Senator Bartolotta E-Newsletter

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November 7, 2019

In This Edition:

  • Historic Election Modernization Bill Signed Into Law
  • Legislative Update: Healthcare Bills Move Forward
  • REMINDER: Veterans Expo Scheduled for November 13 in Washington
  • House Passes Bill to Expand Availability of Job Training Programs
  • Road Dedication in Avella Honors Local Fallen Soldier

Historic Election Modernization Bill Signed Into Law

Last week, lawmakers approved the most comprehensive changes in decades to Pennsylvania’s election laws. The new law will make it easier for all Pennsylvanians to exercise their right to vote and ensure local taxpayers are not asked to pay an exorbitant bill to replace voting machines.

Some of the changes in the bill include:

  • Extending the deadline for voters to submit an absentee ballot.
  • Pushing back the voter registration deadline from 30 days before an election to 15 days.
  • Allowing voters to request and submit an absentee ballot by mail without providing a reason.
  • Creating a permanent mail-in voter list.
  • Eliminating straight-party voting, which 40 other states have already done.

I am thankful that we were able to reach a bipartisan compromise that encourages more citizens to participate in our elections. More details about the bill are available here.

I enjoyed spending time with Paityn Aubrey Gajan during her visit to Harrisburg with the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. It was great to learn about all of the services the school offers!

Legislative Update: Healthcare Bills Move Forward

The Senate recently approved four bills that will make healthcare services more affordable and accessible, while at the same time addressing other critical issues in the healthcare community.

The bills include:

  • Senate Bill 857, which would improve the availability of healthcare services by promoting telemedicine services in Pennsylvania. Telemedicine would allow care providers to deliver services digitally through the use of apps, Skype, FaceTime and other advanced technologies.
  • Senate Bill 841, which would reauthorize the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), also earned Senate approval. The agency is responsible for collecting and analyzing data about the cost and quality of health care in the state, as well as studying issues that affect access to care.
  • Senate Bill 836, which would protect the health of student athletes by informing them and their parents about the importance of electrocardiogram (EKG) testing to detect underlying heart conditions that can lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
  • Senate Bill 351, which would protect healthcare practitioners and technicians by increasing penalties for assaults committed against them while in the performance of their job duties.

More details about these bills are available here.

My thanks goes out to my fellow Criminal Justice Reform Caucus co-chairs for joining me to discuss our joint efforts to create a fairer and more efficient criminal justice system. The conversation is featured in the most recent edition of my “Focus on the 46th” TV program here.

Following a meeting of the House and Senate Joint Manufacturing Caucus, I had a chance to meet with leaders from the manufacturing industry, including Ray Yeager, President/CEO of Ductmate Industries, Inc., which is located in the 46th Senatorial District.

REMINDER: Veterans Expo Scheduled for November 13 in Washington

I look forward to hosting, in conjunction with Congressman Guy Reschenthaler, a special Veterans Resource and Job Expo on November 13 in Washington.  I hope you will join me and the 55+ vendors that are offering a wealth of information for veteran resources and job openings in the Greater Pittsburgh Area.

The expo will run from 10 a.m. until noon at the Washington County Fair Building #2, which is located at 2151 North Main Street in Washington. More information about the expo is available here.

During a meeting of the Gas and Oil Caucus, I questioned Jennifer Stewart of Southwestern Energy and Tom Muscenti of Trinity Consultants about the voluntary, innovative steps being taking to reduce methane emissions in shale operations.

House Passes Bill to Expand Availability of Job Training Programs

A bill I sponsored to help Pennsylvania career and technical schools offer job training programs to more students has moved one step closer to becoming law.

The House approved Senate Bill 456 to allow career and technical schools to establish branch campuses within 60 miles of the primary location. Current law limits branch campuses to the same county as the primary campus, which makes it more difficult for potential students to train for new, in-demand career opportunities.

The bill was amended by the House and will come back to the Senate for a final vote before being sent to the Governor to be signed into law. More details about the bill are available here.

Road Dedication in Avella Honors Local Fallen Soldier

I was honored to take part in a road dedication this past weekend in recognition of Lt. Col. Juanita Warman, who was one of 13 people killed in the domestic terrorist shooting at Fort Hood in 2009. She was mortally wounded while shielding another soldier from gunfire. As a community and as a nation, we owe Lt. Col. Warman and her family a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. It was a privilege to work with the family to ensure this designation recognizes her amazing courage in the face of imminent danger.

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