“I remain committed to the same basic principles that I used as my guide as a state representative. I believe in transparency and the public’s right to know what is going on in state government and exactly how their tax money is being spent.”

— Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) upon taking the oath of office on August 29.


Preview

Senate Fall Voting Session Kicks Off

The Senate returns to voting session Monday. The fall session could see consideration of bills to reform charter schools, establish a special education funding commission, implement further corrections reforms, expand the state Right to Know law, and more. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) discusses the fall agenda and other issues in the Senate Republican Podcast. Listen

On Tuesday, the Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery), will hold a joint public hearing with the House Transportation Committee on the financial status of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. (9:30 a.m. N. Office Bldg. Room 1)

The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R-Dauphin), will hold a public hearing Tuesday for a briefing on implementation of Act 141, School District Financial Recovery. (10:30 a.m. Room 8E-A)

Review

Senator Vulakovich Joins Senate, GOP Majority

Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) was formally sworn into office during a ceremony August 29 in the Senate Chamber.

A lifelong citizen of Allegheny County, Senator Vulakovich won an August 7 special election to represent the 40th Senatorial District. Prior to joining the Senate, he was elected to three terms in the state House of Representatives.

Heading into the November General Election, voters have given Republicans a 29-20 majority in the Senate, with one seat vacant.
Watch | Listen

Banking and Insurance Committee Hearing Examines “Payday Lending”

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, chaired by Sen. Don White (R-Indiana), held a public hearing Wednesday to focus on “payday lending” and House Bill 2191, a measure that would regulate the practice.

HB 2191 provides for short-term loan protection in the state’s Banks and Banking law and for deceptive or fraudulent business practices and unlicensed short-term lending in the Crimes and Offenses law.

Testifiers included Banking Secretary Glenn Moyer, Community Legal Services, AARP and others.
Hearing Testimony and Video

Smucker Bill Expands Business Opportunities in Third Class Cities

Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster) announced that he will introduce a measure to help pave the way for greater business investment in third-class cities across Pennsylvania.

Smucker’s bill would allow these cities to create a Community Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) to develop vacant, blighted or abandoned properties for commercial use. The city would be authorized to issue bonds for construction and rehabilitation of the facilities, and all state tax dollars generated in the CRIZ would be dedicated to repaying the bond debt.

Speaking at a news conference at Lancaster Square, Smucker said the bill would give Lancaster an important economic development tool to promote business growth and help create jobs for local workers.

Senator Smucker: “This approach is flexible, targeted, and results-driven, but it still requires good judgment on the part of city officials, capable developers, and projects with a good prospect of economic payoff. I am convinced that city officials will aggressively and wisely use whatever tools we provide them to foster economic opportunities and create jobs.”

Watch

Alloway Named to PA Military Community Protection Commission

Sen. Rich Alloway (R-Franklin) was appointed by Governor Tom Corbett to serve on the newly formed Military Community Protection Commission. The panel was created to serve as an advocate for Pennsylvania’s military installations.

Alloway joined Governor Tom Corbett September 17 as the governor signed an executive order to establish the commission. The order was signed at the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division Headquarters in Harrisburg and goes into effect immediately.

Led by Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, the commission will be composed of members of the General Assembly who serve on the Military Installations and Base Development Caucus along with others familiar with military installations or operations.

The commission will be an advocate at the federal, state and local levels for the enhancement of Pennsylvania’s military installations, organizations and defense-related regions. It will assist with the expansion of the economic development opportunities and defense-related industry regions across the state.

In the Spotlight

Known to many throughout the community as simply “Officer V,” Senator Vulakovich has dealt with a wide variety of demanding situations and valuable life and leadership experiences during his 27 years of dedicated service as a sergeant with the Shaler Township Police Department, including six years serving as the public school instructor in the nationally recognized anti-drug and life-skills D.A.R.E. program.

The 40th Senatorial District includes the following Allegheny County communities: the boroughs of Bradford Woods, Etna, Franklin Park and West View and the townships of Hampton, Marshall, McCandless, Pine, Richland, Ross, Shaler and West Deer; as well as the following Butler County communities: the boroughs of Callery, Connoquenessing, Evans City, Harmony, Mars, Seven Fields, Valencia and Zelienople, and the townships of Adams, Buffalo, Clinton, Connoquenessing, Cranberry, Forward, Jackson, Middlesex and Penn.

Senator Vulakovich: “We have made progress during my five-and-a-half years in the state House, but we can go further in reforming government and improving accountability. I will continue working to see those reforms enacted. I will also continue working to promote the same fiscally conservative and fundamental issues that are supported by the people that I represent.”

Fast Facts

August General Fund Revenue

  • Total: $1.795 billion ($32.3 million, or 1.8%, below estimate)
  • Fiscal year-to-date collections: $3.64 billion ($33.2 million, or 1.0%, below estimate)
  • August 2012 v. August 2011: $1.772 billion in each year (essentially no year-over-year tax revenue growth in August)
  • Official revenue estimate growth for FY 2012-13: 3.4%