Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Newly Renovated Hillside Courts in New Cumberland

NEW CUMBERLAND – A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place today for the newly renovated Hillside Courts in New Cumberland, Cumberland County.

Representatives from the Hillside Park Project and West Shore School District will gather to celebrate the grand opening of the Hillside Courts, a community project made possible through the dedication of project volunteers and community partners.

The objective of the project was not only to enhance facilities for West Short School District students, but also to create a recreational space for the New Cumberland community. The Hillside Courts feature one renovated tennis court, two regulation-size outdoor basketball courts and four pickleball courts. The park area includes a dedicated green space with trees and benches, providing a welcoming environment for community members.

The $300,000 project was made possible through private individual donations, contributions from charitable foundations, grant money from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the support of the West Shore School District.

WHEN:           Thursday, Nov. 16, 11:30 a.m.
WHERE:         Seventh Street and Brandt Avenue, New Cumberland, Cumberland County.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan


Senate Committee Advances Regan Bill to Require Armed School Safety Personnel

HARRISBURG – The Senate Education Committee today advanced a bill introduced by Sen. Mike Regan (R-31) to protect Pennsylvania students and teachers by requiring schools to employ armed security personnel during operating hours.

“Schools should be a place where students and teachers feel safe and the focus can be on learning,” Regan said. “Parents want to know when they drop their kids off in the morning at school that their child is going to safely return home at the end of the school day.”

Regan’s Senate Bill 907 would require school districts to employ an armed, trained and vetted security person at every school during operating hours.  

The bill also aims to enhance safety at school extracurricular activities. It would give school boards the discretion to station armed security personnel on school grounds during extracurricular events outside regular school hours. 

Regan’s proposal would require the armed school safety personnel to comply with vigorous training and certification requirements, including lethal weapons training and guidance on interacting with students. 

“The state requires students to attend school, so it has a responsibility to ensure their safety during school hours,” Regan said. “My bill would ensure schools, teachers and students are less vulnerable to an attack. One of the core functions of government is to protect our children.”

The General Assembly has appropriated $800 million in grant funds to help districts pay for school safety and security upgrades and, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, only approximately half of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts have taken advantage of putting armed officers in schools. 

“School safety experts have told us the most effective method of deterring violence in schools is by putting an armed, trained and vetted security person in every school,” Regan said. “We need to do this now before another tragedy strikes a school full of children.”

Regan’s bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

More information about Regan is available by visiting his website at www.SenatorRegan.com


MEDIA CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan

Op-Ed: Half of PA Schools Remain Unarmed as School Shootings Increase

By Sen. Mike Regan (R-31)

Schools have increasingly become a target for sick and twisted individuals who are vigorously intent on taking the lives of others. Yet only half of Pennsylvania schools have school security personnel on-site to protect students and staff.

It has been ten years since I introduced legislation to require every school to have an armed officer in each building.

At the end of 2012, before I was even sworn into the House of Representatives, I happily welcomed a group of fourth graders from Northern York School District to my new office during a tour of the Capitol. They laughed, they asked questions, and they were excited to be in the Capitol. I gave them each a fist-bump as they boarded their bus to return to school.

After our goodbyes, I got in my car to head home. I was overwhelmingly saddened and rocked to my core moments later when I turned on the radio to hear the breaking news about the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn. The heartwarming experience I had just had with those fourth graders weighing heavily on my mind, I knew, in that moment, that with my background and experience in securing federal courthouses as a US Marshal, I could offer a plan to protect our schools in Pennsylvania.

Since Sandy Hook, there have been more than 200 shootings resulting in fatalities at K-12 schools across the country. Over 40 of those have occurred just this year, while last year saw 37 and the prior year, 38 incidents. Those numbers only reflect shootings in which at least one victim died. Thus far in 2023, shootings in K-12 schools have resulted in 47 deaths and 151 wounded victims.

And we are learning from these events that attackers, like the one in Nashville, Tenn., in March of this year, are targeting schools with lax security standards.

That is why I have reintroduced legislation to require every publicly funded school in Pennsylvania to employ at least one armed, trained, and vetted police officer, resource officer, or security guard during school hours.

My original House bill was unable to get traction due to the lack of appetite in the legislature to spend the money to make this happen. Unfortunately, the cries that this will cost too much still exist today.

Based on data from the PA Department of Education, only approximately one-half of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts have hired any form of school security personnel, even though funding for schools to do so has been made available since 1999.

Additionally, in 2018 the legislature established the School Safety and Security Fund grant program, which has provided over $500 million to schools, and this year’s state budget appropriated another $125 million.

We also appropriated $9.3 billion in basic education funding this year. Finally, let’s not forget that school districts across the state have a combined $3.2 billion in reserves. In my Senate district alone, $50 million of taxpayers’ money sits in accounts labeled “unassigned funds.”

Yet opponents of this proposal still say that schools can’t afford it.

What Pennsylvania schools can’t afford is to ignore the growing statistics and the fact that an attack could happen in any one of our school buildings, at any time.

I have to wonder what is more important – a child’s life or a turf football field?

Opponents are also against arming school security personnel.

