Senate Passes My Bill Honoring Vietnam War Hero
On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved my bill honoring
a Vietnam War hero.
Senate Bill 438 would designate a bridge on State Route 982
over the Loyalhanna Creek, Westmoreland County, as the Lance Corporal Joseph
E. Roble Memorial Bridge.
Lance Corporal Roble was posthumously awarded the Bronze
Star for his actions as a member of 3rd Platoon, Company E, 2nd Battalion,
26th Marines, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade in the vicinity of Quang Tri
Province on September 15, 1968.
During furious combat with the enemy, Lance Corporal
courageously rushed forward from a position of relative safety to assist two
fallen Marines until additional Marines were able to join the action,
forcing the enemy to withdraw. His Bronze Star citation praised Lance
Corporal Roble for his actions to “engage the enemy, repeatedly exposing
himself to small arms fire and grenades, while maneuvering to gain fire
Lance Corporal Roble was killed in action the following day.
Lance Corporal Roble is truly a local hero who risked all to
save his fellow Marines and ultimately made the supreme sacrifice for his
nation. It is only fitting and proper that we provide a lasting memorial to
Senate Bill 438 now goes to the House of Representatives for
Bill Regulating Healthcare Exchange
Navigators Sent to Governor
The Senate approved and sent to the Governor on Tuesday
legislation that would provide essential protection of consumers’ rights and
personal information with regard to navigators and certified application
counselors created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
Senate Bill 293, also known as the Navigator Accessibility and
Regulation Act, would require Healthcare Exchange Navigators be certified by
the Department of Insurance and pass a criminal background check. The Senate
concurred on House amendments to the measure and sent it on to Governor
As the public becomes increasingly aware of the many
inherent problems with Obamacare, the lack of adequate consumer protection
safeguards was apparent right from the beginning. That’s a major reason why
I supported this bill when it came through the Banking & Insurance
Committee, that I chair, and each time it came to the Senate for a vote last
session and again this year.
It is critical we enact basic and essential regulatory
safeguards in Pennsylvania to offset the lack of detailed regulations and
requirements for navigators under the Affordable Care Act. I believe it is
absolutely essential for the Commonwealth to enact the regulations detailed
in Senate Bill 293 to protect our consumers.
The federal Affordable Care Act relies on individuals,
generally called “navigators,” to educate and enroll millions of uninsured
Americans in Medicaid or a private insurance plan. Although in many respects
these navigators act like insurance agents, they have almost no
qualifications or restrictions placed upon them by the federal statute.
Also sent to the Governor for enactment was
House Bill 341, legislation that requires
that property disclosure statements provide notification of any sinkholes,
the location and condition of defined stormwater facilities, and whether the
purchaser is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the stormwater
here to hear my comments on Senate Bill 293.
Senate Approves Blight Remediation Measure
The Senate approved legislation on Tuesday to give counties
a new option to finance the demolition of blighted and abandoned properties.
Senate Bill 486 would give counties the option to levy up to an
additional $15 fee on deeds and mortgages recorded in the Recorder of Deeds
office. The new revenue would be used exclusively for demolition funding
within that specific county.
SB 486 now goes to the House of Representatives for
consideration. Other bills approved by the Senate and sent to the House this
House Bill 188, which amends the Agricultural Area Security
Law to provide for wind power generation systems on preserved farmland. The
bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Bill 329, which codifies the Ready to Succeed
Scholarship Program, a new scholarship program administered by the
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
Senate Bill 396, which reauthorizes the Pennsylvania Health
Care Cost Containment Council for a term of four years. The council,
otherwise known as PHC4, expired on June 30, 2014 and is currently
performing operations under an executive order from the Governor. PHC4 is an
independent state agency that strives to give consumers, purchasers and
providers quality comparative data for the purpose of making informed health
care decisions. It has been in existence since 1986.
Senate Bill 513, which allows the vehicular transportation of
leachate discharged from a municipal or private landfill's collection and
Senate Bill 538, which strengthens licensee
suspension reporting requirements for the Department of State’s Bureau of
Professional and Occupational Affairs’ 29 licensing boards.
Senate Considers Cabinet Nominations
The Senate considered several cabinet nominations this week.
On Monday, the Senate confirmed the nomination of John
Wetzel as Secretary of Corrections and voted 26-22 to not confirm the
nomination of Marcus Brown to serve as State Police Commissioner. I voted
against the confirmation of Brown.
On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed the nominations of Eileen
McNulty as Secretary of Revenue and Dr. Rachel Levine as Physician General.