Senator Mario Scavello E-Newsletter

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In this Edition:

  • Wednesday: Free Naloxone Educational Presentation
  • Scavello Bill to Fund Spinal Cord Disability Research Approved by Senate
  • Senate Passes Student Protection Measures
  • Senate Acts to Create First-Time Homebuyers Savings Accounts
  • Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House
  • Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment
  • Around the 40th District
  • Committee Roundup
  • Next Week

Wednesday: Free Naloxone Educational Presentation

On Wednesday, I will be co-hosting a free educational presentation about the use of naloxone with the PA Department of Health from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Please call 610-863-1200 to RSVP a seat today.

Scavello Bill to Fund Spinal Cord Disability Research Approved by Senate 

Legislation I sponsored to fund spinal cord disability research in Pennsylvania was approved Tuesday by the Senate and sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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 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, the senator noted.

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.

Senate Passes Student Protection Measures 

As part of its continuing efforts to protect Pennsylvania students, the Senate approved bills this week to crackdown on motorists who ignore school bus red lights, require CPR training in schools, and establish preventative depression screening programs. 

Senate Bill 1181 requires depression screenings for students with their required physical exams in 6th and 11th grades. There are mandatory physical health and dental exams and vision and hearing screenings for students, but there is no required mental health examination. The bill allows parents to choose who conducts the screen and also allows them to opt their child out of the requirement.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 20 percent of youth ages 13 through 18 live with a brain health condition that can drastically affect their emotional, psychological, and social well-being.  About 80 to 90 percent of adolescents who are diagnosed with depression are treated successfully.

Senate Bill 1098, which I am co-sponsoring, would encourage the placement of cameras on school buses to capture motorists who pass when red signals are flashing. State law does currently allow such cameras, but amending the Vehicle Code for the purpose is expected to lead to wider use.

Senate Bill 521 adds cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instruction to the state education curriculum for high school students. The 30-minute instructional program would teach students to save lives through CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator.

The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Acts to Create First-Time Homebuyers Savings Accounts

Legislation I am co-sponsoring to create First-Time Homebuyers Savings Accounts in Pennsylvania was approved by the Senate Wednesday. Senate Bill 1066 would permit eligible Pennsylvanians to open special savings accounts and take state tax deductions for savings toward expenses such as a down payment and closing costs.

The bill would apply to first-time homebuyers and those who have not owned or purchased a home within the three years leading up to the purchase. Account holders would be permitted to contribute a total of $50,000 over a 10-year period. Annual contributions would be capped at $5,000 for single taxpayers and $10,000 for those filing a joint return.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the share of first-time homebuyers in the national home sale market fell from 45 percent to 32 percent, as a result of the 2009 financial crisis. It is estimated that this type of savings account program in Pennsylvania could result in an annual increase of up to 4,000 home purchases within the state. The result would be an overall positive impact on Pennsylvania’s economy, spurring additional economic activity, job creation and earnings for households. It’s estimated that the economic impact could range between $7.8 million to $68.8 million.

Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House

Senate Resolution 419 is a concurrent resolution honoring the life of former Senate Chief Counsel Stephen C. MacNett.

Senate Bill 668 amends and modernizes the Optometric Practice and Licensure Act.

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.

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

Senate Bill 1096 authorizes the use of highly automated work zone vehicles by PENNDOT and the Turnpike Commission and allows for the platooning of motor carrier vehicles.

Senate Bill 1134 establishes sextortion as a specific criminal offense with consequences comparable to other sexual offenses.

Senate Bill 1205 provides for insurer corporate governance disclosure.

Senate Bill 1209 addresses the backlog of untested rape kits.

House Bill 2297 renames several roads and bridges. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment           

House Bill 1917 expands required qualifications for the appointment, training, oversight and continuing education for humane society police officers.

House Bill 1346 prohibits the use of aerial drones to conduct surveillance of another person in a private place; place another person in reasonable fear of bodily injury; or deliver, provide, transmit or furnish contraband to an inmate in a prison.

Around the 40th District

This week we welcomed several students from the 40th Senate District to Harrisburg to serve as guest pages and learn about the State Capitol.

Sydney Wolbert is a fifth grader at JM Hill in East Stroudsburg, a stand-out student and member of the Pocono Family YMCA Swim Team.

Jenna Kimler is in sixth grade at JT Lambert Intermediate School; loves her math and science classes; and is a member of the Builders Club and YMCA swim team. She also aspires to be a NICU doctor.

Natalie Brazeau is a seventh grader at Pocono Mountain East who loves math and science. Her dream is to become a defense attorney and she has served as a member of the Student Government Association. She plays field hockey, paints, writes and loves the outdoors.

Luca Furino is also a seventh grader at Pocono Mountain and has served in Student Government since 5th grade. She participates in a variety of community service and school activities and takes great pride in serving as a role model for her peers. She plays a variety of sports and is an honor roll student.

These young ladies are exceptionally bright and driven students. It was a privilege to show them the legislative process, have them sit in on meetings and experience the different steps of how a bill becomes a law.

