Senate Republicans Elect Leadership Team for New Legislative Session

HARRISBURG — Senate Republicans today elected their leadership team for the 2023-24 legislative session.

Sen. Kim Ward (R-39) has been elected to serve as interim Senate President Pro Tempore from Dec. 1 until Jan. 2. On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Senate will vote for a President Pro Tempore to serve for the new two-year legislative session. She becomes the first woman to hold the position, the third-highest post in Pennsylvania government. She previously served as Senate Majority Leader.

The President Pro Tempore is responsible for appointing the chairpersons and members of the 22 standing committees of the Senate and serves as an ex-officio member of all committees. She presides over the Senate floor when the Lieutenant Governor is unavailable and fills the position of Lieutenant Governor if the office becomes vacant. The office also refers bills and resolutions to the appropriate Senate committees for consideration.

Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41) will serve as Senate Majority Leader. His duties include overseeing the legislative agenda, developing policies and strategies for the Senate Republican Caucus, and playing a key role in floor debates. He also has a major role in negotiating issues with the Administration and House of Representatives and in coordinating action on the Senate floor. Pittman previously chaired the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.

“To all members of the Senate, Democrat and Republican, I look forward to working with you to chart a path forward that requires us to selflessly work together advocating for all Pennsylvanians and their families by putting the principles and respect for this institution and our Commonwealth above all,” Ward said. “Together we have done big things for Pennsylvania, and they should be acknowledged in the bipartisan manner in which they were achieved. It is proof we can be diverse and unified at the same time and a kind reminder of the work we must continue to do on behalf of our Commonwealth its citizens.”

“To serve as the majority leader of the Senate Republican Caucus in the upcoming session will be a great honor,” Pittman said. “I am flattered to have the support of my colleagues and am committed to advancing a positive, pro-growth agenda for the citizens of this entire Commonwealth. The constituents of the 41st Senatorial District who have elected me to represent them as their senator will always be my top priority and focus, and I will use my voice to represent them and their interests.”

Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36) was elected Majority Whip. The duties include acting as assistant floor leader, working to gain support for legislation and ensuring that Republican policies and strategies are maintained through the cooperative efforts of the majority caucus.

Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) will chair the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee reviews all legislation for its fiscal impact and plays a crucial role in negotiating and developing the state budget. Each year, the panel holds a series of public hearings with leaders of state departments and agencies to study the governor’s budget proposal and ensure taxpayer dollars are being utilized properly.

Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) will serve as Majority Caucus Chair for the 2023-24 legislative session. The chair presides over Republican caucus meetings to discuss bills and amendments and to develop caucus strategy.

Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) was elected Senate Majority Caucus Secretary to oversee all executive nominations submitted to the Senate for confirmation. She will coordinate the review of the background and experience of nominees and ensure that proper documentation is submitted.

 

CONTACTS:  Erica Clayton Wright  (Sen. Ward)

                         Jeremy Dias (Sen. Pittman)

Bartolotta, Martin to Introduce the Child Reunification Act

HARRISBURG – Sens. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Scott Martin (R-13) said this week they will soon introduce legislation to help reunite lost children with their families.

The Child Reunification Act will provide parents and guardians of kindergarteners with free identification kits to gather and store fingerprints, DNA collection swabs and other information that could prove pivotal should their child ever disappear. 

“As a parent, I cannot imagine anything more distressing than not being able to locate either of my children who are both adults now. Especially in the case of young children, we need to have every possible tool at our disposal when that nightmare unfolds for families,” Bartolotta said. “This bill would have a real impact on law enforcement’s ability to locate a missing child without storing any personal information in a database by providing parents the opportunity to have this information at home in the unfortunate circumstance they need it.”

“This tool, while hopefully never used, will be critical in helping law enforcement locate a missing child,” Martin said. “It’s a simple step that can save precious time and resources so that investigators can focus on the task at hand –locating missing children to reunite families.”

