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Senator John DiSanto

In this Issue:

  • The State Budget
  • Senate Approves Four Bills
  • Lawmakers Rally Against Abortion of Babies with Down Syndrome
  • Committee Roundup
  • Senator DiSanto Announces Three Additional Outreach Offices
  • Voters to Decide Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Expand Homestead Exclusion
  • Fourth and Fifth Graders can Ski & Snowboard for Free with Snowpass
  • Up Next

The State Budget

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 43-7 to non-concur on House amendments to House Bill 453. That is, the chamber voted against the budget bill approved by the House of Representatives that would have finally completed the state budget, without tax increases.

I voted against this motion as I believe the Senate should use the House plan with no tax increases as a starting point for further negotiations. I have serious concerns with the massive borrowing against future tobacco settlement payments included in both the House and Senate proposals. We need to get to a balanced budget by reducing recurring spending, not raising taxes and borrowing money.


Senate Approves Four Bills

The Senate approved four bills this week.

Senate Bill 135 would permit the use of a leashed tracking dog to track white-tailed deer to recover an animal which has been legally harvested or wounded.

Senate Bill 252 amends the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s enabling act to assist in supporting private development.

Senate Bill 751 provides for regulation and licensure of mortgage servicers.

Senate Bill 785 would allow golf cart use on highway crossovers for recreational purposes as well as golf cart and low-speed utility vehicle use on highways for maintenance purposes.

The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.


Lawmakers Rally Against Abortion of Babies with Down Syndrome

I was pleased to join with my fellow lawmakers and advocates at a rally in the Capitol on Tuesday in support of a resolution I am co-sponsoring that condemns the practice of selective abortion of babies with Down syndrome. 

Senate Resolution 174 denounces the use of abortion for children with Down syndrome as a means to eliminate this diagnosis from society. Some studies suggest that the abortion rate of babies with Down syndrome is as high as 90 percent. The resolution is designed to draw more attention to the fact that individuals with Down syndrome can lead amazing and fulfilling lives. 

We were joined by Chloe Kondrich, a young girl from Pittsburgh who has Down syndrome and was the inspiration behind passage of Chloe’s Law in 2014. That legislation made more information available to parents and families after a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome. 

Committee Roundup

Appropriations 

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved four bills on Monday.

Senate Bill 251 would permit all municipal police to utilize radar for speed enforcement.

Senate Bill 252 amends the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s enabling act to assist in supporting private development.

Senate Bill 552 redirects funds from the Veterans Trust Fund that came from the Pennsylvania Monuments License Registration Plate to the new Pennsylvania Veterans' Monuments and Memorial Trust Fund and would require those funds be used for the operation and maintenance of monuments designated by Department of Military & Veterans Affairs in consultation with the State Veterans’ Commission.

Senate Bill 564 requires PENNDOT to include protective fencing in the construction of new bridges and major renovations of existing bridges over interstate highways.

The Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 530 on Wednesday. The bill updates Act 136 of 1998, the Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors Act. After that vote, Committee Executive Director Greg Jordan was honored for his 32 years of state service as he attended his final meeting before his upcoming retirement.  

State Government

The Senate State Government Committee approved six bills on Tuesday. 

Senate Bill 625 would require the flying of a POW/MIA flag at rest areas and welcome centers.

Senate Bill 822 would require the flying of a POW/MIA flag at state-owned properties.

Senate Bill 826 is a land conveyance bill.

House Bill 1287 is a land conveyance bill.

House Bill 1420 sets new auditing thresholds for charitable organizations that receive annual contributions.

House Bill 1421 makes changes to the filing time frame for Charitable Organizations, Professional Fundraising Counsels and Professional Solicitors. 

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved six bills on Tuesday. 

House Bill 561 amends the Crimes Code to repeal a sunset provision relating to the issuance of administrative subpoenas in an investigation involving child sexual exploitation or abuse.

Senate Bill 742 provides for a comprehensive bill of rights in Pennsylvania for survivors of sexual assault.

Senate Bill 790 establishes a charitable trust to help reverse the direction of prison-bound youth.

Senate Bill 827 gives individuals the power to plan for the management and disposition of their digital assets by providing instructions in a will, trust, or power of attorney.

Senate Bill 854 removes “interference with custody of children” from the offenses for which an offender must be included on the sex offender registry.

Senate Bill 883 provides for automatic expungement of criminal records for any offense that has been the subject of an executive pardon. 

