Senator Phillips-Hill E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Senate Passes Two Bills to Combat Ongoing Opioid Crisis
  • Bill Offering Free Credit Monitoring to Data Breach Victims Receives Senate Support
  • Urging the Federal Government to Oppose Misguided Housing Policy
  • Statement on Sexual Harassment Allegation within the Governor’s Administration
  • Let Me Know Your Thoughts on Vehicle Inspections and Emissions Testing
  • Protecting Pennsylvania from Ransomware Attacks
  • Senate Votes to Improve Bridge Maintenance and Safety
  • Springettsbury Mobile Office Oct. 11
  • Basic Education Funding Commission in Hazleton
  • Dr. Daniel Moore Served as Guest Chaplain
  • Recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Stocking PA’s Waters with Trout
  • Members of Kim’s Karate visit State Capitol
  • Talking State Government with High 12
  • ICYMI: New Podcast on Proposed Pumped Storage Facility
  • Office Closed on Columbus Day

Senate Passes Two Bills to Combat Ongoing Opioid Crisis

The Senate voted to enact two bills this week to combat the ongoing opioid crisis in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 235 would impose harsher penalties for drug dealers who sell products that lead to the poisoning death of a victim, including drugs laced with fentanyl. It would establish a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a minimum $15,000 fine for anyone convicted of selling or distributing drugs that result in a death. Under current guidelines, drug dealers who poison victims with fentanyl can be back out on the streets in two years or less.

It is important to note that the bill would not apply to drug users who share drugs with family members or friends, or those who seek medical help for individuals who overdose.

Also approved by the Senate was a pilot program for individuals in recovery for substance use disorder. Senate Bill 69 would create a Recovery to Work pilot program to connect individuals in recovery with high-priority occupations through local workforce development boards. The boards would work with the treatment and recovery community as well as local employers and training providers to find job training and employment opportunities.

The pilot program would be led by the Department of Labor and Industry with the assistance of the departments of Health, Community and Economic Development, and Drug and Alcohol Programs, as well as the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Both bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Bill Offering Free Credit Monitoring to Data Breach Victims Receives Unanimous Support 

The Senate unanimously approved legislation to strengthen notification requirements for data breaches and provide affected citizens with free credit monitoring.

Senate Bill 824 would provide citizens affected by a data breach a free credit report and a year of credit monitoring while they recover. The bill also strengthens state notification requirements and requires Attorney General notification if a data breach occurs in the commonwealth.

The measure would cover instances in which an individual’s first and last name or first initial and last name have been accessed in combination with any of the following information: Social Security number, bank account number, driver’s license or state ID number.

Urging the Federal Government to Oppose Misguided Housing Policy 

Earlier this year, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) unilaterally adopted a policy that would increase fees on homebuyers with good credit who make large down payments on home purchases, while rewarding borrowers with bad credit and small down payments, who would pay smaller fees.

While our state treasurer, Stacy Garrity, spearheaded the federal effort, I teamed up with my colleague Sen. Devlin Robinson to get Senate Resolution 134 passed by the full Senate. I am happy that the Senate of Pennsylvania voted and ultimately approved this resolution, letting the federal government know that Pennsylvania does not want any more failed housing policies.

The FHFA has since retracted its debt-to-income ratio fee for home mortgages in May and accepted public comments on fee increases based on a borrower’s credit score throughout the summer.

The resolution requires the Secretary of the Senate of Pennsylvania to send a letter stating the chamber’s opposition to President Biden, leaders in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, and the FHFA. 

Statement on Sexual Harassment Allegations within the Governor’s Administration 

I truly believe in open and transparent government. This week, there were sexual harassment allegations brought to light within Gov. Shapiro’s Administration. You can find my statement on the allegations here.

Protecting Pennsylvania from Ransomware Attacks 

Ransomware attacks are the new 21st century battlefield and Pennsylvania must have a strategic plan in place. These criminals are becoming more sophisticated, and we continue to see governmental entities getting attacked.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed my legislation and drew a line in the sand to say taxpayers will not be paying ransom requests by entities seeking to illegally extort money from hard-working Pennsylvanians.

The legislation was approved by the committee and has been sent to the full Senate for consideration. You can find part of my remarks on this topic here.

Senate Votes to Improve Bridge Maintenance and Safety

This week, the Senate passed legislation to make state funding available for local bridge projects.

Currently, state Motor License Fund dollars are made available for the construction and repair of county bridges. While the funds are used to repair county-owned bridges, spending guidance fails to note how the funds could be used for bridges owned by municipalities within the counties. As a result, municipal bridges suffer and go without repair while remaining funds go unused due to ambiguous guidance.

