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Senator Mario Scavello

In this Edition:

  • Measure Strengthening Right-to-Know Law Sent to House
  • Scavello Kicks off “Pennsylvania Community College Completion Week”
  • Senate Passes Bill to End Intimidation by Union Members
  • Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus Extension Goes to Governor
  • Bills Sent to the House for Consideration
  • Senate Sends Bill to Increase Support for Housing Program to Governor
  • Committee Hears Testimony on Civil Asset Forfeiture
  • Next Week
  • Stay Connected

I was pleased to welcome the Bejar family to the Capitol this week. Mason and Averie, both students in Stroudsburg School District, were awarded First Place and Second Place respectively in Divisions I and II of the PA "School Bus Safety Contest." Congratulations to these outstanding students!

Measure Strengthening Right-to-Know Law Sent to House

Legislation that will significantly strengthen Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law was unanimously approved by the Senate on Wednesday. Senate Bill 411 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The measure strengthens the law for both requesters and agencies by simplifying the appeals process for requesters, giving the Office of Open Records much-needed flexibility in addressing complex appeals, and reducing the burden of requests from inmates.

Senate Bill 411 also establishes a new, reasonable fee structure for commercial requests and ensures that requests made to campus police departments receive the same treatment as requests to municipal police departments. The bill clarifies that entities such as economic development authorities and industrial development authorities are covered by the Right-to-Know Law.

Scavello Kicks off “Pennsylvania Community College Completion Week”

I was honored to join the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Monday to launch Pennsylvania’s first annual PA Community College Completion Challenge (PAC4).

This week is intended to encourage community college students to complete their studies at the colleges. I am proud to stand with my community college, Northampton Community College, and all the others across the Commonwealth in order to educate everyone on the importance of completing their studies.

The Capitol Rotunda press conference followed the adoption of a resolution I co-sponsored establishing the week of October 18 through the 24 as Pennsylvania Community College Completion Week.

Pennsylvanians who obtain education through community colleges address needed skill sets that allow them to remain marketable and relevant in the workplace. One of the many benefits to earning a community college degree or certificate is that they tend to excel professionally. In less than five years, 65 percent of all new jobs will require a postsecondary credential. Community college is an affordable, underutilized option.

Senate Passes Bill to End Intimidation by Union Members

The Senate approved legislation on Tuesday that would prohibit harassment, stalking or making threats by parties involved in a labor dispute. House Bill 874 returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

The measure does not impact unions engaged in lawful disputes or protests, but addresses issues in previous labor disputes in which violent protests by the union workers ensued, including intimidation and harassment in the form of physical abuse of on-site contractors and property damage.

The measure is supported by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and the Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Association.

Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus Extension Goes to Governor

A measure extending the deadline for Pennsylvania veterans to apply for the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus received final legislative approval and was sent to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law.

House Bill 175 extends the application filing deadline for the program to August 31, 2018.

The bonus pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525 maximum. For personnel whose death was related to illness or injury received in the line of duty in Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, there is an additional $5,000 available to the surviving family. Service members who were declared prisoners of war may also be eligible for an additional $5,000.

Bills Sent to the House for Consideration

House Bill 138 allows first responders -- after getting local approval -- to fundraise on local roadways, with programs such as those in which firefighters collect donations in a boot.

Senate Bill 751 prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

Senate Bill 857 provides new penalties for illegal household goods movers.

Senate Bill 874 changes how cemeteries handle the pre-need sale and delivery of burial products and services.

Senate Bill 931 amends the Eminent Domain Code regarding moving and related expenses of displaced persons, replacement housing for homeowners and replacement housing for tenants and others.

House Bill 1275 authorizes dentists from other states and countries to take clinical continuing education courses at Pennsylvania dental schools, and permits dentists from other countries to obtain restricted faculty licenses authorizing them to teach at dental schools in Pennsylvania. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Sends Bill to Increase Support for Housing Program to Governor

The Senate gave final approval Tuesday to a measure that would increase state support for a program that promotes housing affordability and rehabilitation in communities across the Commonwealth.

House Bill 792 dedicates a portion of funds raised from the state’s Realty Transfer Tax (RTT) for use by the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE) for projects across the state. The legislation does not increase the RTT rate, but solely changes how the revenues under the existing rate are used. The bill is now on the Governor’s desk for his signature and enactment into law.

The Senate also concurred Tuesday on House amendments to two Senate bills and sent the measures to the Governor for enactment into law.

Senate Bill 210 would exempt persons 75 years of age or older, judges, magisterial district judges and federal judges and breastfeeding women from jury duty.

Senate Bill 748 eliminates the mandatory escort of super-sized loads by the Pennsylvania State Police and replaces them with certified pilot escorts.

Thursdays on Gary in the Morning, Pocono 96.7

On Thursdays, I will be on Gary in the Morning 96.7 at 7:30 a.m. to answer your questions. Thanks to everyone who has called in so far, I look forward to giving you updates in the future.

Next Week

The Senate returns to session on Monday. You can watch session live at .

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