PA Senators Team Up to Shield Sexually Exploited Children, Human Trafficking Victims from Traumatizing Third Party ID Requirements

HARRISBURG – Continuing efforts to combat human trafficking throughout the Commonwealth, PA Senators Cris Dush (R-25), Maria Collett (D-12) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) have officially introduced legislation that would remove the third-party control requirement to ensure that minors who are human trafficking victims have full access to appropriate services and support.

Under current Pennsylvania law, a minor that is exploited for commercial sex must identify a third party to be considered a victim of human trafficking.

“Sexually exploited children who have been subjected to immeasurable emotional and physical trauma should never have to identify their human trafficking perpetrator to justify or obtain the services that they desperately need,” emphasized Dush. “This combined legislative effort seeks to remove these unfortunate and unnecessary barriers that frequently preclude minors who are human trafficking victims from receiving the necessary relief and resources for restoration and healing.”

Sponsored by Senator Dush, Senate Bill 44 would remove third-party control from Titles 18 and 23 of the Pennsylvania criminal code. Senator Collett’s Senate Bill 45 would eliminate the third-party control requirement to access victim services under the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Notification Act (Act 197 of 2012).

“Human trafficking is increasingly prevalent in the United States, with Pennsylvania reporting among the highest number of cases in the country,” said Senator Collett. “Survivors of human trafficking in our Commonwealth should not have to wait until investigators identify a suspected perpetrator to access victim services. To ensure victims become survivors, early interventions like counseling, housing supports, childcare, legal assistance, and other supports are a must to begin the process of healing while the wheels of justice turn.”

Additionally, this package of bills would expand the authority already granted to officers appearing undercover as minors in Title 18. If passed, undercover law enforcement would be able to pose as a third party selling a minor into sexual exploitation.

“The General Assembly must build on its success of Act 1 of 2020 to fight human trafficking in every corner of the state and ensure that criminals are prosecuted,” Phillips-Hill said. “We need to support victims of human trafficking by removing barriers that prevent the most vulnerable child victims from getting the critical support services they need.” 

According to the national human trafficking hotline, Pennsylvania currently ranks as the 9th highest state for reported human trafficking cases. During the past five years, charges have been filed in more than 870 human trafficking cases statewide.


For Senator Dush:  Ty McCauslin, Communications Director at 717-787-7084 or

For Senator Collett:  Bailey Landis, Communications Director at  215-688-0493 or

Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority Accepting Grant Applications

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority is accepting applications for grants to increase access to reliable, high-speed internet across the commonwealth, Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-24) and Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) said today.

The federally funded Broadband Infrastructure Program will provide a total of $200 million in competitive grants for projects that target locations without access to reliable 25/3 Mbps service, the senators said. Eligible applicants include municipalities, businesses, nonprofits and economic development organizations.

“Reliable broadband is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for so much of what we do at home and at work,” said Pennycuick, who chairs the Senate Communications and Technology Committee. “It’s critical for schools, hospitals and businesses, as well as for families trying to stay connected. I encourage eligible entities in underserved communities to apply for this assistance.”

“The availability of these grants will help us close the digital divide and connect more Pennsylvanians to high-speed internet in an efficient manner that respects the taxpayers who fund this assistance,” said Phillips-Hill, who serves on the 11-member authority board. “We’ve spent considerable time laying the groundwork for a well-planned push to increase access to broadband, and now we can identify and support projects that will benefit the communities that need it most.”

The program will fund extensions of existing last-mile cable modem and fiber-to-the-premise broadband networks as well as large-scale regional projects that can transform broadband availability by serving large numbers of eligible addresses.

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, created by legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2021, has a frequently asked questions page and broadband service map to assist prospective applicants. The map shows broadband serviceable locations and community anchor institutions across the commonwealth. The locations are categorized into served, underserved and unserved layers.

The grant application period closes July 10, 2023.


CONTACTS:  (Sen. Pennycuick) Lidia Di Fiore 
                         (Sen. Phillips-Hill) Kiersten Laird


Phillips-Hill, Sturla appointed co-chairs of bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission

HARRISBURG – Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster) have been appointed to serve as co-chairs of the Basic Education Funding Commission. This bipartisan group is tasked with developing and recommending a new formula for distributing state money for education to Pennsylvania school districts.

