Mastriano Announces Legislation to Impose Tougher Penalties on Fentanyl Dealers

Harrisburg – Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) announced plans to introduce “Tyler’s Law” to target drug dealers who peddle fentanyl resulting in a fatal overdose. 

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic like morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent.  Fentanyl can be cut, colored, scored, and pressed to be sold as a counterfeit for other drugs. Just two milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose.   In some scenarios, individuals purchase what they think are Oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet, or Xanax pills that are actually laced with fentanyl.

One such example occurred in the 33rd District.  Tyler Shanafelter, 18, overdosed when he purchased what he thought was Percocet.  Instead, those pills were laced with fentanyl. He tragically overdosed and lost his life.

Fentanyl is easier to produce and distribute than heroin, enhancing its appeal to dealers and traffickers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were over 100,000 fentanyl and opioid related deaths in 2021, a 15% increase from 2020. The epidemic only seems to be worsening here in Pennsylvania. 

Under Pennsylvania’s current “drug delivery resulting in death” statute, defendants often cut deals for lenient sentencing and little to no jail time.

Under Tyler’s Law, an individual who sells or engages in a monetary transaction to distribute fentanyl resulting in a death would face a mandatory minimum 25-year sentence upon conviction. This mandatory minimum penalty would not apply to drug users who share drugs with friends or family members or those who seek medical help for individuals who overdose.

“I`m introducing Tyler’s Law to honor the legacy of Tyler Shanafelter, his family, and the other families in Pennsylvania who have lost loved ones to this horrible overdose epidemic. We must send a message to drug dealers that if you kill Pennsylvanians through the sale of fentanyl, you will be spending most of the rest of your life in prison.”

Media Contact: Josh Herman

Senate Committee Passes Mastriano Bill to Fund the Police and Protect Neighborhoods

Harrisburg – The Senate Law and Justice Committee today unanimously passed legislation introduced by Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) and Senator Devlin Robinson (R-37) to establish the “Law Enforcement Recovery Grant.” The grant program will assist agencies facing staff shortages and agencies in communities that have seen an uptick in violent crime and drug trafficking.

Senate Bill 1193 will allow municipal departments, county sheriffs, and the State Police to apply for a grant up to $2.5 million. Law enforcement agencies can use the grant money to fund strategies and incentives to attract new recruits and retain current officers, technology, equipment, and collaborative responses to violent crime and drug trafficking.

The PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) will administer the grant program and agencies must report how the grant money will be used. To ensure transparency, PCCD will be required to issue a report that includes the total number of agencies that applied for the grant program, total number of agencies that received a grant, and a summary of how each agency will use the grant money awarded. 

“Pennsylvania currently has over 1,200 vacant police positions across the state,” said Mastriano. “This means less officers on the streets to prevent violent crimes, less resources for drug interdiction, and less opportunities for relationship building with members of the community. Compounding the issue of recruitment and retention is the rise in violent crime in Pennsylvania. Our commonwealth has had the third highest increase in violent crimes in the entire nation since 2019. To make matters worse, the proliferation of deadly drugs such as fentanyl continues to take lives. SB 1193 will ensure that agencies across the commonwealth have the resources needed to properly serve their communities and save lives.”

The bill will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

Media Contact: Josh Herman

Mastriano Votes to Protect Women’s Sports from Transgender Athletes

Harrisburg – The Senate approved legislation that protects the integrity of women’s sports, Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) announced today.

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act states that school athletic teams designated for women should not be open to those of the male sex. The bill defines “sex” as the biological distinction between male and female, based on reproductive biology and genetic make-up.

The bill was introduced earlier this year after concerns grew about preserving the increased athletic opportunities female students have gained over the past half century in this country.

Earlier Tuesday, advocates for women’s sports rallied in the Capitol with lawmakers and others to encourage passage of Senate Bill 1191 and companion legislation, House Bill 972. June 23 will mark the 50th anniversary of enactment of Title IX, which guaranteed girls and women equal access to scholastic sports. 

Mastriano provided remarks on the Senate floor in support of SB 1191. 

