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Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress of my legislative priorities. If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to visit my website at www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about issues that may affect you and your family.

Week of May 15, 2017

The Magna Carta, Property Rights and Senate Bill 76
Listen below to my continued comments on the Senate Floor in favor of Senate Bill 76 for the TOTAL ELIMINATION of school property taxes. The Magna Carta was the first time property rights were protected from an overreaching government, and some say these protections were foundations of later innovation and discovery as citizens were able to reap the fruits of their labors without fear of government seizure. I will continue to say, NO TAX should have the power to leave you homeless!

5/9/17 - School Property Tax Elimination

My May Community Report Cable Show at Quittie Glen, Annville
My May Community Report cable show is ready to watch! This month's show features the beautiful Quittie Glen in Annville, Lebanon County, a center for nontraditional therapeutic activities, integrated medicine and wellness-oriented complementary services, including yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, mindfulness meditation and summer day camps for kids. Comcast on Demand and Harrisburg Broadcast Network (Harrisburg, WHBG-20) should also be airing the show through the month. You can watch the show below!

May 2017 - Quittie Glen

Press Release on Bipartisan Municipal Debt Reform Package
On May 10, myself and Senators John Eichelberger (R-30), John Blake (D-22) and John DiSanto (R-15) and Representatives Francis Ryan (R-101) and Patty Kim (D-103) highlighted a bipartisan municipal debt reform package to address financial transactions that led to the fiscal distress of Harrisburg and other municipalities.

“Tax and rate payers across Pennsylvania assume there are protections in the law to stop public entities from losing public funds on risky investments, or contractors that go under during a project, or engaging in unethical financial practices; currently, these protections don’t exist,” said Senator Eichelberger, prime sponsor of Senate Bill 490 (Local Government Debt Act) and Senate Bill 493 (Bonds and Municipal Debt). “Our bipartisan package of bills will correct these inadequacies.”

I as prime sponsor of Senate Bill 492 (“Swaps” Restrictions) continued that as the Grand Jury report on the Harrisburg incinerator called the City’s financial transactions “a reckless bet,” I believe swaps are gambling with taxpayers’ moneys. If municipal or school district officials guess wrong, taxpayers are on the hook for any losses incurred. Representative Ryan will introduce companion legislation in the House. “As part of a comprehensive financial rescue plan, it is essential that reforms be enacted at the state and municipal levels to ensure our financial viability into the future,” Representative Ryan said.

“It is imperative that we continue to legislate protections in law to ensure accountability and transparency in publicly funded activities,” Senator Blake added. “This bipartisan package of legislation protects the public interest; improves transparency and accountability; and insists upon ethical conduct when local elected and appointed officials vote to issue debt backed up by taxpayer dollars. It is my hope that these bills move quickly through the legislative process and get to the Governor’s desk for his signature.” Senator Blake is the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 491 (Ethics Commission and Municipal Authorities).

Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently released a Grand Jury report on the financial transactions of the Harrisburg incinerator. While a number of the Attorney General’s recommendations on the Harrisburg incinerator are covered by the previously mentioned bills, three additional bills will be introduced to include all of the recommendations.

Senator Blake will introduce Senate Bill 694 to amend the Commonwealth Attorneys Act. Senator DiSanto will introduce Senate Bill 695 to amend the statute of limitations regarding public officials and employees. “Public officials need to be held to a high standard and face accountability when they violate the public trust. This legislation, recommended in a recent report by the Attorney General, will clarify the statute of limitations on crimes related to public employment and provide sufficient time for investigations to be conducted after someone has left office,” Senator DiSanto said. I will introduce Senate Bill 696 to expand public bidding requirements for professional services.

Representative Kim will introduce similar companion bills in the House. “I believe if these reform bills were law 20 years ago, Harrisburg’s financial status would look completely different and on better footing today,” Representative Kim said.

Senate Bills 490-493 are currently in the Senate Local Government Committee. Senate Bills 694-696 will be introduced shortly.

