Senator Mike Regan E-Newsletter

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Welcome to my inaugural e-newsletter, and more specifically, Session Wrap-Up.  Many people, like me, rely on social media to receive their news, but I recognize that not everyone is inclined to do so, which is why I have decided to also utilize an e-newsletter to communicate directly with you.

Below you will find a summary of this week’s activity by the Senate of Pennsylvania while we were in session in Harrisburg. Going forward, I will keep you updated on both Harrisburg and district happenings through this means of communication.

If you would like to follow me on social media, you can find me on both Facebook and Twitter.

Sincerely,

Mike Regan, Senator
31st District

Week of May 21, 2018

In this Edition:

  • Senate Approves Regan Critical Infrastructure Trespass Bill
  • 31st District Residents Appointed to State Boards
  • Local Government Package Provides Flexibility for Municipal Purchases
  • Bills Allows Restitution for Governments, Organizations, and Businesses
  • Senate Approves Government Transparency Measure
  • Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House
  • Travel Agent Licensure Bill Sent to the Governor
  • Committee Roundup
  • Other Committee Action
  • Up Next

Senate Approves Regan Critical Infrastructure Trespass Bill

5/23/18 – Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) – Senate Bill 652

On Wednesday, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation of mine that closes a gap in current law to differentiate between trespassing on everyday property or buildings and trespassing on critical infrastructure facilities.

Senate Bill 652 would make trespassing on a critical infrastructure facility a third degree felony and doing damage or inhibiting business a second degree felony. Each would carry a maximum prison term of one year and a minimum fine of $5000.

Trespassing and damaging facilities is currently illegal. This legislation does not ban any activity that is not already against the law. Instead, it specifies exactly what level of crime a person can be charged with when they partake in such illegal activities.

Pennsylvanians rely on many of these facilities for electricity, telephone service, clean water, natural gas, and delivery of goods. Halting operations not only affects the business but the people of this Commonwealth and its economy. Damage to facilities can do the same but can also be harmful to people’s health – or even life-threatening.

Senate Bill 652 now goes to the House for consideration.

31st District Residents Appointed to State Boards

This week the Senate approved the nominations of two residents from the 31st Senatorial District to serve on state boards.

Christopher Delozier has been appointed to the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission, while Kirk Stoner will serve on the State Planning Board.

Congratulations to Christopher and Kirk. It is always great to have individuals from the district recognized for their expertise and appointed to serve the Commonwealth in such a capacity. 

Local Government Package Provides Flexibility for Municipal Purchases

The Senate passed a package of bills on Tuesday to allow many Pennsylvania municipalities to purchase used equipment, vehicles, and other personal property from volunteer emergency service organizations without competitive bidding.  Lifting that mandate would cut costs and ultimately save taxpayers’ money.

The bills in the package are: Senate Bill 801 (boroughs and third-class cities), Senate Bill 802 (first-class townships), Senate Bill 803 (second-class townships), and Senate Bill 804 (incorporated towns).

Under the bills, a municipality – acting on behalf of its volunteer fire company — would be permitted to buy a used fire truck from a volunteer fire department serving a nearby municipality without public bidding. The municipality and the organization selling the equipment could agree to a lower than market price for the fire truck since both municipalities and departments would benefit from the transaction.

Municipalities would also save the advertising and administrative costs associated with preparing a notice for requests for bids. The average cost to publish in a medium size paper in the Legal Notice section for a full page is about $6,800, half-page $3,400 and quarter-page $1,700.

Bill Allows Restitution for Governments, Organizations, and Businesses

The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would allow governments, organizations and businesses to collect restitution if they’re victims of a crime.

Senate Bill 897 closes a loophole in state law that defines a victim specifically as an individual who has suffered physical or mental injury, death or the loss of earnings.  As a result of that limited definition, a recent Supreme Court ruling found that governmental entities and businesses are not eligible for reimbursement when they are victimized and suffer losses.

SB 897 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Approves Government Transparency Measure

The Senate this week approved Senate Bill 1031, which will increase government transparency by requiring the Department of Insurance to submit an annual report detailing its spending for third-party contractors to conduct fiscal examinations of insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania.

Fiscal inspections are done to safeguard consumers to ensure that insurance companies are financially responsible.

