In this Update:
Committee Advances Regan Trooper COLA Bill
On Tuesday, as Chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, I convened a meeting to consider five bills.
The committee approved legislation I introduced, Senate Bill 646, which provides a tiered annuity increase based on retirement date for Pennsylvania State Troopers who retired prior to June 30, 2010. Some of these retirees are living at or below poverty. These troopers spent their careers serving and protecting our Commonwealth, and I am pleased that this bill passed unanimously out of committee.
The committee also approved:
All five bills now head to the full Senate for consideration.
To watch the Senate Law and Justice committee in full click here.
Regan Speaks to Law Enforcement at FOP Conference
On Monday, I was honored to have the opportunity to speak at a gathering of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) lodge leaders held at the Harrisburg Hilton. I shared with these members of law enforcement from across the state about legislation I am sponsoring on behalf of police, including Senate Bill 464, which provides a pension buyback option for municipal police, and Senate Bill 429, which expands the eligible law enforcement officers that would qualify for Heart and Lung benefits.
I greatly appreciate the sacrifice these brave men and women make daily to keep our communities safe, and as Chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee I am committed to advancing policy to help them.
Judiciary Committee Holds Voting Meeting
The Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I’m a member, held a confirmation hearing for a judicial appointment, as well as a voting meeting, on Tuesday. The committee advanced the nomination of Damaris Garcia, Esq., for the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County, and on Wednesday, she received confirmation from the full Senate.
The committee also approved the following legislation:
To watch the Senate Judiciary committee meeting in full click here.
Senate Backs Israel, Condemns Hamas
Following the murderous attacks of innocent people by the terrorist group Hamas, the Senate approved a resolution condemning Hamas’ Oct. 7 carnage.
Senate Resolution 185 shows Pennsylvania’s support of the Jewish people as they defend against this terrorist threat. It says that we stand “firmly with the people of Israel and their right to defend themselves.” It labels the attacks by Hamas as “shocking, barbaric and evil,” further adding they “amount to war crimes of the worst kind.”
The resolution further stipulates, “Israel has every right to defend itself with all due force” and noted Pennsylvania’s “special relationship” with Israel since the country declared independence in 1948.
Critical Support for EMS, Hospitals and Nursing Homes Passes Senate
This week, the Senate approved legislation advancing critical public health components of the budget process.
Passage of House Bill 1351 addresses the crucial public health needs for emergency medical services, hospitals and nursing homes and ensures Pennsylvanians continue to receive access to needed health care services.
Empowering Parents to Control Sexually Explicit Content for Their Children
The Senate Education Committee advanced a bill to provide parental control of student exposure to sexually explicit content, which Pennsylvanians over the age of 18 can view examples of here, in schools. Prior to the vote, the committee held a public hearing on the measure.
Senate Bill 7 would require schools to:
Importantly, Senate Bill 7 would not ban any books from any Pennsylvania school curriculum or library, but rather empower parents to control only what their own children have access to in school. Empowering parents and families is a priority of the Pennsylvania Senate Republicans.
Senate Votes to Increase Access to Addiction Treatment Programs
To combat prevalent opioid addiction, the Senate unanimously passed legislation increasing access to licensed addiction treatment programs for Pennsylvanians.
Senate Bill 941 would provide regulatory flexibilities that can be used during an opioid epidemic to create real solutions to workforce shortages and directly help those in need of treatment get access quicker.
Additionally, Senate Bill 941 would establish annual reporting requirements to the General Assembly regarding unnecessary barriers to workforce recruitment and access to treatment.
Bill Enhancing School Bus Safety Receives Senate Support
The Senate passed a bill to improve school bus safety by increasing penalties for those refusing to follow the law.
Senate Bill 897 would give judges the discretion to increase fines above the current $250 for refusing to stop for a school bus when red lights are flashing or a stop arm is extended. It would also require repeat offenders to complete a PennDOT Driving Improvement School. Additionally, it would establish a new penalty for individuals who fail to proceed with caution past a school bus with flashing amber lights.
According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, approximately 1,000 drivers annually are convicted of passing a stopped school bus with signals flashing. Many more citations are issued without resulting in a conviction.
Grants Available to Ready PA for New Businesses
To attract and retain more businesses in the commonwealth, PA SITES (Pennsylvania Strategic Investments to Enhance Sites) will make $10 million in grant funding available to help locations become “shovel ready.”
Eligible projects must be in Pennsylvania and support the development of competitive sites. These include undeveloped sites and sites that were previously utilized or underutilized – such as former industrial, commercial, military, school, or hospital sites or buildings.
Municipalities, economic development organizations, redevelopment authorities, municipal authorities and industrial development agencies may apply for the funding here through Wednesday, Nov. 8.
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