Pennsylvania Senate Republican News Brief


“Over the course of this difficult winter, I have heard from schools across my district that additional flexibility will allow them to more effectively deal with scheduling issues caused by the inclement weather. While we cannot control the weather that occurred, we can provide school officials with the flexibility to meet the state’s instructional requirement.”

Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre) on his legislation to provide schools with flexibility in making up missed time due to weather emergencies.


Preview

Senate Convenes Monday at 1 p.m.

The Senate Aging and Youth Committee, chaired by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), will hold a public hearing on House Bill 162, legislation to allow Pennsylvania adult adoptees access to their original birth certificate. (Tues., 10 a.m., N. Office Bldg. Room 1)

The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, chaired by Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill), will hold a public hearing on Act 90 of 2010, the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act. (Wed., 10 a.m., N. Office Bldg. Room 1)

The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre), will hold budget hearings on the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and the Department of State. (Wed., 1 p.m. & 2 p.m., N. Office Bldg. Room 1)

The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, chaired by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks), will hold a public hearing in Warminster, Bucks County on electric reliability. (Thurs., 3 p.m., Warminster Township Bldg.)

Senate Committee Schedule
Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s hearings will be streamed live at PASenateGOP.com.

Review

Senate Honors Combat Infantry Badge Holders, Merchant Marines

The Senate unanimously approved legislation March 10 that would establish a specialty license plate for veterans who earned the Combat Infantry Badge and those who served in the Merchant Marines after World War II.

Senate Bill 1187, sponsored by Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill), came as a suggestion of Berks County resident and Vietnam veteran Joe Soga seeking to recognize those who have earned the distinct honor.

The Combat Infantry Badge was approved in 1943 by the Secretary of War. It is awarded to a U.S. Army Infantry Soldier who served in a Combat Zone for more than 30 days or fought in a ground action with enemy soldiers.

Senator Argall: “I appreciate Joe’s commitment to our nation and to his comrades for coming to me with this initiative. We are one step closer to allowing those who earned the Combat Infantry Badge to display it on their vehicle’s license plate.”

For more on Senate Bill 1187, please see In the Spotlight, below.

Senators Propose Greater Flexibility to PASSHE Universities

Bipartisan legislation that would enable universities that meet certain criteria to transfer out of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education was announced Tuesday by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) and other senators.

Senator Tomlinson was joined by Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin), Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), Sen. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland) and Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester).

The senators said Senate Bill 1275 would give universities in the system greater independence and flexibility in meeting financial challenges and academic and enrollment needs. The system has experienced a decline in enrollment in recent years, and many universities are struggling financially.

They added that transferring eligible schools out of PASSHE will bring millions of dollars back to the state system through the sale of buildings and lands, ultimately providing an infusion of much-needed funds.

Senator Tomlinson: “The current funding structure for PASSHE is unsustainable – and now is the time to address the issue for the sake of students, communities and our universities. Allowing universities to transition to a state-related institution will provide greater flexibility to respond to local community, business and workforce needs – while providing more funds for remaining PASSHE schools.”

For a list of PASSHE universities, please see Fast Facts, below.
News Conference

Corman Bill to Provide School Snow Day Flexibility Passed by Committee

Legislation to provide schools with flexibility in making up missed time due to weather emergencies was unanimously approved by the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon).

Senate Bill 1281, sponsored by Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre), gives schools the discretion to calculate the school year on an hourly, rather than daily basis, and permits schools to hold class one Saturday per month, if needed.  Corman said this change will provide schools greater flexibility to determine how to best make up instructional time.

The bill mirrors previous weather emergency legislation passed by the General Assembly as a result of the 1996 flooding in the northwestern part of the state.

Senator Corman: “Extending school into late June may not be the best option for schools or students for a number of reasons. This bill will provide schools with the flexibility to find the solution that works best for them to make up the missed instructional time.”

In the Spotlight

Senate Bill 1187 was amended to include legislation sponsored by Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin) that would also allow Merchant Marines to display their military service on specialty license plates.

The General Assembly approved legislation in 2013 that created a specialty plate for members of U.S. Military Airborne units and World War II Merchant Marines. Senate Bill 1187 would allow Merchant Marines to apply for the plates if they served during the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Desert Shield.

In addition to honoring military service, Senate Bill 1187 also pays tribute to the rich tradition of Pennsylvania sportsmen by creating a new Hunting Heritage specialty plate.  Sportsmen would be given the option to purchase the new specialty plate for $35, with $15 of each purchase directed to the new Pennsylvania Hunting Heritage Fund to support nonprofit groups that promote ecosystem conservation and charitable donations of game taken by hunters.

Senator Alloway: “Hundreds of vessels and thousands of crew were exposed to significant risks during our nation’s military operations over the past several decades. The dedicated service of our Merchant Marines played an important role in the war effort, and this extraordinary show of bravery deserves to be honored.”

Fast Facts

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Universities

  • Bloomsburg
  • California
  • Cheyney
  • Clarion
  • East  Stroudsburg
  • Edinboro
  • Indiana
  • Kutztown
  • Lock Haven
  • Mansfield
  • Millersville
  • Shippensburg
  • Slippery Rock
  • West Chester