I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features events and legislative activities from the Session Week of May 8, 2017.
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Conventional Well Operators Release Economic Impact Study
I was pleased to join with the Pennsylvania Grade Crude Coalition (PGCC) and representatives of the Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers (PIPP) at a Tuesday press conference in the Capitol Rotunda to discuss a new report detailing the economic impact of Pennsylvania’s conventional oil and gas well operations.
As someone who grew up in Oil City, within miles of the very first petroleum well, up at Drake Well, it is easy for someone like me to take for granted the economic impact of this industry. I am happy that we have now put it in black and white to share with my colleagues, to share with regulators and the public the family sustaining jobs that we are talking about and the economic impact and the service that this industry provides.
During the press conference, I pointed out the many artistic depictions of the oil and petroleum industry in the State Capitol. In fact, one of the four main murals in the Capitol Rotunda is the “Spirit of Light,” which shows the critical role the oil industry has played for 150 years in Pennsylvania and our nation. Audio of my remarks at the press conference.
As reported by the study, the conventional oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania has an estimated $1.4 billion impact each year on our economy. The conventional industry in Pennsylvania touches each of us daily and is directly responsible for 5600 jobs and pays approximately $17 million in taxes to the Commonwealth annually. Click here to read the report.
Senate Honors Tara Hixon for 30 Years of Dedicated Service
On Wednesday, the Senate honored Tara Hixon, the Executive Secretary in my Harrisburg Office upon her retirement after 30 years of dedicated service to the Senate. I offer my best wishes to Tara for a long, happy and healthy retirement.
Senate Sends Epi-Pen Civil Immunity Measure to Governor
The Senate approved a measure on Monday that would provide civil immunity to school bus drivers and crossing guards who administer an epinephrine auto-injector, or “epi-pen,” to assist a student who is experiencing a seizure. House Bill 224 now goes to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law.
Under the legislation, a bus driver or crossing guard must first complete a training program developed by the state Department of Health and comply with school district policy to be qualified to use an epi-pen. The bill does not require school districts or school bus companies to enact an epi-pen policy, but would ensure that such a policy would provide for civil immunity if the guidelines are met.
Senate recognizes May 14, 2017 as Apraxia Awareness Day
On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously adopted a resolution I introduced recognizing May 14, 2017 as Apraxia Awareness Day in Pennsylvania. Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a little-known neurological disorder that inhibits an child’s ability to pronounce words and syllables, despite having a good understanding of spoken language and knowing what they want to say.
Apraxia has no known cure; however, it is recognized that early intervention and aggressive speech therapy can help a child overcome the disorder. The National Institutes of Health also emphasizes the importance of a strong support network of family and friends in helping a child with Apraxia achieve language development.
Audio of my floor remarks on this Resolution.
Senate Approves Bill Addressing Police Body Cameras
The Senate approved a measure on Wednesday amending Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Act to allow police officers to use body-worn cameras. Senate Bill 560 will not only allow police to record statements and actions at a crime scene, but the recordings will also hold both police and the public accountable for their actions during law enforcement incidents.
Currently, police may record video, but not audio inside a residence. Senate Bill 560 eliminates this restriction. It also removes the requirement that an officer must announce to everyone in a public space that they are being recorded.
Senate Bill 560 allows access by the public to audio and video recordings by police. Because these recordings are primarily intended to gather evidence, they will not be subject to presumptive disclosure under the Commonwealth’s Right to Know statute. The media and the public may submit a written request to the law enforcement agency for the recordings. If the request is denied, they may petition the county court of common pleas for access to the recordings.
Senate Bill 560 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The Senate also approved and sent to the House five additional bills this week.
Senate Bill 143 makes changes to the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Board.
Senate Bill 201 provides for “like-kind” exchange tax deferrals.
Senate Bill 222 adds Court of Common Pleas judges in several counties across the state.
Senate Bill 289 is a bridge renaming bill.
Senate Bill 354 strengthens licensee reporting requirements to the Department of State.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved five bills on Monday.
Senate Bill 222 adds Court of Common Pleas judges in several counties across the state.
Senate Bill 269 amends the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code.
Senate Bill 522 amends Title 42 and Title 61 to merge the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole as the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Senate Bill 523 amends the Crime Victims Act to merge the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole as the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Senate Bill 651 is the Capital Budget Project Itemization Act of Fiscal year 2017-18.
Rules & Executive Nominations
The Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee approved Senate Bill 561 on Monday. The bill would require the approval of the General Assembly and the Governor for all new regulations with an economic impact or cost exceeding $1 million to the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions, and the private sector.
Law & Justice
The Senate Law & Justice Committee approved three measures on Tuesday.
House Bill 27 addresses the release of law enforcement officer information in cases involving the discharge of a firearm or use of force.
Senate Resolution 75 directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to review how Pennsylvania accounts for and analyzes forensic evidence kits (rape kits).
Senate Bill 403 removes the Governor’s appointment of an FBI Agent to the Municipal Police Officers Education & Training Commission and replaces it with a Governor’s appointment of a member of the State Fraternal Order of Police.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved five bills on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 113 would allow family members to have access and visitation rights with regard to a person who is incapacitated and under court-appointed guardianship.
Senate Bill 121 expands access to the Statewide Intermediate Punishment Program to individuals who have committed crimes due to gambling addiction.
House Bill 267 adds the new offense of theft of secondary metal. Secondary metal is defined as wire, pipe or cable commonly used by utility and transportation companies as well as copper, aluminum or other metals that are valuable for recycling or reuse.
Senate Bill 449 would allow Magisterial District Judges to use a risk assessment tool when determining bail in domestic violence cases.
Senate Bill 636 prohibits the confinement of a dog or cat in an unattended motor vehicle in a manner that would endanger the health and well-being of the animal.
The Senate Transportation Committee approved six bills and a resolution on Wednesday.
Senate Resolution 76 directs the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the feasibility of increasing passenger rail service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.
House Bill 93 is a highway renaming bill.
House Bill 103 is a bridge renaming bill.
House Bill 199 is a highway renaming bill.
Senate Bill 431 increases fines for littering.
Senate Bill 444 adjusts the reimbursement rate annually (based on inflation) for municipalities under the State Highway Transfer Restoration Restricted Account.
House Bill 834 is a bridge renaming bill.
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