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Senator Argall

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Toll Free: 1-877-327-4255

Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203029
171 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3029
717-783-8657 FAX


District Offices
One West Centre Street
P.O. Box 150
Mahanoy City, PA 17948
570-773-1675 FAX

61 North Third Street
Hamburg, PA 19526-1501
610-562-6895 FAX
(Shared with Representative
Jerry Knowles)

100 North Centre Street
Pottsville, PA 17901
570-622-6629 FAX
(Shared with Representative Mike Tobash)

Spring Township
2850 Windmill Road
Spring Township, PA 19608

237 West Broad Street
Tamaqua, PA 18252
570-952-3374 FAX
(Shared with Representative
Jerry Knowles)


Follow Sen. Argall on Twitter for Senate happenings – @SenatorArgall  

In this Email Update:

  • “Senator for a Day” seminar at Penn State Schuylkill
  • Business issues discussed at Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry roundtable
  • Senate approves cost-saving legislation for schools
  • Telephone town hall event recap
  • Committee approves bill addressing pay disparity between managers, officers in state prisons
  • St. Clair Area 6th graders visit Capitol
  • Senate approves anti-hazing bill
  • Teacher furlough reform bill sent to governor
  • Senator Killion sworn into office
  • On Deck

“Senator for a Day” seminar at Penn State Schuylkill

On Thursday, high school students from around Schuylkill County came together to learn about the legislative process at Penn State’s Schuylkill campus. The students were divided into four different committees – finance, education, transportation, and state government. After the students were divided into their respective committees, they were then assigned to discuss, debate and vote on several different proposals, including cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle and the possible legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Other bills focused on the elimination of school property taxes and an enactment of a natural gas fracking tax as well as a tax on cigarettes, tobacco, and lottery tickets. The seminar provided the students with a much greater understanding of the legislative process.

You can see the proposals students debated during the event here. You can read a recap of the event in the Republican Herald here .

Each fall, I hold a similar event for students from Berks County.

Business issues discussed at Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry roundtable

Senator Argall

On Friday I met with employers and job creators during a policy briefing with members of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The roundtable discussion was part of the Chamber’s Business and Community Advocacy Council. We discussed workforce development, taxes, fiscal issues, the state budget, pension reform and school property tax elimination. I appreciate the opportunity to meet with business leaders and entrepreneurs to discuss how we can grow local jobs and create economic opportunity for local residents.

Our key discussion focused upon the rebirth of Camden, NJ, and its possible implications for policy changes here in Pennsylvania.  As a result of my meeting this morning, the Senate Majority Policy Committee which I chair will soon hold a public hearing to further explore this important issue.


Senate approves cost-saving legislation for schools

The Senate approved legislation on Tuesday that will allow school districts to save thousands of dollars in annual mailing costs.

Senate Bill 1077 eliminates the state mandate that school districts annually inform parents by physical mailing when the district uses audio and video recording to identify and address discipline issues on school buses.

The mailer mandate was included as part of Act 9 of 2014, which gave school districts the ability to use audio recordings on school buses. Instead of the physical mailing, which can easily cost thousands of dollars each year, schools must post notice of the policy in the student handbook as well as on the school’s website.

Senate Bill 1077 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Also sent to the House for consideration this week were:

Senate Bill 359, which revises Pennsylvania’s truancy laws by providing new procedures to be followed when a child becomes truant and additional procedures if a child becomes habitually truant.

Senate Bill 1062, which increases penalties for home invasion burglaries.

Senate Bill 1144, which prohibits the sale of over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan to minors.

Senate Bill 1156, which requires health care personnel and clergy to obtain background checks.

Senate Bill 1229, which corrects technical issues related to the distribution of Pennsylvania Breeding Funds.

Telephone town hall event recap

On Tuesday, I held my telephone town hall event which invites local residents to speak to me directly about issues that are impacting our communities and the state.  We focused this event on some key topics including the upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2016-17, school property tax elimination, education funding and pension reform. 5,706 took part in this, my latest telephone town hall. 

These meetings are important for me to hear feedback from local residents regarding as well as their ideas for enhancing the efficiency of state government.  A number of participants asked questions regarding funding for our local schools, the status of Senate Bill 76 – the Property Tax Independence Act – and welfare reform initiatives.

At the event, several questions were also posed to participants on a variety of state-related issues. Here is some of the feedback I received:

School property tax reform proposals

  • 50 percent of participants support the complete elimination of the school district property taxes.
  • 35 percent of participants support a school property tax freeze for senior citizens.
  • 7 percent of participants support allowing each district to create their own local taxes to offset school property taxes.
  • 8 percent of participants are undecided.