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence,” said Mastriano. “While it may be inconvenient to acknowledge, it is a FACT that biological men have a clear unfair advantage over women in athletic competition. The Journal of Medical Ethics recently published a study concluding that transgender athletes born male have an “intolerable,” or overwhelming, advantage over biological women in athletic competition. These biological facts are indisputable and the discrepancies between the two sexes has been very apparent in athletic completion. In our own state, we have a Penn swimmer who went from 467th competing against males to first place when competing against females in the 500-yard freestyle NCAA Championships. SB 1191 will prohibit male students from participating in athletic teams or sports that are designed for women or girls.”

The bill will now advance to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Media Contact: Josh Herman

 

 

 

 

Senate Approves Mastriano’s Poll Watcher Empowerment Act

Harrisburg – The State Senate approved legislation today sponsored by Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) that would ensure poll watchers can properly safeguard the integrity of Pennsylvania’s election process.

Senate Bill 573 – the Poll Watcher Empowerment Act – would allow all registered voters of Pennsylvania to be eligible to be a poll watcher in any precinct in the state of Pennsylvania.

The bill also ensures poll watchers can clearly observe the pre-canvassing and counting of all ballots. This includes having clear line of sight to observe the process within six feet or less.

Under the bill, candidates from all political parties could also increase the number of eligible poll watchers at a precinct from two watchers to three watchers.

In addition, Mastriano’s bill would stiffen penalties against any election official who blocks, impedes, or otherwise intimidates a poll watcher while performing his or her official duties on Election Day.

“Transparency is the key to rebuilding trust in our election system, and that starts with ensuring all parties have a fair opportunity to view the vote-counting process,” Mastriano said. “We saw numerous problems in previous elections where poll watchers were denied access to a polling place even with a legal certificate. We also saw issues where poll watchers were so far away from the ballot pre-canvassing process that they were forced to use binoculars. That is simply unacceptable. Improving transparency in the election process is something we should all welcome.”

Mastriano emphasized that his bill would not change any duties, powers or responsibilities of poll watchers and does not permit voter intimidation of any kind.

Senate Bill 573 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Media Contact: Josh Herman

Mastriano to introduce term limits for school board members and increase transparency at meetings

Harrisburg – Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) announced his plans to introduce legislation that will reform school boards across Pennsylvania and improve transparency.

Mastriano’s bill will stipulate that all school board members in Pennsylvania will be limited to no more than three “four-year” terms. Currently, school board members can run for an unlimited number of terms.

“Long-serving school board members have ‘name ID’ and often financial advantages at the local election level, making it difficult for new candidates and parents of children in school to have a chance to win a seat”, said Mastriano. “The implementation of term limits will promote diverse ideas and perspectives that come from new and energetic candidates. Sixteen other states currently have some form of term limits for school board members.”

The legislation will also address transparency standards for school board meetings. Any board subcommittees or executive sessions will need to mirror the same agenda notification requirements as a regular meeting of the board.

Additionally, prior to each regular school board meeting, board members will be required to include an internet link with further information as a part of any meeting agenda that includes discussion or votes on the following items:

  • Budget/Financial
  • Textbooks
  • School Library Books
  • Curriculum/Course Syllabus 

“It’s important that taxpayers and parents can view and submit comments/questions in response to agenda items for all executive sessions, subcommittees, and regular meetings”, said Mastriano. “Transparency is key to ensuring that all parents have a seat at the table and can make their voice heard on issues that impact their children.”

Media Contact: Josh Herman

Mastriano Provides Statement on Wolf’s Bridge Tolling Plan

HARRISBURG – Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) released the following statement after the Commonwealth Court decided to halt PennDOT’s plan to toll nine bridges throughout Pennsylvania:

“I`m very pleased that the court has issued a preliminary injunction to stop Governor Wolf’s major bridge tolling scheme.  PennDOT was planning to move forward with few details about how expensive these tolls were going to be and without approval from the General Assembly. The P3 process needs to be reformed and that’s why I supported legislation last year that would provide a fixed notice requirement, a public comment period, and stronger oversight by the General Assembly.

