Mar. 02, 2018

In the Community
Concealed Carry and Gun Law Seminar

On Wednesday, February 21, Representative Steve Bloom (R-199) and I hosted our annual Concealed Cary and Gun Law Seminar at the New Kingstown Fire Hall in Silver Spring Township. We had record level of attendance at the event. More than 250 gun owners joined us at this informational session. Community leaders – including Attorney Timothy Barrouk, Chief Deputy Sheriff Jody Smith & Cpl. Shaun Gutshall from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, and Silver Spring Township Police Chief Chris Raubenstine – took part in the event by speaking on concealed carry laws and answering questions. Representative Bloom and I were encouraged to see so many of our constituents attend this important event and we look forward to hosting more informative events for gun owners in the future.



Telephone Town Hall Meeting

On February 12, I hosted a telephone town hall meeting where constituents were invited to participate in an hour-long open forum with me through an automated call to their residences. Nearly 1,000 people participated in this interactive event.

This successful telephone town hall meeting allowed me to connect in a personal way with the residents of the 87th District. I had the chance to listen to their opinions about legislative issues and other concerns. Throughout the program, we had an intelligent exchange of ideas and discussion. I enjoyed the opportunity to answer questions and hear their viewpoints on a wide range of topics including the Pennsylvania state budget, environmental concerns, fiscal accountability, health and the state’s infrastructure.

With the overwhelming response of listeners, and the willingness of the participants to engage on the issues, I look forward to my next telephone town hall to hear what matters most to the people of the 87th District.


Centric Bank Ribbon Cutting

On February 21, I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with other area dignitaries, at Centric Bank's new Executive and Operations Center on Good Hope Road in Hampden Township.

At the ceremony, CEO Patti Husic spoke of the deep impact that Centric Bank has had for small businesses in the Commonwealth. Centric Bank’s commitment to community and providing small business loans truly make them a positive asset in our community and we are happy to welcome them.


Good Hope Middle School Visit

On February 15, Mr. Miller, 8th Grade U. S. history teacher from Good Hope Middle School, brought his class to the Commonwealth Court to present a mock trial on the Johnstown flood disaster. They then visited Senator Mike Reagan and I in the Capitol Rotunda.

I commend Mr. Miller’s diligence in instilling civic mindedness in our youth and am proud of these students for learning the nuances of state government and its judicial system. I look forward to perhaps one day seeing these young faces joining the ranks at the Capitol.


Americans for Prosperity Policy Luncheon

My staff and I enjoyed an enlightening meeting with grassroots leaders from Americans for Prosperity at their Americans for Prosperity Policy Luncheon at the Radisson Hotel on February 16. We discussed the pressing debt crisis facing Pennsylvania due to out-of-control spending and addressed how reining in bureaucracy saves taxpayers in the long run. I listened to the concerns of citizens in our community about Harrisburg and the consensus is clear: Pennsylvania succeeds when government is limited. I will continue to fight for a fair and competitive tax system, affordable energy solutions, pension reform, and restraints on occupational licensing.

Meet Michael Stringent

My office is pleased to have Michael Stringent as our winter intern. Michael is a senior at Camp Hill High School with aspirations of studying political affairs in college. He is extremely involved in his community, volunteering with various soccer organizations, local charities, and Good Shephard Church. Michael is a graduate of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce Junior Leadership Program and the Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week Excellence in Learning Program at Lycoming College. We look forward to working with him during the next several months.


Programs, Services and Opportunities
Online Learners Now Eligible for State Grants

Act 5 of 2018, formerly House Bill 1653, expands a successful pilot program created in 2013 that permitted students who take more than 50 percent of their credits online from a college or university headquartered and located in the Commonwealth to receive state grants through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). This new law will take effect with the 2018-19 academic year. More information about college financial aid is available at                                               

Protecting Honest Hunters                                               

Act 3 of 2018, formerly House Bill 359, expands protection for hunters of big game animals, such as bear and elk. A hunter who harvests such animals of the wrong sex or accidentally takes two can turn the animals in to a wildlife conservation officer and receive a new tag, pay a small fine and suffer no license revocation. Restitution for mistakenly killing bear or elk has been set at $100 for each animal killed. Violators who are on a payment plan to repay penalties and who are making on-time payments may not have their hunting or trapping privileges suspended for failure to pay penalties.
State Government News
Working with the White House on Infrastructure

On Thursday, February 22, I took part in a conference call to discuss the president’s infrastructure plan with policy leaders at the White House and several of my colleagues in state legislatures across the country. I was pleased to learn that the administration of President Donald Trump will not be pursuing an increase in the federal gas tax. Instead, they plan to work with Congress to cut spending and avoid further bankrupting the Highway Trust Fund. It was also encouraging to hear that there will be no federal projects mandated by the White House, but rather, states will need to innovate and compete for block grants. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure Pennsylvania is a leader in fiscally responsible infrastructure development.

