Senate Approves Mastriano’s Bill Expanding Open Records Law

HARRISBURG – The Senate approved a bill today that will expand Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law to provide greater access to public records at state-related universities, Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) said.

“The value of Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law has proven itself time and again, but it’s not perfect by any means,” Mastriano said. “This bill crucially expands its scope to include pertinent public records at state-related universities, as 47 out of 50 other states already do.”

Senate Bill 488, sponsored by Mastriano, would create an online searchable database that details information about budgets and contracts approved by the Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University. The legislation also increases the amount of university personnel salary information subject to public disclosure.

“State-related universities will receive more than $600 million from taxpayers this year and the way that money is spent shouldn’t be a closely-guarded secret,” Mastriano said. “This legislation offers a level of transparency necessary to keep these universities accountable to the public they serve.”

Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law, established in 2008, created an Office of Open Records to process requests for documents from public agencies, such as the governor’s administration, legislative and judicial agencies and local organizations.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

CONTACT: Doug Zubeck

Media Advisory – Informational Hearing to Discuss Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage

HARRISBURG – The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will convene Monday, Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. to discuss carbon capture, utilization and storage. 

Presenters include officials from the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. 

Matt Mangum, the carbon capture and storage business opportunity manager for Shell, will also speak about the collaborative efforts to advance a clean energy hub in the region. 

The meeting will be held in Room 8-EB in the East Wing of the Capitol. A livestream will also be available on PASenateGOP.com

Media participation is encouraged. 

CONTACT: Nick Troutman, 717-787-3280

Martin Bill Clarifies License Plate Obstruction Violations After Court Ruling

HARRISBURG – Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) will soon introduce a bill clarifying license plate obstruction violations after a court ruling appeared to criminalize thousands of drivers overnight.

“Look around any parking lot and you will see many vehicles with custom frames surrounding their license plates, often issued by their car dealers or of their favorite sports team,” Martin said. “This decision would now mean that any one of those drivers could be pulled over with probable cause. I do not believe this was the intent of lawmakers, and how can we reasonably expect law enforcement to consistently apply this ruling in their daily activities?”

Martin’s comments reference a recent Superior Court decision in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Derrick Ruffin, in which a panel of three judges ruled that a Philadelphia police officer’s decision to pull over a vehicle because a custom license plate frame blocked the state’s tourism website from view was justified.

As a result, Martin circulated a co-sponsorship memo for legislation that would stipulate plate obstructions only apply to important identifiable information.

“It is the responsibility of the court to call balls and strikes and interpret the meaning of the law,” Martin said. “Their ruling is not a reflection of preferred outcomes, but rather a call to the legislature to now perform its responsibility and better clarify language in the statute. My bill will do just that.”

CONTACT: Terry Trego

Media Advisory – Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Meeting Scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 7

HARRISBURG – The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will convene on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 9:30 a.m. to consider sending a letter of disapproval to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission regarding a pending regulation on manganese levels in streams.

“This onerous rule goes above and beyond any known standard for treating manganese, a naturally occurring substance that not even the federal government considers toxic,” said Chairman Gene Yaw (R-23). “Coupled with the absurdly low limit the state wants to establish, this rule serves only to punish mining operations and industrial sites, while giving itself and environmental groups a pass.”

The Environmental Quality Board voted 16-3 last month in favor of a regulation that would limit the amount of manganese discharged into streams and waterways to 0.3 mg/L, far below any existing limit placed on mining, coal and industrial operators. Not even the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) itself comes close to meeting this standard at more than three-quarters of the reclaimed sites it oversees.

“No other state in this country has set a toxicity standard for manganese, let alone one that DEP only applies to industry but does not hold itself or environmental and conservation groups that also manage water pollution to the same standard,” Yaw said. “This is yet another example of the DEP’s politically motivated attacks against industry, aided and abetted by an administration that routinely underrepresents the true impact of these regulatory schemes.”

The meeting will be held in Room 461 of the Main Capitol Building and streamed live at PASenateGOP.com.

CONTACT: Nick Troutman, 717-787-3280

Meeting to consider a Disapproval Letter to IRRC

Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee

Wednesday, September 7, 2022 | 9:30 a.m.

Main Capitol, Room 461

Agenda

To consider a Disapproval Letter to IRRC regarding the Environmental Quality Board’s manganese final-regulation; Regulation #7-553: Water Quality Standard for Manganese and Implementation

 

Informational Meeting on Enhancing Meat Processing Opportunities in PA

Joint Informational Meeting

Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

Wednesday, August 10, 2022 | 10:00 a.m.

