October 1, 2012
Back to News Brief
Pennsylvania Senate Republican News Brief
legislation does not require the state or SSHE to lease or sell any property
rights. It simply provides a new opportunity to generate revenue, while helping
students, supporting Pennsylvania's environmental protection efforts and
boosting our state economy through the creation of new jobs."
- Sen. Don
White (R-Indiana) on passage of the Indigenous Mineral Resources Incentives
Senate Session Monday at 1 p.m., Tuesday at 1 p.m.,
Wednesday at 11 a.m.
On Monday, the Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery),
will hold a joint public hearing with the House Transportation Committee on
PennDOT's modernization efforts. (10 a.m. N. Office Bldg. Room 1)
On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R-Dauphin),
will hold a public hearing on diabetes care for students. (10:30 a.m. N.
Office Bldg. Room 1)
The Senate Communications and Technology Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Folmer
(R-Lebanon), will hold a public hearing Wednesday on federal stimulus
broadband projects. (9:30 a.m. Room 8 E-A)
On Thursday, the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, chaired by Sen. Gene Yaw
(R-Lycoming), will hold a public hearing on municipal/zoning restrictions on
student housing. (Senate Majority Caucus Room)
The Senate Local Government Committee, chaired by Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair), will
hold a public hearing Thursday on the Local Government Unit Debt Act, debt of
the Harrisburg Authority, and more. (10 a.m. N. Office Bldg. Room 1)
The Senate Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Ted Erickson
(R-Delaware), will hold a public hearing Thursday on Growing Small Business
in Pennsylvania. (1 p.m. DeSales University, Center Valley)
Resource Extraction Measure Receives Final Approval
Legislation allowing the leasing of property owned by the state and the State
System of Higher Education (SSHE) for mining or removal of valuable coal, oil,
natural gas, coal bed methane, limestone and mineral resources received final
legislative approval Tuesday and was sent to the governor for enactment into law.
Senate Bill 367, sponsored by Sen. Don White (R-Indiana), does not require the state or
SSHE to lease or sell any property rights. The senator noted that it simply
provides a new opportunity to generate revenue, while helping students,
supporting Pennsylvania's environmental protection efforts and boosting our
state economy through the creation of new jobs.
For more on the Indigenous Mineral Resources Incentives Development Act, please see
In the Spotlight
and Fast Facts, below.
Senate Legislation to Boost Gas Station Safety
The Senate approved legislation Tuesday designed to improve safety at
self-service gasoline stations.
House Bill 728 incorporates National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, permitting
fuel dispensing systems to have multiple emergency control devices and
electrical disconnects to be used to shutdown all pumps at an attended
self-service gasoline station during an emergency in the gasoline pump bay area.
The measure requires that there be one emergency control device within every 100
feet of each gas pump "island," and that all such devices be inter-connected to
allow all pumps to be shut down when any one device is activated by either the
attendant/cashier inside the facility or a person located in the gas pump bay
area. This legislation applies to all new construction, modification or
installation of fuel dispensing systems. House Bill 728 was amended in the
Senate and returns to the House of Representatives.
Joint Hearing Focuses on Financial Stability of Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
The Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Sen. John Rafferty
(R-Montgomery), and the House Transportation Committee held a joint hearing
Monday to learn more about the financial situation of the Pennsylvania Turnpike
The committee heard testimony from the Auditor General and representatives of
the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission about the impact of the passage of Act 44
on the commission's growing debt load and how it could impact the commonwealth.
Act 44 established a long-term public partnership between the Turnpike
Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and authorized the
tolling of I-80 to pay for transportation costs. However, the federal government
decided not to allow the tolling, leaving a revenue shortfall that continues to
Senator Rafferty: "The turnpike is a key part of our state's transportation
system, and it is important to look at its financial situation and the impact it
could have on users and all taxpayers. This hearing has helped us to gather new
information on the situation, and to also focus on the need to adequately fund
all our roads and bridges."
Hearing Agenda |Watch
Greenleaf Octane Testing Bill Moves Forward
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery)
authorizing the Department of Agriculture to conduct random testing of octane
levels in gasoline,
Senate Bill 341, was approved Monday by the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
Pennsylvania is one of only three states that do not conduct testing of octane
levels. The Department of Agriculture is required to annually inspect gas pumps
for accuracy, but testing for levels of octane is not required.
In January 2007, the Pennsylvania Auditor General recommended that the state
begin testing octane levels following an audit on retail gas pumps across the
state. The Pennsylvania AAA Federation supports legislation that provides for
Brubaker Measure Would Protect Agricultural Operations
Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster)
introduced legislation Monday that would protect Pennsylvania agricultural
operations by prohibiting unauthorized photos and video recordings.
Senate Bill 1596 would require individuals to obtain the owner's permission
before taking any photos or recordings on the premises. The bill would add
individuals who take photos or video on a farm without the owner's consent to
the list of agricultural trespassers. Violators of the law would be guilty of a
The legislation stems from an incident in Senator Brubaker's district that
involved an activist group targeting a laying hen operation for an exposť
featuring an unauthorized video filmed by an undercover employee. Despite the
fact that three independent inspectors found health and safety conditions of the
operation were at or above industry-best practices immediately following the
incident, the accusations still placed a heavy burden on the business.
Under current law, there is no recourse for farm owners to protect their
operation from an individual who takes photos or records video on their property
In the Spotlight
Under Senator Don White's bill, the Indigenous Mineral Resources Incentives Development Act,
payments or royalties received pursuant to contracts or leases on state-owned
land will be apportioned into three areas: the Oil and Gas Lease Fund, which
supports conservation efforts, (60 percent); the Pennsylvania Infrastructure
Investment Authority (PENNVEST), (25 percent); and, the host agency, (15
That formula would only apply to revenues from leases on state-own lands. A separate formula
would be used for revenues from leases of land held by Pennsylvania's
Fifty percent of the payments or royalties received pursuant to contracts or leases on State
System of Higher Education land would be retained by the university where the
resources are located and 35 percent would be allocated for SSHE distribution
among the member universities. The remaining 15 percent of the revenue would be
used for tuition assistance at all 14 member universities.
Senator White: "This distribution formula benefits all state universities. Perhaps the best component
of the formula is the requirement that 15 percent be set aside for scholarships,
which will allow students and their families to directly benefit from this as
Indigenous Mineral Resources Incentives Development Act Revenue
- Oil and Gas Lease Fund (conservation efforts): 60%
- Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST): 25%
- Host agency: 15%
State System of Higher Education
- Retained by the university where the resources are located: 50%
- Allocated for SSHE distribution among the member universities:
- Tuition assistance at all 14 member universities: 15%