FY 2016-17 state budget

  • 73 percent of participants are opposed to new tax increases in the FY 2016-17 budget and prefer that the state only spend what it currently has.
  • 12 percent of participants support an increase in taxes to provide more funding for schools, human services and corrections.
  • 15 percent of participants are undecided.

Pension reform

  • 71 percent of participants support pension reform in order to tackle the state’s $50 billion pension deficit.
  • 14 percent of participants oppose pension reform and believe the current system should operate as is.
  • 15 percent of participants are undecided.

Late-term abortions

  • 71 percent of participants support the banning of late-term abortions in Pennsylvania.
  • 19 percent of participants oppose the measure.
  • 10 percent of participants are undecided.

A big thanks to everyone who participated and tuned-in! More information about my telephone town hall events can be viewed here.

Committee approves bill addressing pay disparity between managers, officers in state prisons

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved my legislation this week that would address pay differences between corrections managers and lower-ranking officers.

Senate Bill 1112 requires pay increases for captains and lieutenants to keep pace with the increases of sergeants and corrections officers. In current practice, some corrections managers may earn less than certain lower-ranking officers.

Senate Bill 1112 was sent to the full Senate for consideration.

St. Clair Area 6th graders visit Capitol

Senator Argall

Senator Argall

Sixth grade students, parents, teachers and advisors from St. Clair Area School District visited the state Capitol on Monday. They met with me on the Senate floor where I had the opportunity to chat with them about my job.  During their visit, they received a tour of the Capitol building.

My office can assist you or your group set up a free tour of the state Capitol. When you visit my website, please specify under “Select an Issue” that you would like to schedule a tour of the Capitol.

Senator Argall

Senate approves anti-hazing bill

The Senate approved legislation last Monday intended to protect students from harmful hazing rituals at Pennsylvania schools. 

House Bill 1574 makes changes to the Anti-hazing Law. Currently, the offense of hazing is limited to offenses at a college or university as a condition for initiation or admission into an organization affiliated with that college or university. House Bill 1574 expands the offense to include hazing done as a condition for initiation or admission into any organization.

Currently, institutions of higher education must adopt written anti-hazing policies and rules for their enforcement. House Bill 1574 expands that requirement to public and private high schools.

The bill returns to the House of Representative for concurrence on Senate amendments.

The Senate also returned House Bill 944 to the House for a concurrence vote. The bill addresses the management of neighborhood improvement districts in the City of Philadelphia.

Also returned to the House for a concurrence vote was House Bill 1310, which provides privacy and protects the safety of individuals who call 911 to report crimes.

Teacher furlough reform bill sent to governor

The Senate gave final approval Monday to legislation that would keep the best teachers in the classroom and boost student achievement by ending the practice of seniority-based layoffs.

House Bill 805, known as the Protecting Excellent Teachers Act, would strengthen the teaching profession and boost student success by ensuring that school districts use teacher performance to guide furlough and reinstatement decisions. Performance ratings would be based on the comprehensive statewide educator evaluation system adopted in 2012, under which observed educators are assigned a rating of distinguished, proficient, needs improvement or failing. House Bill 805 prohibits school districts from using a teacher’s pay and benefits as determining factors for any layoff decision.

Currently, teacher layoffs are conducted in order of inverse seniority. The last teacher hired is the first person fired. Pennsylvania is one of only a few states that require seniority to be the sole factor in determining layoffs.

House Bill 805 now goes to the governor’s desk.

Four additional bills were also sent to the governor this week.

House Bill 400 establishes the “Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities Act.”

Senate Bill 811 provides for the Fiscal Year 2015-16 Capital Budget.

House Bill 1200 repeals part of an Act from 1903 that requires railroads under bridges or viaducts to pay maintenance fees.

House Bill 1788 clarifies circumstances in Philadelphia in which a Neighborhood Improvement District overlaps with a Tax Increment Financing district.

Senator Killion sworn into office

Senator Tom Killion was sworn into office during a Wednesday ceremony in the Senate Chamber. He was elected to the Senate on April 26 under a special election to represent the citizens of the 9th Senatorial District, which includes portions of Chester and Delaware counties.

Prior to joining the Senate, he served as a State Representative for the 168th Legislative District and was Chairman of the Delaware County Council. He also founded two local small businesses. Senator Killion and his wife Eileen live in Middletown and have two adult daughters.

The Senate returned to its full complement of 50 members: 31 Republicans and 19 Democrats.

On Deck

The Senate is scheduled to convene on Monday, May 16 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and view the voting calendar on my website.


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