A Report on the Legislative Session Week
April 20, 2015
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
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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
Senate Bill 70 would limit state spending growth based on inflation and
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
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
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
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
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