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1st District Connection

Senator FarneseDear Constituent,

Last week the Pennsylvania Senate went into recess for the holiday, so I’ve enclosed a brief legislative summary for you.  As always, if you have any questions or want to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

This will also be my last District Connection for 2011; I’ll resume on January 10, so please have a safe and happy holiday season and blessed New Year.  I thank you for all your support and guidance over the past 12 months.  And finally, other than closing for the Christmas Holiday on December 21 and the afternoon of December 23, my office is always available to help you.

Yours, 
Sen. Larry Farnese 

 

Direct Shipment of Wine

The Senate Law and Justice Committee approved legislation (SB 790) to allow wineries and retailers to ship wine directly to Pennsylvania residents, without going through the LCB.  I have long supported this consumer-friendly legislation and introduced a similar bill (SB 886) earlier this year.  Key provisions of my bill were included in the measure which passed committee.  The legislation is now in the Senate Appropriations Committee awaiting further action.

 

Protections for Pennsylvania’s Children

I introduced two pieces of legislation that would address child protection.  The first ensures a higher standard of accountability for negligent or criminally liable parents (SB 1203, known as Caylee’s Law).  The second would prevent anyone convicted of a sex crime requiring registration under Megan’s Law from collecting their public pension (SB 1290, introduced in October 2011).  The Senate also moved to pass SR 250, of which I am a co-sponsor, which would establish a child protection task force to study ways we can strengthen our child abuse laws in Pennsylvania.

Bath Salts Ban

The General Assembly unanimously passed legislation to ban bath salts and synthetic marijuana. The bill was signed into law by the governor as Act 7 of 2011.  I introduced similar legislation earlier this year as SB 909.

 

 

Marcellus Shale Impact Fee

shaleBoth the Senate and House approved bills to impose an impact fee on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling (SB 1100 and HB 1950).  I voted against these bills because they did not go far enough in requiring the industry to pay its fair share, as many neighboring states require.  I also opposed these measures because they did not sufficiently strengthen environmental regulations nor provide adequate funding for oversight and remediation and because they would take away local zoning rights.  The bills are now sitting in House committees for consideration.

Women’s Right to Choose

I opposed two bills currently moving through the legislature that threaten a woman’s right to choose and restrict access to health care services.  SB 3 would stop a woman from receiving insurance coverage for an abortion if her insurance provider participates in the state health insurance exchange.  If passed, women would have to purchase supplemental insurance to cover their procedure.  SB 732 would require health facilities offering abortions to be regulated as ambulatory surgical facilities.  This would force many providers out of business because they would not be able to pay for the required structural changes to their facility.  I voted against these two pieces of legislation.  Unfortunately, SB 732 is awaiting signature by the Governor after having passed both chambers.  SB 3 is currently in the House for consideration.

School Vouchers  

The Senate passed legislation in October (SB 1) to establish school vouchers in Pennsylvania.  This legislation would allow parents to send their children to non-public schools and have it paid for by taxpayers.  The program would be limited to lower income students attending poorly-performing schools.  I voted against SB 1 because it would erode public school funding for thousands of remaining students, and does not address our State’s real educational needs.  The bill is now sitting in the House Education Committee.

 

Offices of State Senator Larry Farnese