The inkless kits will not be stored in a database, but rather kept at home by families for expedited emergency use, if ever needed. Thirty-two other states offer a similar program and Pennsylvania hopes to become the sixth nationwide to provide kits to all students in grades K-12.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center, more than 30,000 juveniles were actively missing as of Dec. 31, 2019. More than 500,000 children in the United States disappear each year, akin to one child every 40 seconds.

 

CONTACT:

Terry Trego (Martin)

Meeting to consider HB 2648

Senate Labor and Industry Committee

Monday, October 24 | Off the floor

Rules Room


Agenda

Meeting to consider HB 2648

  • HB 2648 (Lawrence) – Amends the Administrative Code of 1929 to direct the Office of
    Inspector General to appoint agents to investigate fraud in the unemployment
    compensation program.

    •  A05801 (Robinson) – Requires the Office of Inspector General to provide a report
      to the General Assembly regarding the personnel required, costs, and other
      relevant factors necessary to investigate fraud in the unemployment
      compensation program. Moves the Public Works Employment Verification Act
      under the Administrative Code and makes changes to the Act to increase
      penalties and length of debarment for violations and provide additional revenue
      to the Department of General Services for enforcement.
    • A05813 (Bartolotta) – Repeals Article XII-B of the Administrative Code
      (Coordination of Commonwealth Community Service Programs) and replaces it
      with Article XXII-C (PennSERVE).

 

Meeting to consider the nomination of Elena Cross to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review; and a notice of intent to review Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Regulation #52-013 (IRRC No. 3339)

Senate Labor and Industry Committee

Tuesday, October 25 | 10:30

East Wing, Room 8E-A


Agenda

Meeting to consider the nomination of Elena Cross to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review; and a notice of intent to review Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Regulation #52-013 (IRRC No. 3339)

Schedule

  • To consider the nomination of Elena Cross to the Unemployment Compensation Board of
    Review – Testimony
  • To consider a notice of intent to review Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
    Regulation #52-013 (IRRC No. 3339)

***Media Advisory*** Joint Hearing to Explore Importance of Pennsylvania Waterways to Energy and Economic Development

Watch Live

PITTSBURGH – A joint Senate hearing scheduled for Friday, Oct. 14 will delve into the significance of Pennsylvania’s waterways to energy and economic development, said Sens. Gene Yaw (R-23) and Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

Both the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy and the Labor and Industry committees will hear testimony from business and industry groups interested in leveraging our rivers to encourage workforce development, energy growth and economic development across the state.

“Pennsylvania’s strategic location along several prime waterways should be a calling card for businesses looking to expand or relocate into our region,” Yaw said. “It’s imperative that we don’t miss any opportunity to attract growth to our state and that includes marketing ourselves as the premier place to do business.”

“As our economy struggles against the crushing effects of inflation exacerbated by decisions made at the national level, it is more critical than ever for public officials serving at the state level to remain dedicated to improving the economy,” Bartolotta said. “We must capitalize on all available resources for the benefit of Pennsylvanians.”

The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Allegheny County Courthouse located at 436 Grant St. in Pittsburgh.

 

CONTACT:

Nick Troutman (Yaw)

Eric Kratz (Bartolotta)

Joint hearing on the importance of PA waterways to energy and economic development

 

Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee and
Senate Labor & Industry Committee

Friday, October 14 | 9 a.m.

Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh


Agenda

9AM       Welcome       Sen. Gene Yaw, Chair, ERE
                                         Sen. Camera Bartolotta, Chair, L&I
                                         Sen. Carolyn Comitta, Minority Chair, ERE
                                         Sen. Tina Tartaglione, Minority Chair, L&I

                                         Panel 1

9:10AM                          Hon. Rich Fitzgerald, County Executive
                                         Allegheny County – Testimony

                                         Mary Ann Bucci, Executive Director
                                         Port of Pittsburgh Commission – Testimony

                                         Jay Anders, P.E., Chief Operating Officer
                                         Rye Development – Testimony

                                         Justin Trudell, Chief Operating Officer
                                         FirstLight Power – Testimony

                                          Panel 2

10AM                              Hon. Leslie Osche, Commissioner 
                                         Butler County – Testimony

                                         Jeff Nobers, Executive Director
                                         Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh
                                         Works Together – Testimony

                                         Chris Masciantonio, General Manager
                                         State Government Affairs
                                         U.S. Steel Corporation

                                         Lenna Hawkins, PE, PMP
                                         Deputy District Engineer
                                         U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
                                         Pittsburgh District

10:50AM   Closing       Sen. Gene Yaw, Chair, ERE
                                          Sen. Camera Bartolotta, Chair, L&I
                                          Sen. Carolyn Comitta, Minority Chair, ERE
                                          Sen. Tina Tartaglione, Minority Chair, L&I

Additional Written Testimony

Hilary Mercer – Testimony
Senior Vice President
Shell Polymers / Pennsylvania Chemicals

Joint hearing on regional workforce development initiatives

Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee and
Senate Labor and Industry Committee

Tuesday, October 11 | 1:30 p.m.

Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke


Agenda

Joint public hearing on regional workforce development initiatives

1:30 pm: Opening Remarks

Senator John Yudichak, Chair
Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee

Senator Camera Bartolotta, Chair
Labor & Industry Committee

Senator Christine Tartaglione, Minority Chair
Labor & Industry Committee

Senator Amanda Cappelletti, Minority Chair
Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee

Recognition of Members in Attendance

1:45 pm Statewide Perspective
Dan Kuba, Acting Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development
Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry

2:00 pm Panel 1 – Education, Labor, and Business

Susan Spry, Vice President of Workforce and Community Development – Testimony
Luzerne County Community College

John Naldony, Training Director
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 163

Tim Evans, Owner
Colours, Inc. [invited]

2:30 pm Panel 2 – Chambers of Commerce
Lindsay Griffin, President & CEO
Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce

Michelle Mikitish, Executive Vice President
Greater Pittston Area Chamber of Commerce

Gina Suydam, President – Testimony
Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce

Jocelyn Sterenchock, Director of Economic Development
CAN DO Greater Hazleton

Mary Malone, President – Testimony
Greater Hazleton Area Chamber of Commerce

3:15 pm Final Remarks and Adjournment

Meeting to consider SB 1319 and HB 2079

Senate Labor & Industry Committee

September 21, 2022 | 10 a.m.

Main Capitol, Room 461


Agenda

Meeting to consider SB 1319 and HB 2079

Schedule

SB 1319 (Argall) – Amends the Unemployment Compensation (UC) Law to provide that
employers are deemed to have paid UC contributions in quarters during a COVID-19
disaster emergency, even if no contributions were made.

  • A05560 (Bartolotta) – Establishes the provision in a different section of UC Law,
    clarifies the time frame the provision applies, and fixes an inconsistency in the
    “Definitions” section of the law between federal and state law.

HB 2079 (Delozier) – Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act to allow for the
use of refrigerants approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Bartolotta Announces More Than $1.3 Million in Grants for the 46th District

WASHINGTON – Six grants to improve recreation and community revitalization totaling more than $1.3 million have been awarded to the 46th District through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, according to Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

In Greene County, one grant for $586,900 will be used to further develop Franklin Township’s Wisecarver Recreation Area. Work will include construction of pedestrian walkways, an internal loop trail, a boardwalk, a pedestrian bridge, observation areas, pavilions, softball fields, comfort stations, a concession building, storage buildings, a nature center, an access drive, parking areas and stormwater management measures; installation of nature play equipment with required safety surfacing, utilities, fencing and interpretive signage; ADA access, landscaping, a project sign and other related site improvements.