Senate Bill 799 would give counties the flexibility they need to fund local bridge projects.

Let Me Know Your Thoughts on Vehicle Inspections and Emissions Testing

I have been getting great feedback on my latest survey asking about two proposals within the Senate!

As is, in York County, vehicle owners must have their vehicles inspected for safety and emissions annually. The Senate has a proposal, yet to be introduced, that would change the requirement of vehicle inspections to only when a title is transferred or a vehicle is sold. The other legislation would eliminate the annual vehicle emissions tests for vehicles five years old or newer.

Let me know your thoughts! Take the survey. If you have already took the survey, thank you! Please feel free to share with any neighbors who might have an opinion on the matter.

Basic Education Funding Commission in Hazleton

This week the Basic Education Funding Commission took testimony in Hazleton, located in Luzerne County. We heard input from architects regarding school facilities, school leaders, and community organization leaders about the educational needs of English Language Learners.  

Also, huge shout out to the Hazleton Technology teacher that captured a great learning moment for his students and thank you to our Senate Republican Communications team for sharing their knowledge and experience with students at the BEFC hearing yesterday!

You can submit your comments to the commission here.

Springettsbury Mobile Office Oct. 11 

My mobile office is coming back to Springettsbury Township next week! On Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. my staff will be available to answer questions relating to state issues, including pending legislation, PennDOT, birth and death certificates, Property Tax Rent Rebates, unclaimed property, and more.

If you are interested in stopping by the office located at the York Area United Fire and Rescue Station, let me know by either emailing me back or call the District Office at 717-741-4648 to ensure we have staff available!

Rev. Dr. Daniel Moore Served as Guest Chaplain 

Rev. Dr. Moore leads the congregation at Guinston Presbyterian Church in Airville.

Rev. Dr. Daniel Moore served as our guest chaplain during Senate session this week. Rev. Dr. Moore brought his daughters, Marilla and Cora, for the day.

Recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every October, we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, but early detection can drastically increase the survival rate. Take action by scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.

Of course, my colleagues and I work throughout the year to support people facing breast cancer. We passed comprehensive breast cancer screening legislation earlier this year that eliminated out-of-pocket costs for necessary BRCA testing and screening for high-risk Pennsylvanians.

This week, we also supported a resolution highlighting metastatic breast cancer – stage four when cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Despite advancements in medical science, metastatic breast cancer remains incurable.

Stocking PA’s Waters with Trout

Pennsylvania’s waterways are being restocked with approximately 117,500 hatchery-raised adult Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout in 119 stream sections and lakes. The effort, which began this week, will continue through mid-December.

The stockings will replenish popular fishing spots across the state and provide ice fishing opportunities. Review the trout stocking schedules here. They are subject to change because of water temperature fluctuations and hatchery logistics.

I joined the Fish and Boat Commission and local volunteers last Spring to help stock trout in York County Streams! I had a great time talking with the commission and volunteers about the angling opportunities here in York County.

Please remember, trout that are stocked during fall and winter can be fished for immediately. Anglers ages 16 and older must have a valid Pennsylvania fishing license and trout permit. You can buy 2023 fishing licenses and permits online or at a retail license issuing agent.

Members of Kim’s Karate visit State Capitol

Thank you to Grand Master Kim for bringing his students and their family members from Kim’s Karate to visit the state Capitol! It was great to take you around your beautiful State Capitol and show you the Senate chamber.

If you would like to schedule your fall tour of the Capitol, contact me.

Talking State Government with High 12 

Thank you to the members of the First Capital High 12 Masonic Chapter lunch group for inviting me to your meeting last week! I appreciated the opportunity to share a presentation about my role as a state senator, current legislative issues, and answer all the questions members had on state related issues. 

ICYMI: New Podcast on Proposed Pumped Storage Facility

In case you missed it, part two of my conversation with Mark Platts, president of the Susquehanna National Heritage Area, is out now! We discuss the adverse impact of the proposed pumped storage project along the river that the Philadelphia Inquirer broke the news about earlier this year.

Listen here (Spotify) or here (Apple)!

Since the podcast was recorded, FERC has rejected the initial application submitted by the Berks County based developers. However, developers have pledged that they will re-apply.

Office Closed on Columbus Day

Please be advised that our offices will be closed in observance of Columbus Day (Monday, Oct. 9). We will reopen on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 9 a.m.

You can access many state resources on my online office, which is open 24/7, here.

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