“With out-of-control inflation, PA families are already struggling to pay bills and feed their families. Now, Wolf wants to compound those struggles by adding a new fee for commuters. This has been a constant theme throughout his entire tenure. To make matters worse, PennDOT is planning to contract with an international conglomerate to oversee the bridge construction and repairs. We should only be supporting American companies for our infrastructure projects.

“I was one of the few Senators to vote ‘no’ on the confirmation of PennDOT Secretary Yasmin Gramian because she would not commit to a statewide freeze on toll hikes. More tolls and fees are not the answer to our PennDOT funding problem. We need to ensure that the money that already goes to the Motor License fund can only be allocated to road and bridge maintenance.”

Media Contact: Josh Herman

 

Mastriano and Brooks seek answers from Wolf Administration on Baby Formula Shortage

Harrisburg – Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) and the Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Senator Michele Brooks (R-50), have sent a letter to Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Denise Johnson seeking answers and solutions to baby formula shortages throughout the commonwealth.

The senators noted that the critical predicament is affecting Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable population, newborns and infants. Within the past few weeks, the issue has only escalated, and the reports throughout Pennsylvania of scarce formula stock and empty shelves at grocery stores and pharmacies are numerous and unacceptable. Mastriano and Brooks expressed particular concerns for the families who are unable to find formula for their infants, especially for babies with rare metabolic diseases, such as Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD), Phenylketonuria (PKU) and Homocystinuria, who require special formula to survive.

The letter seeks answers from the administration to the following inquiries:

  1. What is your plan to address the baby formula shortage within our commonwealth and the concerns of parents and families?
  2. What is the status of baby formula availability in our hospital nurseries?
  3. Is the commonwealth actively working with the federal government to address this crisis? If so, in what ways?
  4. Is there any credence to reports that baby formula is being shipped to the border for illegal immigrants while many Pennsylvania store shelves are empty?
  5. Do we have a government emergency stockpile in Pennsylvania? If so, what is your plan for use and distribution?

Additionally, the senators proposed that the commonwealth consider the following options to help bring some immediate relief to parents:

  1. Urge the Attorney General to monitor formula pricing and hold retailers and anyone having access and/or attempting to resell baby formula accountable for price gouging. Such individuals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
  2. Communicate with parents and families about efforts being taken to resolve this crisis, and instructions on how to obtain formula, with regular updates on the progress.
  3. Explore public-private partnership (s) with food banks, charitable organizations and other nonprofits who may have access to baby formula.

“While this issue is nationwide, Pennsylvania’s leaders cannot sit idly by and wait for the federal government to act,” said Mastriano and Brooks. “We have an obligation to be proactive for Pennsylvanians in addressing this matter and to have alternate plans in place before we face a statewide crisis.”

Media Contact:

Josh Herman – Senator Mastriano
Diane McNaughton – Senator Brooks

Mastriano Provides Statement on the Impending Overturn of Roe v. Wade

HARRISBURG – Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) provided the following statement in response to breaking news last night that the U.S. Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade: 

“Although the decision will not be final until June and the leaking of this document is unprecedented, it is a good sign that the majority of the justices at this time are inclined to follow the science.

“January 22, 1973 was one of the darkest days in American history. On that day, seven justices of the Supreme Court ruled that the right to life could merely be reduced to a decision of convenience.

“The white nationalist patron of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, used ‘family planning’ to deliberately target minorities.  According to recent statistics from the Department of Health, the African American and Latino populations of Pennsylvania suffer more than half of all abortions in the commonwealth despite accounting for only about 18% of our populace.

“Our nation is now on the precipice of reversing this science-denying genocide. Thanks to President Trump, a conservative majority on the Supreme Court is set to right this historic wrong. Since I was elected to the Senate, there has been no more important issue to me than the right to life.