Current law requires armed school personnel to successfully complete rigorous requirements, including Act 235 lethal weapons training, as well as training through the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). Also, most of the individuals being vetted for these security positions are either current or former police officers. We are talking about highly skilled professionals who have spent their careers handling firearms, and who would be confidently and efficiently able to use those firearms, if necessary, to protect our sons and daughters.

Students, parents, and teachers cannot wait another 10 years and shouldn’t have to wait another minute without action being taken on this important proposal.

It is time to ensure that all publicly funded Pennsylvania schools have armed and trained officers who are solely focused on protecting our kids, so teachers and administrators can confidently focus on educating them.

Sen. Mike Regan represents the 31st Senatorial District, covering parts of Cumberland and York counties, and has introduced legislation to require a trained and armed security officer in every publicly funded school building in Pennsylvania. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee. Prior to serving in the General Assembly, first in the state House of Representatives and now in the Senate, Regan was a member of the U.S. Marshals Service within the U.S. Department of Justice from 1988-2011.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan, 717-787-8524

Regan, Senate Committee Advance Bills to Reform Medical Marijuana Law and Enable Sale of Edibles

HARRISBURG – The Senate Law and Justice Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Regan (R-31) today approved six bills, including three to reform Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law. One bill would enable the sale of edible medical marijuana in the commonwealth.

“We want Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law to better serve the patients who rely on this medication for a variety of illnesses and conditions,” Regan said. “I brought Republicans, Democrats and stakeholders together to reform the medical marijuana law in ways that will benefit patients.”

The committee approved Senate Bill 835 – which Regan introduced in cooperation with Democrat chairman of the committee, Sen. Jim Brewster (D-45) – containing a comprehensive set of reforms to Pennsylvania’s existing medical marijuana law.

Regan’s legislation would eliminate the list of qualifying conditions and enable a patient’s doctor to determine if a patient’s ailment could be positively treated with medical marijuana.

“I believe doctors and medical professions should decide if a patient would benefit from medical marijuana,” Regan said. “The current system places government bureaucrats between doctors, patients and the medicine they need.”

Additionally, the bill would eliminate the need for patients to renew their medical marijuana card.

Senate Bill 835 would enhance legislative oversight of the medical marijuana law by requiring the director of the Office of Medical Marijuana within the Pennsylvania Department of Health to be confirmed by the Senate. The director currently is chosen by the governor.

The committee also approved Senate Bill 538, which would enable medical cannabis patients to purchase their medicine in edible form. The bill would require the medicine to be tested for consistency and potency. It would prevent the products from being marketed in a way that appeals to children.

The committee approved Senate Bill 773 to enable Pennsylvania-based growers and processors to sell medical marijuana directly to patients. The Pennsylvania Department of Health currently allows some growers to sell medical marijuana to patients while preventing others from doing the same. The bill would establish fairness and parity in the medical marijuana market while providing more choices for patients.

The committee approved all three medical marijuana reform bills with bipartisan support.

“At a time when we hear a lot about partisan gridlock in government, we were able to bring Republicans and Democrats together to advance reforms to Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law,” Regan said. “We brought people with varying perspectives to the table to improve the medical marijuana law for the patients it serves.”

The committee in other business approved a bill to establish a hit-and-run advisory alert system to be known as “Jay Alerts.” Senate Bill 730 was introduced in honor of eight-year-old Jayanna Powell, who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run drive in west Philadelphia in November 2016 while walking home from school.

The bill would require PennDOT to establish a system to alert vehicle repair facilities in Pennsylvania. The investigating law enforcement authority in a deadly or serious hit-and-run accident would alert vehicle repair facilities using the new system. The alerts would include the vehicle make, model and year; license plate number; unique identifying characteristics and the extent of damage.

The committee approved Senate Bill 260 to authorize state parole agents in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to wear body cameras. The recordings would provide transparency, promote de-escalation of conflicts, reduce instances of liability, improve security and provide accurate accounts of interactions between parole agents and parolees.

The committee advanced Senate Bill 836 to enable the Pennsylvania State Police Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) to conduct fingerprint-based criminal history checks on municipal police officer applicants. MPOETC currently lacks the authority to perform this task, but has been granted a temporary waiver by the FBI to conduct these background checks.

All six bills now head to the full Senate for consideration.

More information about Regan is available by visiting his website at www.SenatorMikeReganPa.com.


MEDIA CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan

Op-Ed: Armed School Security a Must for Protecting Students

By: Pennsylvania Senator Mike Regan

Ten years ago, as a member of the House of Representatives, I introduced my first piece of school safety legislation. I was brand new to the legislature, and my proposal came in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  The goal of that legislation was to ensure the presence of at least one armed security officer at each school building.

Now, ten years later, after hundreds of more shootings on school campuses, we have witnessed yet another tragedy, now in Nashville, where three young children and three adults were senselessly killed because an individual with mental health problems was able to gain access to a school building.

This should not and cannot continue to be allowed to happen.

In Pennsylvania, we have taken steps to implement and improve school security measures, but if we have learned anything with each school shooting, it is that every school must be prepared for the worst and to do that, they must meet a certain level of security mandated across the Commonwealth.