Law & Justice Committee 

The Senate Law and Justice Committee held a public hearing Tuesday on Liquor Control Enforcement of “Stop and Go’s” and illegal gambling devices. The panel heard from the Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Division on the estimated 50,000 illegal slot machines in Pennsylvania, and discussed how they proliferated and what can be done to address the problem. Hearing Video 

Rules & Executive Nominations 

The Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee considered House amendments to House Bill 453  on Wednesday. The bill is the Fiscal Code component of the Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget package. The bill was reported to the full Senate, as a procedural vote, prior to the non-concurrence vote by the full chamber.

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved five bills on Wednesday. 

House Bill 407 would allow for contributions to the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund when renewing a driver's license, identification card, or vehicle registration electronically through PennDOT's website.

Senate Bill 796 exempts CDL licensees from the change of address fees if they have not actually moved from their home and the change of address is due to a governmental action beyond their control.

Senate Bill 837 is a highway renaming bill.

Senate Bill 887 is a highway renaming bill.

Senate Bill 888 would improve access to disabled parking spaces by prohibiting the obstruction of access aisles and strengthening enforcement measures. 

The committee also held its annual hearing with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to collect testimony on their budget and program priorities. You can view the hearing here.  


Around the 15th District 

Senator DiSanto Announces Three Additional Outreach Offices  

I’m pleased to announce three new Outreach Offices to serve constituents, effective in October 2017.  

Hummelstown
William H. & Marion C. Alexander Family Library
200 West Second Street, Hummelstown, PA 17036
Second and Fourth Thursday 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 

Lower Paxton
East Shore Area Library
4501 Ethel Street, Harrisburg, PA 17109
Second and Fourth Thursday 1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. 

Harrisburg
Madeline L. Olewine Memorial Library
2410 North Third St., Harrisburg, PA 17110
First and Third Tuesday 1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. 

The three new locations are in addition to four Outreach Offices serving Upper Dauphin County constituents, located in Lykens, Elizabethville, Halifax and Millersburg. In addition, we maintain a full-time Harrisburg office at the Capitol and a full-time Perry County office in New Bloomfield. Appointments can be made by calling 717-787-6801. 

A complete list of my offices and hours can be found at www.SenatorDiSanto.com under “Office Locations.” 

My offices can help constituents in processing PennDOT material, applying for birth and death certificates, obtaining Property Tax and Rent Rebates, and more. Residents are also welcome to stop by and share their views on legislation under consideration. These new office locations will make it more convenient for constituents to obtain services and provide feedback.  


Voters to Decide Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Expand Homestead Exclusion 

On November 7, Pennsylvania voters will be asked to consider a proposed constitutional amendment to expand the current homestead exclusion.  

Currently, local taxing authorities can exclude from taxation up to 50 percent of the median assessed value of homestead (owner-occupied) property within the taxing district. The constitutional amendment would expand it to 100 percent for property owners who apply.  

The question which will appear on the ballot states: 

“Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to permit the General Assembly to enact legislation authorizing local taxing authorities to exclude from taxation up to 100 percent of the assessed value of each homestead property within a local taxing jurisdiction, rather than limit the exclusion to one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead property, which is the existing law?” 

The legislation providing the voter referendum was approved by the General Assembly in two consecutive sessions, as required by the state constitution.  


Fourth and Fifth Graders can Ski & Snowboard for Free with Snowpass

The Snowpass from the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association allows fourth and fifth graders to hit the slopes free, up to three times at each participating resort, when accompanied by a paying adult. It includes a beginner lift, lesson and rental package. For the accompanying adult, the beginner lift, lesson and rental package is 50 percent off. (There is a processing fee of $35 prior to December 1 and $40 after.) 

Any fourth or fifth grade student can participate by completing an application and providing a report card or other document verifying they are currently in the fourth or fifth grade. A photo of the student is also required.  

You can apply online or download an application and apply by mail. Quantities are limited. Snowpasses are issued on a first come, first serve basis. Details of the program including rules and black-out dates can be found on the website www.skipa.com. The site lists all resorts in Pennsylvania and answers most frequently asked questions. 


Up Next

The Senate is in recess to the call of the President Pro Tempore. The next scheduled session day is Monday, October 16. You can watch session live at SenatorDiSanto.com.


For more information on issues of importance to central Pennsylvania, please visit www.senatordisanto.com and connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

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Offices

Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203015
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3015
Phone: 717-787-6801
Fax: 714-783-3722
TTY: 800-364-1581

District Office
PO Box 236
7 West Main Street
New Bloomfield, PA 17068
Phone: 717-582-2454
Fax: 717-582-2487

 

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