived a child as a result of this offense.
Under this legislation, the courts would have the authority to terminate the parental rights of a convicted rapist, thus removing the perpetrator’s ability to obtain full, partial or supervised custody of a child who was conceived by rape. The abuser would also be obligated to pay child support even if their parental rights were ceased by the court.
The legislation will be sent to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law.
Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce breakfast event on Senate Bill 76
Last week I joined Senator Judy Schwank at the Berkleigh Country Club to discuss property taxes and the status of Senate Bill 76 with members of the Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce.
I believe, for the first time in history, we will have enough votes in the Senate to pass this legislation and take a huge step towards finally eliminating this burdensome and antiquated tax.
PABCO Annual Conference
On September 15 I joined with the Pennsylvania Association of Building Code Officials (PABCO) at their annual conference to discuss several anti-blight proposals that are currently in the legislature.
During this legislative session I introduced Senate Bill 942, which would expedite the timeframe for which property purchasers would have to comply with municipal codes and ordinances. This legislation would help local municipalities to combat blight in their communities by speeding up the process for which building purchasers would have to correct their code violations or get rid of their building. Purchasers would have up to 12 months to remedy the issues, instead of 18 months.
Senate Bill 486, which I also introduced during this current legislative session, would permit counties to enact a fee through the Recorder of Deeds Office of up to $15 for each deed and mortgage recorded to be used in the demolition of blighted properties. This legislation passed the Senate unanimously on June 9th and is currently under review in the House Urban Affairs Committee. Read more about this proposal here.
Senate Bill 482, which I have sponsored with Senator James Brewster, would provide counties with a demolition and property rehab fund in order to help reduce the number of blighted and abandoned properties. Under this legislation, a fee (no greater than 10 percent) would be placed on the final sale price of a property that is sold at a judicial sale. The money generated by implementing this fee would be used only for the demolition and restoration of properties in the county where the fee is used.
Legislation sent to the House of Representatives
Here is a list of other bills that were sent to the House for consideration:
House Bill 175 extends the deadline for filing an application for the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus Program to August 31, 2018. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Bill 290, requires ignition interlock program mandatory for first-time DUI offenders and reduces suspension requirements under certain circumstances.
Senate Bill 773 prohibits the sale of powdered alcohol (Palcohol) to minors.
Senate Bill 872 amends the Second Class Township Code to permit township supervisors to use money to purchase small gifts in recognition of the service or passing of township officials, employees or volunteers.
Senate Bill 873 amends Title 8 (Boroughs and Incorporated Towns) to permit borough council to use money to purchase small gifts in recognition of the service or passing of borough officials, employees or volunteers.
Senate Bill 879 allows the Treasury Department to establish a program whereby federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) tax free savings account can be opened for eligible individuals for disability-related expenses.
Legislation sent to the governor
Here is a list of other bills that were sent to the governor:
House Bill 75 requires pharmacies located outside of Pennsylvania to register with the State Board of Pharmacy if they fill prescription orders for residents in Pennsylvania.
House Bill 315 amends the Child Labor Act to allow individuals 12 years or older to be employed as youth sports officials.
Senate Bill 678 clarifies the arrest powers and authority of campus police officers hired by the state’s 14 State System of Higher Education universities.