Two Bartolotta Bills Signed into Law as Part of PA School Code

HARRISBURG – Two bills sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) were included in the state’s public school code, which dictates how education funding contained in the General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23 is spent.

The first legislative measure, which was originally drafted as Senate Bill 224, will simplify the process for out-of-state teachers to obtain certification in the commonwealth as a way to address Pennsylvania’s teacher shortage.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the number of newly issued in-state instructional teaching certificates has dropped by 66% since 2010.

It will also make out-of-state candidates for teacher certification to be eligible for an instructional certificate if they hold a valid certificate from another state and completed the necessary teaching preparation, testing and satisfactory experience requirements.

Another bill that was included in the school code is Senate Bill 237, which would allow students of brick-and-mortar charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber charter schools to enroll in concurrent college courses through an institution of higher education.

“I am so thankful that every student in Pennsylvania will now have the same access to advanced coursework. Studies have shown that dual enrollment programs increase the likelihood of students continuing their education after high school, prepare them for academic success in college and can decrease the cost of college if they have fewer required courses to complete,” Bartolotta said.

Previously, only students at traditional public schools were able to participate in dual enrollment programs.

The legislative language will have no impact on a school district’s finances.

 

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463

Bartolotta Touts Budget Initiatives Helping PA’s Workers

HARRISBURG – The Senate approved a $45.2 billion General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23 that ensures we can meet the needs of Pennsylvanians today without creating multi-billion-dollar budget deficits in the future, according to Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46), who voted for the measure.

The budget agreement does not include any broad-based tax increases and is structured in a way to minimize the risk of tax increases in the years ahead. Additionally, it cuts the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate from 9.99% to 8.99% and creates a phased reduction to 4.99% by 2031, efforts designed to attract employers and residents to Pennsylvania.

“This budget rightly prioritizes initiatives to benefit Pennsylvania’s workers, who were hurt by Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic closures and still have not recovered,” Bartolotta said. “From being displaced from their industries to struggling to find affordable child care, people need help. This funding will better position them for long-term success and financial independence.”

To begin to address the “child care cliff,” which occurs when working individuals and families lose access to benefits due to increases in income, the budget includes an additional $25 million for child care services. This will benefit families by lessening the burden of transition to self-sufficiency.

“As chair of the Labor and Industry Committee, I was also pleased to see important investments to boost our workforce,” added Bartolotta. “This budget includes more funding dedicated to apprenticeship training to continue a proven job training model that allows individuals to earn while they learn on a pathway to family-sustaining careers. It invests more in New Choices/ New Options, a program designed to help individuals re-enter the workforce.”

Increased funding is also dedicated in this year’s budget to ensure our schools are safe and secure: $100 million is appropriated for the Ready to Learn Block Grant program to address school-based mental health; and $100 million in funding is directed to a new General Fund appropriation for School Safety and Security to address physical safety and security at schools.

The budget also includes a mechanism to utilize American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to pay off any outstanding debt in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, shielding employers from a potential tax increase.

Senate Bill 1100 now goes to the governor’s desk for enactment into law.

 

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463

Bartolotta to Host Free Barbecue Picnic for Veterans on July 15

WASHINGTON – Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) invites veterans of the 46th District and their families to attend a veterans appreciation barbecue picnic on Friday, July 15, from 5-8 p.m. at Mingo Creek Park, 3111 Route 136, Finleyville, pavilion 7. Active duty members are also invited.

“This picnic is an opportunity to thank the men and women who have sacrificed their time and put their lives on hold to defend our great country,” Bartolotta said. “Of course, it is also about their families, who lived without their loved ones, often in fear for their safety when they were gone. I encourage all veterans and active duty members of the 46th District and their spouses to attend.”

Space is limited for the picnic, so veterans and their families are asked to RSVP by Friday, July 8, online at SenatorBartolotta.com/Veterans-BBQ or by calling Bartolotta’s district office at 724-225-4380.

The 46th District includes part of Beaver County consisting of the City of Aliquippa and the townships of Hanover, Hopewell and Independence and the boroughs of Frankfort Springs and South Heights; all of Greene County; and part of Washington County consisting of the cities of Monongahela and Washington; the townships of Amwell, Blaine, Buffalo, Canton, Carroll, Cecil, Chartiers, Cross Creek, Donegal, East Bethlehem, East Finley, Fallowfield, Hanover, Hopewell, Independence, Jefferson, Morris, Mount Pleasant, North Bethlehem, North Franklin, North Strabane, Nottingham, Robinson, Smith, Somerset, South Franklin, South Strabane, Union, West Bethlehem, West Finley and West Pike Run; and the boroughs of Allenport, Beallsville, Bentleyville, Burgettstown, California, Canonsburg, Centerville, Charleroi, Claysville, Coal Center, Cokeburg, Deemston, Donora, Dunlevy, East Washington, Elco, Ellsworth, Finleyville, Green Hills, Houston, Long Branch, Marianna, McDonald (Washington County Portion), Midway, New Eagle, North Charleroi, Roscoe, Speers, Stockdale, Twilight, West Brownsville and West Middletown.

