Senator Mario Scavello E-Newsletter

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Week of April 23, 2018

In this Edition:

  • Scavello Introduces Bill to Implement Property Tax Elimination Chosen by Voters
  • Bill to Create Maternal Death Review Committee Sent to Governor
  • School Safety Measure Sent to House of Representatives
  • Senate Approves New Marketing Tool for Veteran-Owned Businesses
  • Additional Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House of Representatives
  • Committee Roundup
  • Around the 40th District
  • Up Next

Scavello Introduces Bill to Implement Property Tax Elimination Chosen by Voters

4/23/18 - School Property Tax Elimination (SB 1137)

This week I announced legislation to eliminate residential school property taxes through the state’s existing homestead exclusion program.

Senate Bill 1137 is the implementing legislation from the ballot referendum passed in November, where voters across the state supported a constitutional amendment to expand the exclusion program.

My proposed legislation provides elimination of school property taxes on all owner-occupied homes by shifting the tax burden from homestead properties to an increase in the state personal income tax (PIT), referred to as the “Education Tax.” The legislation would increase the personal income tax rate 1.98 percent to 5.05 percent.

The bill raises $9.3 billion in revenue to cover the $8 billion school property tax shift from owner-occupied homes, as recommended by the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO).

While I remain a supporter of Senate Bill 76, homeowners in my district, especially seniors, cannot afford to continue to wait and lose their homes to high school property taxes. I have heard from countless constituents imploring me to “Do something!” to fix school property taxes. Unfortunately, SB 76 has not seen any movement since it was introduced in June 2017 and the sponsor of the House version waited almost a year-and-a-half to re-submit his version of the same bill.   

My bill simply expands the state’s existing homestead exclusion program, drawing language specifically out of Senate Bill 76 and existing state law, to provide full elimination on owner-occupied homes. 

Any tax that would take a person’s home after working their entire life to pay for it is wrong and immoral. No individual should have to choose between paying for prescription medications, taking care of their health and paying for property taxes.

I am hopeful that this legislation takes us a step closer to protect and safeguard the right to own one’s home.

Bill to Create Maternal Death Review Committee Sent to Governor

The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday that would create a statewide review committee to identify and investigate pregnancy-related deaths among expectant and new mothers. The measure now goes to the Governor for enactment into law.

House Bill 1869 establishes a committee to review maternal deaths and develop strategies for the prevention of maternal deaths. The 14-member Maternal Mortality Review Committee would be empowered to track cases involving women who die within one year of the end of a pregnancy and develop recommendations to prevent such deaths. Currently, 32 states have maternal mortality review committees in operation or in development.

Between 700 and 900 American women die each year from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth. The rate of life-threatening complications has soared in the past few decades, impacting more than 50,000 women annually.         

Also sent to the Governor this week was House Bill 1926, which designates a portion of Fort Washington Avenue in Montgomery County as the SPC5 George W. Charters, Jr., Memorial Highway.

School Safety Measure Sent to House of Representatives

The Senate approved a measure on Wednesday that will give school districts in areas without municipal police coverage a new option for protecting their students.

Senate Bill 1136 amends the state School Code to allow a school located in a municipality without a municipal police department to enter into a cooperative police service agreement with an adjacent municipality.

Senate Bill 1136 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Approves New Marketing Tool for Veteran-Owned Businesses

The Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would provide a valuable new marketing tool for veteran-owned businesses.

Senate Bill 1041 directs the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to create logos to promote businesses owned by veterans, disabled veterans, active duty service members and members of the National Guard and reserves.  The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Additional Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House of Representatives

Senate Resolution 258 urges Congress to remove marijuana from Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act.

Senate Bill 384 removes the current exemption for Philadelphia from the Assessors Certification Act of 1992. 

Senate Bill 435 would require all motorists to clear snow and ice from the top of their vehicles before driving. 