Braden Airpark in Forks Township recently celebrated the addition of two new businesses at the airport, ProFlite Aero Services and SpiritWings Aviation. The combination of these two businesses will add additional aviation services to the Airpark, including a flight school and maintenance operations. Thank you to both ProFlite and SpiritWings for helping create more economic opportunity for Braden and making this an even more attractive destination for aspiring and seasoned pilots alike.

Pennsylvania ranks 11th in the nation for our number of aviation facilities. The Commonwealth has 127 public-use airports and 244 private-use airports, and their combined impact represents a 23.6 billion dollar economic impact to the state, supporting over 300,000 jobs.

As a member of the Senate Aviation Caucus, I’m particularly excited by these new ventures and continuing to strengthen the future of Braden Airpark throughout the region.

Committee Roundup 

Aging & Youth

House Bill 1527 updates the requirements for the mandatory reporting of child abuse. 

Appropriations

Senate Bill 31 invests $1 million in a program that awards grants for research into spinal cord injuries

House Bill 353 requires electronic prescriptions for certain controlled substances.

Senate Bill 623 updates and revises Pennsylvania law to include the codification of Pennsylvania Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment to be used by medical professionals. 

Senate Bill 689 provides for the appointment of two Certified Pennsylvania Evaluators to the State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers.

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

Senate Bill 1066 creates First-time Homebuyers Savings Accounts.

Senate Bill 1096 authorizes the use of highly automated work zone vehicles by PENNDOT and the Turnpike Commission and allows for the platooning of motor carrier vehicles.

Senate Bill 1175 gives law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to use an administrative subpoena to obtain subscriber information for a social media account from which they are investigating a threat made against a school. It also requires district attorneys and judges to request and review the school disciplinary records of any student who is being prosecuted for making a terroristic threat.

Senate Bill 1181 requires depression screenings for students.

Senate Bill 1205 provides for insurer corporate governance disclosure.

Senate Bill 1209 addresses the backlog of untested rape kits.

House Bill 1499 amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) to clarify and update provisions relating to planned communities, condominiums and cooperatives.

House Bill 1613 reauthorizes and modernizes the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.

House Bill 104 requires a municipal authority to publicly discuss all acquisitions and the sale or transfer of authority-owned water and sewer infrastructure and how the acquisition or sale will benefit the authority’s existing ratepayers.

Senate Bill 899 updates and revises the Older Adults Protective Services Act.

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 1073 extends the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act to include several law enforcement entities that are not currently protected by this important coverage.

Senate Bill 1157 provides the Auditor General with the authority to audit the Statewide Radio System.

Senate Bill 1176 amends the Home Rule Law.

House Bill 1294 allows motorcycles to be equipped with a special registration plate for Purple Heart and Legion of Merit recipients.

House Bill 1414 authorizes visual and audible signals on emergency vehicles for additional fire personnel, flashing yellow and white lights on tow trucks, yellow strobe lights for solid waste collection vehicles, and mounted internal blue lights for volunteer firefighters.

House Bill 1800 codifies a process for medication synchronization. 

House Bill 1843 adds new chapters to Title 72 (Taxation &Fiscal Affairs) to provide increased public access to financial and budget information.

House Bill 2049 creates the Assistance and Service Animal Integrity Act to address documentation requirements for service animals in housing, and to establish penalties for misrepresentation.

House Bill 2321 provides for the admittance of an out-of-court statement of a child or child witness as evidence in certain criminal or civil proceedings. 

Banking & Insurance

House Bill 504 allows owners of self-service storage units to obtain a limited license from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to sell insurance to those renting storage space to cover the contents of the storage units.

House Bill 1013 requires managed care plans pay all reasonably necessary costs associated with the provision of emergency services even if the covered individual does not require transport or refuses to be transported.

House Bill 2211 allows pharmacists to disclose prescription drug information to a patient that would enable the patient to get the best price for medications. 

Community, Economic & Recreational Development

House Bill 1284 enacts the Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop Act to provide online, one-stop services to assist businesses.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

House Bill 2075 authorizes rate recovery by a water public utility for costs incurred to replace customer-owned lead water service lines.

Environmental Resources & Energy

Senate Resolution 214 urges Pennsylvania natural gas producers to export natural gas to European countries in an effort to curtail the natural gas monopoly that Russia has on the region.

House Bill 2154 establishes the Conventional Oil and Gas Wells Act to provide for the regulation of conventional well drilling activities and plugging abandoned wells.

Public Hearing: Foreign Influence on Natural Gas Development in PA. Video & Written Testimony

Education

Senate Resolution 292 directs the Joint State Government Commission to study the College and University Student Vaccination Act (Act 83 of 2002). 

Senate Resolution 417 directs the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to conduct a study on secondary school start time. 

House Bill 1228 allows students, when outdoors at school, at a school-sponsored event or under the supervision of school personnel, to use sun-protective clothing, including hats.

House Bill 1386 amends the Public School Code by adding a new section concerning instructional certificate grade spans and age levels.

