View in browser
Follow Sen. Argall on Twitter for Senate happenings –
For photos from Sen. Argall, follow him on Instagram
In this email update:
Celebrating the Fourth of July
As we celebrate the birth of our country as an independent nation, many of us recognize this national holiday in several different ways. I celebrated with my mom, my wife Beth and my daughter Elise at a farm that has been in my mom’s family for the past 251 years:
Built by Jacob and Anna Schultz, this farm is located along the Berks and Montgomery county line and has been in use for 10 generations.
The farm was first purchased on July 2, 1766, followed by the erection of the current barn in 1851 and then finally the building of the current house in 1862.
Being able to visit this farm and visit with members of the Schultz family from across the nation was a good opportunity for my mom to take a stroll down memory lane, as well as for us to learn more about our extensive family history.
State budget restores funding for key programs
On Friday, June 30, the Senate passed its amended version of House Bill 218 which restores funding for some of the state’s vital programs and services.
The $31.99 billion proposed spending plan is almost $650 million less than what the governor’s budget proposed. Some highlights of this budget plan includes:
The spending plan passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 43-7, and the House of Representatives approved the measure by a vote of 173-27. The bill now awaits the governor’s approval or veto.
While the passage of this spending plan is a step in the right direction, there is still much work that needs to be done to pay for these priorities. Our goal should be to reduce the dependence on government programs across the board, shrink the size and scope of state government and most importantly, reduce the burden on taxpayers.
Many people have told me that if Pennsylvania were a business, the sheriff would be knocking at our door. The governor has continued to spend as if we don’t have a problem – and we should stop this now.
Senate Appropriations Committee approves bill on work zone speed cameras
The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 172, which I introduced along with Senator Judith Schwank (D-Berks).
Senate Bill 172 would provide a three-year trial period for PennDOT to place speed cameras in active work zones on interstate highways in order to determine if the added $100 fine would make drivers slow down in a work zone.
The goal of this legislation is to reduce the significant number of accidents and fatalities that have occurred on our highways due to reckless driving and speeding. Protecting both workers and drivers is critical, and according to data from PennDOT, in 2016 there were 2,075 crashes and 16 fatalities that occurred within work zones.
The bill is now under consideration in the Senate. Senator Schwank and I introduced a similar bill last session which passed the Senate unanimously.
Debunking the myths about school property tax elimination
School property tax elimination remains my #1 priority. During a recent interview with Pennsylvania Legislative Services, I discussed the components of Senate Bill 76, the Property Tax Independence Act. You can watch the full discussion here.
As a follow-up to the bipartisan town hall meeting I held on June 22 with Senator Mario Scavello (R-Monroe/Northampton), I want to share comprehensive information prepared by the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition regarding the myths surrounding school property tax elimination and its impact on school districts and taxpayers. These myths were discussed by the coalition at the meeting and included some of the following illusions: local tax dollars don’t stay local; Senate Bill 76 doesn’t eliminate school property taxes; Senate Bill 76 shifts taxes from businesses to individuals; school property taxes are stable; school property tax elimination will exacerbate school funding inequities; and increasing income and sales taxes will hurt renters.
Read about these myths along with the real facts here.
You can also read more about the event and Senate Bill 76 from the Pocono Record here.
Changes to the selection of lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania
To say the relationship between our current governor and lieutenant governor is rocky would be an understatement. Having stated to different media sources that they both go weeks without communicating with one another, this sort of behavior is not only embarrassing, but detrimental to Pennsylvania’s citizens.
In order to avoid this type of forced marriage from occurring in the future, I introduced Senate Bill 761 which would amend the state’s constitution to allow gubernatorial candidates to select their running mate after the primary election – subject to the approval of their state committees – which is a similar process to how presidential candidates select their vice presidential running mates.
Senate Bill 761 is currently under review in the Senate State Government Committee.
Exploring Pennsylvania’s amusement parks
Amusement parks with a history abound in PA. Some have risen from a fish hatchery, another as a picnic and relaxation area for a company’s employees, and two others with ties to popular children’s TV shows.
For safe and fun-filled memories of your trip to the amusement park, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Weights and Measures Division registers, inspects, and educates park visitors, as well as owners and attraction operators. Questions may be directed to the Bureau of Ride and Measurement Standards, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 4 p.m., at 717-787-2291.
Complications from antibiotic resistance
Annual estimates find more than 2 million of us experience complications from antibiotic resistance and more than 23,000 of these cases lead to death, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Antibiotics can treat bacterial infections, while doing nothing for viral infections. A list of common conditions or illnesses indicates those treatable with antibiotics.