Senate Passes Legislative Language Sponsored by Bartolotta to Help Crime Victims

HARRISBURG – The Senate passed legislation that includes language to provide information and compensation to crime victims, according to Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

House Bill 2464 – which amends the Crime Victims Act to give crime victims legal standing in court – was amended by the Senate to include Senate Bill 708, which was sponsored by Sens. Art Haywood (D-4), Vince Hughes (D-7) and Bartolotta to better protect crime victims.

The added language would reinvest savings generated through companion legislation into victim services and help streamline the process so more victims receive the help they need. It would require the law enforcement officer responding to or investigating an incident to provide basic information about the rights and services available to crime victims.

“Providing for the needs of crime victims is an essential part of the criminal justice system, but in too many cases, victims feel left out of the entire process. This legislation will ensure all victims understand their important role in the system and receive any compensation they are owed,” Bartolotta said.

As amended, House Bill 2464 would also ensure victims know their right to be enrolled into the Address Confidentiality Program, which exempts those who enter the program from providing a public address and telephone number when their life may be in danger.

Senate Bill 708 is part of a package of bills introduced to continue the progress made by the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), a bipartisan working group comprised of legislators, stakeholders and advocates of criminal justice reform. The other two proposals, which strengthened public safety and reduced prison and probation costs, were signed into law as Acts 114 and 115 of 2019.

As House Bill 2464 was amended by the Senate, it returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence vote.

VIDEO: Bartolotta speaks in favor of a bill that was amended to include her legislative language helping crime victims. 

CONTACT: Colleen Greer, 717-787-1463

Impact Fee Brings $36.4 Million Back to 46th District

HARRISBURG – The Impact Fee on unconventional natural gas wells will once again deliver millions of dollars in funding to communities and projects throughout the 46th Senatorial District, including Greene County and parts of Washington and Beaver counties, according to Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

Impact Fees are levied in addition to regular business taxes paid by every corporation in Pennsylvania. The disbursements were based on a formula established in Act 13 of 2012 to ensure communities affected by drilling receive their fair share of funding for projects such as road and bridge repairs, housing and other infrastructure needs.

The Impact Fee provides funding to the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which in turn has generated more than $36.4 million in grants for the 46th Senatorial District.

The 46th District’s impact fee distribution allocates:

  • $5.4 million to Greene County government.
  • $9.6 million to Greene County municipalities.
  • $7.7 million to Washington County government.
  • $12.8 million to Washington County municipalities, excluding Peters.
  • $731,668 to Beaver County government.
  • $193,443 to Beaver County municipalities.

“This year’s Impact Fee Distribution is especially beneficial to us as 27% of all county and municipal distributions for the entire state are going just to the 46th District. It is a much more substantial portion, which will be used to improve the area for everyone,” Bartolotta said.

With the 2021 distribution, the natural gas industry, which provides thousands of family-sustaining jobs, has paid $2.26 billion in impact fees since 2012.

A complete list of disbursements to counties and municipalities is available on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s website at www.puc.state.pa.us. 

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Bartolotta, Hughes Bill to Improve Business Opportunities with State Contracts

HARRISBURG – The Senate State Government Committee held a hearing to consider the impact of Senate Bill 1140, legislation sponsored by Sens. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Vincent Hughes. The bill would more competitively position small, diverse and veteran-owned businesses for Commonwealth contracts.

Senate Bill 1140 would set specific goals regarding the representation of small, diverse and veteran-owned businesses. It would also provide education regarding how to do business with state agencies.

“The goal of this legislation is simple – to provide an immediate and meaningful impact by expanding opportunities for these businesses to compete for and be utilized in state contracts. As a small business owner before I became a state senator, I understand how beneficial this bill would be for Pennsylvanians who are trying to become more successful with their businesses,” Bartolotta said. “Rather than primarily awarding state contracts to big companies – which may or may not even reside in Pennsylvania or employ state residents – we should allow others an opportunity to grow and contribute to our economy, too.”

“Small business is the backbone of our communities and too many small businesses, minority-owned businesses and veteran-owned businesses have been unable to compete on a level playing field for Commonwealth contracts,” Hughes, Democratic Appropriations chair, said. “This bill Sen. Bartolotta and I worked on with the Department of General Services will help ensure the share of small businesses participating in Commonwealth contracts accurately reflects the number of small businesses in Pennsylvania and gives them a more equitable opportunity to compete for contracts.”