Video of the entire press conference: https://pasen.wistia.com/medias/drx1x0u3rn

Jennifer Gettle, Esq., Governor’s Victim Service Pathfinder Award Recipient
Jennifer Gettle, Esq., of the 48th Senatorial District, was recently honored with the Governor’s Victim Service Pathfinder Award in the Individual Allied Professional category by the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Office of Victims’ Services. Ms. Gettle is a graduate of Penn State University and Widener School of Law, and served as Assistant District Attorney and First Assistant District Attorney for Lebanon County prior to joining the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office as Chief Deputy District Attorney in 2006. A supporter and advocate for victims and witnesses, she implemented the Caring Hearts canine therapy program to provide security and courage to victims who have difficulty discussing details of their case in a trial setting. Through her many initiatives to benefit her community, Ms. Gettle richly deserves this special recognition. Congratulations!

Redith Snoberger Honored with SARCC Children’s Hero Award
Redith Snoberger, of the 48th Senatorial District, was recently honored with the Children’s Hero Award by the Sexual Abuse Resource Counseling Center (SARCC) of Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties. She was a school nurse in the Cornwall-Lebanon School District from 1974 to 1996, and throughout her tenure, quietly ensured that children she served had what they needed, including meals and gifts during the holidays. She also networked with local charitable organizations to obtain shoes and eyeglasses for children in need. After her retirement, Ms. Snoberger became a SARCC Board Member, and was instrumental in the creation of the Children’s Counseling Program, two capital campaigns, the satellite office of the Children’s Resource Center and the education of school nurses regarding child safety in the home. Since 1998, she has hosted a fundraising tea, and for the past 15 years has served as Project Manager for SARCC’s miniature golf tournament for children. Ms. Snoberger truly exemplifies the best qualities of the human experience, and her spirit of giving and dedication has greatly enhanced the lives of others! Congratulations!

Amazon Surprises Red Mill Elementary with $15,000 of Technology and Supplies
I was happy to be present this week when Amazon surprised Red Mill Elementary School students in Etters, York County, with $15,000 worth of technology, furniture and supplies. The donation will help launch the school’s new library maker space to focus on the importance of summer reading, and will also support a new personalized learning pilot.

Senate State Government Committee Public Hearing
The Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, held a public hearing on May 9 on Senator Aument’s Senate Bill 527, which would establish an Independent Office of Inspector General. You can watch the hearing in its entirety below.

5/9/17 - Independent Office of Inspector General (SB 527)

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House for Further Consideration
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 143 – changes to the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Board;
Senate Bill 201 – (46-4) my bill that allows small business to use “like-kind” exchanges for tax purposes;
Senate Bill 222 – adds Court of Common Pleas judges;
Senate Bill 354 – strengthens reporting requirements for license holders under the PA Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs;
Senate Bill 560 – allows body cameras for police and other recordings.

Bill Unanimously Passes Senate, Goes to Governor for Further Action
House Bill 224 – applies Good Samaritan civil immunity to school bus drivers who administer Epi-Pens to students.

Executive Nominations Unanimously Confirmed by the Senate
Philadelphia School Reform Commission – Estelle Richman, Philadelphia
Animal Health & Diagnostic Commission – Michael Firestine, Womelsdorf and Melvin Gehman, Annville
State Architects Licensure Board – Philip Leinbach, Mohrsville
State Board of Barber Examiners – Margaret Moore, Harrisburg and Dominic Muniz, Philadelphia
State Board of Massage Therapy – Gloria Rosado, Reading
State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators – Anna Messmer-Wise, Washington
State Board of Occupational Therapy Education and Licensure – Carolyn Gatty, Mifflinburg
State Board of Physical Therapy – Tammy Frey, Bloomsburg
State Board of Podiatry – Melissa Haluszczak, Corapolis
State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors – Amy Keisling, Harrisburg


Contact Information
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