In this Update:
Regan Presents Resolution Honoring Fallen Officers at FOP Memorial Service
On Monday evening, the Fraternal Order of Police held their annual Police Officers’ Memorial Day service. This event is a time to honor Pennsylvania law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty the previous year.
In conjunction, I sponsored Senate Resolution 111, which I spoke about on the Senate floor earlier in the day on Monday. The resolution designates May 8, 2023, as “Police Officers’ Memorial Day” in Pennsylvania and recognizes the week of May 11th-16th as “National Police Week”. The resolution also names the five officers who died in the line of duty in 2022, and who were honored at Monday evening’s service. Those officers are:
It was my absolute honor to be part of this very special and moving event by presenting a copy of Senate Resolution 111 to the FOP. These officers, like all law enforcement, put on their uniforms and strapped on their firearms knowing the dangers that came with their job. We thank them for their selfless service to their communities and the Commonwealth.
Please take time to watch the entire memorial service here.
Ready-to-Drink Cocktails Bill Sponsored by Regan Advances from Committee
On Tuesday, the Senate Law and Justice Committee, which I chair, advanced two pieces of legislation, including a bill I am sponsoring to allow the sale of spirits-based ready-to-drink cocktails (RTDs) for off-premise consumption by distributors, hotel and restaurant licensees, including grocery and convenience stores.
Currently, these licensees are only allowed to sell malt or brewed RTDs, not those made with spirits such as vodka or rum. The latter must be sold through the state store system, but unfortunately for consumers, the Liquor Control Board (LCB) has limited selection and has stated in a Senate hearing that they do not have the shelf or refrigeration space to dedicate to this growing product.
Senate Bill 688 specifically limits the RTDs that licensees could sell to those with an ABV of 12.5% or less and imposes limits on the amount a consumer can purchase, in line with such limits imposed on beer and wine sales.
As we have seen with allowing licensees to sell wine for off-premise consumption, the LCB is still thriving and their workers have not been impacted. But consumers have a choice as to where they purchase products, and the current government monopoly on liquor sales is preventing that from happening for RTDs.
The Committee also advanced Senate Bill 203, which would establish a Green Alert System for missing at-risk Veterans, similar to Amber Alerts for missing children.
Both bills are now before the Senate for consideration with the next step in the legislative process being a referral to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Senate Acts to Reduce Regulatory Burdens on Taxpayers and Job Creators
The Senate approved a legislative package to reduce the burden of unchecked government regulations on taxpayers and job creators. The bills will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 188 requires regulations with an economic impact on taxpayers and employers exceeding $1 million to go before the General Assembly for approval before taking effect. The Independent Fiscal Office, rather than the regulating agency, would be tasked with calculating the economic impact.
Senate Bill 190 requires an automatic review after three years of all regulations with an economic impact on taxpayers and employers exceeding $1 million. The regulating agency must report to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission on the effectiveness of the regulation, whether current state laws require the regulation’s repeal or amendment, and more.
Senate Bill 350 requires state agencies to create an accessible website for permit applicants to check their application status. In addition, all the permits issued must be publicly accessible and if rejected, it must state the legal authority the agency relies on to reject the permit application. It also requires that a permit, license or certification is deemed approved by the state if the agency reviewing the application misses its statutory deadline.
Senate Approves Legislation to Improve Personal Financial Literacy
To teach high school students the financial basics, the Senate approved legislation that will enable them to make better decisions that lead to a lifetime of success and financial independence. Senate Bill 647 moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Recent estimates show there are more than 350 million American-owned credit card accounts, and credit card owners average about four cards apiece. Families in the United States are approaching approximately $1 trillion in credit card debt and more than $15 trillion in debt overall.
The bill would give high school students the information they need on topics like credit and credit scores; savings and investments; college, home and auto loans; and planning for postsecondary education and retirement.
Measure Boosting Support for PA Veterans Approved by Senate
The Senate passed bills to help veterans start or expand a business, access programs and services available to them, and make it easier for disabled veterans to obtain a free lifetime fishing license. All three bills now head to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 248 would create the Veteran-owned Business Loan Guarantee Program, which would be funded with $5 million of existing dollars from another program run by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The bill defines a veteran-owned business as one in which 51% or more of the organization is owned or controlled by one or more veterans. Veteran-owned businesses in America employ nearly four million workers and generate more than $175 billion in annual payroll.
Senate Bill 447 would establish in law the PA VETConnect program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and helps the commonwealth’s more than 700,000 veterans access programs and services tailored to their needs. The database of resources enables local veteran advocates – including staff at county veterans affairs offices – to point veterans to information, resources, programs and services in their area and across the commonwealth.
Senate Bill 411 would make it possible for disabled veterans with a 100% disability determination to obtain a free, lifetime fishing license. Free lifetime fishing licenses currently are available only to disabled veterans with a 100% permanent disability determination, and they must apply for a new free fishing license every year.
Legislation Expanding Access to Breast Cancer Screenings Signed Into Law
Recently signed into law, Act 1 of 2023 is a first-of-its-kind breast cancer screening measure that will save Pennsylvanians’ lives.
It eliminates all costs associated with genetic testing and counseling as well as breast MRI and ultrasounds for Pennsylvanians with high-risk conditions like dense breast tissue, a personal history of breast cancer, a family history, a genetic predisposition or prior radiation therapy.
Approximately one of every eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer, but this law will ensure that high-risk individuals have affordable access to early detection.
Sunday is Mother’s Day
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the strong, caring, and inspiring women who are moms or mother figures. I am fortunate to still have my own mother to celebrate with at 93 years old. However, I recognize that is not the case for everyone, and to those individuals, I hope you take comfort in fond memories of your mom and find ways to celebrate the wonderful woman she was.