House Bill 478 requires outpatient psychiatric clinics to have a psychiatrist on site for two hours of psychiatric time per week for each full-time equivalent treatment staff member employed by the clinic. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 627 ensures that all air freight companies are treated equally under Pennsylvania tax law.

Senate Bill 1056 allows long-standing deductions for depreciation in determining taxable income.

Senate Bill 1070 creates a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee. This is a Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which seeks to increase probation and parole supervision to reduce recidivism and expand the use of alternative sentencing programs.

Senate Bill 1071 streamlines the process for placement in State Intermediate Punishment. This is a Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which seeks to increase probation and parole supervision to reduce recidivism and expand the use of alternative sentencing programs.

Senate Bill 1072 revises sentencing laws. This is a Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which seeks to increase probation and parole supervision to reduce recidivism and expand the use of alternative sentencing programs.

Senate Bill 1091 provides for contributions for pediatric cancer research and establishes the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund.

Committee Roundup

Aging &Youth

 The Senate Aging and Youth Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 891 requires the Department of Aging to cross-check its list of PACE and PACENET beneficiaries with death records maintained by the Department of Health.

House Bill 1232 requires schools and hospitals to display a poster that includes the statewide toll-free telephone number for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect.

Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved 15 bills on Monday.

Senate Bill 384 removes the current exemption for Philadelphia from the Assessors Certification Act of 1992. 

House Bill 478 requires outpatient psychiatric clinics to have a psychiatrist on site for two hours of psychiatric time per week for each full-time equivalent treatment staff member employed by the clinic.

Senate Bill 627 ensures that all air freight companies are treated equally under Pennsylvania tax law.

Senate Bill 995 is the capital budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19.

Senate Bill 1031 requires the Department of Insurance to submit an annual report detailing its spending for third-parties contractors to conduct fiscal examinations of insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1056 allows long-standing deductions for depreciation in determining taxable income.

Senate Bill 1091 provides for contributions for pediatric cancer research and establishes the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund.

Senate Bill 1117 is the State Gaming Fund Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2018-19.

Senate Bill 1118 is Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission funding for Fiscal Year 2018-19.

Senate Bill 1119 is Workers’ Compensation Act and Office of Small Business Advocate funding for Fiscal Year 2018-19.

Senate Bill 1120 is Bureau of Professional and Occupations Affairs funding, including the State Athletic Commission, for Fiscal Year 2018-19.

Senate Bill 1121 is Office of Consumer Advocate funding for Fiscal Year 2018-19.

Senate Bill 1122 is Office of Small Business Advocate funding for Fiscal Year 2018-19.

Senate Bill 1124 is State Employees’ Retirement Board funding for Fiscal Year 2018-19.

Senate Bill 1125 is Public School Employees’ Retirement Board funding for Fiscal Year 2018-19.

The Appropriations Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 576 defines the difference between an inducement for a patient to participate in a cancer clinical trial and the reimbursement of expenses for participating in a clinical trial.

Senate Bill 1136 amends state law regarding school police officers.

The Appropriations Committee approved House Bill 83 on Wednesday. The bill requires that, except in cases of refunding bond issuance, all debt amortization must be done using an equal annual maturities plan.

Community, Economic & Recreational Development

The Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 864 allows 50/50 drawings at the Pittsburgh Airport.

Senate Bill 1047 provides for the Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

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

Senate Bill 835 regulates pipeline land agents.

Senate Bill 930 provides for pipeline emergency management information.

Senate Bill 931 provides for pipeline safety valves.

Education

The Senate Education Committee approved three bills on Monday.

House Bill 679 requires the Department of Education to establish a central online clearinghouse, including an online database of online courses for students enrolled in grades six through 12.

House Bill 857 adds online schools to the types of schools licensed, regulated, and inspected by the State Board of Private Academic Schools.

Senate Bill 1136 amends state law regarding school police officers.

The Education Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1104 changes the certification requirements for vocational teachers.

