Hearing for Review of the Independent Fiscal Office’s Performance-Based Budget Plan for the Department of Insurance, and Executive Offices

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Senate Appropriations Committee

Wednesday, January 11 | 10am

Hearing Room 1


Agenda

Review of the Independent Fiscal Office’s Performance-Based Budget Plan for the Department of Insurance, and Executive Offices (Office of Administration, Office of the Budget, Office of General Counsel, Office of State Inspector General, Human Relations Commission and Council on the Arts)

UPDATE: Senate Impeachment of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner

Update: December 21, 2022 – District Attorney Larry Krasner submitted his answer to the writ of summons linked below.

(HARRISBURG)The Pennsylvania Senate today announced it was prepared to take the next steps in the impeachment process of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner following the House of Representatives’ 107-85 vote to impeach Krasner earlier this month.

“The Senate’s Constitutional obligations are clear, so we are prepared to fulfill our duties and continue the impeachment process of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner next week,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman. “The plan is to call the Senate back to session and convene for two days, Tues, Nov. 29 and Wed, Nov. 30, to officially begin our role in this process.”

As outlined by the Pennsylvania Constitution in Article VI, Section 5: “All impeachments shall be tried by the Senate.” The role of the Senate is to sit in judgement and review the evidence presented by the House as noted by Article VI Section 4 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Before officially beginning the impeachment trial, the Senate must take three procedural steps next week.

To start the process, the Senate will vote on a series of three resolutions. The first resolution to set the rules of impeachment will be considered on Tuesday. The rules are modeled after the Congressional rules of impeachment and reflect the precedent set in the 1993 Commonwealth impeachment of Justice Rolf Larsen.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate will consider a resolution to invite the House impeachment managers and Sergeant at Arms to officially present the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The resolution will be put forth by newly elected Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41) and seconded by State Senator Lisa Baker (R-20).

On Wednesday, the House impeachment managers and Sergeant at Arms will officially present the articles of impeachment to the Senate at which time an oath will be taken by all members of the Senate to officially begin the process.

Following these procedural measures, the final resolution, a writ of summons will be put forth for a vote. Pending passage of the final resolution, the writ of summons will be issued to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner requiring him to come before the Senate to answer to impeachment. He will be required to file an answer by Dec. 21st and ordered to appear before the Senate on Jan. 18 at 11:30 a.m.

Formal impeachment documents below.

Answer of DA Larry Krasner
Writ of Summons
DOCUMENT_2021D10534
DOCUMENT_2021D10535
DOCUMENT_2021D10536

Contact: Erica Clayton Wright, ewright@pasen.gov, (412) 334-4856

Mastriano to Introduce Legislation to Protect Pennsylvanians from Big Tech Censorship

Senator Doug Mastriano - News Release

Harrisburg- Today, Senator Doug Mastriano announced that he will soon introduce a historic bill to protect the free speech of Pennsylvanians from undue restriction and censorship on large social media platforms. 

The legislation will create a private right of action that will allow users in Pennsylvania to bring legal action against a large social media platform if the platform purposely deletes or censors the user’s political speech and/or uses an algorithm to shadow ban. A censored user who sues would be able to seek statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, costs, and other forms of relief.

The legislation will also require a large social media platform to inform a user in writing why the user’s account has been banned or disabled within 30 days of the action and offer the user recourse to restore the user’s account. Additionally, large social media platforms will be required to publish and consistently apply standards for user censoring, shadow-banning, and de-platforming.

“Freedom of speech is enshrined in the first amendment and does not end when one enters the digital public sphere of a large social media platform,” said Mastriano. “The recently released Twitter files have revealed what many of us had already known. Big Tech oligarchs in Silicon Valley are subjectively banning and censoring what they deem to be “misinformation”. My bill will hold these social media platforms accountable and ensure that all social media users in Pennsylvania are treated fairly, regardless of their political beliefs. Free speech must be defended regardless of whether we agree with that speech or not.”

 

Contact: Josh Herman

Pittman Announces Staff for the Majority Leader’s Office

Senator Joe Pittman - News Release

(HARRISBURG) – Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41) has announced Senate staff for the Majority Leader’s Office, for the 2023-24 legislative session. 

 “The staff that we have brought together to serve in my Harrisburg office, as well as in my district offices, brings a wealth of diverse experience that will be an asset to our team and to the Senate Republican Caucus,” Sen. Pittman said. “Each of these individuals is smart and hard-working, and will help to assist constituents, staff, and members of our Caucus, as we tackle the important issues before the Commonwealth.”

