Pennsylvania Senate Republicans E-Newsletter

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February 4, 2019

“At a time when public pensions are wreaking havoc on state and school district budgets, it’s especially egregious that taxpayers are continuing to fund the pensions of public employees who commit felonies on the job.”

Sen. John DiSanto (R-Dauphin) on Senate Finance Committee passage of his legislation to ensure that public employees who commit job-related felonies are stripped of their taxpayer-funded pension

In this Edition:

  • Senate Session Today at 1 p.m., Budget Address Tomorrow
  • Lawmakers, Advocates to Highlight Efforts to Fight Pediatric Cancer
  • DiSanto Pension Forfeiture Bill Passes Key Committee Vote
  • Senators Announce Bipartisan Election Reform Package
  • Student-Crafted Hellbender Bill Approved by Senate Committee
  • Committee Roundup
  • Pennsylvania Budget Process Enters New Era
  • Senate Standing Committee Chairs 2019-2020

Preview

Senate Session Today at 1 p.m., Budget Address Tomorrow

The Senate returns to voting session today at 1 p.m. The General Assembly convenes in joint session tomorrow for the annual budget address. Legislation that could be considered by the Senate this week includes:

Senate Bill 113 ensures that public employees who commit job-related felonies are stripped of their taxpayer-funded pension. Sen. John DiSanto (R-Dauphin)

Senate Resolution 20 urges the Supreme Court to delay action on its proposed changes to medical malpractice reform so that implications for medical care and the economy can be examined.  Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) 

Senate Bill 9 designates the Eastern hellbender as the official amphibian of the Commonwealth. Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming)

Lawmakers, Advocates to Highlight Efforts to Fight Pediatric Cancer

Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) will join colleagues for a news conference today to highlight bipartisan legislative efforts to combat pediatric cancer.
11 a.m., Capitol Media Center
Streamed at PASenateGOP.com 

Senate Committee Schedule

Review

DiSanto Pension Forfeiture Bill Passes Key Committee Vote

Legislation introduced by Sen. John DiSanto (R-Dauphin) to ensure that public employees who commit job-related felonies are stripped of their taxpayer-funded pension was approved Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango), in a unanimous, bipartisan vote.

This legislation, Senate Bill 113, closes the loophole used by unscrupulous public officials whereby they plead guilty to non-forfeiture crimes so they can keep a pension. This issue made headlines when the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) voted to restore the more than $245,000 annual public pension of admitted felon and former State Senator Robert Mellow.

Currently, the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act requires a public employee to forfeit his or her pension only for certain crimes listed in the act. In practice, this law allows public employees charged with a forfeiture crime to plead guilty to a different non-forfeiture crime in order to avoid pension forfeiture. Senator DiSanto’s legislation would require pension forfeiture if a public employee or public official is convicted, pleads guilty, or pleads no contest to any felony offense related to his or her employment. More

Senators Announce Bipartisan Election Reform Package 

Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), Sen. Tom Killion (R-Delaware), Sen. Pat Stefano (R-Fayette) and Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster), held a press conference Tuesday on a soon-to-be-introduced bipartisan election reform package.

The package, which was drafted after public hearings, work group meetings, and many discussions with county election officials and commissioners, and interested parties across the Commonwealth from both sides of the political aisle, will include legislation addressing:

  • Absentee ballots;
  • A permanent early voting list;
  • Vote centers and curbside voting;
  • Number of votes to qualify as a write-in winner;
  • Number of ballots to be printed, and;
  • Consolidation of smaller precincts.

The package will also include three Constitutional Amendments regarding absentee ballots, poll workers and separate ballot judicial retention elections. More

Student-Crafted Hellbender Bill Approved by Senate Committee

Two days into the start of the 2019-2020 Legislative Session, a legislative proposal championed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Pennsylvania Student Leadership Council has already won support in the Senate.

On Tuesday, the Senate State Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-48), unanimously approved Senate Bill 9, sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), designating the Eastern Hellbender as the first “State Amphibian” of Pennsylvania.

CBF’s Pennsylvania Student Leadership Council, consisting of high school students, invested many hours studying the Eastern Hellbender and the problems the amphibian is facing within the state.  With assistance from Lycoming College in Williamsport, the students drafted the legislation during the 2017-2018 Legislative Session, meeting with elected officials to outline why they felt it should be the state amphibian.  Senator Yaw agreed to reintroduce the measure in the new legislative session. More

Committee Roundup

Senate State Government Committee
Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) Chair

Senate Bill 9 designates the Eastern Hellbender as Pennsylvania’s state amphibian.

Senate Bill 26 releases Project 70 restrictions on lands owned by the Borough of Topton, Berks County, in exchange for the imposition of the restrictions on other lands to be acquired by the borough.

Senate Bill 130 releases a use restriction and reversionary interest affecting a property located partly in the Township of Mahoning and partly in the Borough of Danville in Montour County.

Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee
Sen. Sen. Mike Regan (R-Cumberland) Chair

Senate Bill 127 reauthorizes Pennsylvania’s 911 Law, which is set to expire on June 30, 2019.

Senate Bill 128 codifies the Civil Air Patrol’s state operations in Title 51 under the leadership of the Adjutant General.

Pennsylvania Budget Process Enters New Era

The Performance-Based Budgeting process – measuring state spending against expected results – got underway in Pennsylvania January 22.

The Performance-Based Budgeting Board approved reports by the Independent Fiscal Office to grade the Banking and Security Department and General Services Department, as well as criminal justice agencies and tax credit programs.

Performance-Based Budgeting was implemented as a result of legislation sponsored by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), Senate Bill 181 of 2017. You can view the board hearings here. 

Senate Standing Committee Chairs 2019-2020

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