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Senator Scott Hutchinson

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June 2015

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to present my electronic newsletter. These e-newsletters enable me to provide information about issues, events and activities in Harrisburg and around the 21st Senatorial District to you in a timely manner while saving postage costs.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the page.



Rallying in Support of the 2nd Amendment

I was pleased to join with these patriots and several hundred other supporters of the 2nd Amendment at a rally on the Capitol Steps on May 12. The attendees, including a large number of my colleagues in the state Senate and House of Representatives, stood together to show our support for the basic right to bear arms as protected by the US Constitution. Numerous residents from throughout my legislative district, including Butler, Clarion, and Venango counties, were in attendance for the event.

Senate Approves Public Pension Reform Measure

Recognizing that increasing public pension costs are creating an unsustainable burden on state government and local school districts, in May the Senate approved a reform measure drafted by Senate Republicans that is projected to produce $18.3 billion in savings over 30 years.

Senate Bill 1 restructures the state’s two public employee pension systems – the State Employees’ Retirement System and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System – in order to make them viable in the long term.

This bill recognizes the basic, undisputable fact that increasing pension costs must be addressed. This is not an easy task. It is important to stress that the benefits already earned by employees and retirees are protected. They are unchanged by Senate Bill 1. Instead, this bill provides an equitable way to address pension costs beginning in 2016 and moving forward from there.

Economic conditions in the Commonwealth have significantly changed since the current style of pension plan was established, and travelling the current course is unsustainable for the taxpayers and property owners of Pennsylvania. Private employers moved in this direction long ago.

The features of Senate Bill 1 include:

  • All new state and public school employees will be enrolled in a mandatory, 401k-type Defined Contribution Plan similar to those used by private sector workers.
  • Members of the General Assembly, upon election or re-election, will be enrolled in the same Defined Contribution Plan as state and public school employees.
  • Current employees will be able to choose between increasing their pension contribution and lowering their future benefits.
  • No changes to current retiree benefits.

A Public Pension Management and Asset Investment Review Commission made up of investment professionals and retirement advisors will be established to make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor. Among their duties will be to evaluate the performance of current investment strategies and procedures of both state retirement systems regarding rates of return and associated fees paid for fund management.

Beware of Fraudulent PENNDOT Citations

I want to warn everyone about a fraud scheme that claims individuals have received a traffic citation from PENNDOT.

The Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center recently issued an alert regarding fraudulent emails claiming to originate from PENNDOT. The subject line of the fraudulent email indicates “Action Required – Fine for Traffic Violations.” The body of the email contains links to an alleged photo capture, but these messages are not affiliated with PENNDOT.

These emails are not being sent by PENNDOT. In fact, fines for citations or traffic tickets issued in Pennsylvania are not paid directly to PENNDOT.

Below is an example of the actual email received as part of this particular scam. There are signs that indicate this is a phishing scam, including poor spelling or grammar within the message. This message not only has “violation” spelled incorrectly, but also lists two different violation dates. Anyone who receives one of these emails should simply delete it.

State Police Respond to 718 Memorial Day Holiday Crashes

The Pennsylvania State Police investigated a total of 718 crashes, resulting in 247 injuries and 13 fatalities, during the four-day Memorial Day holiday driving period of May 22-25. During last year’s four-day Memorial Day holiday driving period, five people died and 277 others were injured in 709 crashes to which state troopers responded.

This year, troopers made 451 arrests for driving under the influence and issued 13,619 speeding citations during the holiday period. State police also cited 1,264 individuals for not wearing seat belts and issued citations to 306 motorists for not securing children in safety seats. The statistics cover only those crashes investigated by state police and do not include statistics on incidents to which other law-enforcement agencies responded.

PENNDOT Online Heavy Equipment Auction
Open Until June 9

More than 350 items are available for public bid during the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Online Heavy Equipment Auction, which ends at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9.

Included among the more than 350 items up for bid are air compressors, snow plow trucks and snow plows, anti-icing trucks, motor graders, excavators, wheel and backhoe loaders, asphalt equipment, single-, tandem- and tri-axle dump trucks, spreaders, skid steers, generators and more.

Interested bidders can view the entire listing of items on the ADVANCE NOTICE: Commonwealth of PA - PennDOT Heavy Equipment Sale page on In order to bid on all property currently available, you must register online under the “How to Buy” section.

Insurance Department Provides Tips for Preparing for Summer Vacations

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department urges consumers to make sure they are fully informed on their insurance coverage when preparing to leave for vacation.

Personal property like clothing and electronics are typically covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy, even when you take them on a vacation. While the extent of coverage varies, this could cover the cost of the items if they are lost, stolen, or destroyed during the trip. Consult your policy to make sure you know the maximum amount it will cover before deciding which items to take on a trip.

Consumers should also consult their health insurance policy and be aware of whether there are in-network healthcare options at their destination. Contact your insurance company’s member services hotline, which is often printed on the back of your insurance card, if you have questions regarding your health insurance options when traveling. You may find that coverage ends when you leave the country, in which case a travel insurance policy may help fill network gaps.

PUC Offers Suggestions to Beat the Heat While Saving Energy

With the arrival of summer’s heat and humidity, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) offers a number of tips about how to conserve energy while staying cool.

  • On hot and humid days, set your thermostat at 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees or off when you are away for long periods of time.
  • If you have window air conditioning units, close off rooms not in use.
  • Make sure all air conditioner filters are clean and in good shape.
  • Turn off non-essential appliances and as many lights as possible.
  • Postpone using appliances that produce heat such as clothes dryers, dishwashers and stoves until after 7 p.m. These appliances also use significant amounts of electricity adding to the demand on an electric infrastructure that is already stressed during peak hours due to heat.
  • Keep drapes closed and shades drawn. The amount of energy required to cool your home will be considerably less.
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate the air, keeping rooms and you cooler.
  • Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit and check air and return vents on a regular basis to keep circulation air paths clear.
  • Relax in rooms that do not receive direct sunlight.

Consumers can find more tips in the Summer Heat Wave fact sheet on the PUC website, Consumers also can follow the Commission on Twitter (@PA_PUC) for tips on how to reduce energy bills despite rising temperatures.

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2015 © Senate of Pennsylvania

Here to Serve You
Offices of Senator Scott E. Hutchinson


Senate Box 203021
170 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
(717) 787-9684
FAX: (717) 787-6088
TTY: (877) 659-4483

22045 Route 6
Warren, PA 16365-7952
(814) 728-2100
FAX: (814) 728-2102


110 East Diamond Street
Butler, PA 16001
(724) 282-1234
FAX: (724) 282-6852

302 Seneca Street
Oil City, PA 16301
(814) 677-6345
FAX: (814) 677-6331