During his testimony before the Senate State Government Committee, Pennsylvania Department of General Services Secretary Curt Topper noted the importance of this legislation for the Commonwealth’s small, diverse and veteran business communities.

“This legislation would have an immediate effect by creating certainty for the future for more than 5,000 small, diverse, and veteran businesses who benefit from our programs andpolicies,” Topper said. “This commitment, in turn, will encourage these businesses, and others, to become certified and to continue to invest and grow in our Pennsylvania communities.”

Click here for full footage of the Senate State Government hearing.

CONTACT: Colleen Greer, 717-787-1463  

Bartolotta Bill Streamlining Permit Processing Passes Senate Committee

HARRISBURG – The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) to improve the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) permit reviewing process.

Certain permits, such as erosion and sediment control, are too often taking more than 100 days to process, despite existing regulations stating it should take no more than 45 days.

“Unfortunately, DEP is not fulfilling its obligation of timely and efficient review of permit applications with great disparities existing among regional offices. These delays and inconsistencies slow development of critical infrastructure projects to move Pennsylvania natural gas to market and discourage our efforts to attract capital investments to Pennsylvania,” Bartolotta said.

Senate Bill 692 would require the DEP to review permit applications consistent with its current, stated policy by elevating existing permit obligations into statute. The bill would also establish reporting requirements to the General Assembly to ensure transparency regarding the number of permits applied for and issued, the review times of applications and the performance of regional offices in complying with this act.

“My bill would send a strong signal to both DEP and job creators that Pennsylvania is serious about responsibly developing our energy resources while ensuring our regulators fulfill their permit review obligations of safe, responsible oil and gas development,” Bartolotta said.

Having received committee support, Senate Bill 692 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463

Commonwealth Needs the Right Interventions for Youth to Prevent Recidivism

New bills would expand diversion, limit detention, tailor out-of-home placement and keep kids from being charged as adults in Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system

HARRISBURG – The Sens. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Anthony Williams (D-8) today introduced the Juvenile Justice Policy Act, which aims to reduce Pennsylvania’s reliance on out-of-home placements for relatively low-level offenses and establish consistency across the state when courts divert youth cases.

Research shows that most youth are not on a path toward adult crime, and over-involvement in the juvenile justice system can increase their likelihood of reoffending. Yet most youth in the system have little or no prior history of delinquency, have not committed a felony or a person offense and do not score as high risk to reoffend. What’s more, hundreds of kids each year are automatically charged with adult crimes and punished in the adult system, all without prior review by a juvenile court judge.

“Current juvenile justice practices routinely undercut the stability of families, communities and the economy by removing kids from home, disrupting their education and spending significant taxpayer money on interventions that are not effective and can lead to increased recidivism,” said Bartolotta. “Our goal is to reduce victimization and promote community safety by ensuring that young people who are struggling in our communities receive the right level of intervention at the right time, in an environment that is designed for them, while holding them accountable for their actions.”

Williams said, “Kids deserve a fair chance no matter who they are and where they live. Unless we act now to change the course of this appalling trend, our juvenile justice system will continue to be a revolving door for all young people – but particularly for those whose race, gender, ability or zip code make them more likely to be caught up in it.”

Together, these bills make important changes that would:

  • Expand and standardize pre-petition diversion, and clarify the parameters of post-petition diversion, to improve outcomes for youth and communities.
  • Reduce the length of time a young person can spend in detention prior to adjudication and expand access to detention alternatives.
  • Reserve out-of-home placement for the most serious cases, while limiting the default length of stay in placement.
  • Tailor restitution to go directly to victims and be within the ability of youth to pay while under supervision, and ensure youth receive at least minimum wage for work while in placement.
  • Eliminate direct file to adult court, ensuring all youth get a hearing in juvenile court.

The bill features reforms consistent with the bipartisan, interbranch Juvenile Justice Task Force, which last summer published data-driven policy recommendations to fix Pennsylvania’s broken juvenile justice system. The group’s goal is to protect public safety, ensure accountability, contain costs, and improve outcomes for youth, families, and communities. 

CONTACT:

Katrina Hanna (Sen. Bartolotta’s office), 717-787-1463
Jerome Taylor (Sen. Williams’ office), 717-787-5970

Meeting to consider SB 1147

Senate Labor and Industry Committee

May 24, 2022 | 10 a.m.

Main Capitol, Room 461


Agenda

Meeting to consider SB 1147

Schedule

SB 1147 (Robinson) – Amends the Public Works Employment Verification Act to increase penalties and length of debarment for violations and provides additional revenue to the Department of General Services for enforcement.

