Pennsylvania Senate Republican News Brief

“A recent report by a national transportation group found that the poor state of Pennsylvania’s roads and bridges costs state residents $9.4 billion annually in vehicle operating costs, congestion delays and traffic accidents. When you look at those statistics, it is very clear that state residents are paying the price for our deteriorating infrastructure. There is a cost if we don’t take action.”

Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery), Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, which has been holding statewide public hearings on the need to pass comprehensive transportation funding.


Senate Kicks Off Fall Voting Session Monday

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee, chaired by Sen. John Gordner (R-Columbia), will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 1023, Labor and Industry Review and Advisory Council, sponsored by Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks). (Tues., 10 a.m. Senate Majority Caucus Room)

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), will hold a public hearing on the Criminal Justice and Addiction Treatment Act. (Tues., 10:30 a.m., N. Office Bldg. Room 1)

The Senate Aging and Youth Committee, chaired by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), will meet to consider several bills from the bipartisan Child Protection Package. (Tues., 11 a.m., Room 8E-B)
For a list of bills before the committee, please see Fast Facts, below.

The Senate Consumer Affairs and Professional Licensure Committee, chaired by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks), will hold a public hearing to consider the nomination of Gladys Brown for appointment to the Public Utility Commission. (Tues., 12 p.m., Room 8E-A)

Watch this committee activity live at
Senate Committee Schedule


Transportation Committee Continues Hearings on Transportation Funding

The Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery), continued its series of statewide public hearings on the need for comprehensive transportation funding with a September 12 hearing at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The committee received testimony from Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch, transportation officials, engineers, economic development groups and SEPTA representatives on the need for passage of Senate Bill 1 in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The comprehensive transportation funding legislation, sponsored by Senator Rafferty, passed the Senate in June by a vote of 45-5 and awaits action in the House this fall. For more on transportation funding, please see In the Spotlight, below.
Hearing Video, Testimony

Baker, Hutchinson Introduce Bills to Help More Disabled Vets Hunt and Fish

Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne)  and Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) introduced legislation to help more disabled veterans receive free hunting and fishing licenses.

Senator Baker, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, and Senator Hutchinson, a member of the committee, acted as soon as they learned that many disabled veterans who are considered “unemployable” under a federal rating system are being denied free hunting and fishing licenses, a benefit accorded to 100 percent disabled veterans under state law.

Senate Bill 1090 and Senate Bill 1091 clarify that a veteran who is deemed to be 100 percent disabled by the U.S. Veterans Administration due to unemployability will be able to receive a free hunting and fishing license in Pennsylvania.

In the Spotlight

Senate Bill 1 will invest more than $2.5 billion in Pennsylvania highways and bridges, transit agencies, railways, airports and ports. It followed the major recommendations made by the Governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission.

The bill represents a bipartisan effort to fund transportation projects throughout the state and address critical safety issues. Pennsylvania has more structurally deficient bridges – nearly 4,400 – than any other state in the nation, and 23 percent of its 44,000 miles of state-owned roads are in poor condition.

Senate Bill 1 will raise revenue through several sources, including adjusting outdated vehicle driver fees for inflation, increasing fines, uncapping the Oil Company Franchise Tax over three years and modernizing many PennDOT services for cost savings.

The Senate Transportation Committee also held public hearings on the issue on July 31 at the Capitol, August 20 in Altoona and August 21 in Allegheny County.

Fast Facts

Child Protection Bills Before the Senate Aging and Youth Committee

  • Senate Bill 20 Updates the definition of “child abuse” and provides exclusions.
  • Senate Bill 21 Clarifies who is a “mandatory reporter” of child abuse.
  • Senate Bill 22 Increases penalties for failure to report child abuse.
  • Senate Bill 23 Updates the definition of “perpetrator” and expands definition of “person responsible for a child’s welfare.”
  • Senate Bill 27 Improves the exchange of information among medical practitioners and county agencies.
  • Senate Bill 30 Establishes accountability and due process protections for individuals working with delinquent children in juvenile detention facilities and residential rehabilitative institutions.
  • Senate Bill 33 Provides employee whistleblower protection for child abuse reporting.