Below is a recap of this week’s legislative activity in the Senate. It
covers votes by the full Senate and a Senate hearing, plus a look ahead to next
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In This Issue
Senate Approves Purely Public Charities
The Senate passed a proposal on Tuesday that would amend the Pennsylvania
Constitution to give the General Assembly the power to determine whether an
institution is a purely public charity and thus exempt from paying local
Senate Bill 4 specifies that the General Assembly, not the judiciary, has
the exclusive right to set the parameters for an organization to qualify as a
purely public charity. The measure is necessary following a 2012 Pennsylvania
Supreme Court ruling which created a great deal of confusion among charities and
local governments regarding the criteria for an organization to qualify for a
Because the bill would amend the state Constitution, the proposal must pass
in two consecutive legislative sessions before being decided by the voters via
referendum. The proposal was already approved once by the General Assembly
during the 2013-14 session.
I have been contacted by many constituents who are concerned that this issue
has not been vetted enough, so I am introducing a concurrent resolution to
ensure that the legislature will take a careful, deliberative approach to
considering all sides of this issue.
The legislation would create the bipartisan Select Committee on Purely Public
Charities. The committee will conduct statewide hearings and work with
non-profits, elected officials, tax experts, public safety organizations and
other stakeholders to determine whether additional legislation is needed and
make recommendations relating to legislation or the treatment of purely public
charities in Pennsylvania.
Senate Approves Bill Promoting Conventional
Oil Production in PA
The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday that will protect and promote
conventional oil and natural gas production in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 279, legislation to protect the conventional oil and gas
production industry from state regulations intended for companies extracting
Marcellus Shale gas, now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
SB 279 would establish the Penn Grade Crude Development Advisory Council, a
panel empowered to study existing regulations and assist the Department of
Environmental Protection in making changes that better address the differences
between conventional and unconventional oil and gas production.
Also on Wednesday, the Senate approved
Senate Bill 397, a measure that would privatize and regulate the Bail
Bondsman industry in Pennsylvania.
Committee Hearing Focuses on “True Costs of
With the end of the Emergency Telephone Act looming at the end of June, the
Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee held a public hearing
on Wednesday to gather testimony on the “True Costs of E-911” in Pennsylvania.
Substantial changes in technology and society since the original enactment of
the law in 1990 have increased equipment and personnel costs for county dispatch
centers, while whittling away at the funding sources that were intended to
support those operations, according to state and county officials.
Testifiers included representatives from the Pennsylvania Emergency
Management Agency, Legislative Budget & Finance Committee, County Commissioners
Association of PA, and a panel consisting of officials from the Allegheny,
Philadelphia, Tioga, and Westmoreland County E-911 centers.
The committee also considered and approved
House Bill 152, a measure amending the Emergency and Law Enforcement
Personnel Death Benefit Act by extending the filing period for the death benefit
from 90 days to three years. That bill now goes to the full Senate for
here for the committee’s agenda, written testimony and hearing video.
2015 Whitetail Deer Classic
I attended this year’s Whitetail Deer Classic at Northampton Community
Center, supporting the Northampton County Youth Field Day Foundation. I enjoyed
meeting many of the sportsmen from around our community. You can learn more
about Youth Field Day by visiting
Sheperd’s Maternity House Recognition at “A
Celebration of Life”
Pictured with my wife, Mary Ann, and Monsignor Kelly.
My wife and I were honored with this year’s recognition by Shepherd’s
Maternity House at “A Celebration of Life” event held at Stroudsmoor. Thank you
to Shepherd’s for their commitment to providing care and support to expecting
mothers in need.
Links of Interest
DCNR Announces Summer Environmental Careers
DCNR invites young Pennsylvanians interested in pursuing environmental
careers to apply for a summer residential camp to gain skills and experience in
the outdoors. Participants will gain opportunities in water quality assessments,
geology field studies, and overnight camping. For detail or to apply, please
Small Games of Chance Deadline Extended
The Feb. 1, 2015 filing deadline for Small Games of Chance Club licensees
with proceeds of $20,000 or more in 2014 is being extended to July 1, 2015.
Please view the Revenue Department’s
announcement for more information!
The Senate reconvenes Monday at 1 p.m. Session is streamed at
Complete Senate Committee Schedule
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