In this Update:
Veterans Outreach Services
Senate Agriculture Committee Passes SB152
My legislation, Senate Bill 152, which repeals the Frozen Dessert Law passed the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. This bill will remove duplicative and unnecessary regulation on our local restaurants and frozen dessert sellers. Also, pictured next to me is Secretary Redding who received a favorable recommendation for his renomination.
Throughout the month of May, nurses throughout Pennsylvania will receive recognition through Senate resolutions that celebrate Nurses Week May 6-12, School Nurse Day on May 10, and Skilled Nursing Care Week May 14-20. The Senate and I would like to express our gratitude to all nurses who care for citizens throughout the Commonwealth.
Dept. of State Election Returns Website To Provide First Look at Primary Results
The Department of State’s election night returns website will offer up-to-the-minute results from counties after the polls close on May 16.
Voters, candidates, and members of the media can use this online resource to find the most comprehensive picture of how Pennsylvanians voted. The department will post unofficial results on the site as we receive reports from each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties after the polls close at 8 p.m.
People who visit electionreturns.pa.gov can customize their searches, receive timely updates, view results on mobile devices, use a location-based service through the “My County” link to instantly bring up their county’s election returns, and connect to each county’s election results website.
Pennsylvania’s election laws do not currently allow counties to begin pre-canvassing mail-in and absentee ballots before 7 a.m. on Election Day.
Pennsylvanians voting by mail-in or absentee ballot should return their completed ballot as soon as possible. With Primary Day only days away, we recommend that voters hand-deliver their mail ballot to their county elections office or a drop box site, if possible. The deadline for county boards of elections to receive completed mail ballots is 8 p.m. on primary night. Mail ballots received after that time will not count, even if postmarked by 8 p.m. May 16.
Voters may return only their own mail ballot unless the voter has a disability and designates someone in writing to return it for them using the designation form on the Department of State website, or the voter requires an emergency absentee ballot.
Voters who received an absentee or mail-in ballot may vote in person on May 16 if they bring their unvoted mail ballot packet, including the outer envelope, with them to be voided. After they surrender their ballot packet and sign a declaration, they can then vote on their county’s voting system.
Voters who requested a mail ballot and did not receive it or do not have it to surrender may vote by provisional ballot at their polling place on May 16. The provisional ballot will be reviewed by their county board of elections after the primary to ensure that the voter did not successfully vote another ballot for the primary.
For more information on voting and elections, visit vote.pa.gov or call the Department of State’s year-round hotline, 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772), which offers information and interpretation services in more than 200 languages.
Senate Acts to Reduce Regulatory Burdens on Taxpayers and Job Creators
The Senate approved a legislative package to reduce the burden of unchecked government regulations on taxpayers and job creators. The bills will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 188 requires regulations with an economic impact on taxpayers and employers exceeding $1 million to go before the General Assembly for approval before taking effect. The Independent Fiscal Office, rather than the regulating agency, would be tasked with calculating the economic impact.
Senate Bill 190 requires an automatic review after three years of all regulations with an economic impact on taxpayers and employers exceeding $1 million. The regulating agency must report to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission on the effectiveness of the regulation, whether current state laws require the regulation’s repeal or amendment, and more.
Senate Bill 350 requires state agencies to create an accessible website for permit applicants to check their application status. In addition, all the permits issued must be publicly accessible and if rejected, it must state the legal authority the agency relies on to reject the permit application. It also requires that a permit, license or certification is deemed approved by the state if the agency reviewing the application misses its statutory deadline.
Senate Approves Measure to Improve Personal Financial Literacy
To teach high school students the financial basics, the Senate approved legislation that will enable them to make better decisions that lead to a lifetime of success and financial independence. Senate Bill 647 moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Recent estimates show there are more than 350 million American-owned credit card accounts, and credit card owners average about four cards apiece. Families in the United States are approaching approximately $1 trillion in credit card debt and more than $15 trillion in debt overall.
The bill would give high school students the information they need on topics like credit and credit scores; savings and investments; college, home and auto loans; and planning for postsecondary education and retirement.
Measure Boosting Support for PA Veterans Approved by Senate
The Senate passed bills to help veterans start or expand a business, access programs and services available to them, and make it easier for disabled veterans to obtain a free lifetime fishing license. All three bills now head to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 248 would create the Veteran-owned Business Loan Guarantee Program, which would be funded with $5 million of existing dollars from another program run by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The bill defines a veteran-owned business as one in which 51% or more of the organization is owned or controlled by one or more veterans. Veteran-owned businesses in America employ nearly four million workers and generate more than $175 billion in annual payroll.
Senate Bill 447 would establish in law the PA VETConnect program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and helps the commonwealth’s more than 700,000 veterans access programs and services tailored to their needs. The database of resources enables local veteran advocates – including staff at county veterans affairs offices – to point veterans to information, resources, programs and services in their area and across the commonwealth.
Senate Bill 411 would make it possible for disabled veterans with a 100% disability determination to obtain a free, lifetime fishing license. Free lifetime fishing licenses currently are available only to disabled veterans with a 100% permanent disability determination, and they must apply for a new free fishing license every year.
Legislation Expanding Access to Breast Cancer Screenings Signed Into Law
Recently signed into law, Act 1 of 2023 is a first-of-its-kind breast cancer screening measure that will save Pennsylvanians’ lives.
It eliminates all costs associated with genetic testing and counseling as well as breast MRI and ultrasounds for Pennsylvanians with high-risk conditions like dense breast tissue, a personal history of breast cancer, a family history, a genetic predisposition or prior radiation therapy.
Approximately one of every eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer, but this law will ensure that high-risk individuals have affordable access to early detection.
Recognizing Police Officers’ Memorial Day
In recognition of Police Officers’ Memorial Day in Pennsylvania, as designated by Senate Resolution 111, the Fraternal Order of Police joined Senate Republicans to honor the brave law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year. The five officers were:
Like so many other members of law enforcement, these officers served and protected their fellow citizens – despite knowing the sacrifices they and their families would have to make. Thank you to each brave man and woman who defend the safety of our communities.
Celebrating Mother’s Day
To all the women who put their family first, thank you for being such a source of strength and support in our communities. Happy Mother’s Day!
I loved seeing some of the little blue pirates of Williamsburg Elementary School and had the pleasure of introducing them as my guests for session.
I had a great time getting to see Father Paul Taylor, President of St. Vincent College, at the Capitol this week. It is always encouraging to hear about the success of the students and their college.
Congratulations to DelGrosso Foods on the grand opening of a new sauce plant. The state-of-the-art facility will allow the business to fulfill growing customer needs and expand their product base.
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