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Senator Don White

Harrisburg Happenings
A Report on the Legislative Session Week
January 26, 2016

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 January 26, 2016.

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.

Sincerely,

Don White


Senate Approves Bill to Reduce the Size of the State House

The Senate approved a bill on Wednesday to reduce the size of the state House of Representatives.

House Bill 153 would reduce the number of seats in the House from 203 to 151, with each district representing approximately 84,500 constituents. Currently, each representative is responsible for serving approximately 62,000 residents.

When comparing the size of state Houses, Pennsylvania’s 203 House districts make it the second largest state House behind only New Hampshire with 400 districts. On the other hand, Pennsylvania’s 50 Senate districts, with an average of 254,048 people in each district, are much larger than the national average of 156,790 per district. Comparatively, Pennsylvania’s state House districts are close to the national average population size of 59,229.

The proposed change requires an amendment to the state Constitution, which means the same bill must be debated and passed by both the House and Senate in two consecutive sessions, and subsequently approved by referendum vote of the people of Pennsylvania.

Committee Holds Hearing on Video/Photo Insurance Appraisals

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, which I chair, held a public hearing on Wednesday to hear testimony on House Bill 1638, which would allow photo and video appraisals for auto insurance claims. The Committee heard from insurance company officials, appraisers and auto body shop representatives.

Click here for video from the hearing.

Special Committee on Senate Address Issues Recommendations

The Special Committee on Senate Address issued its recommendations Wednesday to the full Senate on whether the chamber should proceed to vote on the removal of Attorney General Kathleen Kane due to the suspension of her law license.

The Committee recommended:

· That the Senate not proceed with a removal vote until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court makes a determination it will not consider the Attorney General’s current Application for Extraordinary relief for restoration of her law license.

· That if the Supreme Court decides to consider the Attorney General’s Application, the Senate not proceed with a removal vote unless the Court rules against the Application.

· That the Senate should not proceed with a removal vote if the Court rules in favor of the Attorney General’s Application.

· That after fulfilling the due notice and full hearing requirements of the Pennsylvania Constitution, the Committee recommends the Senate vote on removal provided the conditions of the first two recommendations are met.

The Special Committee on Senate Address was charged with determining whether Kathleen Kane can fulfill the legal duties of the office with an indefinitely suspended law license. A complete history of the Committee’s work, including all votes, reports, testimony and hearing videos may be found at www.senateaddress.pasen.gov

Bills Eliminating Obsolete Measures Sent to Governor

Two bills to remove outdated provisions from state law received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor for his signature and enactment.

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 written report is not needed since that information and other flood-related insurance data are available online at the Department of Insurance website.

House Bill 1201 repeals Act 131 of 1943, which authorized the state or municipalities to adopt and take over public roads and highways constructed by the federal government in the exercise of war power. That law is archaic because the federal government no longer builds World War II roads.

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