In this Edition:
July 14: Free Vision Screening for Kids Age Six Months-Six Years
On Thursday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., I will be hosting the fourth event in my Healthy Living Series in my Pen Argyl District Office. We will be partnering with the Lions KidSight USA to provide free vision screenings to children age six months to six years. According to educational experts, 80 percent of learning is visual. Early detection of vision problems in children is critical to ensuring their learning is not inhibited and that issues can be promptly corrected.
To schedule your free appointment, please call my office at 610-863-1200.
July 18: Scavello Senior Expo
I hope you can make it Monday, July 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for my Senior Expo at Pocono Mountain Swiftwater Elementary Center.
This free event features door prizes, health screenings, educational seminars and refreshments. Exhibitors from government agencies and senior citizen organizations will be on hand.
General Assembly to Hold Special Session on Heroin and Opioid Epidemic
I was heartened to hear this week that Gov. Tom Wolf has agreed to convene a special session of the General Assembly later this year to focus on Pennsylvania’s opioid addiction and heroin epidemic.
Pennsylvania is seventh in the nation for drug-related overdose deaths, and our region has not been spared in this crisis. The Senate has made this issue a top priority, most recently passing Senate Bill 1202 to require continuing medical education training for physicians in pain management and dispensing and prescribing practices of opioids.
I look forward to expanding our efforts during the special legislative session, when we will consider legislation to prevent such abuse from occurring and provide effective treatment when needed.
Senate Approves Bill to Allow Game Commission to Establish Fees for Hunting and Fur-Taking Licenses
The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation I’m co-sponsoring that would give the Pennsylvania Game Commission the authority to establish the fees that it charges for hunting and fur-taking licenses.
Senate Bill 1166 would allow the commission to set its own license costs while providing the legislature with necessary oversight of the organization.
Game Commission’s fees are currently determined by legislation. The commission is not supported with revenues from the General Fund, but instead relies on the fees paid by license holders. As Chairman of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, I am aware that it has been 17 years since the legislature has granted the commission a license increase, putting a severe financial strain on its operation.
The legislation will include a three-year sunset provision, to give the General Assembly the opportunity to review its effectiveness. The measure now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment
House Bill 602 increases the active duty pay for National Guard personnel from $75 to $100 per day. The National Guard base pay was last increased in 1996, from $45 to the current rate of $75 per day.
Senate Bill 936 provides for a one-time fee of $50 to cover the employer’s costs in setting up the wage garnishment to comply with the enforcement of a child support order.
Senate Bill 1270 amends the Real Estate Appraisers Certification Act to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with updated Federal appraiser standards.
House Bill 1325 gives second class townships the authority to implement storm water management ordinances and to assess a fee to fund the planning, management, implementation, construction and maintenance of storm water facilities.
House Bill 1766 allows future life insurance policy reserves to be based on Principle-Based Reserving, a methodology that is more advanced and better reflects the risks of new innovative insurance policies.
Bills Passed by the Senate and Sent to the House of Representatives
House Bill 342 adds “school director” to the list of various elective offices in the Election Code and sets a requirement that candidates for school director obtain 10 signatures in order to appear on a primary ballot. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Bill 876 amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to allow the Department of Labor & Industry to verify that out-of-state employers have secured required workers’ compensation insurance or are self-insured under the workers’ compensation statutes in other states.
Senate Bill 1168 gives the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission the authority to establish the fees that it charges for licenses.
Senate Bill 1233 adds “Special Emergency Response Team” to the definition of emergency service responders and emergency vehicles in state law.
Appropriations Committee Round-Up
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the following bills Wednesday:
Senate Bill 840 provides for speed timing devices and for a pilot program for Automated Speed Enforcement System.
Senate Bill 1221 amends the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority Act for Cities of the Second Class to make it more transparent and accountable to the public.
Senate Bill 1226 aligns the Veteran’s Trust Fund and the Veterans’ Temporary Assistance Program.
Senate Bill 1283 Public Utility Commission funding for FY 2016-17.
Senate Bill 1292 Capital Budget Act for FY 2016-17.
House Bill 325 updates the Auctioneer Licensing and Trader Assistant Registration Act and eliminates the Auction House license.
House Bill 664 provides for the annual designation and holiday observance of “Juneteenth National Freedom Day”.
House Bill 1877 reauthorizes and enhances the Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Services grant program.
House Bill 2137 Pennsylvania State University funding for FY 2016-17.
House Bill 2138 University of Pittsburgh funding for FY 2016-17.
House Bill 2139 Temple University funding for FY 2016-17.
House Bill 2140 Lincoln University funding for FY 2016-17.
House Bill 2141 University of Pennsylvania funding for FY 2016-17.
Joint Hearing Explores Impact of Federal Changes in Overtime Regulations
On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Labor and Industry Committee held a joint public hearing to examine the impact of recent changes in federal wage, hour and overtime regulations on businesses, non-profits and the state budget.
It’s estimated the changes will impact 4.2 million workers nationwide and 185,000 in Pennsylvania. The impact on the state budget includes more spending on wages for state workers and increased service provider costs. The panel discussed ways the General Assembly could mitigate the effects of the federal action.
You can view the hearing and written testimony here.
The Senate will reconvene Monday at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.
At 10 a.m. on Monday, the Senate Transportation Committee will hold a public hearing with Secretary of Transportation Leslie Richards to discuss PennDOT’s budget and priorities. You can view the hearing live at PASenateGOP.com.
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