Red Barn Annex
Ag Progress Days, Pennsylvania Furnace, PA

Schedule

Informational Meeting on Enhancing Meat Processing Opportunities in PA

Agenda

10:00 a.m. – Opening Remarks by Committee Chairmen and Member Introductions

10:05 a.m. – Presentation: Enhancing Meat Processing Opportunities in Pennsylvania

Dr. Jonathan Campbell, Associate Professor of Animal Science and Statewide Meat Specialist
College of Agricultural Sciences
Penn State Butcher School

Daniel Brockett, Assistant State Program Leader for the Energy, Business, and Community Vitality Team
Penn State Extension

10:25 a.m. – Penn State 2021 Butcher School Apprentices:

Nick Oman
Parker Bell
Cash Sprankle

10:45 a.m.

Russell C. Redding, Secretary
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

11:05 a.m. – Questions

11:30 a.m. – Adjourn

Public hearing on SB 898 (Predictable Recorder of Deeds Fees)

Senate Local Government Committee

Wednesday, August 10, 2022 | 11 a.m.

North Office Building, Hearing Room #1


AGENDA

Public hearing on SB 898 (Predictable Recorder of Deeds Fees)

11:00 a.m. – 11:05 a.m.

Opening Remarks

Senator Dush, Majority Chair

Senator Kearney, Minority Chair

11:05 a.m. – 11:35 a.m.

Testimony  | Attachment

Patricia Berger, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee

Rick Jones, Counsel
Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee

11:35 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.         

Todd Rowe, Esq., President, Board of Directors – Testimony
PA Land Title Association
VP & State Underwriting Counsel, Fidelity National Title

Philip S. Janny, CLTP, NTP, Title Insurance Agent
Plunkett & Graver, P.C.

12:15 p.m. – 12:55 p.m.

Jim Zugay, President – Testimony
PA Recorder of Deeds Association
Dauphin County Recorder of Deeds

12:55 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Closing Remarks/Adjournment

Additional Testimony

Ashley Lenker White – CCAP – Testimony

 

Legislation Honoring Scranton Police Officer John Wilding to be celebrated at Scranton Police Department Headquarters

Who: State Senator John Yudichak (I-Luzerne/Carbon), State Senator Lisa Baker (R Luzerne/Wyoming/Susquehanna/Wayne/Pike), State Senator Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe), Scranton Police Chief Thomas Carroll, Don Williams (President, Voices of JOE) and Mary Wilding (mother of Officer John Wilding).

What: A press conference will be held at the Fallen Officers’ Memorial to celebrate Senate Bill 814 – The Officer John Wilding Law – being officially enacted into law. The bill would strengthen the crimes code by adding penalties for fleeing an officer by foot to evade arrest. Seven years ago, Scranton Police Officer John Wilding lost his life in pursuit of suspects, who fled the crime scene to evade arrest.

Where: 100 S. Washington Avenue, Scranton, PA. 18503 

When: Tuesday, July 26 at 2:30 p.m.

Contact:

Brad Hurley (bhurley@pasen.gov)

Media Advisory – Stefano, Pittman and Senate Committees to Hear Update on Veteran Homelessness in PA

 PITTSBURGH – Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32), chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, and Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41), chair of the Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee, are hosting a joint hearing to hear about the progress made to combat veteran homelessness, as well as what improvements can still be made, on Tuesday, July 26, at 10:30 a.m. at Veterans Place, 945 Washington Blvd., Pittsburgh.

Participants will include:

  • Brig. Gen. Maureen Weigl, Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs, Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
  • Rob Hamilton, Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard.
  • Allen J. Lockard, Director of Veterans Affairs for Indiana County.
  • Timothy Martin, Chief Veterans Affairs Officer for Allegheny County.
  • Sally A. Mounts of City Mission of Washington County.
  • William M. Reed of Veterans Outreach of Pennsylvania.
  • Janine Wytovich of Veterans Leadership Program.

Watch live at SenatorStefano.com, veterans.pasenategop.com, SenatorPittman.com or urbanaffairs.pasenategop.com.

CONTACT:    Nathan Silcox, 717-787-7175 (Stefano’s office)

                        Sarah Stauffer, 717-787-8724 (Pittman’s office)