Senator Mike Regan E-Newsletter

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Week of April 8, 2019

In this Edition:

  • Regan Receives Champion of the Merit Shop Award
  • General Assembly Honors Victims of Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting
  • Senate Approves Bills to Protect Crime Victims
  • Senate Passes Measure to Help Homebound Students
  • Bill to Name Bridge in Honor of Fallen Soldier Garners Senate Support
  • Two Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment into Law
  • Committee Roundup
  • Up Next

Regan Receives “Champion of the Merit Shop” Award

On Monday it was an honor to receive the “Champion of the Merit Shop” award from ABC Keystone for my support of legislative issues impacting the construction industry.

General Assembly Honors Victims of Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting; Recognizes Stronger Than Hate Day in Pennsylvania

On Wednesday, the Senate and the House of Representatives held a joint session in memory of the victims of the October 27, 2018, mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

As part of the special recognition, a resolution was adopted designating April 10, 2019, as “Stronger than Hate Day” in Pennsylvania.

It is important for us to be tolerant of others’ differences and to respect people of all walks of life – and not just on a specially designated day but always. 

Senate Approves Bills to Protect Crime Victims

In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the Senate passed a package of bills designed to protect crime victims and ensure they have more opportunities to participate in the judicial process.

The package includes measures to give crime victims more rights to attend criminal trials; expand the rights of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism to provide testimony; provide hearsay exceptions for statements made by young witnesses of cases of sexual assault; shield rape victims against irrelevant cross examinations; and provide for a bill of rights for sexual assault survivors.

The bills within the package are:

  • Senate Resolution 68, which designates the week of April 8-14 as “Crime Victims’ Rights Week.”
  • Senate Bill 399, which provides for a comprehensive bill of rights for survivors of sexual assault.
  • Senate Bill 425, which amends Pennsylvania’s Crime Victims Act to allow victims to attend the entirety of criminal trials.
  • Senate Bill 431, which shields rape victims from irrelevant cross examination.
  • Senate Bill 469, which would apply the existing Tender Years Exception – allowing certain out-of-court statements to be admissible as evidence – to include individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism.
  • Senate Bill 479, which would expand the Tender Years Exception to apply to a wider variety of crimes, including serious sexual offenses. This exception currently only applies in cases of homicide, assault, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, and a narrow number of sexual offenses.

All of the bills were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Passes Measure to Help Homebound Students

Students who face an extended absence from school due to injury or illness could continue to participate in classroom activities and learning under a bill approved by the Senate on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 144, which creates the Keystone Telepresence Education Grant program, now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The grant program would help Intermediate Units purchase equipment that will allow homebound students to participate in normal classroom learning, schoolwork, and activities remotely through the use of telepresence technology.

The grant program would be administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Funding would come from any undistributed money that is not already committed to other projects, so it would not create a new burden on taxpayers. 

Bill to Name Bridge in Honor of Fallen Soldier Garners Senate Support

On Tuesday, the Senate approved legislation that I am a co-sponsor of, Senate Bill 441, which designates the State Route 2087 bridge over the East Branch Codorus Creek in York County as the Sgt. Christopher M. Wrinkle and Tosca Memorial Bridge.

In 2001, Christopher Wrinkle graduated from Dallastown High School in York County and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Sergeant Wrinkle deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and served with the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion as a Special Operations Multi-Purpose K9 Handler. Unfortunately, he died attempting to rescue his service dog, Tosca, from a fire in Herat Province, Afghanistan.

During his time in the Marine Corps Sgt. Wrinkle served his country with honor and distinction. Among the awards he earned were the Purple Heart and Combat Action Ribbon.

Sadly, Tuesday also marked the day we received word that two Marines with York County ties were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan – Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, another Dallastown High graduate and Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, a veteran New York City firefighter whose parents live in York County.  The Governor has since called for flags to be flown at half-staff through sunset Sunday to honor them and Maj. Matthew M. Wiegand, a Horsham, PA, native who died March 30 in a helicopter crash during a training mission at Yuma Air Station in Arizona.

Two Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment into Law

Two bills received final legislative approval and were sent to the Governor for enactment into law this week. 

House Bill 18 authorizes the release of Project 70 restrictions on lands owned by the Borough of Topton, Berks County, in exchange for the imposition of the restrictions on other lands to be acquired by the borough. The bill also provides for land conveyances in Chester, Lehigh, and Monroe counties.

House Bill 264 adds fiscal procedures for the collection of monies by municipal authorities, including a requirement that all monies be deposited into an account in the name of the authority or designated recipient, and which does not include the name of an individual.

Committee Roundup

Appropriations 

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved several bills on Monday including: 

Senate Bill 133 amends the State Constitution to allow gubernatorial candidates to select their running mate.

Senate Bill 145 amends the Agricultural Area Security Law to allow for the voluntary relinquishment of the right to construct a residence.

House Bill 275 changes the name of the “Early Intervention Program” under the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act to the “Strategic Management Planning Program.”

Health & Human Services

The Senate Health & Human Services Committee approved Senate Bill 390 on Wednesday. The bill delays the switch to a state or regional broker for the Medical Assistance Transportation Program pending a Joint State Government Commission study.

Labor & Industry

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee approved two bills on Tuesday. 

Senate Bill 304 protects the unemployment compensation rights of spouses of active duty members of the armed forces.

Senate Bill 453 provides an exemption from the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) for barns and other structures that are occasionally used for weddings or special events if certain requirements are satisfied.

State Government

The Senate State Government Committee approved three bills on Tuesday. 

Senate Bill 22 amends the state Constitution to create a commission to draw election maps. 

Senate Bill 48 delays the impending mass decertification of current voting machines until an appropriate plan between the Governor and the General Assembly and the method by which it will be paid for can be agreed to. 

Senate Bill 178 requires the electronic filing of campaign finance reports with the Department of State.

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved two bills on Wednesday. 

Senate Bill 131 prohibits novice drivers (16 and 17 years old) from using cell phones while driving. 

House Bill 384 increases the fine for driving a vehicle without the proper endorsement for that particular type of vehicle.

Up Next 

The Senate reconvenes on Monday, April 29th. As always, when we return, you will be able to watch session live on my website.

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