Sen. Pittman’s Harrisburg staff will be located in his Capitol Office in 350 Main Capitol Building. District staff serving constituents throughout the 41st Senatorial District is located in Indiana and Kittanning, and in the near future will also provide assistance in New Kensington.

 Harrisburg/Capitol Office Staff

Carlton Logue – Chief of Staff and Counsel
Scott Sikorski – Director of Legislative Affairs
Crystal Clark – General Counsel to the Senate Republican Caucus
Chris Donahue – Legislative Counsel to the Majority Leader
Alex Fefolt – Legislative Assistant
Kate Eckhart Flessner – Communications Director
Colleen Greer – Legislative Director
Danielle Guyer – Director of Budgetary Affairs
Colleen Kennedy – Executive Assistant
Merritt Reitzel – Legislative Counsel to the Majority Leader
Karen Secoges – Legal Staff Administrator
Christy Short – Executive Assistant/Harrisburg Scheduler
Kara Via – Executive Assistant
Vicki Wilken – Legislative Counsel to the Majority Leader

 41st District Staff

 Jeremy Dias – Deputy Chief of Staff
Benjamin Bush – District Director
Tammy Hozak – Field Representative
Gina Jones – Field Representative
Laura Terihay – Executive Assistant
Tammy Weaver – Executive Assistant/District Scheduler

 

CONTACT:   Kate Flessner kflessner@pasen.gov 717-787-8724

Senator Kim Ward Announces Staff for the Office of Interim Senate President Pro Tempore

Senator Kim Ward - News Release

GREENSBURG – The interim Senate President Pro Tempore is shaping her office staff in preparation for the new legislative session to begin in January 2023.

Interim President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) announced that her team assumed their roles today, Dec. 5.

“Pennsylvanians should have great confidence that this talented group of individuals will join our caucus in helping to put Pennsylvania on a path to prosperity,” said Senator Kim Ward. “Each member of the team brings invaluable experience and expertise to the office and have made a commitment to put Pennsylvania first when advising and making decisions.”

This staff list reflects members of the team located in the Capitol office in Harrisburg, Pa. and serving the 39th District office located in Greensburg, Pa.

Harrisburg/Capitol Staff

Rob Ritson, Chief of Staff
Ashley Albert, Legislative Coordinator
Morgan Bowers, Executive Assistant/Scheduler
Shelly Brown, Majority Staff Administrator
John Gordner, Counsel to President Pro Tempore
Greg Mahon, Deputy Chief of Staff Budget/Finance
Lisvette Quinones, Receptionist/Administrative Assistant
Katrina Weisman, Executive Assistant to Majority Staff Administrator
Adam Pankake, Director of Legislative Development
Erica Clayton Wright, Communications Director

39th District Staff

Rob Ritson, Chief of Staff
Dorothy Staffen, District Director
JoAnn Galbraith, Administrative Assistant
Rachel Moreland, Constituent Outreach Specialist
Lois D’Orazio, Constituent Service Specialist
Regina Scheller, Constituent Outreach Specialist

 

Contact: Erica Clayton Wright, ewright@pasen.gov, (412) 334-4856.

Laughlin Named Senate GOP Policy Committee Chair

HARRISBURG – As part of the new Senate Republican Caucus leadership team for the 2023-24 legislative session, Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49) was appointed by Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Majority Policy Committee.

“The Policy Committee often serves as a staging ground where legislative ideas can be dissected, critiqued and improved,” said Laughlin. “As chairman of this body, I look forward to vetting those ideas so that legislation approved by the Senate helps Pennsylvanians and ensures the prosperity of our commonwealth.”

“I plan to be active across the state holding hearings and gathering input on policy issues important to our both our caucus and the people of Pennsylvania,” Laughlin added.

As the incoming Policy Committee Chairman, Laughlin replaces Sen. Mario Scavello (R-40), who retired from the Senate at the end of the 2021-22 legislative session.

The last known record of a senator from the 49th District in a Republican leadership role dates back to 1907, when Sen. Albert Everton Sisson was Senate President Pro Tempore from 1907 to 1908. Considered a statesman respected among all his colleagues, Sisson was perhaps best known for his work to commemorate the victory won by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and his fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. He was instrumental in securing state funding for finding, raising and restoring the brig “Niagara,” which is still a massive tourist attraction for Erie today.

“It’s very interesting to see the similarities between Sen. Sisson and myself,” Laughlin said. “From both being Republicans representing the 49th District in leadership, to serving as chair of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee and our affinity for the Flagship Niagara, which I have been working to secure funding to build a new replica.”

The new legislative session technically begins Dec. 1, but practically doesn’t start until legislators are sworn into office on Jan. 3, 2023.

 

Contact:           David Kozak   717-787-8927