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Senator Don White

Harrisburg Happenings
A Report on the Legislative Session Week
September 28, 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 September 28, 2015.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website 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.


Don White

Committee Approves Taxpayer Empowerment Act

I am pleased to report that on Tuesday the Senate Finance Committee approved my bill that would give taxpayers greater say in school district budget decisions.

Senate Bill 909 would require any future real estate tax increases levied by school districts to be ratified by voter referendum. I believe taxpayers must be empowered by having the final decision on real estate tax increases through a referendum process that cannot be bypassed by allowing for inflationary increases or automatic exemptions for certain costs.

Without a strong voter referendum in place, school districts can continue raising taxes despite any efforts we make to increase education funding, restrain pension contributions and provide property tax relief to homeowners.

My legislation not only empowers voters, it makes them more accountable for the educational environment in their own communities, while requiring school districts to convince the public the product being provided is worth additional taxpayer investment.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Committee Approves EMS Direct Pay Legislation

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee that I chair approved legislation on Wednesday that would ensure insurance companies make direct payments to emergency medical service organizations for their services.

House Bill 347 requires insurers to reimburse an EMS agency that has been dispatched by a 911 center regardless of whether the EMS agency is part of the insurerís network.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Currently, in cases involving out-of-network EMS organizations, insurance companies will send payment for claims to the policy holder, who may or may not subsequently pay the billing company for the medical transport. This legislation will end that practice and ensure EMS companies are properly compensated for the valuable services they provide.

The Committee also approved House Bill 837, a measure that would establish the Savings Promotion Raffle Authorization Act.

Treated Mine Water Proposal Sent to Governorís Desk

Legislation that would help reduce the use of fresh water in oil and gas drilling operations was approved by the Senate Tuesday and sent to the Governorís desk to be signed into law.

Senate Bill 875 clarifies legal liabilities associated with the use of treated mine water in oil and gas operations. The use of treated mine water holds the potential to significantly decrease the use of fresh water in the natural gas extraction process, reducing the withdrawal demand on Pennsylvania rivers, lakes and streams.

The legislation does not weaken any existing environmental safeguards designed to protect public health. It would only clarify parties that could be held responsible if the mine water is not treated or utilized properly.

The Senate sent two other bills to the Governorís desk this week.

House Bill 33 amends the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code to permit alternate members for planning commissions.

Senate Bill 513 allows the vehicular transportation of leachate discharged from a municipal or private landfill's collection and handling system.

Visiting Team Physician Bills Sent to House

The Senate approved two bills this week that will allow out-of-state visiting athletic team physicians to treat athletes during athletic events without the need for a Pennsylvania medical license.

Many teams in Pennsylvania and around the country employ medical personnel who travel with the team and coaches for the purpose of providing medical care. These team physicians have established medical relationships with the athletes and are well suited to provide care while teams are competing. 21 states currently allow for visiting team physicians to practice in their state without meeting home state licensing requirements.

Senate Bill 685 and Senate Bill 686 amend state laws to allow out-of-state visiting athletic team physicians to treat athletes during athletic events without the need for a Pennsylvania medical license as long as they are licensed in their home state and have an agreement with the visiting sports team to provide care for them while traveling.

The Senate sent four additional bills to the House this week.

Senate Bill 785 amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in consolidated county assessment, further providing for definitions and for subjects of local taxation.

House Bill 823 amends the Local Tax Collection Law to correct a number of technical issues that have arisen with the implementation of Act 164 of 2014 regarding basic and continuing education for tax collectors. The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 898 amends the Second Class County Code providing for revenue neutrality of taxes following countywide reassessments.

Senate Bill 899 amends the Consolidated County Assessment Law providing for revenue neutrality of taxes following countywide reassessments.

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