Earlier this year, Commonwealth Court President Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer ruled that the current education funding system does not meet its constitutional requirements.

“I am humbled to be appointed to this position and ready to tackle our commonwealth’s education funding system headfirst,” Phillips-Hill said. “With my experience serving on a school board and time on the Senate Appropriations Committee, I understand first-hand the funding issues in both the school districts and General Assembly. The heart of the order by Judge Jubelirer emphasizes the inequities of public education created by the school property tax – a tax my constituents despise. I am hopeful we can make headway to address this centuries’ old issue.”

“I look forward to taking on this task with Sen. Phillips-Hill and our fellow Commission members. The issue of adequate and equitable education funding is daunting, but we cannot continue to fail generations of students that are shortchanged in their opportunities for equal education.” Sturla said. “When the first Commission was constituted, Pennsylvania was considered to have the least equitable educational funding system in the nation. While progress has been made, it has not been nearly enough and the court recognized that in their ruling.”

The Basic Education Funding Commission was established in 2014, under former Gov. Tom Corbett. The commission is tasked with developing and recommending a new formula for distributing state funding for basic education to the General Assembly.  Put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic, the reconstituted commission will begin meeting regularly to update recommendations from the 2015 Commission report as well as address the issues raised in the Commonwealth Court ruling.


Kiersten Laird (Phillips-Hill)

Jim Dawes (Sturla)

Senate votes to overhaul bureaucratic permitting and professional licensing process

Codifies and strengthens Shapiro’s executive order to improve business climate in PA

HARRISBURG – The Senate approved key permitting reforms today that will streamline and expedite the state’s historically sluggish permitting process according to the measure’s sponsors, Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland/Dauphin/Perry).

Senate Bill 350 requires state agencies to implement an accessible website so permit applicants can check their application status in real time. All issued permits must be publicly accessible and if rejected, the legal authority the agency relied on must be stated. The legislation would also require that a permit, license, or certification is deemed approved by the state if the agency reviewing the application misses its statutory deadline.

This measure builds on executive orders Gov. Josh Shapiro signed earlier this year, cutting down on permitting delays and bureaucratic red tape by establishing the Office of Transformation and Opportunity and the Economic Development Strategy Group within the governor’s office.

The bill would also create a program for third-party review of permits and a resolution to the current delays in permit decisions.

The senators cite a report released earlier this month from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office that highlights every wage-earning group in Pennsylvania fleeing for a handful of pro-business states, including Florida and North Carolina.

“We are losing Pennsylvanians to other states at an alarming rate. This is not a Democratic or a Republican problem, this is Pennsylvania problem that requires commonsense solutions that have been successful in other states,” Phillips-Hill said. “Regardless of partisan affiliation, I think this is an area we can all agree on: No one wants to lose residents and businesses because they are hitting dead ends within their own state government.”

“Hardworking Pennsylvanians expect their state government to be responsive and efficient,” Rothman said. “With this bill, we send the message that Pennsylvania is serious about growing the economy, attracting job-creators and reforming government for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.”

Key business and labor leaders commended the Senate’s vote today on legislation to reform the state’s permitting process:    

Luke Bernstein, president & chief executive officer, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry:

“We have a generational opportunity within our grasp to advance a significant permitting reform bill that would lead to more jobs, greater transparency, and ultimately, a stronger economy. Senate Bill 350 takes a giant step forward propelling our state to become more competitive.  By building on the governor’s efforts to improve permitting, this measure further helps to modernize, streamline, and add much needed transparency to the permitting process. The PA Chamber is proud to support Senate Bill 350 and be part of the solution that will help Pennsylvania become more competitive. From crafting this bill to ushering it through committee and ultimately the entire Senate, I want to thank Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill and Greg Rothman for their leadership and tireless dedication on this issue.”

Greg Moreland, state director, NFIB-Pennsylvania:

“Regulatory compliance and red tape are an enormous burden to business owners. Senate Bill 350 would provide certainty and clarity which is critical for small business owners. When a customer purchases a product online every time that order progresses the customer is notified. Pennsylvania needs to implement a similar process to ensure a permittee can track the status so that they can plan accordingly. Without certainty, clarity, and a transparent permitting process, small business owners are left guessing which costs the business and the state money.”

