A Report on the Legislative Session Week
November 23, 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 November 23, 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.
Proposal to Eliminate Property Taxes Almost Clears the Senate
The Senate considered and voted on a measure on Monday that would have
permanently eliminated school property taxes in Pennsylvania and established a
fairer way to fund public schools.
proposed amendment to
House Bill 683 failed to receive support from a majority of the Senate and
was defeated 25-24, with Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack casting the deciding
vote to break a tie.
I have supported a number of proposed property tax reform or elimination
proposals over the past few years. This is the closest we have come to actually
ending the long statewide nightmare of school property taxes in Pennsylvania.
video of my remarks from the floor of the Senate during debate on the
Visiting Team Physician Bills Sent to Governor
Two bills that will allow out-of-state visiting athletic team physicians to
treat athletes during athletic events without the need for a Pennsylvania
medical license received final legislative approval this week and were sent to
the Governor for his signature and enactment into law.
Senate Bill 685 and
Senate Bill 686 amend state laws to allow visiting team physicians to treat
athletes 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.
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.
Three additional bills were also sent to the Governor this week.
Senate Bill 130 bans the practice of allowing persons sentenced to community
service to purchase gift cards in lieu of performing the service.
Senate Bill 490 includes the PEMA Director as a position subject to review
and confirmation by the Senate. Currently, the post is filled by appointment by
House Bill 698 allows for the use of a motorized wheelchair by permanently
disabled hunters, and provides permits for individuals with disabilities.
Senate Approves Bill Authorizing Transportation Network
Transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft could operate safely in
every county in Pennsylvania under a bill approved by the Senate on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 984 would establish a regulatory framework for the operation of
transportation network companies throughout Pennsylvania. These companies are
currently permitted to operate in some, but not all Pennsylvania counties and
municipalities under a two-year temporary authority granted by the Pennsylvania
Public Utility Commission (PUC).
The bill, which now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration,
would ensure transportation network companies and drivers meet key requirements,
such as maintaining proper insurance coverage, meeting vehicle safety
requirements and reporting accidents. In addition, the bill would implement a
zero tolerance policy on the use of drugs or alcohol for a driver using the
digital network and prevents individuals convicted of certain crimes, including
burglary, robbery and sexual offenses, from offering rideshare services.
Other bills approved by the Senate and sent to the House this week include:
House Bill 477, which creates the Activities and Experiences for Children in
Out-of-Home Placements Act to give foster parents the ability to approve or
disapprove their foster child participating in extracurricular activities. The
bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Bill 482, which would allow counties to impose a fee of up to 10
percent of the final sale price of a property sold at a judicial sale for a
Demolition and Property Rehab Fund.
Senate Bill 735, which would allow mobile retail food facilities to operate
in multiple food safety jurisdictions without having to pay multiple fees in
each county it operates.
Senate Bill 859, which consolidates the Pennsylvania Department of
Corrections and the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole into a single
state agency titled the “Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.”
Senate Bill 860, which amends the Crime Victims Act making technical changes
related to the consolidation of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and
the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole into a single state agency titled
the “Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.”
Senate Bill 1065, which adds falconry to the list of exemptions for Sunday
Senate Adopts Resolution Urging Greater Screening of Syrian
The Senate adopted a Resolution on Tuesday directing the Governor to reject
the placement of Syrian refugees within the Commonwealth until the federal
government establishes increased security procedures to screen refugees coming
from this region.
In light of the terror attacks that occurred in Paris,
Senate Resolution 248 requests that the President of the United States
direct the Department of Homeland Security to review its security procedures for
vetting refugees and to send a report detailing the increased measures to the
states that are under consideration to receive refugees. The federal government
has already indicated that it will accept 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next
year but have not detailed the security measures that will be used to screen
Guy Reschenthaler Sworn in to State Senate
Guy Reschenthaler was sworn in to office as the state senator representing
the 37th Senatorial District in Allegheny and Washington counties during a
ceremony Tuesday in the Senate Chamber. With Reschenthaler’s swearing in, Senate
Republicans now hold a 31 to 19 majority, the largest margin since 1954.
The son of former teachers, Reschenthaler was raised in the South Hills of
Pittsburgh, graduated from Penn State, The Behrend College, in three years, and
completed law school at Duquesne University. Following law school, Reschenthaler
served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General Corp, volunteering for service in
Iraq. Prior to running for the Senate, he worked in private practice at a
multi-state law firm in Mt. Lebanon and was elected Magisterial District Judge
for Pleasant Hills, Jefferson Hills and South Park, winning the nomination of