    • A04190 (Robinson) – Limits the maximum debarment period to three years for willful violations and makes a technical correction.

Public Health in Pennsylvania State Prisons

Criminal Justice Reform Caucus

Thursday, May 12, 2022 | 1:00 p.m. – 2 p.m.

There are more than 60,000 people in Pennsylvania prisons and jails, and most of them will return to our communities someday. Medical and mental health care in our prisons is a public health and public safety issue. Hear from impacted families and subject matter experts about needed reforms to Pennsylvania’s prison medical and mental health systems, including medical and geriatric parole, ending the medical copay, and improving access to medical and mental health care inside – so we’re safer outside.

Opening Remarks by Caucus Chairs

  • Senator Camera Bartolotta
  • Representatives Sheryl Delozier & Jordan Harris

Presentation on Public Health in Pennsylvania State Prisons

  • FAMM – Maria Goellner,
  • Pennsylvania Prison Society – Anton Andrew,
  • Impacted Family Member – Mary Buffaloe
  • National Expert on Correctional Health Care – Homer Venters

Bartolotta to Host Free REAL ID Seminar on April 28 in Waynesburg

WAYNESBURG – Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) is partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to host a free REAL ID Seminar for residents of Greene County on Thursday, April 28, from 6-8 p.m. at Waynesburg Central High School Auditorium, 30 Zimmerman Drive, Waynesburg.

PennDOT representatives will explain the federal ID requirements, how and where to apply, and the documents needed to obtain a Pennsylvania REAL ID. They will also share how to know if the identification is needed.

“The process of obtaining a REAL ID can be confusing, and my goal is to make it as simple as possible for everyone by providing an opportunity to hear from the experts and ask any lingering questions,” Bartolotta said. “This can help to prevent people spending time at the DMV only to find out the documents they have are insufficient.”

While Bartolotta and her staff will be at the seminar in person, PennDOT will be presenting virtually.

Beginning May 3, 2023, a REAL ID will be necessary to fly and enter a federal building or military base.

While the seminar is free to attend, Greene County residents are asked to please RSVP by Wednesday, April 27, to attend the seminar by calling Bartolotta’s district office in Washington at 724-225-4380. 

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463

Independent Analysis Concludes RGGI Carbon Tax Could Increase Pennsylvania Electricity Costs 3.8 Times more than Wolf Administration Projections

HARRISBURG – Impartial analysis from the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) projects the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) could nearly quadruple new electricity costs for consumers, Sen. Camera Bartolotta said today.

The nonpartisan IFO reviewed the Wolf administration’s outdated RGGI modeling and presented its findings to a joint hearing of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and the Community Economic and Recreational Development Committee on Tuesday.

“While we already knew that joining RGGI would come at a serious cost to Pennsylvanians, we did not know how much it would hurt them until today,” Bartolotta said. “Anyone who goes to the grocery store or gas station knows how much costs are already rising. Even if joining RGGI actually would offer the benefits promised – which experts deny – we cannot, in good conscience, saddle Pennsylvanians with yet another increased cost at a time like this.”

IFO Director Matthew Knittel said Pennsylvania could spend upwards of $781 million annually on emissions credits at the RGGI auctions – nearly four times the amount anticipated by the administration’s taxpayer-funded 2020 analysis used to justify Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI. Knittel told the panel that the costs will be passed on to energy consumers, including residential consumers, employers, schools and other ratepayers.

The IFO analysis also concluded that emissions reductions between 2008 and 2020 for the 10 RGGI states were comparable to non-participating states.

When Gov. Tom Wolf signed the 2019 executive order that forced Pennsylvania into the regional carbon tax program, auction clearing prices – the amount energy producers pay to buy “credits” to offset their emissions – were $3.24 per short ton. At that time, taxpayer-funded analysts insisted prices would stay under $5 through 2030.

The auction clearing price set on Dec. 1, however, exceeded $13 per short ton, more than four times what the department estimated and 40% above the Sept. 8 clearing price alone.

The IFO said this spike in clearing prices casts doubt on every projection the former analysis made. For example, net generation from coal and natural gas – two sources of carbon emissions targeted by RGGI – will likely grow 16%, not the flat rate assumed by the administration, to account for increased demand.

The administration’s effort to force Pennsylvania into RGGI is being challenged in court and could face additional legislative action.

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463