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
Week of September 25, 2017
Bills Pass Senate, Go to House for Further Consideration
All bills passed unanimously.
Senate Bill 135 – allows the use of leashed tracking dogs to recover legally
Senate Bill 252 – amends the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s Enabling Act to
support private development;
Senate Bill 751 – provides for licensure and regulation of non-bank mortgage
Senate Bill 785 – expands the use of low-speed vehicles on public highways.
Motion to Non-Concur in House Amendments to House Bill 453
House Bill 453, the Fiscal Code, as amended by the House of
Representatives, called for removing moneys from certain designated funds and
settlement agreements to put into the General Fund in an effort to end the
Click here to see these proposed fund transfers. While I supported the
concept of using unused, surplus moneys, I had questions with the details –
beginning with using transportation moneys for General Fund purposes, which
raises a number of constitutional questions. The Senate voted to non-concur by a
43-7. The bill now returns to the House for further consideration.
Senate Bill 76 Floor Remarks
This week on the Senate Floor, I shared remarks my friend and constituent,
Jim Rodkey, recently made at a public forum on school property tax reform. I
want you to hear what frustrated citizens say about these taxes, and why so many
PA residents support
SB 76 for the total elimination for school property taxes.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Expand Homestead Exclusion on
On November 7, PA voters will be asked to consider a proposed constitutional
amendment to enact legislation to expand the current homestead exclusion. 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?”
Executive Nominations Unanimously Confirmed by the Senate
State Board of Auctioneer Examiners – Sherman Hostetter, Jr., Beaver and
Nevin Rentzel, York
PA Cancer Control, Prevention & Research Advisory Board – Susanne Gollin,
State Board of Chiropractic – John McCarrin, West Chester
State Conservation Commission – Ronald Kopp, a constituent of Middletown and
the 48th Senatorial District, Michael Flinchbaugh, York, and Ronald
State Board of Dentistry – R. Ivan Lugo, DMD, MBA, FA, Philadelphia
Officers’ Education and Training Commission – Richard Bosco, Greensburg,
Douglas Grimes, Canonsburg, and Guy Salerno, Peckville
State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and
Geologists – Michael Brinkash, Locust Gap
State Real Estate Commission – Armand Ferrara, Jr., Charleroi and Edward
Standards and Practices Commission – Christopher Gegaris, Mountain Top,
Michael Pawlik, Shickshinny, and Audrey Silverstein, Merion Station
Board of Trustees of Temple
University Commonwealth System of Higher Education – Patrick Eiding,
Philadelphia and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, Huntingdon Valley
Senate Guest Chaplain: Rev. Nick Keeney, Chambers Hill United
On September 20, Reverend Nick Keeney, of Chambers Hill United Methodist
Church, was the Senate’s Guest Chaplain. Rev. Keeney grew up on a farm in
Wyalusing, PA and earned a degree in Economics from Alfred University before
receiving a Masters in Divinity from Duke University. He has served churches in
North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania. Pastor Nick is passionate about the
ways congregations can connect to and serve their neighborhoods. Watch my
introduction of Rev. Keeney
Attorneys General Demand Equifax Stop Charging for
Credit Freeze Fees
A bipartisan group of 32 Attorneys General from across the country, including
the PA Attorney General, sent a
letter to Equifax demanding the credit reporting agency stop charging fees to
consumers attempting to freeze their credit following the massive data breach
affecting 143 million Americans and up to 5.4 million Pennsylvanians.
According to a
press release from the PA
Attorney General, the letter demands Equifax: disable all fee-based
services for consumers to check their credit, and offer only free credit-check
services to consumers; reimburse consumers for all costs they incur to freeze
their credit because of the breach – including costs they incur at other credit
reporting agencies; staff hotlines 24 hours daily and more prominently display
call numbers on their websites, and; disclose its plans to communicate with
impacted consumers, which will help Attorneys General detect unauthorized scam
and phony communications to consumers. Although Equifax has agreed to waive
credit freeze fees, Experian and Transunion continue to charge fees for credit
A group of Attorneys General are conducting a probe launched the day after
Equifax publicly disclosed the data breach on August 7. In a letter sent to
Equifax, the Attorneys General demanded information about the circumstances that
led to the breach, the reasons for the six-week delay in public disclosure, the
protections in place at the time of the breach and the proposed response by
Equifax to safeguard consumers moving forward.
Column – Happy Birthday: US Constitution
September 17 marked the 230th anniversary of the United States
Constitution as on that date in 1787 it was signed by 39 of the 55 delegates to
the Constitutional Convention. The document then went to the states (13) for
their approval, with nine (three-quarters) being the required number for
Delaware (December 7, 1787) was the first to ratify, Pennsylvania (December
12, 1787) the second, and New Hampshire (June 21, 1788) the ninth and deciding
state. The first Congress, consisting of 20 Senators and 59 Representatives,
convened on March 4, 1789 in New York City. George Washington, the first
President (and only President unanimously elected by the Electoral College),
took the oath of office on the balcony of the Senate Chamber at Federal Hall on
Wall Street on April 30, 1789.
Some delegates at the Constitutional Convention would not sign the document
because it lacked a Bill of Rights. These concerns carried over to the states’
ratifying conventions and the subsequent debates. Some of these fears were
addressed through the 85 Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton (52),
James Madison (28), and John Jay (5).
The 1st Congress of the United States recommended 12
Constitutional amendments to the states to put these concerns to rest. When the
10th state (Virginia) approved 10 of these amendments on December 15,
1791, America had a formal Bill of Rights.
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of religion,
freedom of press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of petition.
The Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms.
The Third Amendment prohibits the quartering of soldiers in private homes.
The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a speedy trial, an impartial
jury, the ability to confront witnesses, and the right to counsel.
The Seventh Amendment guarantees the right to a trial by jury.
The Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bail and cruel and unusual
The Ninth Amendment guarantees people’s rights – even those not listed: “the
enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to
deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
The Tenth Amendment guarantees state sovereignty: “the powers not delegated
to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States,
are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Every elected official – federal, state, and local – swears or affirms they
will “support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States and
Constitution of this Commonwealth.” We’d have a lot fewer problems if they did.
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are
of concern to you. I may be reached through my
website or my Lebanon or Harrisburg offices.
When contacting my office by
e-mail, mail, or telephone, please be sure to share your e-mail, telephone
number, and address so that we can follow up with you in a timely manner. Many
inquiries can be handled with a phone call or email.
Was this message forwarded to you? Visit
my website if you would like to receive your own copy of "Mike's Memo."
If you no longer wish to receive "Mike's Memo," please click
here to unsubscribe.
337 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
101 Municipal Building
400 South 8th Street
Lebanon, PA 17042
Toll Free: 1-877-222-1897