In this Update:
Regan Armed School Security Bill Passes Senate
On Wednesday the Senate approved Senate Bill 907, legislation I am sponsoring to require each school entity in Pennsylvania to have at least one armed school security personnel. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
School security has been a top priority for me since coming to the legislature 10 years ago, and each legislative session, I have advocated for doing more to secure our kids in schools.
Initially, this bill required an armed officer for every school building with a three-year phase-in. However, I worked with my colleagues on a compromise amendment to only require a school entity have one armed officer total.
A key reporting provision remains in the bill to ensure we have accurate data regarding school security personnel, seeing as the current data at the Department of Education is woefully inaccurate. This new reporting requirement will provide a clearer understanding of how many schools already have armed security, so that we can build off of SB 907 and know what it will take to ultimately have an armed officer in every school building.
To watch my full remarks on the Senate floor and to read more on the matter, click here.
Regan Heart and Lung Bill Achieves Final Passage, Signed by Governor
This week, Senate Bill 429, legislation I sponsored to expand the list of law enforcement entities covered under the Enforcement Officer Disability Law, also known as the Heart and Lung Act, achieved final passage in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by the Governor as Act 60 of 2023. The law will go into effect in 120 days.
This legislation was long overdue in leveling the playing field across our state’s great law enforcement community and providing benefits to more individuals that face on-the-job dangers that can result in serious injuries or health impacts causing lost time from work.
This bill extends Heart and Lung benefits to DCNR Rangers and State Park Officers, members of Fort Indiantown Gap Police, commissioned police officers within the Department of Corrections’ Bureau of Investigations and Intelligence, investigative staff within the Office of State Inspector General, and Allegheny County Housing Authority Police.
I appreciate my colleagues in the Senate and House, as well as the Governor, for supporting this legislation and recognizing the need to include these well-deserving law enforcement officers.
To read more on the passing of SB 429 click here.
Weekend Closure Planned Beginning Tonight at 9 P.M. on SB I-83 South Bridge
PennDOT announced that the southbound Interstate 83 (South) Bridge spanning the Susquehanna River between Dauphin and Cumberland Counites will be closed this weekend so a contractor can perform multiple repairs on the bridge.
The bridge will be closed beginning at 9:00pm tonight, Friday December 15, and is expected to reopen no later than 6:00am Monday, December 18.
A detour will be in place during the closure, but please be mindful that congestion will be likely, so use caution and stay alert. Also, check www.511PA.com or the 511PA app for traffic updates.
The suggested route for travelers wishing to access southbound I-83 from north of the bridge should take southbound Interstate 81 to eastbound Route 581 to southbound I-83.
For more information from PennDOT, click here.
Senate Finalizes 2023-24 State Budget
The Senate on Wednesday finalized the 2023-24 state budget by approving two major bipartisan budget implementation bills, which have now been enacted into law.
A large portion of the 2023-24 state budget was completed in August with enactment of the General Appropriations Act. However, several important components still required additional budget implementation language to be passed by both the Senate and House and signed by the governor.
House Bill 1300 (Fiscal Code amendments) and House Bill 301 (School Code amendments) make major investments in the future of Pennsylvania and achieve many of the principles and priorities identified by Senate Republicans as a focus in March.
House Bill 1300 includes several important and time-sensitive measures, including reauthorization of funding for county 911 systems, expansion of a tax credit helping parents seek and maintain employment and allocation of funding for an additional 100 Pennsylvania State Police troopers to help make our communities safer. House Bill 301 includes many provisions to expand education empowerment and access and increase school safety. Read more.
Senate Votes to Preserve Prescription Benefits for Seniors
Legislation to preserve senior citizens’ access to the state’s PACE and PACENET prescription drug benefit plans passed the Senate and is set for enactment.
Senate Bill 607 would continue a law set to expire this year through Dec. 31, 2025 that prevents Social Security cost-of-living increases from making seniors ineligible for PACE and PACENET.
Current income eligibility levels for PACE are set at less than $14,500 for a single person and less than $17,700 for a couple. PACENET, which covers those individuals with incomes exceeding PACE maximums, is open to individuals earning between $14,500 and $33,500 and couples with incomes between $17,700 and $41,500. The minimum age to participate in the programs is 65, and they are funded from proceeds of the Pennsylvania Lottery.
2024 Fishing Licenses, Permits for Sale Now
Fishing licenses, permits and vouchers for 2024 purchased now are valid immediately through Dec. 31, 2024. The price of an annual resident fishing license is $27.97. Multi-year options are also available in increments of three years, five years or 10 years.
They can be purchased through the HuntFishPA online portal on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website, via smartphone by using the FishBoatPA mobile app or by visiting a retail license issuing agent.
Vouchers that can be given as gifts and are redeemable by recipients are also available.
Don’t Get Scammed This Holiday Season
Sadly, just as the holiday season is often a charitable time, there are people hoping to take advantage by scamming others.
From email and text phishing to delivery stealing to credit card skimming and more, there are so many ways to fall prey. Learn more about the common scams criminals use.
Protect yourself and your family by setting up alerts with your credit card company so you know when purchases are made and avoid paying with a prepaid gift card, CashApp or Venmo to buy a gift online. Never use Alexa to find a customer support number and dial for you or click on a hyperlink in an email, social media ad or text message to make a purchase. Instead, go directly to the store’s website.
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