Also in Greene County, a grant for $70,000 will be used to benefit Community Park in Washington Township. Work will include the renovation of an internal loop trail; construction of pedestrian walkways, a parking area and an access drive; ADA access, landscaping, a project sign and other related site improvements.

The other four grants were awarded to Washington County. Palmer Park in Donora Borough will receive a $362,600 grant to renovate the dek hockey court; construction of pedestrian walkways, a parking area and stormwater management measures; installation of scoreboard system and utilities; ADA access, landscaping, a project sign and other related site improvements.

Carroll Township’s Valley Avenue Park will receive $215,000 for the construction of pedestrian walkways, a parking area and stormwater management measures; installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing; ADA access, landscaping, a project sign and other related site improvements.

Centerville Borough’s Victory Park will receive $70,000 for the construction of a pedestrian walkway and parking area; installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing; ADA access, landscaping, a project sign and other related site improvements.

Speers Borough’s Lower Speers Park will receive $70,000 for the construction of a parking area; installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing and fencing; ADA access, landscaping, a project sign and other related site improvements.

“In addition to offering more opportunities for district residents to make wonderful memories enjoying our great outdoors, the grant funding will also help to attract people from out of the area who are interested in exploring all that southwestern Pennsylvania has to offer,” Bartolotta said. “When they visit for our recreational offerings, they often eat in our restaurants and stay over – boosting the local economy in the process. It is a win all around.”

 

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463

Bartolotta Reminds Motorists of New School Bus Camera Law to Improve Student Safety

HARRISBURG – Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) is reminding motorists of a recent state law that allows school districts to equip school buses with stop-arm cameras to detect the license plates of drivers who fail to stop for school buses.

Under legislation Bartolotta helped implement, the video evidence will be shared with local law enforcement for review before a citation is issued.

“Every day in Pennsylvania, hundreds of motorists fail to stop for school buses and put the lives of children at risk. It is estimated that each school bus is illegally passed more than two times a day,” Bartolotta said. “While the vast majority of drivers are careful, previous laws proved inadequate in getting the few reckless motorists to stop – and one violator is all it takes to cause a tragedy.”

In the past, the School Bus Passing Law has been notoriously hard to enforce, as school bus drivers have had to quickly collect pertinent detailed information about the incident, while performing their duties, or law enforcement had to catch a motorist committing a violation.

Bartolotta and Sen. Pat Browne (R-16) worked jointly on an amendment to House Bill 364 (now Act 38), which contained important new provisions intended to build upon the legislature’s previous School Bus Camera Law (Act 159 of 2018). That legislation addressed the serious safety issues created by motorists illegally passing stopped school buses when the safety lights and arm bar had been deployed.

Following a review of pilot camera programs in their legislative districts, Browne and Bartolotta crafted amendments to the statute that would strengthen the enforcement of the current law and increase the number of buses in districts across the commonwealth equipped with stop arm cameras. The new law provided a structure, utilized widely in other states, for stop arm camera companies to enter into contracts with school districts and local police to provide their services free-of-charge in exchange for part of the revenue generated by the fine. A $300 civil penalty is assessed to motorists violating the state’s School Bus Stop Arm Camera law caught by a stop arm camera. Funds from each fine are also allocated to the participating local police department, to defray costs of implementing the program, and the state’s School Bus Safety Grant Program, designed to educate motorists and bring greater public awareness to this safety issue.

Under the law, local police departments will review evidence packages created by the stop arm cameras and certify that a violation has taken place before a notice of violation is sent to the motorist. Privacy provisions are included to protect the identity of the motorist and the public.

Pennsylvania currently has 26 school districts and over 1,200 buses utilizing Bus Patrol stop arm camera technology.

“At the start of the school year, children are especially excited and distracted coming off the bus. Please keep an eye out, follow the school bus stopping law and let’s do our part as motorists to keep kids safe,” Bartolotta said.

PA School Bus Stopping Law

 

CONTACT: Colleen Greer 717-787-1463