I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This e-newsletter features events and legislative activities from the Session Week of November 14, 2016.
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Senate Adopts Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Resolution
I am pleased to report that on Wednesday the Senate adopted a Senate Resolution I introduced commemorating December 7, 2016 as “Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” in Pennsylvania.
This year, as we mark the 75th Anniversary of the darkest days in our nation’s history, it is important that we honor our veterans and remember that our nation and her Allies brought light and freedom back to countries around the world. It was through the valor, the bravery and the sacrifice of American soldiers, sailors and Marines that the long and bloody war was won.
Their determination and dedication, perseverance and drive carried the day for the Allies and earned the grudging admiration of their foes as well. And for that, we must remember the spirit of America by honoring those who served and never forgetting those who died on December 7, 1941.
Audio of my comments from the Senate floor on the Resolution.
Legislature Closes 2015-16 Session, Prepares for 2017-18
The Senate and House of Representatives both convened this week to close out business prior to the end of the 2015-16 Legislative Session on November 30 and to prepare for the start of the 2017-18 Legislative Session on January 3, 2017.
While much of the activity in the Senate and House Chambers this week focused on honoring those members who were leaving office at the end of the current session, the Legislature also looked to the future as the four caucuses elected their officers for the coming year.
There will be significant changes in the General Assembly as a result of the recent General Election. Senate Republicans increased their majority in the Chamber to a “veto-proof” 34-16 margin. By achieving this two-thirds majority, Republicans can override a Governor’s veto without a single Democrat vote.
Republicans also gained three seats in the House of Representatives in the General Election. The 122-81 margin, while not “veto-proof,” marks the largest Republican majority in that Chamber since 1957-58.
Senate Republican Leadership 2017-18
Interim President Pro Tempore: Joe Scarnati, 25th
District (Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton,
Senate Majority Leader: Jake Corman, 34th
District (Centre, Huntingdon, Juniata
Majority Appropriations Committee Chairman: Pat Browne, 16th District (Lehigh County).
Majority Whip: John Gordner, 27th District
(Columbia, Luzerne, Montour,
Majority Caucus Chairman: Bob Mensch, 24th District (Berks, Bucks and Montgomery counties).
Senate Majority Caucus Secretary: Richard Alloway, 33rd
District (Adams, Cumberland, Franklin
Majority Caucus Administrator: Chuck McIlhinney, 10th District (Bucks County).
Majority Policy Committee Chairman : David Argall, 29th District (Berks and Schuylkill counties)
Senate Democratic Leadership 2017-18
Democratic Leader: Jay Costa, 43rd District (Allegheny County).
Democratic Whip: Anthony Williams, 8th District (Philadelphia and Montgomery counties).
Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman: Vincent Hughes, 7th District (Philadelphia and Montgomery counties).
Democratic Caucus Chairman: Wayne Fontana, 42nd District (Allegheny County).
Democratic Caucus Secretary: Larry Farnese, 1st District (Philadelphia County).
Democratic Policy Committee Chairman: Lisa Boscola, 18th District (Lehigh and Northampton counties).
House Republican Leadership 2017-18
Speaker of the House Designee: Mike Turzai, 28th District (Allegheny County). The full House will vote on Turzai’s nomination as Speaker when it reconvenes in January.
Majority Leader: Dave Reed, 62nd District (Indiana County).
Majority Whip : Rep. Bryan Cutler, 100th District (Lancaster County).
Majority Appropriations Committee Chairman: Rep. Stan Saylor, 94th District (York County).
Majority Caucus Chairman: Marcy Toepel, 147th District (Montgomery County).
Majority Policy Committee Chairman: Kerry Benninghoff, 171st District (Centre and Mifflin counties).
Majority Caucus Administrator: Kurt Masser, 107th District (Columbia, Montour and Northumberland counties).
Majority Caucus Secretary: Donna Oberlander, 63rd District (Armstrong, Clarion and Forest counties).
House Democratic Leadership 2017-18
Democratic Leader: Frank Dermody, 33rd District (Allegheny and Westmoreland counties).
Democratic Whip: Mike Hanna, 76th District (Clinton and Centre counties).
Democratic Caucus Chairman: Dan Frankel, 23rd District (Allegheny County).
Democratic Caucus Secretary: Rosita Youngblood, 198th District (Philadelphia County).
Democratic Caucus Administrator: Neal Goodman, 123rd District (Schuylkill County).
Democratic Policy Committee Chairman: Mike Sturla, 96th District (Lancaster County).
Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman: Joe Markosek, 25th District (Allegheny County).
Committees Review Pipeline Safety Issues in Pennsylvania
The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee held a joint public hearing on Wednesday to review emergency preparedness and response measures for natural gas/petroleum pipeline infrastructure across Pennsylvania.
Speakers at the hearing included Senator Tom Killion (R-Chester/Delaware), Representative Chris Quinn (R-Delaware), State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay, officials from the Public Utility Commission and PA One Call, representatives from utility and energy companies, and a panel of citizens.
Pipeline safety is a major issue. It is one that has generated a tremendous amount of interest across the Commonwealth, particularly in areas currently designated as the location for new lines. The joint hearing gave the Committees an opportunity to hear about current regulations and it provided the background information necessary should there be any interest in the General Assembly in expanding those requirements or guidelines in the future.
Audio from the hearing.
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