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Senator Mario Scavello

Dear Friend,

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 week.

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In This Issue

Senate Approves Purely Public Charities Constitutional Amendment
Senate Approves Bill Promoting Conventional Oil Production in PA
Committee Hearing Focuses on “True Costs of E-911”
2015 Whitetail Deer Classic
Shepard’s Maternity House Recognition at “A Celebration of Life”
DCNR Announces Summer Environmental Careers Camp
Small Games of Chance Deadline Extended
Next Week

Senate Approves Purely Public Charities Constitutional Amendment

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 property taxes.

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 tax exemption.

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 E-911”

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 consideration.

Click here for the committee’s agenda, written testimony and hearing video.

District News

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 Camp

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 visit

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!

Next Week

The Senate reconvenes Monday at 1 p.m. Session is streamed at
Complete Senate Committee Schedule

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Senate Box 203040
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3040
Phone: (717) 787-6123
Fax: (717) 772-3695

Monroe County Office

DePue Plaza
2989 Route 611, Suite 103
Tannersville, PA 18372
Phone (570) 620-4326
FAX (570) 620-4379
Monday - Friday
9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Northampton County Office

2 North Robinson Avenue
Pen Argyl, PA 18072
Phone (610) 863-1200
FAX (610) 863-1214

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