Senator Mario Scavello E-Newsletter

View this email in a browser

Week of November 18, 2019

In this Update:

  • Scavello Bill Raising Age for Tobacco Purchases from 18 to 21 Set for Enactment
  • Scavello Continues to Call on General Assembly to Act Now on Property Taxes
  • Senate Acts to Provide New Protections for Sexual Abuse Survivors, Statute of Limitations Reforms
  • Senate Approves Increase in State Minimum Wage
  • Senate Approves Bill to Make Online Training Available to Firefighters
  • Around the 40th District
  • Other Bills Sent to the Governor
  • Other Bills sent to the House
  • Committee Roundup
  • Up Next

Scavello Bill Raising Age for Tobacco Purchases from 18 to 21 Set for Enactment 

Legislation I sponsored that would increase the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from age 18 to 21 received final Senate approval Thursday and is set to be signed into law.

Senate Bill 473 would make it a summary offense for anyone under 21 to purchase any tobacco product, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars and pipe tobacco.  If it becomes law, Pennsylvania will join 21 states that have a tobacco and e-cigarette sales age of 21.

In Pennsylvania, cigarette smoking causes 22,000 deaths each year. Annual health care costs of $6.38 billion are directly caused by smoking, along with another $5.73 billion in lost productivity.

Nearly 90 percent of smokers try their first cigarette before age 18. An increasing number of teens under 18 get tobacco products from their 18-year-old high school peers – who can legally purchase tobacco products. Increasing the minimum legal sales age to 21 would reduce underage access to tobacco through these legal-age peers.

Recent studies have found that “Tobacco-21” laws have been successful in reducing the amount of people aged 18-20 who smoke and could save more than 223,000 lives from deaths related to smoking.  More than two-thirds of Pennsylvanians surveyed favor raising the legal age for tobacco sales to 21. 

This change will save lives and reduce health care costs. I speak as the son of a life-long smoker who lost his father to lung cancer, so this legislation hits particularly close to home.

Scavello Continues to Call on General Assembly to Act Now on Property Taxes

11/20/19 – School Property Tax Reform

This week I again spoke on the Senate Floor, urging my colleagues to act on school property tax reform. We’ve had enough studies, discussions, commissions and working groups – we know what works and it’s time to do the right thing for our citizens in my District and across the Commonwealth!

We need the magic number to pass a bill that provides real reform – 26 Senators, 102 Representatives and the Governor’s signature. It’s past time for action.

I invite you to view my comments above.

Senate Acts to Provide New Protections for Sexual Abuse Survivors, Statute of Limitations Reforms

The Senate approved a comprehensive package of bills Wednesday to support survivors of sexual abuse, including legislation to reform the statute of limitations to give survivors more time to come forward.

The package of legislation addresses all of the recommendations of a grand jury investigation that was released to the public last year. The bills are designed to ensure victims are supported and all perpetrators of sexual crimes against children are held responsible for their heinous actions.

The bills include:

  • House Bill 962, which would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for the sexual abuse of a child, as well as associated crimes such as human trafficking. The bill also extends the deadline for civil actions from age 30 to age 55.
  • House Bill 963, which would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to create a two-year window of time for retroactive lawsuits for victims whose statute of limitations has already expired. The legislation addresses concerns lawmakers raised last year about whether the two-year window was unconstitutional.
  • House Bill 1051, which clarifies mandatory reporting standards for suspected cases of abuse and increases penalties for mandated reporters who continue to fail to report suspected child abuse.
  • House Bill 1171, which ensures survivors who sign non-disclosure statements are not prohibited from speaking with law enforcement regarding their abuse.

The bills are a culmination of a years-long effort to create effective and permanent laws to ensure perpetrators of sexual offenses against young people are held accountable by the legal system.

The Senate passed a number of similar measures last year, including lifting the statute of limitations for all civil and criminal cases of child sex abuse.

Senate Approves Increase in State Minimum Wage

Legislation that would raise the state minimum wage to $9.50 per hour by 2022 was approved by the Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 79 represents a compromise package that will phase in increases to the current $7.25 minimum wage rate incrementally as follows:

  • July 1, 2020: $8.00
  • January 1, 2021: $8.50
  • July 1, 2021: $9.00
  • January 1, 2022: $9.50

The federal minimum wage was last increased to $7.25 an hour in 2009. Pennsylvania is one of 21 states with a minimum wage set at the federal minimum.

This compromise represents a sound approach to raising the minimum wage in a manner that recognizes the time that has passed since the previous increase, but doing so responsibly so as not to eliminate the entry-level jobs currently available to those who need them. 

Senate Approves Bill to Make Online Training Available to Firefighters 

The Senate gave final approval Monday to a measure to make firefighter training more accessible and affordable through online courses.

