In this Update:
Recognizing Police Officers’ Memorial Day
In recognition of Police Officers’ Memorial Day in Pennsylvania, as designated by Senate Resolution 111, the Fraternal Order of Police joined Senate Republicans to honor the brave law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year. The five officers were:
Like so many other members of law enforcement, these officers served and protected their fellow citizens – despite knowing the sacrifices they and their families would have to make. Thank you to each brave man and woman who defend the safety of our communities.
Committee Passes My Bills to Improve Permit Appeals Process
This week the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee advanced two bills that I am sponsoring that will improve the permit appeals process. Senate Bill 198 would better balance the need for citizens to have the chance to voice their concerns while also making Pennsylvania’s permit appeals process efficient and predictable. When the Department of Environmental Protection deems appropriate, appeals would be limited to issues that were raised in the public comment period, which would give businesses more assurance that their projects will not be delayed.
Current law states that members of the Environmental Hearing Board should serve six-year terms. Yet, we have members who are currently serving 28 years. These members have not been subject to the reappointment and confirmation process through the Senate. Senate Bill 199 would require judges who would like to stay on for more than one term to be reconfirmed by the Senate after their term expires.
Both bills now move to the full Senate for consideration.
Career Kick-Start for Women is Next Week
In partnership with Pennsylvania Women Work, I will be hosting Career Kick-Start on Friday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Frank Sarris Public Library, 35 N. Jefferson Ave., Canonsburg.
The free, one-day workshop will help participants boost their job search. It will offer opportunities to meet with a career coach to refine resumes, take a career assessment, identify professional skills and strengths, learn how to find and apply for jobs, practice and receive feedback on interviews, meet with employers who are hiring, and get a professional headshot.
Space is limited. Women who are interested are asked to register online at [pawomenwork.org/career-kick-start.html]pawomenwork.org/career-kick-start.html by Tuesday, May 16, at 5 p.m. Please call 412-742-4362 with any questions.
Senate Acts to Reduce Regulatory Burdens on Taxpayers and Job Creators
The Senate approved a legislative package to reduce the burden of unchecked government regulations on taxpayers and job creators. The bills will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 188 requires regulations with an economic impact on taxpayers and employers exceeding $1 million to go before the General Assembly for approval before taking effect. The Independent Fiscal Office, rather than the regulating agency, would be tasked with calculating the economic impact.
Senate Bill 190 requires an automatic review after three years of all regulations with an economic impact on taxpayers and employers exceeding $1 million. The regulating agency must report to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission on the effectiveness of the regulation, whether current state laws require the regulation’s repeal or amendment, and more.
Senate Bill 350 requires state agencies to create an accessible website for permit applicants to check their application status. In addition, all the permits issued must be publicly accessible and if rejected, it must state the legal authority the agency relies on to reject the permit application. It also requires that a permit, license or certification is deemed approved by the state if the agency reviewing the application misses its statutory deadline.
Senate Approves Measure to Improve Personal Financial Literacy
To teach high school students the financial basics, the Senate approved legislation that will enable them to make better decisions that lead to a lifetime of success and financial independence. Senate Bill 647 moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Recent estimates show there are more than 350 million American-owned credit card accounts, and credit card owners average about four cards apiece. Families in the United States are approaching approximately $1 trillion in credit card debt and more than $15 trillion in debt overall.
The bill would give high school students the information they need on topics like credit and credit scores; savings and investments; college, home and auto loans; and planning for postsecondary education and retirement.
Measure Boosting Support for PA Veterans Approved by Senate
The Senate passed bills to help veterans start or expand a business, access programs and services available to them, and make it easier for disabled veterans to obtain a free lifetime fishing license. All three bills now head to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 248 would create the Veteran-owned Business Loan Guarantee Program, which would be funded with $5 million of existing dollars from another program run by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The bill defines a veteran-owned business as one in which 51% or more of the organization is owned or controlled by one or more veterans. Veteran-owned businesses in America employ nearly four million workers and generate more than $175 billion in annual payroll.
Senate Bill 447 would establish in law the PA VETConnect program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and helps the commonwealth’s more than 700,000 veterans access programs and services tailored to their needs. The database of resources enables local veteran advocates – including staff at county veterans affairs offices – to point veterans to information, resources, programs and services in their area and across the commonwealth.
Senate Bill 411 would make it possible for disabled veterans with a 100% disability determination to obtain a free, lifetime fishing license. Free lifetime fishing licenses currently are available only to disabled veterans with a 100% permanent disability determination, and they must apply for a new free fishing license every year.
Legislation Expanding Access to Breast Cancer Screenings Signed Into Law
Recently signed into law, Act 1 of 2023 is a first-of-its-kind breast cancer screening measure that will save Pennsylvanians’ lives.
It eliminates all costs associated with genetic testing and counseling as well as breast MRI and ultrasounds for Pennsylvanians with high-risk conditions like dense breast tissue, a personal history of breast cancer, a family history, a genetic predisposition or prior radiation therapy.
Approximately one of every eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer, but this law will ensure that high-risk individuals have affordable access to early detection.
Celebrating Mother’s Day
To all the women who put their family first, thank you for being such a source of strength and support in our communities. Happy Mother’s Day!
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