I was extremely pleased to be joined on Monday by a group of state champion wrestlers from Westmoreland County.
The Franklin Regional Panthers of Murrysville were honored by the Senate for winning their second consecutive PIAA Class AAA state championship this past March. The Panthers won an unprecedented four individual wrestling championships, which is a record for a PIAA tournament while setting a new mark for total team points. Those individual state champions include Devin Brown, Spencer Lee, Michael Kemerer and Josh Shields. In addition, Josh Maruca was the runner-up in his weight class.
The team is led by head coach Eric Mausser, who earned a couple of titles in his own right this year. Coach Mausser is not only the PIAA Class AAA Coach of the Year for the second straight year, but he was also named the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Wrestling Coach of the Year for 2014-15.
It was definitely a big year for the Panthers. And it was also a banner year for another Westmoreland County wrestler as well. Allan Beattie from Burrell High School won his weight class in the PIAA Class AA wrestling tournament. Allan also set a record by becoming the first Burrell High student to win the state championship in the heavyweight class.
The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, which I chair, approved the nomination of Robin Wiessmann to serve as Secretary of Banking and Securities on Wednesday.
Wiessmann served as Pennsylvania State Treasurer from 2007 to 2009. Wiessmann was a founder and president of Artemis Capital Group, the first female-owned investment banking firm on Wall Street. Prior to founding Artemis, Wiessmann was a vice president at Goldman Sachs and a deputy managing director for the City of Philadelphia. She graduated from Lafayette College and holds a law degree from Rutgers University.
Her nomination now goes to the full Senate for confirmation.
The committee also held a public hearing on the competiveness of the banking industry in Pennsylvania.
More information and video from the meeting are available at: http://banking.pasenategop.com/.
I was pleased to visit with Pastor Joseph Smith of Indiana Wesleyan Methodist Church and his family on Tuesday. Pastor Smith had the distinction of serving as the Guest Chaplain of the Senate. Click for video of Pastor Smith’s invocation.
The Senate approved legislation on Tuesday that would legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Senate Bill 3 would allow individuals who suffer from certain medical conditions to apply for a medical cannabis access card from the Department of Health. A licensed health care practitioner would be required to provide written certification in order for an application to the Department of Health to be considered. The legislation creates a new Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing within the Department of State that will be responsible for regulating growers, dispensers and processors.
Senate Bill 3 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The Senate approved legislation on Tuesday intended to help needy veterans through the sales of a special motorcycle license plate.
Senate Bill 284 authorizes the special “Honoring Our Veterans” license plate for motorcycles and Senate Bill 285 allocates a portion of the funds raised through sales of the plate to the Veterans Trust Fund. The trust fund assists veterans in need of help with food, utilities, mortgage or rent payments, health care and other necessities of life.
The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. Other bills approved by the Senate and sent to the House this week include:
Senate Bill 264 bans the sale, possession, or distribution of shark fins.
Senate Bill 678 clarifies the arrest powers and jurisdiction of campus police officers employed by Pennsylvania’s 14 State System of Higher Education universities.
The Senate confirmed nine cabinet nominations this week.
On Monday, the Senate approved the nominations of Major General James Joseph to serve as state Adjutant General, Dennis Davin to serve as Secretary of Community & Economic Development, Curtis Topper to serve as Secretary of General Services and Leslie Richards to serve as Secretary of Transportation.
On Wednesday, the Senate approved the nominations of Teresa Osborne to serve as Secretary of Aging, Russell Redding to serve as Secretary of Agriculture, Gary Tennis to serve as Secretary of Drug & Alcohol Programs, Dr. Karen Murphy to serve as Secretary of Health and Kathy Manderino to serve as Secretary of Labor & Industry.
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