Senate Bill 146 ensures that online training would be voluntary and free to both career and volunteer firefighters. All available courses would be listed online and developed under the leadership of the state Fire Commissioner.

Training requirements are often cited as a barrier to recruitment and retention, particularly for volunteers, because they can be costly and time-consuming, often demanding travel and time away from work and family. Senate Bill 146 was sent to the governor to be signed into law. 

Around the 40th District

Congratulations to Lookout Fire Company on the Grand Opening of their new Fire Station in Pen Argyl. I applaud the President, Chief, and firefighters for their dedication to the citizens in Pen Argyl and Slate Belt Community. Thank you Pen Argyl Borough Council because without your support this project would not have moved forward.

On Monday during Senate Session, Logan Garrison who attends Northampton High School served as a Guest Page on the Senate Floor for the day. In addition to serving as a Page, Logan also received a tour of the Capitol with his father Anthony and his Stepmother Kimberly.

Congratulations to the students for their achievements in the 4-H program. Thank you to the parents, farmers, Volunteers and teachers for guidance.

On Tuesday, we attended the Stuffed Puffs Ribbon Cutting Celebration to congratulate this new business in the 40th District. Stuffed Puffs are addictive chocolate stuffed marshmallows and now they will be made in Hanover Township, Northampton County. The business will create 134 new, full-time jobs within the next 3 years. At the event Stuffed Puffs CEO Michael Tierney was joined by PA DCED Secretary Dennis Davin and the internationally-acclaimed DJ Marshmello.

This week, we honored Eugenia Eden for her 100th birthday. Eugenia is a lifelong educator and former Board member for Pocono Services for Families and Children (PSFC). At the celebration PSFC named its East Stroudsburg Center the “Eugenia S. Eden Early Learning Center” to honor her legacy. Happy Birthday and Congratulations Eugenia. Thank you for your lifelong dedication and service to the children of our community!

Last week, I celebrated with Felicia Misito at her 100th Birthday party at Mrs. Bush’s Personal Care Home in Kunkletown. Felicia married the love of her life, Dominic, in 1944. Together they have two children, six grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. Happy Birthday Felicia!

A special thank you to Jaxon Havens, a junior at Pleasant Valley High School who collected over 100 pieces of artwork and toiletries from the community to donate to Valor Clinic Foundation. Valor is a local non-profit committed to improving access to quality healthcare and shelter of veterans. Jaxon is pictured above with Cathy Poppiti from my staff. Both attended the Veterans Day assembly at Pleasant Valley High School. To find out more about Valor Clinic Foundation you can visit their website. Great job Jaxon! 

Other Bills Sent to the Governor

House Bill 17 establishes a 10-year time period for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to collect assessed personal income taxes.

House Bill 49 requires public schools to allow students to apply personal finance credits towards satisfying graduation requirements. It also clarifies the role of school police officers and extends the training deadline for school security personnel.

House Bill 57 disbands various outdated boards, commissions, committees and other entities.

House Bill 97 prohibits the sale, purchase or use of nicotine products or nicotine delivery systems by minors or pupils in schools.

House Bill 227 clarifies that school director candidates will be required to submit 10 signatures for nomination.

Senate Bill 314 creates the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Authority and the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Fund.

Senate Bill 317 amends the Second Class Township Code regarding mandatory annual budget requirements. 

Senate Bill 456 expands the availability of job training programs, protects against improper Private Licensed School closures, and provides those schools the ability to provide more institutional aid to students.

Senate Bill 572 establishes a procedure for prescribers to enter into treatment agreements with a patient prior to prescribing an opioid treatment course for chronic pain.

Senate Bill 733 provides for the Pennsylvania Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund Capital Budget for 2019.

House Bill 754 ensures that PACE and PACENET enrollees will not lose their benefits if they exceed the maximum income limit due solely to a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.

House Bill 917 repeals Act 598 of 1929, an act authorizing municipalities, other than townships, to acquire, operate and maintain a hospital.

House Bill 947 sets the hours of operation for breweries, distilleries and limited distilleries.

House Bill 956 amends the State Lottery Law to lower the mandated margin rate of return from 25 percent to 20 percent for the five-year period beginning June 30, 2019 and ending on June 30, 2024.

House Bill 1203 requires that the annual audit of an authority must comply with state and federal standards and allows the incorporating municipality to request assistance from the Auditor General.

House Bill 1402 amends the Crimes Code to add a new offense of sexual extortion.

House Bill 1410 amends the Transit Revitalization Investment District Act by providing for military installation remediation and polyfluoroalkyl substances remediation.

House Bill 1547renames several roads and bridges and designates the interchange of U.S. Route 422 with Pennsylvania Route 66 in Manor Township, Armstrong County, as the Senator Donald C. White Interchange.

