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(HARRISBURG) – The Pennsylvania Senate convened today in Harrisburg to mark the start of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session.  State Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25) was once again unanimously re-elected by members of the Senate to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate for 2017.

This is the eleventh time Senate colleagues have elected Senator Scarnati to the third-highest constitutional office in the Commonwealth.  The Honorable Justice Sallie Mundy administered the Oath of Office to Scarnati.  Following being sworn-in as President Pro Tempore, Senator Scarnati offered remarks on issues impacting the Commonwealth.

            “I sincerely thank my constituents who placed their confidence in me and elected me to serve another term in the Senate.  I also thank each Member of the Senate for their trust and faith in me to lead this Chamber.

            “I congratulate our Senate Chief Clerk Donetta D’Innocenzo and our Senate Parliamentarian Megan Martin on also being re-elected by members of the Senate to continue to serve in their roles.

“Today is an exciting day as we welcome six new members to the Senate.  We have much work to do in the Senate in the coming days, weeks, and months.  Most of what we do we usually agree on, but when we disagree it is always done in a respectful way.

“Over the past two years the Senate Chamber has set a strong example by what we have done.  I have always believed if you hope to be an effective leader, you must first set the example that you wish others to follow.  We have accomplished major liquor reform, moved forward on medical marijuana in the Commonwealth, made substantial progress on addressing the opioid addiction epidemic across our state and taken the lead on one of the toughest and most costly issues to taxpayers – pension reform.  Moving forward we will continue to fight for a strong Pension Bill.    

“It is no secret that this year’s budget will prove challenging.  Taxpayers expect us to have results and results require legislation.  As we move through today’s Session, let us not forget it was just New Year’s Day, a day to reflect on ways to better ourselves.  But this year let us all make one extra New Year’s promise – let us resolve to work together to have a better Commonwealth for all Pennsylvanians.”

Senator Scarnati is currently serving his fifth term in the Senate. He was born and raised in Brockway, Jefferson County, and represents the 25th Senatorial District, which includes Cameron, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter and Tioga Counties and portions of Clearfield County. 

CONTACT: Kate Eckhart keckhart@pasen.gov   717-787-7084