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Senator John DiSanto

Week of January 22, 2018

In this Edition:

  • DiSanto Sponsoring Legislation to Count, Cap, Cut State Regulations
  • Senate Approves Bill Allowing Disposal of Unused Opioids by Hospice Staff
  • Other Bills Approved by the Senate and sent to the House
  • Senate Calls for Study of PENNDOT/Turnpike Consolidation
  • Measure Supporting Use of Slag Metal Byproduct Sent to Governor
  • Committee Roundup
  • Next Week

 

I was honored to speak at the School Choice Week rally at the Capitol on Monday. Great turnout from students attending schools that best meet their individual educational needs. Proud to put kids first and support educational choice in Pennsylvania.

DiSanto Sponsoring Legislation to Count, Cap, Cut State Regulations

I was proud this week to join two Senate colleagues in taking aim at Pennsylvania’s excessive regulations to jump start the state’s economy.

Senator Scott Wagner (R-York), Senator Michele Brooks (R-Mercer) and I announced we will be introducing legislation to count, cap and cut the number of regulations in Pennsylvania.

The regulatory environment in Pennsylvania is holding back Pennsylvania businesses and individuals from reaching their full potential.

A recent study by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University found that the Pennsylvania Code, which holds all current state regulations, likely contains around 153,000 regulations, and that it would take one person 18 weeks to read the entire Code. One egregious example is the 24 pages in the Pennsylvania Code regarding the use and design of ladders.

Our bill, called the Red Tape Reduction Act, will accomplish three things:

  1. Count the number of state regulations in the Pennsylvania Code.
  2. Cap the number of state regulations at the current number.
  3. Cut the number of state regulations by instituting a one-in, two-out regulatory model.

A one-in, two-out rule means that for every new regulation imposed in Pennsylvania, two would be eliminated. Canada, British Columbia, the United Kingdom, and most recently the U.S. federal government have all seen success with variations of this policy. It is an effective way to curb excessive government regulation.

Government does not create jobs, but it can prevent their creation. My own experience as a business owner proves this out. Many Pennsylvanians have shared with me how excessive government red tape discourages innovation and investment that would grow our economy. Time would be better spent on producing goods and serving customers than on completing paperwork and jumping through regulatory hoops with no real value to anyone except the entrenched bureaucracy.

Senate Approves Bill Allowing Disposal of Unused Opioids by Hospice Staff

As part of continuing efforts to address Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis, the Senate approved a bill that provides for the proper disposal of unused hospice drugs.

Until recently, when a home hospice patient died, unused medications could be discarded by a hospice or homecare provider. A change to federal Drug Enforcement Agency rules now prohibits that practice. The result is home hospice providers cannot dispose of the drugs unless otherwise authorized by state law to dispose of the decedent’s personal property.

This places an unnecessary burden on grieving families as they must find a legal way to dispose of those medications, which has resulted in the intentional or unintentional misuse or abuse of those drugs.

Senate Bill 978, which gives hospice staff the authority to properly destroy unused drugs following a patient’s death, was unanimously approved by the Senate on Tuesday and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Other Bills Approved by the Senate and sent to the House

Senate Bill 373 allows patients to authorize payment of insurance benefits directly to dental service providers, a practice known as assignment-of-benefits.

Senate Bill 817 extends a lease for a portion of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Veterans' Center in East Vincent Township, Chester County.

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

Senate Bill 851 clarifies ownership of properties that are in the delinquent tax sale process.

Senate Bill 977 provides additional legislative oversight of the regulatory review process.

House Bill 1448 charges the Department of Education with providing information on its website to compare institutions of higher education. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Calls for Study of PennDOT/Turnpike Consolidation

The Senate adopted a resolution on Wednesday calling for a study of a potential consolidation of PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission operations.

Senate Resolution 209 directs the Joint State Government Commission to study the challenges and opportunities of consolidating the interstate operations of PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission and to provide a final report with findings of fact, recommendations and any proposed legislative remedies.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate adopted Senate Resolution 228, which establishes a Task Force on Global Education. The task force will analyze global education in our K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and make recommendations to ensure Pennsylvania students graduate ready to compete in the global economy.

Measure Supporting Use of Slag Metal Byproduct Sent to Governor

Legislation encouraging the use of sustainable and environmentally safe slag material received final legislative approval on Wednesday and was sent to the governor for enactment into law.

Slag is generally used to remove waste in metal smelting, but can also serve other purposes, such as assisting in the temperature control of the smelting, and minimizing any re-oxidation during the production of solid metal.

However, steel slag is currently classified as “waste” under state law, which means manufacturers must pursue a special classification or obtain a state permit. Senate Bill 497 eliminates the waste designation for slag when it is sold as a commodity and is not a discarded material.

Two additional bills were sent to the Governor this week:

Senate Bill 542 permits pharmacists to dispense emergency prescription refills for uncontrolled substances for up to 30 days, with certain restrictions.

House Bill 1608 renames a Huntingdon County bridge.

Committee Roundup

Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved two bills on Monday.

Senate Bill 373 allows patients to authorize payment of insurance benefits directly to dental service providers.

Senate Bill 851 clarifies ownership of properties that are in the delinquent tax sale process.

Labor & Industry

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 963 addresses a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision related to workers’ compensation.

House Bill 1001 requires state licensure for home inspectors.

“No” Vote on Labor & Industry Nominee

Following the action of bills, the committee approved the nomination of Gerald Oleksiak to serve as the next Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. As a member of the committee, I opposed Mr. Oleksiak’s nomination. The Labor and Industry Department is a troubled agency in need of a major overhaul, following a performance audit last year that revealed how nearly $180 million in taxpayer money had been squandered on a botched unemployment system upgrade. I asked Mr. Oleksiak several times for a plan to turn around the department, but he could not provide one. 

Local Government

The Senate Local Government Committee approved several bills Tuesday.

Bills allowing for municipal purchase of used personal property from volunteer emergency service organizations without bid:

Bills increasing the dollar threshold for needing to advertise the sale of municipal personal property:

Senate Bill 950 authorizes county commissioners, by resolution, to implement a Voluntary Real Estate Sales Verification Form Pilot Program

House Bill 99 allows boroughs to issue contracts during an emergency without advertising, bidding or price quotations and requires council to disclose the reasons at its next public hearing. Also adds electricity to existing list of utility services for boroughs not subject to advertising, bidding or price quotations

House Bill 1034 provides additional procedures for the collection of monies by municipal authorities 

The committee held a joint public hearing Monday with the House Local Government Committee on the state of municipal pensions in Pennsylvania, and legislation to address underfunded local pensions. The committees heard from representatives of PA municipalities, as well as police and firefighters who would be affected by changes in municipal pensions.

Hearing Video & Agenda

Majority Policy

On Tuesday, the Senate Majority Policy Committee held a public hearing on the state of free speech on Pennsylvania college campuses. Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved four bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 880 allows 102-inch wide trailers on Pennsylvania highways.

Senate Bill 1002 renames a bridge.

Senate Bill 1015 adds “Special Emergency Response Team” to the definition of emergency service responders and emergency vehicles in state law.

Senate Bill 1024 increases the distracted driving fine from $50 to $100 in an active work zone or on a highway safety corridor. 

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

On Monday, the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 1019, a rewrite of the state Emergency Management Code. Hearing Video & Written Testimony

On Wednesday, the committee held a joint public hearing with the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee on issues facing Pennsylvania veterans. Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Next Week

The Senate returns to voting session Monday at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.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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