“The Heartbeat Bill was one of the first pieces of legislation that I introduced as a senator in 2019. The legislation requires physicians – before proceeding with an abortion – to determine whether the baby has a heartbeat. If the baby has a heartbeat, the abortion cannot be performed. No person with a beating heart, no matter how small, should be deprived of the fundamental right to life. A beating heart is an unmistakable sign of life. I was proud to reintroduce the Heartbeat bill in 2021 (SB 378), together with Rep. Stephanie Borowicz’s mirror legislation in the House.

“Once the repeal of Roe v. Wade is official, I am calling on the General Assembly to hold a vote on the Heartbeat bill. The time is now for action to protect the rights of the unborn.”

 

 

Mastriano to Introduce Comprehensive Bill to Strengthen Enforcement of Election Laws

HARRISBURG – Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) announced today that he will soon be introducing legislation to strengthen enforcement of election laws to ensure secure and accurate elections in the future.

An overview of the legislation:

Establishment of the Office of Election Crimes and Security

This office will be directed to investigate all election crimes, credible accusations of election crimes, and sworn affidavits alleging election violations.

Illegal Ballot Harvesting

The current penalty for illegal ballot harvesting will, be increased from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony for those individuals who knowingly collect and turn in multiple ballots on behalf of other voters.

Annual Statewide Audits

The Office of the Auditor General will be directed to conduct an annual comprehensive statewide audit of ballot chain of custody protocols, the SURE voter registration system, poll books, and all voting machines used for the administration of an election.  The findings of the audit shall be issued in a report to the General Assembly.

Legislative Approval

Any changes to election laws via a court settlement will require the approval of the General Assembly. Further, the secretary of state will be prohibited from entering a consent decree with any court regarding election procedures without first obtaining approval of the General Assembly.

“Laws that were already on the books were clearly ignored by the executive branch and the court system during the 2020 election and that is why we need comprehensive reform,” said Sen. Mastriano. “Annual statewide audits will provide a layer of transparency and assurance of the accuracy of elections. The newly established Office of Election Crimes and Security will investigate all possible violations of election law. This office is particularly needed after the PA Attorney General’s office and regional U.S Attorneys chose to ignore hundreds of sworn affidavits during the 2020 election.” 

Mastriano Votes “Yes” to prevent Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI

Harrisburg- Senator Mastriano (PA-33) provided the following statement after voting to override Governor Wolf’s veto of a Resolution that would have disapproved his carbon tax on Pennsylvanians:

“Pennsylvania is an energy powerhouse, but we have the potential to be so much more. We are the nation’s number 3 energy producer, number 3 coal producer, and the number 2 natural gas provider. Not only do we meet our own energy needs, but we also meet the needs of other states who depend on us to keep their own energy grid up and running. 

“The carbon tax imposed by RGGI will result in immediate job loss across our energy sector. According to the Department of Environmental Protection, all 5-remaining coal-fired electricity plants will be shuttered within a year of enactment. Not only will those workers be out of the job, but so will many of those in the coal production business which feeds into these power plants.

“Immediate job loss will not be the only negative impact of RGGI. Like all taxes, the carbon tax will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher electricity rates. As we heard in Senate testimony last week, the Independent Fiscal Office projects consumer energy prices will nearly quadruple.  Energy costs in the U.S are already up exponentially compared to last year. Inflation in the economy and now a war in Europe has compounded the struggles of lower and middle-class families. We cannot afford to make high energy costs permanent by entering RGGI.

“Lastly, we must examine the context of RGGI in today’s national security circumstances. Oil and gas revenue into the coffers of the Russian government allows them to spend it on weapons and other military equipment. America has indirectly poured billions into Putin’s war chest.  A perfect example of this occurred in 2016 during a particularly long cold snap in Boston, Massachusetts.  Running out of fuel for energy and desperate for a source, Boston did not turn to Pennsylvania for its natural gas. Instead, they turned to RUSSIA!

“One thing is for sure. RGGI will do far more harm than good for Pennsylvanians when you consider the spike in prices to consumers, the job loss in our vulnerable communities, and the foreign policy implications.”

The veto override fell short by one vote with nearly every Democrat voting to raise future utility bills for Pennsylvanians.