Over the last ten years, I have led the charge in the Senate on the issue of school safety. Legislation that I sponsored created a School Safety Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and a School Safety and Security Grant Program to provide schools the financial resources to hire school police or resource officers and to purchase equipment or make physical changes to their buildings in order to keep their schools safe and secure.

However, with each tragic attack on a school, I am reminded of the pushback I faced on my original proposal to require armed security. 

Superintendents and school boards demanded local control of such decisions, and some continue to be resistant to the concept of having armed security.  This defies commonsense, especially when we have industry experts stating that such officers are the first step schools should take to prevent a tragedy like those that continue to happen needlessly across our country.

The sad truth is that individuals are now specifically targeting schools – and especially schools they know are easily accessible and not well-secured. Early reports out of Nashville indicate that the shooter considered targeting another school but was deterred by the level of security there.

The idyllic times of our schools being a safe haven for kids where doors could be propped open and visitors could freely come and go are in the past.  Like in so many scenarios, the wrongdoing of others now dictates how the rest of us must operate in our daily lives.

Ensuring our students are fully protected while they are at school needs to be a top priority.  That is why I am renewing my call for requiring every school to have armed officers on site, who are not only there in case of emergency but can also serve as trusted resources for students and be the eyes and ears on the ground to alert proper authorities to changes in behavior.

My perspective on this issue comes from my career in the U.S. Marshal Service. Part of my responsibilities was to secure federal buildings. I have also relied on other credentialed experts in the field of school and building security as I crafted legislative proposals over the years, and they have all said with uniformity that the hiring of trained and vetted armed officers should be every school’s first step when implementing security measures. But still, many have not.

As we are currently reviewing the governor’s proposed 2023-2024 budget, I am cognizant that funding is always an issue for our schools, especially when another mandate is proposed in Harrisburg.

Thanks to the School Safety and Security Grant Program, money has been available to schools to hire armed officers and to harden points of entry. And I remain committed to ensuring the continuation of that funding source in the 2023-2024 budget.  Every year since the program’s creation, my top budgetary ask has been the maintenance and increase of that line item, which began at $60 million.  Last year’s budget saw a record $95 million for physical school safety and another $95 million for school-based mental health, which goes hand-in-hand when addressing the safety of students.

Also with last year’s funding increase came a requirement that schools use funds to meet Tier 1 Baseline Criteria within a three-tiered system before being able to seek funding for additional security measures.

Many of our schools have already taken the necessary steps to implement both baseline criteria, which includes employing school security – whether it be School Police Officers, School Resource Officers, or School Security Guards – but the time has come for all to recognize that this is a must in today’s world.

Let’s not allow another tragedy to occur or another ten years to pass by without taking necessary action. The lives of our young people – and their bright futures – depend on it.

Senator Mike Regan represents Pennsylvania’s 31st Senatorial District covering parts of Cumberland and York Counties.

CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan, 717-787-8524

Budget Hearing Q&A: State Police

Senator Mike Regan questions State Police Commissioner Christopher Paris.

Regan Concerned about Price Tag of Governor’s Budget Proposal

HARRISBURG – Following the governor’s budget address today in Harrisburg during a joint session of the state Senate and House, Sen. Mike Regan (R-31) said he’s concerned about the overall price tag of the proposal.

“My Senate Republican colleagues and I worked hard the past few years to put the commonwealth in a better financial position,” Regan said. “The governor’s proposal would undo a lot of our work by spending more money than the state expects to collect. When government spends beyond its means, the result is deficits, future cuts to important programs or tax hikes. I don’t want to see any of those happen in Pennsylvania.”

While some of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposals were in line with Regan’s priorities, others were far afield.

One area where Regan believes Shapiro and he can find common ground is on the importance of supporting state and local law enforcement. Shapiro’s proposed budget calls for four new cadet classes of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) next year.

“I’ve been a longtime supporter of law enforcement and the need to increase the state police complement,” said Regan, who chairs the Senate Law and Justice Committee and was a U.S. Marshal before joining the General Assembly. “The state police serve as the primary source of law enforcement in some communities and they’re the only thing standing between dangerous criminals and those residents.”

Regan also sees a common interest in providing sustainable funding to support the state police. Shapiro proposed creating an independent fund for the PSP during the next five years. Regan supports the concept of moving PSP funding out of the Motor License Fund, but says the timeline and the new funding source are up for debate. Regan previously supported funding the state police entirely from the state budget.

Regan said funding for school safety and security measures is one of his top priorities entering the budget season.

“Parents shouldn’t have to fear sending their children to school each day and school district boundaries shouldn’t impact whether one school is safer than the next,” Regan said. “The commonwealth must continue to provide funding to support school resource officers and other measures that enhance the safety of students and teachers.”

Regan also supports the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC), which provides tax cuts for businesses that donate money to support local schools and students. Shapiro’s budget would not increase the amount of money available through that program.

More information about Regan is available by visiting his website at www.SenatorMikeReganPa.com.


MEDIA CONTACT: Bruce McLanahan