I will be sending out periodic Enewsletters to keep you informed about legislative action in Harrisburg and local items of interest. I hope that you find this information useful and share it with others.
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Please do not hesitate to contact me to express your views or to receive assistance with any issue or problem pertaining to state government.
Long Overdue Pension Reform in Pennsylvania
This week in Harrisburg the General Assembly has been hard at work on an issue that has long been an issue in our state, pension reform. For more than a decade, the pension crisis has inflicted severe budget pressures on schools and taxpayers.
Local taxpayers have suffered from higher property taxes as a direct result of pension costs, and the hundreds of millions of new dollars invested in our schools in recent state budgets have been diverted to meet rising pension obligations instead of being put to good use in the classroom.
Senator Majority Leader Senator Jake Corman this session introduced Senate Bill 1, which aims to modernize the public employee pension system in order to protect taxpayers in the future. New employees could choose between three retirement options, including a full 401(k)-style plan or one of two side-by-side hybrid plans that include both a defined benefit (traditional pension) and a defined contribution (401(k)-style) option. It is important to note that SB 1 will only apply to new hires. Current retirees will see no change to their benefit.
Over the long term, it is estimated that Senate Bill 1 will save more than $5 billion, and additional savings of up to $3 billion is projected in terms of reduced costs and fees for investment management. More importantly, it reduces future risks for taxpayers. Under the current system, taxpayers shoulder all of the financial burden if the state’s retirement investment returns fail to meet projections.
Senate Bill 1 has passed both the Senate and House, and Governor Tom Wolf is expected to sign the legislation that has received bi-partisan support in the General Assembly.
Killion, Corbin, and District Attorney Hogan Propose Stronger Hate Crime Law to Protect Pennsylvanians with Disabilities
On Thursday, June 8, 2017, I was joined by Rep. Becky Corbin (R-155) and Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan to announce proposed legislation to expand Pennsylvania’s hate crime statute. The proposal was motivated by recent attacks in West Chester, Chester County, and the Germantown section of Philadelphia.
Senate Bill 749 and House Bill 1528 will add individuals with intellectual or physical disabilities to those protected by Pennsylvania’s hate crime statute.
Two recent attacks against disabled individuals were appalling and repugnant crimes against the victims and society as a whole. We are better than that and we cannot allow such deplorable conduct to be tolerated. Senate Bill 749 will give prosecutors the ability hold the individuals perpetrating these despicable crimes accountable. I commend District Attorney Hogan for bringing this gap in the law to our attention and his leadership in working with us to fix this problem.
Currently, prosecutors can only consider enhanced charges under Pennsylvania’s hate crime statute for certain crimes committed with intentional malice against someone based on their race, color, religion or national origin.
There has been an ongoing effort to expand community placements for individuals with disabilities in Pennsylvania. More citizens are participating in community-based residential and vocational programs.
Make Sure to Reserve Your Spot
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Extension
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program deadline for older adults and residents with disabilities to apply for rebates of rent and property taxes paid in 2016 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2017. Each year the Revenue Department evaluates the program as the application deadline approaches to determine if funds are available to extend the deadline.
The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers age 50 and older, and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters; half of Social Security income is excluded.
Find the link here.
As of August 4, the PA Turnpike Commission will be able to request that PennDOT suspend licenses of drivers with unpaid toll violations totaling $500 or more. Before the law takes effect, a partial amnesty program will allow motorists with toll violations that have not been placed with a collection agency to settle by paying all tolls for any violations or invoices, and the Commission will waive all administrative fees.
Read more about it here.
Route 322 Update
Daytime lane closures are scheduled next week on U.S. 322 (Conchester Highway) from U.S. 1 (Baltimore Pike) to just east of Clayton Park Drive in Concord Township, Delaware County. On Monday, June 12, through Friday, June 16, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, flaggers will direct an alternating single lane of traffic on U.S. 322 (Conchester Highway) through various work areas along the 2.6-mile construction zone.
Motorists should expect delays on U.S. 322 (Conchester Highway) and on northbound U.S. 1 (Baltimore Pike) approaching U.S. 322 (Conchester Highway), allow extra time for travel through the work areas, or use an alternate route. All scheduled activities are weather dependent.
For more information and to sign up for email alerts about the project, go to us322conchester.com.
For more information on projects occurring or being bid this year, those made possible by or accelerated by Act 89, or those on the department’s Four and Twelve Year Plans, visit www.projects.penndot.gov.
Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 825 traffic cameras.
How We Can Help You
Here are some of the ways that my office can assist you:
How to Contact Me
I have staffed offices in the district and Harrisburg to provide you with top-notch constituent service and provide answers to legislative inquiries.
The district offices are located at:
4110 Edgmont Ave, Brookhaven, PA 19015. The phone number is (610) 447-3163.
780 E. Market St, Ste140, West Chester, PA 19382. The phone number is (610) 436-3320.
Both offices are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
My Harrisburg office can be reached by phone at (717) 787-4712 or by mail at Senate Box 203009, Harrisburg, PA 17120.
If you are having any problems with state agencies or need help with a problem relating to government, my staff and I will be happy to assist you.
Senate Box 203009
4110 Edgmont Ave
780 E. Market St