Budget Hearings

During this year’s hearings on the 2018-19 state budget proposal, House Republicans are focusing on better accountability of tax dollars, private sector job growth, and the opioid epidemic. This week’s slate of hearings included appearances by the Independent Fiscal Office, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the departments of Revenue, Transportation, and Conservation and Natural Resources.

Next week’s hearings will feature the departments of Environmental Protection, Agriculture, Corrections, General Services, Health, Drug and Alcohol Programs, and Military and Veterans Affairs along with the Liquor Control Board and the Office of Attorney General.

The full schedule is available here which will also include video of the archived hearings once available. More information about the governor’s proposal is available here.

HB1811 Automated License Plate Reader Data Collection Restrictions

In January, the House passed legislation, introduced by me and Representative Matzie, that provides needed restrictions on the use of data collected from automated license plate readers (ALPR).

This bill protects your right to have your information kept private as a law-abiding citizen. The provisions in our bill will include who can use ALPRs, how the data can be collected, and how long the data can be stored among other things. Our bill will disallow for the use of ALPRs for passive surveillance, and not allow the information gathered from ALPRs subject to the Right to Know Law. This legislation is similar to HB 2196 that was introduced in 2016 and was reported from the House Transportation Committee late last September.

This bill is currently in the Senate Transportation Committee.

HB1958 Automated Work Zone Vehicle Authorization

While serving on the Transportation Committee, I have met with many industry leaders working on autonomous vehicle technology and I believe that the government must embrace these innovations for the good of our economy.

That is why I introduced legislation that will authorize the use of automated work zone vehicles by PennDOT and the PA Turnpike Commission; and allow for the platooning of motor carrier vehicles. These automated work zone vehicles will protect workers from injury or death caused by other motorists, and platooning allows vehicle-to-vehicle communication that also improves worker safety and reduces fuel use. This bill will improve worker efficiency and safety, and reduces costs for transport companies.

HB1959 Pennsylvania Permit Act

After working through the House State Government Committee’s Regulatory Overreach Report with my colleagues, I introduced important legislation that will rein in the government and unleash free market prosperity in Pennsylvania.

House Bill 1959, the Pennsylvania Permit Act, currently awaiting a vote in committee, would require state agencies to create and develop a navigable online permit tracking system. This system will improve government transparency and boost our economy by allowing applicants to track the progress of their permits and providing explanations should they be denied.                                               

Protecting the Public from Dangerous Sex Offenders

House Bill 631 would require the court to impose a mandatory three-year probation period consecutive to any term of total confinement for a person convicted of a Tier III sex offense under Pennsylvania’s Adam Walsh Act, commonly known as Megan’s Law. Additionally, this bill would ensure sexual offenders remain registered under Megan’s Law.                                               

Increasing Government Transparency

Bipartisan legislation designed to increase government transparency and more appropriately address unlawful lobbying practices is headed to Governor Tom Wolf for his signature after receiving a concurrence vote in the House.

House Bill 1175 would increase fines and penalties for violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act by raising the maximum penalty imposed by the Ethics Commission from the current fine of $2,000 to $4,000. The bill also would increase the maximum administrative penalty that may be imposed for negligent failure to report under current law from $50 per day, to $50 per day for the first 10 days, $100 for each late day after the first 10 late days, and $200 for each late day after the initial 20-day period.

The bill would also improve the current electronic filing system for lobbyists. This would help ensure that the penalties for violating the public’s trust would be better aligned with the crime, and is an effort to restore the public’s faith in the government.

Opening up More Access to Treatment

To help those battling addiction better access life-saving treatment, the House passed legislation last week that would help health care professionals track down available beds at treatment centers.

House Bill 825, which now goes to the Senate, would create a detoxification bed registry to facilitate treatment for drug addiction. The proposal would require the Department of Human Services to develop and administer an internet-based detoxification bed registry to collect, aggregate and display information about available beds in public and private inpatient psychiatric facilities and licensed detoxification and rehabilitation facilities.

The registry would contain information for facilities and licensed providers; the number of beds available at a facility; and a search function to identify available beds that are appropriated for the treatment of a substance abuse emergency. This legislation is in addition to several other bills having passed the House in the last few years to help fight the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania.

Penalties for Caller Identification Crimes

To help consumers fight back against fraud, the House will take up legislation soon to increase penalties for those found guilty of caller identification spoofing.

Spoofing occurs when individuals use technology to make it appear that a call is coming from a number or business other than that of the actual caller. Spoofing can be used to defraud, harass or induce call recipients into divulging sensitive or confidential information, especially senior citizens.

House Bill 979, which was recently passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, would make it a misdemeanor for any person to cause false caller identification information to be displayed on a recipient’s telephone, with the intent to harass or defraud the call recipient.