Apr. 22, 2019

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Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Bill to Cut Red Tape

My legislation to scale down the number of burdensome regulations was approved by the House Environmental Recourses and Energy Committee and is now before the full House for consideration.

Based on the federal REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act), my House Bill 806, known as the Pennsylvania REINS Act, would establish an enhanced review process for major regulations that impose a substantial cost burden on communities, businesses and the Commonwealth.

For years I’ve heard from residents who said they’ve been negatively impacted by overreaching regulations. To combat this, the Pennsylvania REINS Act would establish an enhanced review process for major regulations that impose a substantial cost burden on the Commonwealth. A major regulation – or economically significant regulation – is defined as having an impact on the state, municipalities and/or the business community of $1 million or more per year.
Pension Forfeiture for Sex Offenses

Working to ensure public officials and employees are held fully accountable for their actions, the House approved legislation this week that would force them to forfeit their taxpayer-funded pensions if they are convicted of committing a sexual offense.

The bill builds on Act 1 of 2019, which requires any public official who is convicted of a felony to forfeit his or her pension.

Under House Bill 991, public employees and officials – including elected officials – would lose their pension if convicted of offenses such as indecent assault, indecent exposure or unlawful dissemination of an intimate image (commonly referred to as revenge porn). The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Are Colleges Fleecing Our Middle Class?

I hope you can take a few minutes to read my latest column, which addresses the issue of our youth being steered toward college when it may not be their best option. You can read an excerpt of the column below and click here to read it in full.

“Considering the cost of a college education, it’s no wonder recent college graduates are drowning in debt and lack the financial footing to save money to start their lives. Lower starting wages earned by students emerging from college, coupled with their income-to-debt ratio, often dissuades banks from giving them mortgages or other loans, compounding the disadvantage.

“The collective student loan debt in the United States stands at $1.56 trillion, according to Student Loan Hero. Sixty-nine percent of 2018 graduates have student loan debt averaging $29,800. That’s about the 20% down payment needed to purchase a home. That’s significant considering the Federal Reserve estimates every $1,000 in student loan debt delays home ownership by approximately 2.5 months.

“Higher education has become a financial racket. For more than two decades, an increasing number of occupations require a bachelor’s degree regardless of major or applicability. Why? Because years of higher education propaganda has convinced the public that college degrees ensure entry to the professional workforce. We’ve catapulted higher education institutions into the role of “credentialing concierges,” dictating access and price. And, because government allows students to borrow an almost unlimited amount of money, colleges don’t hesitate to hike tuition to take full advantage of rising student loan ceilings.”
Policy Committee Holds Election Issues Roundtable

As part of the House Majority Policy Committee’s series of roundtable discussions, I attended a briefing on election issues with the County Commissioners of Pennsylvania.

The focus of the conversation was new voting machines that counties are required to obtain by 2020. Most counties are in the process of selecting their machines, which must have an auditable paper trail to comply with a federal court consent agreement. Some counties will be able to do a trial run with their machines for this fall’s municipal general election.

Other topics of the meeting included voting reforms that are part of current or pending legislation to help to streamline the voting process or save counties money.
April is ‘Donate Life Month’

April 2019 is “Donate Life Month” in Pennsylvania. In the Keystone state, about 8,000 people are on the organ donation waiting list and, on average, every 18 hours one of them will die waiting for the call that never comes.

The encouraging news is that more people are making the decision to “donate life.” About 4.7 million Pennsylvanians have said yes to organ and tissue donation by adding the donor designation on their driver’s license. More than 138 million Americans are registered donors.

In addition, Pennsylvania driver’s license and ID card holders can support organ donation programs with a voluntary donation of $3 at the time of application or renewal. To date, nearly $14 million has been generously donated to the fund. More information is available at donatelifepa.org.
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Email Address: DKeefer@pahousegop.com