Senate Bill 1142 establishes the Safe2Say Program and provides methods of anonymous reporting unsafe activities in schools.

Environmental Resources & Energy

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee held a public hearing Wednesday on flooding and emergency response. Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved five bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 897 expands the scope of restitution for victims to include government agencies, non-profits, corporations and other similar organizations. 

Senate Bill 1036 addresses the inability to pay fines and court costs.

Senate Bill 1126 requires training for the minor judiciary to better identify indigent individuals unable to pay court costs, fines, and fees.

Senate Bill 1127 increases the penalties for the fraudulent traffic of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

House Bill 1979 removes a sunset provision for a 20-year statute of limitations on actions on instruments under seal.

Local Government

The Senate Local Government Committee approved five bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 479 addresses intergovernmental agreements.

House Bill 480 addresses intergovernmental agreements.

House Bill 481 addresses intergovernmental agreements.

Senate Bill 1006 addresses the existing statutory requirement that building permit information be submitted to the county assessment office to ensure accurate property valuation.

Senate Bill 1007 makes changes to state law regarding county boards of assessment.

State Government

The Senate State Government Committee held a public hearing Tuesday on congressional redistricting. Among those testifying was a member of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.  Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved six bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 945 would allow for the doubling of the donation level for the Veterans Trust Fund on two-year vehicle registration renewals.

Senate Bill 1063 designates a bridge on Route 286 over the Two Lick Creek in the Borough of Clymer, Indiana County, as the Corporal Louis R. Tate Memorial Bridge.

Senate Bill 1098 would allow for the placement of cameras on school buses to capture motorists who pass when red signals are flashing. 

Senate Bill 1101 reduces the need for some consumers to obtain a recovered theft vehicle title by creating a damage threshold that would trigger this requirement.

House Bill 1964 designates a portion of Route 115 in Monroe County as the Submarine Veterans Memorial Highway.

House Bill 2067 designates a portion of Route 73 in Philadelphia as the Police Officer Isabel Nazario Memorial Highway.

Urban Affairs & Housing

The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee approved Senate Bill 1066 on Tuesday. The bill creates First-Time Homebuyers Savings Accounts.

Around the 40th District

 

I want to take a moment to recognize the two newest Eagle Scouts of the 40th Senatorial District, Kieran Laverty of Boy Scout Troop 83 and Santiago Churion of Troop 85.

For their Eagle projects, Kieran created a community garden at Moose Lodge 1336 in East Stroudsburg and Santiago constructed a new bridge and reconstructed significant portions of nature trails for the Monroe County Conservation District Messing Nature Center.

Congratulations to both of you on a job well done! Your recognition for your accomplishments is richly deserved.

Students from both Monsignor McHugh School and the Pocono Bulgarian School recently visited the Capitol. They had the opportunity to visit the Senate and House chambers, see the State Supreme Court chamber and learn about how a bill becomes a law. Thank you all for coming down!

I want to extend my warmest wishes to Piramel Critical Care, Merakey Stepping Stones Plus and the East Stroudsburg University Bloomberg Finance Lab who all celebrated their grand openings this week.

Piramel Critical Care, located in Hanover Township, manufactures high-quality anesthesia products and employs more than 150 employees at their Lehigh Valley location.

Merakey Stepping Stones Plus, also located in Hanover Township, provides a clinically and therapeutic-based program for children and adolescents who are diagnosed with Autism. Individualized services engage participants in a variety of activities and skill development, offering an alternative to intensive in-home services.

East Stroudsburg University is continuing to move forward with hands-on innovation as they open their new Finance Lab, helping students better master finance and investment skills as they monitor real-time global financial market data.

Congratulations to all.

Up Next

On Monday at 11 a.m., the Senate Education Committee and the House Education Committee will hold a joint public hearing to review the RAND Corporation’s study of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. You can view it live at PASenateGOP.com.

The Senate will return to voting session Monday, May 21 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.

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