House Bill 1772 allows a property owner to use identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts to provide notice not to trespass on the property.

House Bill 1896 authorizes the release of a use restriction and reversionary interest affecting land in East Vincent Township, Chester County, conveys property in Centre County and addresses an easement in Chester County.

House Bill 1982 allows participating employers in SERS to pre-fund all or a portion of their “unfunded actuarial liability.”

Other Bills sent to the House 

Senate Bill 60 increases penalties against any individual who patronizes a victim of human trafficking.

Senate Bill 67 addresses the adoption of the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact to allow for tele-psychological practice across state lines and temporary in-person services.

Senate Bill 327 requires executive, independent and state-affiliated agencies to report their space usage to the Department of General Services on an annual basis.

Senate Bill 596 establishes the Pennsylvania Clean Transportation Infrastructure Act.

Senate Bill 637 creates a set of rules for consideration of criminal records in occupational licensure.

Senate Bill 842 will allow for the omission of health care workers’ last names from their identification badges.

Senate Bill 902  amends the County Code to clarify succession for a First Assistant District Attorney upon a vacancy of the office of District Attorney in Fourth through Eighth Class counties.

Senate Bill 906 institutes a moratorium on the closing of the Polk and White Haven State Centers.

House Bill 1542 addresses special occasion liquor permits. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Committee Roundup

Bills approved in committees & committee hearings.

Aging & Youth

Senate Bill 368 mandates real-time reporting of infants born with an opioid addiction and high susceptibility of withdrawal conditions.

House Bill 1051 increases the offense of willfully failing to report suspected child abuse by a mandated reporter when it is a “continuing course of action” from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.

Appropriations

House Bill 17 establishes a 10-year time period for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to collect assessed personal income taxes.

Senate Bill 74 allows companies to apply for a tax credit after making an eligible donation to a Pennsylvania pediatric cancer research hospital. 

Senate Bill 596 establishes the Pennsylvania Clean Transportation Infrastructure Act.

Senate Bill 842 allows the omission of health care workers’ last names from identification badges.

Senate Bill 850 establishes the Community Integrated Schools for Success pilot program.

House Bill 956 amends the State Lottery Law to lower the margin rate of return from 25 percent to 20 percent for a five-year period beginning June 30, 2019 and ending on June 30, 2024.

House Bill 1203 requires that the annual audit of an authority must comply with state and federal standards and allows the incorporating municipality to request assistance from the Auditor General.

House Bill 17 establishes a 10-year time period for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to collect assessed personal income taxes.

Senate Bill 60 addresses human trafficking.

Senate Bill 79 incrementally increases the minimum wage.

House Bill 97 prohibits the sale, purchase or use of nicotine products or nicotine delivery systems by minors or pupils in schools.

House Bill 355 amends the Public School Code regarding ethics and transparency requirements for charter schools.

Senate Bill 637 creates a set of rules for consideration of criminal records for occupational licensure.

House Bill 962 eliminates the criminal statute of limitations for the sexual abuse of a child, as well as associated crimes such as human trafficking. The bill also extends the deadline for civil actions from age 30 to age 55.

House Bill 963 amends the Pennsylvania Constitution to create a two-year window for retroactive lawsuits from victims whose statute of limitations has already expired.

House Bill 1051 increases the offense of willfully failing to report suspected child abuse by a mandated reporter when it is a “continuing course of action” from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.

House Bill 1542 addresses special occasion liquor permits.

House Bill 1982 allows participating employers in SERS to pre-fund all or a portion of their “unfunded actuarial liability.”

Banking & Insurance

House Bill 427 provides health insurance coverage requirements for stage four, advanced metastatic cancer.

Senate Bill 595 provides insurance coverage for breast density screenings.

Communications & Technology

Senate Bill 810 consolidates the administration and management of the Commonwealth’s information technology under the Office of Information Technology.

Community, Economic & Recreational Development

House Bill 1045 requires the Commonwealth Financing Authority board to meet the second Tuesday of every other month, beginning with January, rather than at the call of the chairperson.

Education

House Bill 355 amends the Public School Code regarding ethics and transparency requirements for charter schools.

Environmental Resources & Energy

House Bill 476 amends the Solid Waste Management Act to require the Department of Environmental Protection to notify municipalities when certain violations occur.

Senate Bill 679 directs the Environmental Quality Board to develop regulations that authorize counties to adopt a program for stream cleaning and maintenance and the removal of obstructions and flood-related hazards from local waterways.

Senate Bill 766 updates the state’s household hazardous waste collection program. 

Finance

House Bill 1100 establishes the Energy and Fertilizer Manufacturing Tax Credit program.

