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Senator Don White

Harrisburg Happenings
A Report on the Legislative Session Week
April 20, 2015

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features events and legislative activities during the Session Week of April 20, 2015.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatordonwhite.com for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the "unsubscribe" button at the bottom of the page. If you would like to contact my office, please go to my web page and click the "contact" button. Please do not "reply" directly to this e-mail.

Sincerely,

Don White


Committee Approves Legislative Pension Reform Bill

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee approved my legislation that would provide savings to Pennsylvania’s public pension system by dramatically changing the program available to members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

By changing the pension plan available to legislators, we will set an example and create an environment to enact necessary broader pension reforms for all public employees in the Commonwealth. We as legislators cannot in good faith ask public employees to move to a defined benefit program if we are not willing to do the same.

Senate Bill 401 would convert all members of the Pennsylvania Legislature from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution plan. My legislation would make the conversion mandatory for current and future state Senators and Representatives.

The Finance Committee approved legislation I co-sponsored that would restrain the growth of government spending by setting state spending limits in the Pennsylvania Constitution. Senate Bill 70 would limit state spending growth based on inflation and population growth.

The bill would require an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution, so lawmakers would have to approve the bill in two consecutive legislative sessions before giving voters the final say via referendum. Since the spending controls would be included in the state Constitution, lawmakers would be prevented from breaching or repealing spending limits with a simple majority vote in the future.

The panel also approved Senate Bill 7, legislation I co-sponsored that would enact spending controls and ensure any excess funds collected by the state would be used to pay down pension obligations, boost budgetary reserves and reduce the Personal Income Tax rate.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 30 states operate under a tax or expenditure limitation. Pennsylvania is in the minority of states having no spending controls in place.

Senate Passes Co-payment Protection Measure

Consumers would be protected against paying multiple co-payments for physical therapy, chiropractic and occupational therapy services under a bill unanimously approved by the Senate on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 487 prevents health insurance policies from charging a consumer more than one co-payment amount per visit. The bill would also prohibit policies from depleting more than one visit for services provided on a given date.

The bill allows the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance to develop regulations relating to multiple co-payments. Violators would be subjected to penalties prescribed in the Unfair Insurance Practices Act.

Other bills passed by the Senate and sent to the House of Representatives this week include:

Senate Bill 385 reforms and modernize the Transit Revitalization Investment District Act.

Senate Bill 427 requires cash-for-gold dealers to retain each item of precious metal for ten business days, instead of five, after purchasing it.  This extension of time will enable burglary victims to discover and report the theft and will enable police to investigate the theft.

Senate Bill 494 repeals a requirement that the General Assembly be furnished with a printed copy of an annual report required under the Flood Insurance Education and Information Act of 1996. The report and other flood-related insurance data are available online at the Department of Insurance website.

Senate Bill 562 provides additional legislative oversight of the regulatory review process. 
 

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