In this Update:
Regan Op-Ed: Mandatory Death Sentence for Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer
Following the third shooting death of a police officer in Pennsylvania since the start of the year, I circulated a co-sponsorship memo on Tuesday proposing legislation to impose a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer.
Yesterday I wrote a related Op-Ed that I sent to media statewide to call attention to the issue, especially since two days before the most recent shooting Governor Shapiro announced that he would continue the policy of Governor Wolf and not issue any execution warrants. His announcement came on the heels of him already choosing not to sign such a warrant for a criminal who shot and killed a police officer in 2017.
Unfortunately, this seems to be the trend – to be sympathetic towards the criminal and their rights while completely disregarding their actions and the impact those actions have on the victim and the victim’s family. My legislation aims to change the fact that a cold-blooded killer can instantly sentence an officer to death but isn’t automatically held to the same standard upon conviction.
Please take a moment to read my Op-Ed here.
Senate Launches Hearings into Train Derailment at Pennsylvania-Ohio Border
The Pennsylvania Senate is holding hearings regarding the Feb. 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio, near the border with Beaver County, Pennsylvania.
On Thursday the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee held a hearing in Monaca, Beaver County focusing on the emergency response to the train derailment and a subsequent controlled chemical burn. Concerned residents were also provided the opportunity to testify.
On Feb. 27, the Senate Transportation Committee will conduct another hearing on hazardous materials transported by rail in Pennsylvania. The panel will review federal and state laws, regulations and policies covering the safe transport and management of hazardous materials by rail. The public is invited to submit questions here.
Pennsylvania ranks first in the nation with the highest number of operating railroads, 65, and fifth in total track mileage, with more than 5,600 miles.
Today is the Deadline for Business Taxpayers to Sign Up for New Online State Tax-Filing System
As I mentioned in last week’s e-news, business taxpayers in Pennsylvania are encouraged to sign up for an account on myPATH – the new online system that enables them to register, file and pay their state taxes through the Department of Revenue – before the old system goes offline today, Friday, Feb. 24.
The myPATH system was created to replace the prior online filing system known as e-TIDES. Taxpayers no longer will be able to use e-TIDES after today. They will need to use myPATH to file their taxes.
Businesses can migrate their prior account information from e-TIDES into their new myPATH accounts.
An informational website about myPATH features step-by-step instructions and video tutorials on switching over, and an online customer service center can help taxpayers who still need assistance.
Resources for Understanding Military Benefits and Tax Filing
If you are a member of the military or veteran, you may find the following resources on taxes and benefits helpful this tax season.
For Pennsylvania state taxes, this U.S. Army site provides information on:
For federal taxes, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides information on how veterans can maximize their tax benefits. It covers what’s taxable and what’s not and includes AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program, which offers free tax help to anyone, with a focus on taxpayers who are 50 and older and have low to moderate incomes.
PA Senate Library Holds 200 Years of History
The Library of the Senate of Pennsylvania has served as the major source of information on the chamber for more than 200 years. It has in-person exhibitions and online exhibits that intrigue and inform to this day.
The current exhibition is Officers of the Pennsylvania Senate, which focuses on the President, President Pro Tempore, Chief Clerk and Secretary of the Pennsylvania State Senate, positions critical to making the chamber function.
The Senate Library includes collections of legislative documents, and historical biographies, as well as sections for educators and children.
The library is located in Room 157 of the Main Capitol Building. Exhibition hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with limited access when the Senate is in session.
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