House Bill 1982 allows participating employers in SERS to pre-fund all or a portion of their “unfunded actuarial liability.”

Game & Fisheries

House Bill 102 provides for expanded availability of hunter education courses in public schools.

Senate Bill 377 increases the fine and the penalty for killing or unlawfully taking a bald or golden eagle.

House Bill 584 provides an exemption from fishing license requirements for therapeutic recreation programs.

House Bill 617 provides for a discounted hunting license for volunteer Hunter Trapper Education instructors.

House Bill 1772 allows a property owner to use identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts to provide notice not to trespass on the property.

Health & Human Services

House Bill 321 prohibits an abortion based solely on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Senate Bill 606 provides for the authority to prescribe or personally furnish antibiotics to treat sexually transmitted infections.

House Bill 1001 establishes standards for licensure and regulation of (human) milk banks.

House Bill 1058 establishes the Compassion and Care for Medically Challenging Pregnancies Act.

House Bill 1662 amends the Methadone Death and Incident Review Act to include deaths and incidents attributable to any medication approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder and renames it the Medication Death and Incident Review Act.

On Wednesday, the committee and the Senate Transportation Committee held a joint hearing on the Medical Assistance Transportation Program. Hearing Video & Written Testimony 

Judiciary

House Bill 97 prohibits the sale, purchase or use of nicotine products or nicotine delivery systems by minors or pupils in schools.

Senate Bill 809 establishes a Legislative Conduct Review Board.

House Bill 962 eliminates the criminal statute of limitations for the sexual abuse of a child, as well as associated crimes such as human trafficking. The bill also extends the deadline for civil actions from age 30 to age 55.

House Bill 963 amends the Pennsylvania Constitution to create a two-year window for retroactive lawsuits from victims whose statute of limitations has already expired.

House Bill 1171 ensures survivors who sign non-disclosure statements are not prohibited from speaking with law enforcement regarding their abuse. 

On Tuesday the committee held a public hearing to consider the reappointment of John P. Williams as a member of the Board of Pardons. Hearing Video

Law & Justice

House Bill 1542 addresses special occasion liquor permits.

Labor & Industry

Senate Bill 79 incrementally increases the minimum wage.

House Bill 422 creates an “on-the-job” trainee classification for each building code official certification.

Senate Bill 594 requires employers who have a certified safety committee as part of their workers’ compensation program to include information about the risks associated with the use of opioids.

State Government 

Senate Resolution 179 urges Congress to make daylight savings time permanent in the United States.

Senate Bill 417 requires successful write-in candidates receive at least the same number of votes as would be required to file nomination petitions.

Senate Bill 779 moves Pennsylvania’s Presidential primary election day to the third Tuesday of March.

House Bill 1896 authorizes the release of a use restriction and reversionary interest affecting land in East Vincent Township, Chester County.

On Monday, the committee held a public hearing on the nomination of Kathy Boockvar for Secretary of the Commonwealth. Hearing Video. On Tuesday, the committee held a confirmation hearing to consider the reappointment of Richard Steigerwald as a member of the State Athletic Commission. Hearing Video

Transportation

Senate Bill 773 increases penalties for those who have multiple DUI convictions and targets offenders who repeatedly drive drunk with high Blood Alcohol Content levels in their systems.

Senate Bill 954 reinstates the requirement for registration stickers on license plates.

On Tuesday, the committee held a public hearing on the re-nomination of William Lieberman as Commissioner of the PA Turnpike Commission. Hearing Video 

Urban Affairs & Housing

On Wednesday, the committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 802 (data collection on common interest ownership communities). Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

Senate Bill 276 increases the monthly pension amounts for the Blind Veterans Pension Program and the Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans Pension Program.

House Bill 630 provides employment protections to Pennsylvania residents who are members of a National Guard or Reserve unit in another state.

Senate Bill 952 amends the Veterans Preference Law.

Senate Bill 957 directs the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs to create logos to promote veteran-owned businesses.

House Bill 1050 guarantees in-state tuition rates for reassigned military families.

Up Next 

The Senate returns to session on December 18. You can watch session live at SenatorScavello.com.

divider

Follow Me on Facebook and Twitter!

To stay up-to-date on state issues and events affecting Monroe and Northampton counties, I invite you to follow me on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

If you have a public event benefiting our community in Monroe or Northampton Counties, please feel free to contact my office at (570) 620-4326 or by email mscavello@pasen.gov to include the event in my E-Newsletter at no charge. Requests should include details about the community event such as the time, location and the public purpose.

Facebook Twitter

If you do not wish to receive this email, click here to unsubscribe.

2019 © Senate of Pennsylvania | https://www.senatorscavello.com | Privacy Policy