Senate Republican Leaders Decry Shapiro’s Attempt to Prevent Full Rainy Day Fund Transfer

HARRISBURG – Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39), Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Scott Martin (R-13) issued the following statement today regarding the Shapiro Administration’s failure to request the statutorily required amount be deposited in the state’s Rainy Day Fund:

“There is only one reason why the Shapiro Administration wants to avoid following the law and having the required payments to the Rainy Day Fund made – because they want to be able to spend more taxpayer dollars in future years. It is deeply troubling Governor Shapiro keeps trying to change the rules every time he doesn’t get what he wants.

“Existing law is abundantly clear that the amount transferred to the Rainy Day Fund should be nearly $900 million. Yet the total the Shapiro Administration is trying to have transferred is less than half that amount.

“This unprecedented action defies widely accepted accounting principles, years of past precedent by governors from both parties, and even the definition of a surplus presented by the Governor’s own budget team in March. We will continue to explore all our options to ensure the letter of the law is followed and this taxpayer money is protected.


Erica Clayton Wright (Senator Ward)
Kate Eckhart Flessner (Senator Pittman)
Jason Thompson (Senator Martin)

Leader Pittman Calls on Gov. Shapiro to Immediately Withdraw from RGGI

Following release of Shapiro’s RGGI Working Group Report

HARRISBURG – Today, Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41) issued the following statement calling on Gov. Josh Shapiro to accept one of the recommendations of the Shapiro RGGI Working Group, which highlighted the need for legislative approval, and urged immediate action be taken to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

“For the last several years, I have stressed the RGGI Electric Tax violates our state constitution, which grants exclusive power to the legislative branch to levy taxes. The actions of Gov. Wolf and his decision to unilaterally force Pennsylvania to join RGGI was a failed policy. Unfortunately to date, the Shapiro administration has chosen to follow in those same footsteps.

“The outcome of Gov. Shapiro’s working group is overall quite hollow, and it is abundantly evident there is no consensus of the group on how to implement any type of electric tax on carbon emissions. However, the report makes two points clear: ‘There was not consensus on the preferred specific form of cap-and-invest (i.e. RGGI vs. PJM-wide)’ and ‘Legislative codification is the preferred method of institutionalizing the various elements outlined.’

“Touting his achievement of putting together this group is noted, but the question remains: what will Gov. Shapiro do now that his working group has completed their task? If the governor is so eager to accept their recommendations, he should immediately withdraw our commonwealth from RGGI and look for a legislative solution which respects the need for family sustaining jobs, and positively impacts Pennsylvania’s economy.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Eckhart Flessner

Meeting to consider SB 867, SB 887 and SB 945

Senate Local Government Committee

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 | 10:30 a.m.

Room 8E-B, East Wing


Call to Order

  • SB 867 (Kearney) – Amends Title 11 to clarify and update the city classification process
  • SB 887 (Hutchinson) – Amends Title 9 (Burial Grounds) to provide certain exemptions for municipalities that own cemeteries
  • SB 945 (Brown) – Amends Title 16 (Counties) by consolidating Act 130 of 1955, known as The County Code

Recess to the Call of the Chair

Meeting to consider HB 404 and HR197

Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 | 10:30 a.m.

Room 8E-B, East Wing


Public hearing on barriers to addiction treatment and a meeting to consider SB 721, SB 941 and HB 1351

Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 | 11 a.m.

Room 8E-A, East Wing


11:00   Public Hearing – Barriers to addiction treatment

           Dr. Latika Davis-Jones, Secretary
           PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP)

12:30             Recess to the Call of the Chair

           Deb Beck, President
           Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of PA (DASPOP)

           Jason Snyder, Director of Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services
           Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA)

12:00  Voting Meeting

  •  Senate Bill 941 (Brooks) – Flexibilities for addiction treatment providers

         Amendment #### (Brooks) – Additional stakeholder compromises

  •  Senate Bill 721 (Schwank) – Establishing the WIC State Advisory Board


  •  House Bill 1351 (Frankel) – Amends Act 108 of 2019 regarding the Board of Directors of the Rural Health Redesign Center Authority

Sen. Farry and State Reps. Unveil Crime Bill Package to Address Rising Crime in Pennsylvania

BUCKS COUNTYSen. Frank Farry (R-6) and Reps. K.C. Tomlinson (R-18), Joe Hogan (R-142), Kristin Marcell (R-178) and Shelby Labs (R-143) joined local law enforcement officials yesterday at the Northampton Police Department to unveil legislation that addresses the rising and evolving crime in Pennsylvania, specifically around Philadelphia. 

“As society evolves, so do the crimes happening in our communities,” Farry said. “We want to ensure that our law enforcement and prosecutors have the right tools to be able to properly charge these crimes and ultimately lead to the convictions of criminals who are causing chaos in our community, harming our residents and disrupting their daily lives.” 

