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Senator Mario Scavello

In this Edition:

  • Scavello Senior Expo Set for July 17
  • Scavello Bill to Fund Spinal Cord Disability Research Approved by Committee
  • Scavello Chairs Hearing on PA Tourism
  • Senate Passes Measure to Promote Independence of Inspector General
  • Senate Approves Bill Requiring Legislative Approval of Costly Regulations
  • Other Bills Approved by the Senate and sent to the House
  • Bills Sent to Governor
  • Committee Round-Up
  • Around the 40th District
  • Next Week

Scavello Senior Expo Set for July 17

I am hosting my annual Senior Expo on Monday, July 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pocono Mountain Swiftwater Elementary Center (135 Academic Drive, Swiftwater, PA) with my co-hosts State Representatives Rosemary Brown and Jack Rader.

This event promises something for everyone, with a myriad of state and local resources available to seniors. Join us for a day full of free educational seminars, prices, health screenings, door prizes and more. Exhibitors from numerous government agencies and senior citizen organizations will be on hand to offer their services.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call my office at 570-620-4326.


Scavello Bill to Fund Spinal Cord Disability Research Approved by Committee

Legislation I am sponsoring to fund spinal cord disability research in Pennsylvania was approved Tuesday by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

Senate Bill 31 would create the Spinal Cord Disability Research Grant Program aimed at discovering new and innovative treatments and rehabilitative efforts for spinal cord disabilities. The legislation would invest $1 million into a grant program that awards grants to research institutions for research into spinal cord injuries.

The funding does not use new revenue, but rather existing money dedicated toward health-related research programs.

Pennsylvania is rich with talented research universities and an innovative medical field, which means we are well positioned to bring hope to citizens with spinal injuries. One million dollars can go a long way in providing breakthroughs in spinal cord research. It could someday be the difference that helps millions live a vital, full life.

Pennsylvania would join a dozen other states, including New Jersey, Ohio, New York, Maryland and Virginia, supporting this effort. Many of these states now represent the cutting edge in spinal cord research and have made extensive breakthroughs in a short period of time.

Senate Bill 31 is now before the full Senate for consideration.


Scavello Chairs Hearing on PA Tourism

6/13/17 - Tourism Industry in Pennsylvania

On Tuesday, the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, which I chair, held a public hearing to receive testimony on the importance of Pennsylvania’s tourism industry and its economic impact on the economy, as well as to receive input on tourism funding.

Testifiers included Carrie Lepore, Deputy Secretary of Marketing, Tourism and Film at the state Department of Community and Economic Development, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau President and CEO Chris Barrett, and Kalahari Resorts General Manager Don Pleau.

Governor Wolf has proposed $10 million for the Marketing to Attract Tourists line item in the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 budget.

Pennsylvania has a long tourism tradition, with a remaining untapped potential as a tourist destination. We receive one million visitors annually from overseas and two million from Canada. The Commonwealth’s location has it well positioned to take advantage of the projected growth in international and domestic travel.

Tourism is a major economic driver, with every dollar invested equal to four to five dollars in tax revenue. Tourism is one of the largest industries in Pennsylvania, generating nearly $39.2 billion annually in visitor spending. If we do not invest, we will not grow the industry, and the tourism line item is one of the few line items in the budget that generates an immediate return on investment for the Commonwealth. 


Senate Passes Measure to Promote Independence of Inspector General

The Office of Inspector General would have greater authority and independence to investigate and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars under legislation approved by the Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 527, which I am co-sponsoring, would establish the Office of Inspector General in statute. The office currently operates under Executive Order and could be eliminated at any time. The bill would provide the office its own appropriation in the state budget and broaden the office’s authority to bring criminal charges, issue subpoenas and investigate and eliminate fraud in human services programs.

Similar legislation was approved by the General Assembly last year, but Governor Wolf vetoed the measure. Senate Bill 527 would allow the governor to appoint an Inspector General who meets certain qualifications, including a prohibition on serving in any elected office. The bill also allows the Governor to remove the Inspector General for cause, a provision that is consistent with the Executive Order that created the position in 1987.

Senate Bill 527 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Approves Bill Requiring Legislative Approval of Costly Regulations

Legislation I’m co-sponsoring to prohibit costly government regulations from being imposed without approval by the General Assembly and Governor was approved by the Senate on Tuesday.

Under Senate Bill 561, no regulation with an economic impact or cost to the Commonwealth, to its political subdivisions, and to the private sector exceeding $1 million could be imposed without approval of the General Assembly and Governor. This change would help protect businesses, non-profits, educational institutions and individuals from costly, burdensome regulations.

Currently, the regulatory review process requires the General Assembly to pass a concurrent resolution disapproving a regulation. However, the Governor must sign the disapproval resolution to bar his own agencies from enacting the regulation, a highly unlikely scenario. Senate Bill 561 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House

Senate Bill 303 addresses Project 70 restrictions on lands owned by the Borough of Topton.

Senate Bill 496 provides additional sentencing provisions for trespassing at gaming establishments.

Senate Bill 646 amends Act 101 of 1988, the Municipal Waste Planning Recycling and Waste Reduction Act.

Bills Sent to Governor

The Senate gave final legislative approval to three House Bills these week and sent the measures to the Governor’s desk for his signature and enactment into law.

