House Votes to End State Vehicle Program
10/5/2018
House Votes to End State Vehicle Program
 
This week the House passed House Bill 482, which would prohibit members of the General Assembly from receiving a state-leased vehicle, by a vote of 140-44.

Currently, 20 members of the House use state-leased vehicles, each costing taxpayers up to $650 a month. The remaining 180-plus members, including myself, use their own vehicles. The bill now moves to the Senate.
 
 
Push to Free the Wine Continues
 

 
It’s time to finish what we started. With only a short time remaining before the end of this legislative session, the Senate has the ability to continue the historic progress we’ve made to give Pennsylvania consumers better choices in the way they purchase beer, wine and spirits.

House Bill 975, which passed the House of Representatives in April 2017, would “free the wine,” by allowing retailers to buy their wine from private sector wholesalers, brokers and makers of wine, not from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. It also would eliminate the artificial floor pricing requirements which increase costs to consumers.

I have been the chief architect to remove Pennsylvania state government from the business of selling wine and liquor. It has been two years since Act 39 of 2016 became law, allowing wine and beer in both grocery and convenience stores. Since then, 781 liquor license holders have obtained the additional “wine to-go” license.
While sales in the state have grown by nearly 2 percent, wine sales in state stores have dropped. The growth has been driven by private sector employers which now account for almost 11 percent of the wine sold in Pennsylvania.

The expanded availability of wine has not led to an increase in alcohol-related vehicle crashes or driving while under the influence charges. In 2017, Pennsylvania State Police reported a decrease of 2,500 DUI charges from 2016, the first decrease in that number in at least a decade.

Selling alcohol is not a core function of government and we should allow private sector entrepreneurs to build and create new job and career opportunities for all Pennsylvanians, not just a select few. Individual consumers, not government bureaucrats, should have the choice over what products they want to purchase and where. Since the passage of Act 39, we have taken great strides in lifting the shackles from the state system, but more must be done. The Senate has just enough time to advance House Bill 975, a pro-consumer bill, and give the people of the Commonwealth more choices. Let’s get it done!
 
 
Ensuring Upkeep of Veterans’ Graves
 

 
The House has approved legislation to help ensure proper upkeep of the graves of Pennsylvania veterans.

Under current law, counties are required to place a marker and a U.S. flag on the graves of all honorably discharged veterans. These U.S. flags are to remain up from Memorial Day through the Fourth of July.

However, new legislation would enhance current law to ensure cemeteries remove torn and weathered flags after the Fourth of July annually, and allow a veteran’s family member to keep them if they choose.

The legislation would also clarify current law to ensure greater communication between cemeteries, local veterans organizations and county commissioners, who are currently required to provide the flags.

House Bill 1471 and Senate Bill 1005 are awaiting action in the Senate.
 
 
House Bill to Allow Police to Carry EpiPens Moves to Governor’s Desk
 
To help save lives in emergency situations, legislation that would allow law enforcement and a variety of organizations and businesses to carry epinephrine auto-injectors, known as EpiPens, is headed to the governor’s desk after unanimous votes in both the House and Senate.

House Bill 126 would permit a number of entities – law enforcement, recreation camps, colleges, universities, day cares, youth sports leagues, amusement parks, restaurants, places of employment and sports arenas – to stock a supply of EpiPens in the event a patron comes in contact with an allergen and has an anaphylactic reaction, which could be fatal.

Under the bill, a designated employee must receive training in how to recognize signs and symptoms of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis; standards and procedures for the storage and administration of an epinephrine auto-injector; and emergency follow-up procedures. Immunity would be granted for those who reasonably administer the EpiPen in good faith.

Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) reports that as many as 15 million individuals have food allergies, and 6 million of those individuals are children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the prevalence of food allergies in children increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.
 
 
Guardian of Small Business
 

 

I am proud to receive the National Federation of Independent Business’s “Guardian of Small Business” award for working to protect small businesses in Pennsylvania.
 
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