Senate Republican News Brief

“Given the tremendous impact our pets have in terms of our quality of life, we owe it to all of these animals to ensure they can enjoy a safe, loving environment before and after they are adopted by loving families.”

Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin) announcing a package of bipartisan pet protection bills being introduced.

Preview

Senate Reconvenes at 1 p.m.

The Senate reconvenes today at 1 p.m. The following bills will likely be considered by the full Senate this week:

Senate Bill 385, sponsored by Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) – transit reinvestment
Senate Bill 427, sponsored by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) — precious metal theft
Senate Bill 487, sponsored by Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks) – copay protection
Senate Bill 489, sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) — check-cashing
Senate Bill 494, sponsored by Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) – flood insurance
Senate Bill 562, sponsored by Sen. John Gordner (R-Columbia) – regulatory review oversight
Senate Bill 622, sponsored by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery) – Legislative Budget and Finance Committee duties

Committee Action

The Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery), will hold a public hearing on the nominations of Leslie Richards as Secretary of Transportation and William Lieberman for PA Turnpike Commissioner. (Tues., 9:30 a.m., Room 8E-B)

The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, chaired by Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York), will hold a joint hearing with the House Urban Affairs Committee to hear the Community Association Institute present an overview of Title 68 covering condominiums, cooperatives and planned communities. (Tues., 10 a.m., N. Office Bldg. Room 1)

The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), will consider the nomination of Pedro Rivera II for Secretary of Education, and to consider bills. (Tues., 10:30 a.m., Room 8E-A)

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), will consider Senate Bill 264, Senate Bill 524 and Senate Bill 594. (Tues., 11:30 a.m., Room 8E-B)

The Senate State Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), meets to consider Senate Bill 3 and Senate Bill 695. (Tues., 12:15 p.m., Room 8E-B)

The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, chaired by Sen. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland) will hold a public hearing on the nomination of Theodore Dallas as Secretary of Human Services. (Wed., 9:30 a.m., Majority Caucus Room)

Senate Committee Schedule
Hearings are streamed live at PASenateGOP.com.

Review

Senate Unanimously Approves Rafferty DRPA Reform Bills

The Senate unanimously approved two reform measures Tuesday sponsored by Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) that are part of a bi-state legislative package intended to bring greater transparency and accountability to the Delaware River Port Authority.

Senate Bill 286 provides greater accountability and openness to the DRPA, ensuring that it is responsive to its customers and to the states in which it operates. Senate Bill 287 vests the Pennsylvania governor with veto authority over authority action.

Both bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Watch

Joint Hearing Explores Legislation to Prevent Animal Cruelty

The Senate Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill), and the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), studied proposed legislation to prevent animal cruelty during a public hearing in Gettysburg on Friday.

Senate Bill 373, sponsored by Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin), would prevent dogs from being tethered in unsafe conditions, such as weather emergencies or in situations that deprive them of food, water and shelter. The bill also sets standards to ensure animal shelters adequately protect dogs and cats against inclement weather.

The bill is part of a larger package of pet protection bills discussed at a Capitol news conference on Sunday, which was followed by a “Be Kind to Pets” pet protection rally.

Hearing
For more, please see In the Spotlight, below.

Gordner Legislation to Strengthen Family Farms Passes Committee

The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair), unanimously approved legislation Wednesday sponsored by Sen. John Gordner (R-Columbia) that clarifies a 2012 law exempting family farms from the state inheritance tax.

In interpreting a 2012 law meant to shield family farms from the inheritance tax, the state Department of Revenue did not apply the exemption when some farm families managed their ownership and estate planning interests through family trusts or family corporations.

Senate Bill 580 clarifies that such entities do qualify for the exemption. Large corporate farms would not qualify for the exemption. Senate Bill 580 now goes before the full Senate for consideration.

Pileggi Legislation Strengthening DNA Laws Approved by Committee

A bill strengthening and modernizing Pennsylvania’s use of DNA technology to fight violent crime, sponsored by Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware), was approved Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery).

Senate Bill 683 will require individuals arrested for serious crimes to submit DNA samples, a process already used by more than half of the states and the federal government. In addition, the bill establishes privacy protections, an expungement process and new quality controls. It also authorizes a new type of DNA search to help identify suspects in unsolved crimes.

Senate Bill 683 is supported by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, and the national organization DNA Saves. Senate Bill 683 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Committee Approves Bills Supporting Veterans

The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, chaired by Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny), approved a bill Tuesday intended to help needy veterans through the sales of a special motorcycle license plate.

The committee approved and sent to the Senate, Senate Bill 285, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), that would allocate a portion of the funds raised through sales of an “Honoring Our Veterans” license plate for motorcycles to the Veterans Trust Fund. The trust fund assists veterans in need of help with food, utilities, mortgage or rent payments, health care and other necessities of life.

Senate Bill 284, legislation introduced by Senator Baker authorizing the special license plate, is currently before the Senate Transportation Committee.

Listen – Senator Vulakovich
Listen – Senator Baker

In the Spotlight

The public hearing included testimony from Adams County Animal Shelter Manager and Humane Officer Abby Avery; Western Pennsylvania Humane Society Director of Government and Community Relations/Assistant Director of Behavior and Enrichment Mary Kennedy Withrow; and Humane Society of the United States Director of Shelter and Rescue Group Services Inga Fricke.

Senator Alloway and colleagues also announced a bipartisan package of pet protection bills to help prevent animal cruelty.

The pet protection package includes seven bills and two resolutions designed to ensure fewer animals are subjected to mistreatment and inhumane living conditions.

Senator Alloway: “Pets of all shapes and sizes help to provide love and companionship to millions of households across the state. Given the tremendous impact our pets have in terms of our quality of life, we owe it to all of these animals to ensure they can enjoy a safe, loving environment before and after they are adopted by loving families.”

Fast Facts

March State Revenue Collections

  •  Pennsylvania collected $4.3 billion in General Fund revenue in March, which was $9.5 million, or 0.2 percent, less than anticipated.
  •  Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $21.7 billion, which is 1.7 percent above estimate, for total growth of 4.3 percent.
  •  Sales tax receipts in March were $19.1 million below estimate. Year-to-date sales tax collections were 0.6 percent more than anticipated.
  •  Personal income tax revenue in March was $18.9 million above estimate and for the year 0.5 percent above estimate.
  •  March corporation tax revenue was $16.6 million above estimate, with year-to-date corporation tax collections or 4.9 percent above estimate.