Important Harrisburg Happenings:
Special Education Funding Reform Sent to Governor
The Senate unanimously approved legislation on April 9th providing reform measures for equitable special education funding. House Bill 2 now goes to the governor for his signature and enactment into law. The measure, which is the companion bill to Senate Bill 470, which I introduced, will create a 15-member panel to develop a formula to allocate any new state special education funding in a manner that recognizes the actual number of physically- and mentally-challenged students in a school and the various levels of their need for services.
Bill Would Allow Victim Testimony at Parole Hearings
The Senate passed Senate Bill 508 on April 9th. This legislation, which I co-sponsored, would allow a crime victim or a member of the victim’s family to testify directly before the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole when the victim’s offender is being considered for parole. Current law does not allow a crime victim to present direct testimony before the board. The measure now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Measure Expands Low-Interest Loans for Local Governments
The Senate passed a measure on April 10th that would expand a low-interest loan program for municipalities. Senate Bill 591, which I co-sponsored, would increase the amounts local governments can borrow through the Local Government Capital Project loan program for equipment purchases (increased from $25,000 to $50,000) and facility upgrades (increased from $50,000 to $100,000). The program, which was set up as a self-sustaining revolving loan fund, provides loans at a two-percent interest rate. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Approves Rabies Exemption Bill
The Senate approved legislation on April 8th that would provide an exemption from annual rabies vaccination requirement for dogs and cats with existing medical conditions. Senate Bill 155 would grant an exemption in cases where a licensed veterinarian examines and determines that it would be harmful to vaccinate a dog or cat due to an infirmity, other physical condition or regimen of therapy.
Senate Committee Hearing:
Committees Hold Hearing on Child
The Senate Public Health and Welfare and Aging and Youth committees held a joint hearing on April 9th to review legislative recommendations made by the Statewide Task Force on Child Protection created by Senate Resolution 250 of 2011. The committees heard from members of the task force and a representative from the Office of Children, Youth and Families at the Department of Public Welfare. For more information and video from the hearing, click here.