 

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463

Bartolotta Bill Protecting Medical Patients Passes Senate Committee

HARRISBURG – The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 167, legislation sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46), to protect Pennsylvanians suffering from chronic illness from an inconsistency in the state’s driving under the influence (DUI) law that leaves them vulnerable to wrongful criminal conviction.

Since the passage of Act 16 of 2016, more than 700,000 patients have registered and qualified for the state’s medical marijuana program. Nearly 500,000 patients are benefitting from this non-toxic and natural treatment alternative.

In the law, there were protections for employees, professional license holders and those involved in custody litigation. However, the legislation did not address Pennsylvania’s zero-tolerance controlled substance DUI laws. Currently, medical cannabis patients can be arrested, prosecuted and convicted even if they are not impaired.

Pennsylvania is one of only a few states with zero tolerance for controlled substances. Thirty-three states, including those with no legal access to cannabis, require proof of actual impairment.

Senate Bill 167 would treat the medical cannabis patient similarly to one using a prescription narcotic by requiring proof that the motorist is impaired and unable to safely operate a motor vehicle.

“While the responsible medical cannabis patient never drives impaired, the risk of a zero-tolerance DUI arrest and prosecution is one of the most serious issues confronting Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis community,” Bartolotta said. “My bill will protect this community without sacrificing the safety of our roads.”

During a Senate Transportation Committee meeting last September, representatives of the Pennsylvania State Police testified that the bill would not adversely impact their mission to keep the highways and byways of the Commonwealth free of impaired drivers.

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

 

CONTACT: Colleen Greer, 717-787-1463

Bartolotta Bill to Help Adult Learners, PA Economy Passes Committee

HARRISBURG – The Senate Education Committee passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) that would dedicate $15 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to meet the increased need to upskill working age adults for the post-COVID workforce.

Bartolotta’s Senate Bill 766 would create the Adult Education and Workforce Recovery Fund to provide resources that enable adult education programs to provide bridge courses, high school equivalency test scholarships, tuition-related expenses and other innovative programming for adult learners negatively impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“Many adult learners need additional support to succeed in completing their High School Equivalency, job training, technical training and postsecondary education, and those resources are important to offer,” Bartolotta said. “After all, adults who participate in integrated job training and education programs are more likely to advance to family-sustaining careers – an admirable goal that gives them independence and lessens the burden on government.”

Priority investments would include digital literacy, career services, workforce/adult basic education partnerships and tuition assistance.

Of the $15 million, $12 million would be designated to applicants from school districts, local intermediate units, career and technical schools, community colleges, literacy councils, libraries and community organizations. The remaining $3 million would be designated to education entities recognized by the Secretary of Education to serve exclusively adult populations.

The fund would be housed in the Pennsylvania Department of Education and established as a competitive grant fund for eligible adult basic education providers. Grant awards would be capped at $500,000. Larger grants could be considered for multi-agency collaborations.

Senate Bill 766 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Click here for Bartolotta’s remarks on the bill.

 

CONTACT: Eric Kratz, 717-787-1463

Public Hearing on Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice Task Force

Criminal Justice Reform Caucus

Thursday, June 16, 2022 | 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.


Agenda

This meeting was focused on legislation stemming from the recommendations of Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice Task Force, which was established in 2019 and co-chaired by Senator Baker, Senator Costa, Representative Zabel, and former Representative Toohil. The 30-member Task Force included a wide range of legislators, juvenile justice system stakeholders, and community members.

There are three panels, each including a young person with direct experience in Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system. The panelists discussed several bills that have been introduced to address many of the Task Force’s key recommendations. There are eight total bills stemming from the Task Force that have been introduced so far.

Opening Remarks by Caucus Chairs

  • Senators Camera Bartolotta & Art Haywood
  • Representatives Sheryl Delozier & Jordan Harris

Panel 1: Fines & Fees and Expungement (SB 1226 & SB 1233)

  • Impacted youth speaker
  • Jessica Feierman, Senior Managing Director, Juvenile Law Center

Panel 2: Diversion, Detention, and Placement (SB 1241) o Impacted youth speaker

  • Kentucky State Senator Whitney Westerfield (R-District 3), Senate Judiciary Chair and co-chair of the state’s 2013 Task Force on the Unified Juvenile Code

Panel 3: Direct File (SB 1240)

  • Impacted youth speaker
  • David Jimenez, Manager of Government Affairs, Prison Fellowship

Additional Q&A and closing remarks

***Media Advisory*** Senate State Government Committee Hearing to Review Efforts to Hold Russia Accountable, Support Veteran and Minority Owned Businesses

WHAT:

The Senate State Government Committee will hold a hearing reviewing two bills that aim to hold the Russian government accountable for their heinous war crimes (SB 1203 and HB 2447) and a bill that aims to support veteran and minority owned businesses in Pennsylvania (SB 1140).

