In this Update
Mastriano Takes Oath, Declines Taxpayer-funded Pension
It was with great humility that I took the official oath of office June 10 and began serving my first term in the Pennsylvania Senate representing residents of Adams, Franklin, Cumberland and York counties.
As promised, I declined the taxpayer-funded pension and health care benefits. The citizens of the 33rd District can count on me to fight for them and to defend the conservative values of south-central Pennsylvania.
As a soldier, I faced the Soviets, the Iraqi Guard and the Taliban. I will not have trouble standing up to those who want to waste taxpayer money, limit the Second Amendment or void the rights of the unborn.
Mastriano Named Chair of Intergovernmental Operations Committee, Appointed to 5 Others
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati named me chair of the chamber’s Intergovernmental Operations Committee, which is responsible for reviewing proposals to reform state government, reduce costs and enhance government efficiencies.
I am constantly hearing concern about the bloated cost and size of state government from residents of the 33rd District, so I am honored that Senator Scarnati has confidence in me to lead this committee.
I was also appointed to the Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Game & Fisheries, State Government, Transportation and Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness committees. He will serve as Vice Chair of the Agriculture & Rural Affairs panel.
I am delighted to serve on these committees because they matter to my constituents and the issues that are important to them.
Flag Day Resolution
Senate Approves Broad Package of Bills to Combat Opioid Addiction Crisis
The Senate recently approved a package of bills this week to combat the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic by improving prescription drug monitoring, limiting opioid prescriptions, targeting drug dealers and taking other steps to limit the damage inflicted by the addiction crisis in Pennsylvania communities.
The bipartisan legislative initiatives will go a long way toward educating the public, effectively treating those with addiction, and ending the practice of overprescribing.
The heroin and opioid epidemic has destroyed too many lives and left countless others with the scars of addiction that can last a lifetime. These bills reflect a continued commitment by Senate Republicans to save lives and develop new laws and policies to confront a health care crisis of epidemic proportions.
You can find details of the package here.
Important Victims’ Rights Bills Set for Enactment
Lawmakers gave final approval to a bipartisan package of bills that will better protect the rights of crime victims and provide stronger safeguards for victims of violent offenses.
The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 276, also known as Marsy’s Law, which would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to include a crime victims’ bill of rights.
For far too long, victims of crime have been ignored or neglected by our system. Victims matter, and must have the added rights and protections to guard them from criminal retribution and intimidation. Senate Republicans have taken action to correct this deficiency in our laws and I call upon the governor to support this long overdue legislation.
Read more about the crime victims’ rights bills here.
Property Tax Relief for Disabled Veterans
As a retired military colonel and combat veteran, anything the state legislature can do to help our American heroes is a huge priority.
Recently, the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee – which I serve on – approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand property tax relief for Pennsylvania’s disabled veterans.
The legislation, Senate Bill 92, was authored by my colleagues Senator Elder Vogel and Camera Bartolotta.
Currently, an honorably discharged disabled veteran must be 100-percent disabled and have a financial need in order to receive a 100-percent exemption from property taxes. The proposed constitutional amendment would allow veterans determined to be at least 50-percent disabled to receive the tax exemption based on the extent of their disability.
Under that proposal, a 100-percent disabled veteran would continue to be completely exempt from paying property taxes. However, those considered to be 75-percent disabled would then be eligible for a 75-percent exemption and a 50-percent disabled veteran could receive a 50-percent exemption. All veterans, regardless of their disability level, would still have to qualify based on their financial need.
Our brave men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect us, so it was an honor to say ‘thank you’ for their sacrifice and support this measure.
Better Coordinating Veterans’ Services
I recently signed on to co-sponsor legislation that would create a Task Force to study the coordination of veteran’s services in PA among federal, state, local and non-profit programs.
The bill, which being authored by Senators Pam Iovino and Mike Regan, directs the Joint State Government Commission to form the Task Force.
PA is home to the fourth-largest veteran population in the United States, yet the federal dollars expended per Pennsylvania veteran ranks 45th in the nation. The national disparity in expenditures had led to the establishment of thousands of veteran services agencies, and the sheer number of veteran service organizations across the Commonwealth has made coordination of services, cooperation and oversight difficult.
It is my hope that the Task Force will provide recommendations to streamline and simplify veterans’ services so PA can provide our heroes with the assistance they need and deserve.
It was a pleasure being part of the ribbon-cutting for Habitat for Humanity at the Lincoln Way Shopping Center in Chambersburg!
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