David N. Taylor, president & chief executive officer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association:

“To improve our economy, Pennsylvania’s regulators must move at the speed of business and serve as partners in compliance. The Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association applauds the passage of Senate Bill 350, sponsored by Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill and Greg Rothman, which will drastically improve agency transparency and accountability of permitting outcomes in our commonwealth. Gov. Shapiro called on the legislature to act swiftly on permitting reform so that Pennsylvania can become a more competitive business location, and we now respectfully request the House to send this important legislation to the governor for his signature.”

Robert S. Bair, president, Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO:

“While it often seems that a divided legislature struggles to produce legislation that is good for Pennsylvania workers and our partners in the Business community,  it is encouraging when both groups come together on a bill that helps put our businesses on a level playing field with other States and puts workers of this commonwealth building projects so that we can continue towards our goal of making Pennsylvania an economic and energy powerhouse. Senate Bill 350 is an important step in streamlining the permitting process so that we can start the projects that will propel Pennsylvania into the future.”

More than 60 employer associations, chambers of commerce and labor groups support Senate Bill 350, including:

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce

Bedford County Chamber of Commerce

Blair County Chamber of Commerce

Butler County Chamber of Commerce

Cambria Regional Chamber of Commerce

Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County

Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry

Clarion Area Chamber of Business & Industry

Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce

Exton Region Chamber of Commerce

Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce

Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce

Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce

Greater Reading Chamber Alliance

Greencastle- Antrim Chamber of Commerce

Greene County Chamber of Commerce

Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce

Harrisburg Regional Chamber

Huntingdon Chamber of Commerce

Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce

Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce

Lancaster Chamber of Commerce

Monroeville Chamber of Commerce

Norwin Chamber of Commerce

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

Perry County Chamber of Commerce

Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce

Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber

Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce

Slate Belt Chamber of Commerce

Somerset County Chamber of Commerce

Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce

Southwest Regional Chamber of Commerce

TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce

Venango Area Chamber of Commerce

West Shore Chamber of Commerce

York County Economic Alliance

Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO

Associated Builders and Contractors- Keystone Chapter

Anthracite Region Independent Power Producers Association

API Pennsylvania

Associated Builders and Constructors of Western PA

Associated Pennsylvania Constructors

Broadband Communications Association of Pennsylvania

Consumer Energy Alliance

Energy Association of Pennsylvania

Keystone Contractors Association

Life Sciences Pennsylvania

Manufacturer & Business Association

Marcellus Shale Coalition

National Federation of Independent Business

Pennsylvania Aggregates and Concrete Association

Pennsylvania Association of Realtors

Pennsylvania Builders Association

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council

Pennsylvania Coal Alliance

Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform

Pennsylvania Forest Products Association

Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association

Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association

Pennsylvania Medical Society

Pennsylvania Motor Trucking Association

Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association

Pennsylvania Telephone Association

The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

AUDIO (Phillips-Hill)

VIDEO (Phillips-Hill)

AUDIO (Rothman)

VIDEO (Rothman)


Kiersten Laird (Phillips-Hill)

Morgan Wagner (Rothman)

Committee unanimously passes Phillips-Hill’s measure allowing EMS providers to leave life-saving drug with caregivers

HARRISBURG – The Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 81, according to the legislation’s sponsor, Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York).

Senate Bill 81 would codify executive orders into law by amending the Pennsylvania Pharmacy Act, permitting EMS providers to leave a dose package of life-saving Naloxone, or Narcan, with the on-scene caregiver of a patient who overdosed on opioids and was revived by the emergency medical technician.  

“When I first sponsored this bill in the Senate, fentanyl was about half as likely as it is today to be involved in an overdose leading to death,” Phillips-Hill said. “This committee has done a lot of work highlighting the challenges facing our first responders, and with the passage of this bill, we can address two major challenges impacting our state.”  

The FDA recently approved naloxone over the counter, which will go into effect later this summer. Senate Bill 81 would expedite that timeline within Pennsylvania. It would also allow other versions of Naloxone that are still under review for over-the-counter sales to be distributed by EMS providers.   

“I applaud the committee for advancing this legislation that ensures EMS providers can continue to leave life-saving options with a caregiver,” Phillips-Hill added.   

Senate Bill 81 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.  


Kiersten Laird