While it is understandable that the Department may need to contract with outside agencies to perform such inspections, the Department must take every step possible to ensure contractors are performing their duties in a responsible manner that does not place an undue burden on insurance companies, consumers, or taxpayers.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House

Senate Bill 189 amends Pennsylvania’s Crime Victims Act to allow victims to attend the entirety of criminal trials.

Senate Bill 257 increases parity in the eye care industry.

Senate Resolution 322 directs the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee to study the effectiveness of standardized testing.

Senate Bill 439 requires carbon monoxide detectors in child care facilities.

House Bill 566 provides for the suspension of services by a contractor or a subcontractor if timely payment is not received in accordance with the terms of a construction contract. The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 1038 amends the Pennsylvania Election Code regarding residual funds.

Senate Bill 1092 amends the Crimes Code to create an offense for domestic violence in front of children.

Senate Bill 1101 reduces the need for some consumers to obtain a recovered theft vehicle title by creating a damage threshold that would trigger this requirement.

Senate Bill 1104 changes the certification requirements for vocational teachers.

House Bill 1952 addresses a state Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that impacts Pennsylvania’s sexual offender registration act. The bill returns to the House of Representative for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Travel Agent Licensure Bill Sent to the Governor

Legislation to reduce the regulatory burden on licensed travel agents is being sent to the Governor after the Senate concurred on House amendments to Senate Bill 630 on Wednesday.

The bill addresses the selling of insurance by travel agents by allowing them to work under the license of the producer of the insurance product. This places the responsibility for compliance with state insurance regulations on the insurer, rather than each travel agent. The agents would still be required to abide by regulations when selling an insurance product on behalf of the producer, but they would not be required to be individually licensed by the Department of Insurance. Many of these individuals are running small businesses, and they want to do what they do best – provide travel services, rather than serve as insurance agents.

Committee Roundup

A recap of activity by the Senate committees I serve on.

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 819 provides uniformity and protection for agritourism activities.

Senate Bill 1171 replaces the Nutrient Management Advisory Board with a new Farm Animal Advisory Board to give animal farmers greater input into environmental regulations.

State Government

The Senate State Government Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 22 provides for a Redistricting Commission of independent citizens.

Senate Bill 1037 reforms and modernizes the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission.

Other Committee Action

Banking & Insurance

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee amended and approved House Bill 152 on Wednesday. The bill requires the Insurance Department to administer and maintain a database of life insurance policies to search for potential beneficiaries.

Education

The Senate Education Committee approved five measures on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 2 establishes education savings accounts.

Senate Resolution 322 directs the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee to study the effectiveness of standardized testing.

House Bill 564 requires students to pass a test that is identical to the civics test produced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as a condition of high school graduation.

Senate Bill 1032 requires comprehensive financial reporting by the State Board of Education during the regulation process.

Senate Bill 1159 creates a centralized repository for student records of institutions licensed through the “Private Licensed School Board.”

Finance

The Senate Finance Committee approved three bills on Wednesday. 

Senate Bill 37 provides for a sales tax exemption on the purchase of firearm safes and vaults.

House Bill 994 clarifies that the sales of telephones, telephone numbers, modems, tablets and related accessories, including cases, chargers, holsters, clips, hands free devices, screen protectors and batteries are not subject to the gross receipts tax.

Senate Bill 1058 changes the reporting standards by which securities are determined to be abandoned and unclaimed.

Health & Human Services

The Senate Health & Human Services Committee approved three bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1001 empowers the Department of Health to declare public health emergencies in certain cases.

Senate Bill 1054 requires the licensing of prescribers of Suboxone, also known by its generic name – Buprenorphine.

Senate Bill 1089 addresses the disparity in access standard for substance abuse center services between urban and rural areas.

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 249 waives Turnpike tolls for emergency vehicles when either directly responding to an emergency situation or participating in the escort of a fallen firefighter, ambulance service or rescue squad member, law enforcement officer or armed service member killed in the line of duty.

Senate Bill 1156 renames roads and bridges.

House Bill 1646 increases the penalty for careless driving resulting in the death, serious bodily injury, or bodily injury to a pedestrian, or a person on roller skates, inline skates, a skateboard, motor-driven cycle, motorcycle, pedalcycle, motorized pedalcycle, pedalcycle with electric assist, an animal, an animal-drawn vehicle, a farm vehicle or a wheelchair.

Up Next

The Senate returns to voting session Monday, June 4th at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at senatormikereganpa.com.

I wish you all a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend, and I thank those families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

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