Capitol Quick Hits for 5.12.15

Capitol Quick Hits for 5.12.15

Here are the highlights from news conferences, rallies, and advocacy days held in the Capitol today: 

  • Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) kicked off today’s 10th Annual Second Amendment Rally on the steps of the Capitol joined by several national speakers and numerous state legislators. Kim Stolfer, President of Firearm Owners Against Crime started the events by declaring that gun control is an abridgement of freedom and that freedom shall not be questioned. 
  • A small group of legislators and Pre-K supporters as well as early childhood advocates met today in the Capitol Rotunda to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood programs. 

  • Advocates gathered in the Capitol this morning to outline the Pennsylvania Arts and Culture legislative priorities. Jenny Hershour, managing director of Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania, kicked off the program by introducing a Hershey High School student, Paxton Zeis, winner of the Poetry Out Loud contest.
  • Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Vereb) held a news conference challenging the Governor’s authority to defy court authority in death penalty cases. Rep. Vereb specifically highlighted the governor’s actions defy the important role played by the other co-equal branches of government in securing justice.
  • Hundreds of nurse practitioners, patients and supports gathered on the Capitol steps to advocate for reforms that would expand access to health care across Pennsylvania. The rally showcased support for SB 717 and HB 765 which would end a government mandate that nurse practitioners obtain business contacts with physicians in order to practice.
  • Minority Senate Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) was joined by Sens. Judy Schwank (D-Berks), David Argall (R-Schuylkill) and Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington), along with PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chair Sean Logan to discuss legislation that would protect workers in construction zones.
  • Rep. John McGinnis (R-Blair) unveiled HB 900, legislation he will be introducing that would eliminate Pennsylvania’s public pension debt over 20 years with level dollar funding. Rep. McGinnis described the “immense financial crisis looming over Pennsylvania’s future” and said recent credit rating downgrades are an obvious sign of that crisis. 


Tuesday, May 12, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
Categories: Event Central
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Legislation calls for independent counsel to advise environmental board

Legislation calls for independent counsel to advise environmental board

Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny) is seeking to provide members of the Environmental Quality Board an independent legal mind.

His legislation—House Bill 1099—to provide the EQB with an independent counsel was approved by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday morning along an 18 to seven bipartisan vote.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Medical Marijuana bill passes Senate

VIDEO: Medical Marijuana bill passes Senate

Sens. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) offered some remarks today after SB 3, the medical cannabis bill, passed the Senate.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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House and Senate advance defined contribution pension bills

House and Senate advance defined contribution pension bills

Though different in substance, both the House and Senate were active Tuesday in moving bills designed to dramatically reform Pennsylvania’s state-run public employee pension systems.

Furthest along in the process is Senate Bill 1, the Senate Republican caucus’s pension reform plan that would move new employees to a 401(k)-like pension plan and alter the future benefits of current employees by requiring a higher employee contribution or rolling their defined benefit plan structure back to that of pre-Act 9-levels.

After making its way through the Senate Finance Committee yesterday, the legislation was considered Tuesday morning by the Public Employee Retirement Commission.

There, an actuarial note to the legislation was approved that showed the bill could save anywhere between $8 billion and $18 billion depending on which analysis is used.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: "It's not just illegal, it's unconstitutional," Sen. Hughes on SB 1

VIDEO: "It's not just illegal, it's unconstitutional," Sen. Hughes on SB 1

During today's Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on SB 1, a state pension reform proposal, Senate Minority Leader Vince Hughes expresses the views of his caucus on the legislation. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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