Joining Farry and his colleagues at the press conference at the Northampton Police Department were Dan Friel, chief of police in Warrington Township; Bill McVey, director of Public Safety Bensalem Township Police Department; Fred Harran, Sheriff of Bucks County, a representative from State Troopers Association; and over twenty local law enforcement leaders.

During the press conference, Chief Friel shared that theft of catalytic converters in Warrington Township are up 85% since last year, and firearm offenses up 133% and these crimes are not typically committed by residents from our area. The criminals are coming to our communities and stealing from our residents. 

The crime package includes six pieces of legislation. The first bill introduced by both Farry and Tomlinson would impose mandatory jail time for illegal possession of a firearm. For a first offense, the criminal would receive mandatory jail time of under two years. For a second offense a mandatory five-year jail sentence would apply and 15 years for their third offense. Tomlinson introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

Farry’s bill to crack down on porch pirating already passed the Senate and would implement specific penalties for theft of mail, which includes a package, bag or letter. The grading of this offense would increase if the person had prior convictions for theft of mail. Tomlinson and Marcell have a similar bill. 

Part of the crime package includes legislation introduced by Farry and Hogan to increase penalties for gun store robberies. The bill would heighten the penalty to burglaries where the intent of the actor is to commit a theft of a firearm and additional penalties if any of the stolen firearms are used for additional crime. It would also try juveniles as adults who commit this crime as well as increase penalties for those who conspire to commit this crime.

Recognizing vehicle meet-up rallies have become a recent problem in our communities, Farry, Hogan and Tomlinson introduced legislation that would increase the fine for street racing from $250 up to $2,000 per violation, with the driver’s vehicle being seized after second violation. It would also add the offense of drifting, and steep fines for those who organized, financed, or promoted the event.

Farry and Tomlinson also jointly introduced legislation to reduce the theft of catalytic converters. A person who intentionally possesses a detached catalytic converter that is not affiliated with a commercial account without proper justification commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.

 The last piece of legislation was introduced by Farry, Labs and Marcell to address the rioting in our communities and would hold the rioters and those involved accountable. Rioters assaulting or throwing projectiles at police, law enforcement and first responders would face felony charges. It would also make it a felony for out of state actors to cause or aid in rioting as well as a felony charge for Pennsylvania residents who knowingly assist, coordinate or recruit out-of-state actors to cause a riot. 

View the press conference here.


Nicole McGerry

Meeting to consider SB 69, SB 423, SB 531, SB 799 and SB 824

Senate Appropriations Committee

Monday, October 2, 2023 | Off the Floor

Rules Committee Conference Room


SB 69 – (Langerholc) – Establishes the Recovery-to-Work Act.
SB 423 – (J. Ward) – Amends Title 71 (State Government) to permit State Employees’ Retirement System
                                 employees to return to work as part-time, state-certified fire instructors.
SB 531 – (Baker) – Amends Title 51 (Military Affairs) to require legislative input into the Veterans’ Trust
                                Fund grant process.
SB 799 – (Rothman) – Amends Title 75 (Vehicles) to permit counties to dedicate supplemental bridge
                                allocations to municipalities for maintaining bridges.
SB 824 – (Pennycuick) – Amends the Breach of Personal Information Notification Act providing for free credit
                                  monitoring for victims of data breaches

Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee to Hold Two Hearings on Gaming Law and Skill Games

HARRISBURG – The Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, chaired by State Senator Chris Gebhard (R-48), will hold two separate public hearings next week examining the state’s gaming laws and the skill games operators.

On Monday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to noon, the committee will hear from industry experts and representatives from Pennsylvania based casinos and video gaming terminals (VGTs). On Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 9-11 a.m., the committee will hear from industry experts and representatives from the Pennsylvania skills games operators. Both hearings will be held in Hearing Room 1, North Office Building, Harrisburg.

“These hearings are necessary considering all the recent changes in the gaming landscape since the last update to the Gaming Control Act,” Gebhard stated. “I welcome the chance to hear testimony and allow the committee to directly question stakeholders to better understand the issues.”

The hearing will be available live at

CONTACT: Matthew Urban, 717-787-5708

Public hearing on gaming in the Commonwealth

Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee

Monday, October 2, 2023 | 10 a.m.

Hearing Room 1, NOB


I. Call to Order
II. Introductions

Senator Christopher Gebhard, Chairman
Senator Anthony Williams, Minority Chairman   

III. Video Gaming Terminals (VGT) Operators Panel

Testimony from VGT operators regarding gaming in the Commonwealth.

Matthew R. Hortenstine, General Counsel, J&J Ventures Gaming, LLC
Brent Mayes, President, Venture Gaming and Pro ATM
Rick Kirby, Chairman, Betson Enterprises

IV. Casino Operators Panel

Testimony from casino operators regarding gaming in the Commonwealth.

Bob Green, Chairman of the Board, Parx Casino
Eric Hausler, CEO, Parx Casino             
Joe Billhimer, COO and Development Officer, The Cordish Companies, Live Casino

V. Closing Remarks

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