In this Update:
Clean & Green Program
Every year, more of our natural resources in Pennsylvania are lost to development. This week, we were joined by the Department of Agriculture to discuss the Clean & Green program as a way to help preserve our natural resources for future generations to come. Please check out the informational webinar to learn more.
Surrounded by Rescued Beagles and their Families, Mastriano Introduces Bill to Ban State Funding for Cruel Testing on Dogs and Cats
Joined by a group of beagles and their owners, Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) announced at a Capitol news conference he has introduced legislation to end taxpayer-funded painful experimentation on dogs and cats in Pennsylvania.
“It is barbaric to think dogs and cats in Pennsylvania are being subjected to cruel testing in 2023,” Mastriano said. “Animal cruelty is prohibited in the Bible and it should be prohibited in our state. Proverbs 12:10 says, ‘The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.’ We want to end taxpayer-funded cruelty to animals in Pennsylvania.”
Mastriano’s Senate Bill 658 would prevent institutions from using state funds to support painful experimentation on dogs and cats as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Beagle owners surrounding Mastriano held signs reading, “Dogs belong on laps, not labs.” The dogs were rescued from labs and their owners are promoting their stories and supporting Mastriano’s bill using the hashtag #LapsNotLabs.
The families shared stories about their adopted dogs being used as breeders when they were in the laboratory and birthing multiple litters of puppies during their lives.
“These are heartbreaking stories and Pennsylvania needs to take action,” Mastriano said. “The way we treat animals says something about the state of our society and the values we hold dear.”
More than 3,000 dogs and more than 1,000 cats currently are subjected to cruel testing at universities and labs across Pennsylvania.
Dogs have their hearts, lungs or kidneys deliberately damaged or removed to study how experimental substances might affect human organ function. Cats have their spinal cords damaged and are forced to run on treadmills to study how nerve activity might affect human limb movement. The vocal cords of dogs and cats are removed so they can’t make noise when they are in pain.
Mastriano’s legislation would require institutions that use state funding for dog and cat tests to remain compliant with federal laws. A laboratory that fails to comply with federal law would lose its eligibility to receive state funding for one year.
The bill also would specifically prohibit the use of public funds to surgically devocalize dogs or cats in laboratories.
Mastriano’s bill also would increase transparency by requiring institutions that receive state funding for dog and cat tests to disclose the amount of state funding it received, the amount of federal and private funding it received, and to clearly indicate in all public communications that “funding for these experiments was provided with Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars.” It also would require the Pennsylvania Department of the Treasury to release an annual report about animal research directly or indirectly funded with state dollars.
In addition to ending the cruelty, Mastriano also wants to help animals used in animal experimentation find homes. His bill would require institutions receiving state funding to make healthy dogs and cats used in experimentation available for adoption when they no longer are needed for testing.
“We want these dogs and cats to find loving homes where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace and comfort,” Mastriano said. “I’m so grateful to the families who adopt these dogs and cats and give them a second chance at life.”
The bill soon will be assigned to a standing committee for consideration.
The beagle event was supported by the Humane Society of the United States, the Adams County SPCA, and the White Coat Waste Project. The White Coat Waste Project is a bipartisan coalition of 3 million taxpayers opposed to the government’s wasteful spending on animal experiments.
“Thousands of dogs and cats are locked in Pennsylvania labs, and we applaud Senator Mastriano for his outstanding efforts to ensure that taxpayers aren’t forced to foot the bill for cruel and wasteful experiments on these animals,” said Tristan Daedalus, government affairs director at White Coat Waste Project. “We’re also grateful that he’s leading the charge to retire dogs and cats from taxpayer-funded labs and to improve transparency about government spending on animal tests. As our watchdog’s investigations have exposed, taxpayer-funded white coats are wasting tens of millions of dollars each year to de-bark and poison dogs, cripple cats and give them brain damage, and even inject puppies with cocaine. A supermajority of Americans across the political spectrum wants lawmakers to cut wasteful spending on dog and cat experiments. The solution is clear: stop the money, stop the madness.”