House Bill 93 designates a portion of State Route 93 in Columbia County as the Stuart Tank Memorial Highway.

House Bill 267 adds the new offense of theft of secondary metal. Secondary metal is defined as wire, pipe or cable commonly used by communications, gas, water, wastewater, and electrical utilities and railroads and mass transit or commuter rail agencies, copper, aluminum or other metal, or a combination of metals valuable for recycling or reuse as raw material.

House Bill 1071 prohibits political subdivisions from imposing a recyclable plastic bag ban or levying a fee, surcharge or tax on plastic bags.

Committee Round-Up

A recap of activity by the Senate committees I serve on.

Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee met on Monday and Tuesday to approve 14 bills.

House Bill 16 amends the Local Tax Collection Law to prohibit tax payments to an account in an individual’s name and requires the creation of a separate account to be used solely for tax purposes.

Senate Bill 168 provides for public notice of collective bargaining agreements prior to approval.

Senate Bill 178 updates and modernizes the state History Code.

Senate Bill 461 would modernize and strengthen the use of DNA technology to better fight violent crime in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 527 creates an independent Office of Inspector General.

Senate Bill 680 provides for expenses of the State Employees' Retirement Board for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 681 provides for expenses of the Public School Employees' Retirement Board for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 682 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding to the Department of State for use by the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs.

Senate Bill 683 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding to the Department of Labor & Industry and the Department of Community & Economic Development to provide for the expenses of administering the Workers' Compensation Act.

Senate Bill 684 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the Public Utility Commission.

Senate Bill 685 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the Office of Consumer Advocate in the Office of Attorney General.

Senate Bill 686 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the Office of Small Business Advocate in the Department of Community & Economic Development.

Senate Bill 687 makes appropriations from restricted revenue accounts within the State Gaming Fund and from the State Gaming Fund to the Attorney General, the Department of Revenue, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 688 makes appropriations from the Philadelphia Taxicab & Limousine Regulatory Fund and the Philadelphia Taxicab Medallion Fund to the Philadelphia Parking Authority for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 697 is the Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

House Bill 1071 prohibits political subdivisions from imposing a recyclable plastic bag ban or levying a fee, surcharge or tax on plastic bags.

Banking & Insurance

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved five bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 471 provides an expedited foreclosure process for vacant or abandoned properties.

Senate Bill 590 increases the service charge for bad checks.

Senate Bill 629 updates the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act.

Senate Bill 751 provides for regulation and licensure of mortgage servicers.

House Bill 1039 authorizes and regulates savings promotion raffles.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 472 limits the prescription for a controlled substance containing an opioid to seven days.

Senate Bill 542 permits pharmacists to dispense emergency prescription refills for up to 30 days pursuant to certain restrictions.

Senate Bill 616 requires funeral directors, pre-need or cemetery companies to provide information regarding the availability of VA burial benefits.

Game & Fisheries

The Senate Game and Fisheries Committee and the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee held a public hearing Tuesday on Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD affects the brain and nervous system of infected deer, elk and moose, eventually resulting in death. CWD has been detected in three locations in Pennsylvania: a captive deer farm in Adams County, free-ranging deer in Blair and Bedford counties, and a captive deer farm in Jefferson County. Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved five bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 145 requires passengers in a vehicle to render aid to anyone injured in an accident.

House Bill 188 increases the income limit for retired persons to qualify for a vehicle registration fee exemption from $19,200 to $23,500.

House Bill 283 renames several highways and bridges.

Senate Bill 753 limits liability for emergency service responders who move a vehicle off of the roadway from an accident scene.

House Bill 952 is a bridge renaming bill.


Around the 40th District

Susan Folk Retirement

Congratulations to Susan Folk on her most deserved retirement as Executive Director of Development Educational Services. You are a very special person. God Bless you on your retirement.


Clark Strasser Earns Eagle Rank

This week, we celebrated Clark Strasser of Troop 86 earning the rank of Eagle Scout. Best wishes on your continued success, Clark!


Deutsch and Bassert Recognized as Eagle Scouts

Justin Deutsch and Dalton Bassert are the newest Eagle Scouts of Troop 79. Congratulations to both of these young men. I commend you on your outstanding work and dedication to earn this prestigious honor.


Troop 44 Award Three with Eagle Scout Honors

This past weekend I joined PA State Rep. Joe Emrick and PA State Rep. Marcia Hahn in recognizing Sam Borick, Tristin Liberti and Michael McFarland of Troop 44 as they celebrated achieving Scouting's highest rank. Well done and congratulations on your years of hard work!


Local Student Shadows Senator Scavello in Capitol

This week I was joined in the Capitol by a student from my district, Emily Zuluaga, to shadow me in Harrisburg for the day. She even got to meet Governor Tom Wolf and get a picture! Great job, Emily! I hope you found your time valuable and full of new experiences.


Next Week

The Senate will reconvene on Monday, June 19 at 1 p.m. You can watch live at PASenateGOP.com.


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Offices

Senate Box 203040
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3040
Phone: (717) 787-6123

Monroe County Office
DePue Plaza
2989 Route 611, Suite 103
Tannersville, PA 18372
Phone (570) 620-4326
FAX (570) 620-4379
8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Northampton County Office
2 North Robinson Avenue
Pen Argyl, PA 18072
Phone (610) 863-1200
FAX (610) 863-1214
8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

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