Senator Mastriano E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Medical Freedom legislation awaiting vote out of committee in the PA Senate
  • Calling for the Protection of Banking Privacy
  • Senate Passes Bill to Allow for First-time Homebuyers Savings Accounts
  • Addressing Teacher Shortage by Improving Certification Process
  • Ways to Reduce Your Energy Usage and Costs
  • Tips for Crime Prevention Month

Medical Freedom legislation awaiting vote out of committee in the PA Senate

SB 471

Would prohibit the following:

  • The Commonwealth or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or an agent thereof, may not mandate an individual in this Commonwealth to receive a vaccination.
  • A State agency or political subdivision may not enact or issue a rule, ordinance, order or any similar policy that would result in an individual being required to submit to a vaccination.
  • A State agency or political subdivision, or an agent thereof, may not take an action which would result in an individual being required to submit to a vaccination, including as a condition of employment, access to education, the ability to travel, entry to a public place or contracting with a State agency or political subdivision.
  • A vaccination offered by the Commonwealth as part of a mass vaccination effort may only be provided to  individuals who consent to receiving the vaccination, without coercion, after receiving full information of all known ingredients, risks and benefits prior to the vaccination.
  • Employers are prohibited from taking any adverse employment action against an individual who declines a vaccination, including, but not limited to, termination, suspension, involuntary reassignment, unpaid leave, demotion, harassment or coercion. If an employer violates the provisions of this paragraph, an aggrieved employee shall have the right apply for and receive unemployment benefits.
  • An individual may not be discriminated against, denied entrance, service, the ability to purchase goods or receive medical care or to participate for refusal to accept a vaccination.
  • A citizen may not be forced or coerced to sign a vaccination declination waiver that is condemning, self-incriminating or does not properly express the citizen’s beliefs.

SB 885

  • Ensures that workers who are terminated or forced to resign by their employers for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination are not disqualified from UC benefits.
  • Amends the Unemployment Compensation Law to ensure that workers fired or forced to resign for refusing a COVID-19 vaccination will qualify for full unemployment benefits. The legislation will add a new section to the law that states the following:
    • Refusal to obtain COVID-19 vaccination shall NOT be considered “willful misconduct”
    • A voluntary resignation due to an employer’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate shall be considered a cause of a “necessitous and compelling nature”

Soon to be Introduced:

For decades, scientists have recognized the ability for the human body to naturally fend off illness.  It is a proven fact that when a person is infected with a virus, the body naturally produces antibodies.  These antibodies offer protection to the individual from future infection.

Researchers have been examining the lasting effects of those who were previously infected with COVID-19.  Although research is still ongoing, several prominent studies have concluded that previous infection produces antibodies that last up to 11 months.

In fact, according to studies conducted by National Institute of Health, only 0.3% of those presented with antibodies were reinfected with Covid-19.

This legislation will allow employers to offer two new exemptions from vaccination mandates related to COVID-19 if the employee can provide the following:

    • A molecular diagnostic test result every two weeks showing that the employee is not positive for COVID-19; or
    • A positive antibody test on a basis of every three months from a licensed healthcare provider.

10/18/21 - House Bill 1332

This morning, Rep. Andrew Lewis’ HB 1132 passed out of the education committee! This legislation will empower parents by requiring schools to publish the curriculum and textbooks that will be taught for each grade and for each subject area at an easily accessible online link.

Calling for the Protection of Banking Privacy

State Treasurer Stacy Garrity joined a coalition of 23 state treasurers, auditors and financial officers calling on President Joe Biden and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to dismiss proposals that would require private banks and credit unions to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) account flows valued at more than $600.

This proposal, which is part of the Biden Administration’s $3.5 trillion American Families Plan revenue proposal, would allow for the unnecessary monitoring of private banking activity of more than 100 million Americans. It would be one of the largest infringements of data privacy in our nation’s history and cause exceptional administrative burdens for our community banks and credit unions.

The Pennsylvania Bankers Association, the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers, and the CrossState Credit Union Association all oppose this proposal.

Senate Passes Bill to Allow for First-time Homebuyers Savings Accounts

This week, the Senate passed a bill to allow individuals to open a first-time homebuyer savings account with a financial institution.

Senate Bill 157 would allow individuals to open an account of up to $150,000 with a financial institution of their choice for the sole purpose of purchasing a first home. Funds from a first-time homebuyer savings account may only be used to pay or reimburse the eligible costs for the purchase of a single-family home in Pennsylvania.

Since 2009, the number of first-time homebuyers has significantly decreased. According to the National Association of Realtors, the share of first-time homebuyers in the national home sale market has fallen from 45% to just more than 32%.

Individuals taking advantage of a first-time homebuyers savings account will be able to deduct up to $5,000 on their individual taxes, or up to $10,000 for a joint account. The tax deduction can be for no longer than 10 years and may not exceed $50,000 within a ten-year period. Unused funds would be counted against an individual’s taxable income.

The bill passed to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Addressing Teacher Shortage by Improving Certification Process

The Senate unanimously passed a bill in response to the teacher shortage that would simplify the process for out-of-state teachers to obtain certification in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 224 would allow an out-of-state candidate who has completed any state-approved educator preparation program (including field placement/student teaching) from an accredited institution of higher education to be eligible for a comparable in-state instructional certification.

The bill would also require the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to recognize and accept out-of-state candidates’ qualifying scores on equivalent content tests toward PDE’s testing and certification requirements. It would also grant Pennsylvania certification to any candidate who holds a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards – the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.

According to PDE, the number of newly issued in-state instructional teaching certificates has dropped by 66% since 2010.

Senate Bill 224 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Ways to Reduce Your Energy Usage and Costs

Since October is National Energy Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to become more energy efficient. In addition to the environmental benefits, it will also benefit your wallet.

Click here for ways you can reduce your energy usage and associated costs.

Another way to save on energy costs is by switching your electric supplier. In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your home or business’s electricity. This means you can choose a supplier that offers the lowest price or provides a specific service you want, such as renewable energy.

Click here to shop for your electric supplier at PA Power Switch, the official electric shopping website of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Tips for Crime Prevention Month

October is Crime Prevention Month, a good time to recognize that avoiding being a victim involves informed citizens in addition to efforts of local law enforcement.

Here are some crime prevention tips from the National Crime Prevention Council.

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