Senate Acts to Reduce Regulatory Burdens on Taxpayers and Job Creators
The Senate approved a legislative package to reduce the burden of unchecked government regulations on taxpayers and job creators. The bills will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 188 requires regulations with an economic impact on taxpayers and employers exceeding $1 million to go before the General Assembly for approval before taking effect. The Independent Fiscal Office, rather than the regulating agency, would be tasked with calculating the economic impact.
Senate Bill 190 requires an automatic review after three years of all regulations with an economic impact on taxpayers and employers exceeding $1 million. The regulating agency must report to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission on the effectiveness of the regulation, whether current state laws require the regulation’s repeal or amendment, and more.
Senate Bill 350 requires state agencies to create an accessible website for permit applicants to check their application status. In addition, all the permits issued must be publicly accessible and if rejected, it must state the legal authority the agency relies on to reject the permit application. It also requires that a permit, license or certification is deemed approved by the state if the agency reviewing the application misses its statutory deadline.
Senate Approves Measure to Improve Personal Financial Literacy
To teach high school students the financial basics, the Senate approved legislation that will enable them to make better decisions that lead to a lifetime of success and financial independence. Senate Bill 647 moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Recent estimates show there are more than 350 million American-owned credit card accounts, and credit card owners average about four cards apiece. Families in the United States are approaching approximately $1 trillion in credit card debt and more than $15 trillion in debt overall.
The bill would give high school students the information they need on topics like credit and credit scores; savings and investments; college, home and auto loans; and planning for postsecondary education and retirement.
Measure Boosting Support for PA Veterans Approved by Senate
The Senate passed bills to help veterans start or expand a business, access programs and services available to them, and make it easier for disabled veterans to obtain a free lifetime fishing license. All three bills now head to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 248 would create the Veteran-owned Business Loan Guarantee Program, which would be funded with $5 million of existing dollars from another program run by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The bill defines a veteran-owned business as one in which 51% or more of the organization is owned or controlled by one or more veterans. Veteran-owned businesses in America employ nearly four million workers and generate more than $175 billion in annual payroll.
Senate Bill 447 would establish in law the PA VETConnect program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and helps the commonwealth’s more than 700,000 veterans access programs and services tailored to their needs. The database of resources enables local veteran advocates – including staff at county veterans affairs offices – to point veterans to information, resources, programs and services in their area and across the commonwealth.
Senate Bill 411 would make it possible for disabled veterans with a 100% disability determination to obtain a free, lifetime fishing license. Free lifetime fishing licenses currently are available only to disabled veterans with a 100% permanent disability determination, and they must apply for a new free fishing license every year.
Legislation Expanding Access to Breast Cancer Screenings Signed Into Law
Recently signed into law, Act 1 of 2023 is a first-of-its-kind breast cancer screening measure that will save Pennsylvanians’ lives.
It eliminates all costs associated with genetic testing and counseling as well as breast MRI and ultrasounds for Pennsylvanians with high-risk conditions like dense breast tissue, a personal history of breast cancer, a family history, a genetic predisposition or prior radiation therapy.
Approximately one of every eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer, but this law will ensure that high-risk individuals have affordable access to early detection.
The new law takes effect in 60 days.
Recognizing Police Officers’ Memorial Day
In recognition of Police Officers’ Memorial Day in Pennsylvania, as designated by Senate Resolution 111, the Fraternal Order of Police joined Senate Republicans to honor the brave law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year. The five officers were:
Like so many other members of law enforcement, these officers served and protected their fellow citizens – despite knowing the sacrifices they and their families would have to make. Thank you to each brave man and woman who defend the safety of our communities.
Celebrating Mother’s Day
To all the women who put their family first, thank you for being such a source of strength and support in our communities. Happy Mother’s Day!
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