House Bill 2157 amends the Public School Code concerning the Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence, the utilization of credits, and the classification of program codes.

House Bill 2205 requires an occupational advisory committee be established for each career and technical education program or cluster of related programs offered by an area vocational-technical school or school district.

Game & Fisheries

House Bill 582 provides for a discounted hunting license for volunteer Hunter Trapper Education instructors.

Senate Bill 1153 allows the use of electronic deer calls for hunting.

House Bill 1153 provides fishing license and hunting license reciprocity for active duty military members and for disabled veterans.

House Bill 1409 provides licensing discounts and exemptions for nonresident disabled veterans and former prisoners of war.

Health & Human Services

House Bill 122 establishes the Project Lazarus Commission to help counties build comprehensive programs to address the opioid crisis.

Senate Bill 912 provides greater access to in-home care by extending “presumptive eligibility” to those who meet the qualifications for Medicaid.

Senate Bill 1220 establishes an advisory council on research, diagnosis, treatment, and education related to Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections in the Department of Health.

Senate Bill 1237 addresses rural hospital issues.

House Bill 1532 amends the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions program to allow Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to query the system.

House Bill 1829 provides greater access to in-home care by extending “presumptive eligibility” to those who meet the qualifications for Medicaid.

House Bill 1884 creates the Patient Test Result Information Act.

Judiciary

Public Hearing: Common Pleas Court issues — Funding of Civil Legal Aid, Housing Court Initiatives, and Guardianship Proceedings. Video & Written Testimony

Local Government

Senate Bill 1069 provides for the voluntary dissolution of municipal corporations (cities, boroughs, towns, & townships) in Allegheny County and the substitution of unincorporated districts as a new form of government to be administered by the county.

House Bill 1887 increases from $1,000 to $2,000 the value of municipal personal property below which a first class township need not publicly advertise for bids when selling its personal property.

House Bill 1888 increases from $1,000 to $2,000 the value of municipal personal property below which a borough or third class city need not publicly advertise for bids when selling its personal property.

House Bill 1889 increases from $1,000 to $2,000 the value of municipal personal property below which an incorporated town need not publicly advertise for bids when selling its personal property. 

Judiciary

House Bill 1152 provides civil immunity for any damage that may be done to the vehicle when forceful entry is necessary to rescue a child.

Senate Bill 1253 provides for an expedited review of parole cases involving seriously or terminally ill inmates.

House Bill 2321 provides for the admittance of an out-of-court statement of a child or child witness as evidence in certain criminal or civil proceedings.

House Bill 2324  expands the rape shield law to cover instances where the rape victim may be asked about prior victimizations or allegations of victimizations that he or she has made. 

House Bill 2325 allows a reliable but hearsay statement from a victim who is intellectually disabled or autistic to be admissible in court.

State Government

Senate Bill 701 conveys a property held by the Department of General Services to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System.

Senate Bill 1259 authorizes the Department of General Services and East Stroudsburg University to grant and convey water and sewer easements to East Stroudsburg Borough.

House Bill 2489 releases Project 70 restrictions on lands owned by Topton, Berks County, in exchange for the imposition of Project 70 restrictions on other lands to be acquired by the borough.

Public Hearing: Senate Bill 1249 creating the PA Election Law Advisory Board, and demonstration of Dauphin County voting machines. Video & Written Testimony

Transportation

House Resolution 76 is a concurrent resolution to remove the federally mandated drivers’ license suspension for individuals who are convicted for a drug offense.

House Bill 86 establishes new emissions test requirements for certain vehicles that currently must get a treadmill test (dynamometer) in the Philadelphia region and a tailpipe probe test in the Pittsburgh region.

House Bill 163 removes language relating to federally mandated driver’s license suspensions for drug/controlled substance convictions, as well as state-imposed suspensions for six other crimes.

Senate Bill 1254 provides for special registration plates for recipients of the Presidential Service Badge.

House Bill 2131 requires PENNDOT to plant native species of vegetation along highways where feasible.

House Bill 2297 renames several roads and bridges.

Senate Bill 16 allows the revocation of driver’s licenses for serious DUI offenses.

Senate Bill 110 waives the duplicate driver’s license fee for veterans.

Senate Bill 1084 reduces the vehicle registration fee for veterans.

Senate Bill 1232 renames a portion of Route 30 in Westmoreland County.

House Bill 1811 provides restrictions on the use of data collected from automated license plate reader systems. 

House Bill 1936 makes editorial and technical changes to the Snowmobile and All-Terrain Vehicle Law.

House Bill 2066 clarifies the scenic road designation for the National Road in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

Public Hearing: Senate Bill 1178 to establish statewide licensure of installation and service of portable fire extinguishers, fire suppression systems and building fire alarm systems. Video & Written Testimony 

Public Hearing: State Veterans Homes and the LIFE (Living Independently for the Elderly) Health Care Program for Veterans. Video & Written Testimony 

Next Week 

The Senate returns to voting session on Monday at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.

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