WHO:

Senator David G. Argall (R-29), Chairman of the Senate State Government Committee and Prime Sponsor of Senate Bill 1203

Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), Prime Sponsor of Senate Bill 1140

The Honorable Stacy Garrity, Treasurer, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The Honorable Jim Gerlach, President and CEO, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance

Secretary Curt Topper, Department of General Services

WHEN:

Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

WHERE:

Hearing Room No. 1

North Office Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Media RSVP and Questions:

Please contact Jim Brugger at 717.787.2637 or jbrugger@pasen.gov.

Snyder, Bartolotta secure $1.9 million to rehabilitate East Dunkard Water Authority

CARES funds to repair neglected water treatment plant

DILLINER, May 31 – Nearly $2 million has been awarded to make fundamental upgrades to the East Dunkard Water Authority, state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, and state Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Beaver/Washington/Greene, announced today.

More than $1.9 million has been allocated to replace a main water line, pumps, gate valves, blow off valves and/or hydrants, and for the inspection and rehabilitation of the facility’s eight water storage tanks.

“I’m relieved that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for customers of the East Dunkard Water Authority,” Snyder said. “After countless meetings with engineers, board members, and state and local officials over the years to address this egregious issue, I’m overjoyed that these folks will finally have reliable access to clean drinking water.”

Snyder highlighted that the approximately 1,650 Greene County residents who rely on the EDWA to treat their drinking water have undergone two separate boil water advisories during this year.

“We take it for granted when we turn on a faucet there will be clean, safe water coming out and that the wastewater will be taken away to be processed, but the fact is there are a lot of people who work really hard to make it all happen,” Bartolotta said. “Working together with my colleague, Representative Snyder, to help deliver these funds is part of our collective goal to make infrastructure in our communities safe and reliable.”

The awarded funds are part of more than $8.4 million in Community Development Block Grant-CARES Act funding announced today to help communities update and improve existing water and/or sewer systems in Centre, Fayette, Greene, Mifflin and Tioga counties.

CDBG-CV funds are made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and enable communities to effectively prepare for, prevent the spread of, and respond to the impacts of coronavirus in their communities.

Bartolotta Bill to Create Jobs and Revenue Receives Senate Committee Approval

HARRISBURG – The Senate Finance Committee approved legislation sponsored by Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) that would create jobs for Pennsylvanians by increasing the current level of state assistance for the Film Tax Credit program from $70 million to $125 million.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s 2019-20 Film Production Tax Credit Program Report, approximately 860 applicants have applied to the program and 509 have been awarded tax credits since the program’s inception in 2007. These companies have directly injected nearly $3.3 billion into the state’s economy and generated $785 million in total state and local taxes while supporting an estimated 30,650 full-time equivalent jobs.

Pennsylvania only allows 10 to 12 productions to film and qualify for the tax credit program annually. Each year, the state turns away productions after the program has been exhausted, resulting in job opportunities being turned away for Pennsylvanians.

“The film industry has the ability to put people to work quickly in family-sustaining jobs, while also increasing opportunities for the small businesses that provide goods and services to the industry. The tax credit can offer this incentive to the Commonwealth, as well as lead the way in the next wave of creative content for consumers at a time when the joke about finishing all the shows on Netflix has become real,” Sen. Bartolotta said.

Senate Bill 321 has bipartisan support and is being championed by the bicameral legislative Film Industry Caucus, which Bartolotta co-chairs with Senator Jay Costa (D-43), and Representatives Joe Ciresi (D-146) and Kathleen “KC” Tomlinson (R-18).

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

 

CONTACT: Colleen Greer, 717-787-1463

House Committee Passes Bill to Address Teacher Shortage by Improving Certification Process

HARRISBURG – In response to the impact Pennsylvania’s teacher shortage has on students, Sens. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) sponsored legislation to simplify the process for out-of-state teachers to obtain certification in the commonwealth. It received unanimous support from the House Education Committee today.

Senate Bill 224 would allow an out-of-state candidate who has completed any state-approved educator preparation program from an accredited institution of higher education, including field placement/student teaching, to be eligible for a comparable in-state instructional certification.

The bill would also require the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to recognize and accept out-of-state candidates’ qualifying scores on equivalent content tests toward PDE’s testing and certification requirements.

Lastly, Senate Bill 224 would grant Pennsylvania certification to any candidate who holds a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.

“Schools continue to face teacher shortages that affect students and their learning, but there are plenty of new state residents who are experienced and would like to help fill the gaps,” Bartolotta said. “We need to put trained and effective teachers in our classrooms as soon as we can, and my bill would help to make that happen by removing the considerable barrier that currently exists.”

“At a time when schools are in dire need of experienced teachers, this legislation will provide a pathway to permit new Commonwealth residents who have that experience to fill that need,” Langerholc said.

According to PDE, the number of newly issued in-state instructional teaching certificates has dropped by 66% since 2010.

Senate Bill 224 now moves to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

 

CONTACT:    Colleen Greer (Sen. Bartolotta’s office), 717-787-1463

                        Gwenn Dando (Sen. Langerholc’s office), 717-787-5400