Legislative Updates


The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association continues to protect our members' interests at the Capitol and promote bills expanding access to records and government meetings. We provide weekly legislative updates with highlights of the latest news impacting our members and the public.

December 13, 2018

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PA State Budget Secretary Randy Albright gave the mid-year budget briefing this week. In addition, Albright, who has served as the governor’s budget secretary for all four years of Wolf’s first term, announced he is stepping down from his position at the end of month. He is the first member of Wolf’s Cabinet to announce he will not be returning to his post when the governor’s new term starts in January. Albright is taking on a position as special assistant to Executive Director Terrill Sanchez at the State Employees' Retirement System.
 
Jen Swails has been named the new Budget Secretary. Most recently, her role has been as fiscal management director of the newly created Shared Services Budget Office, which oversees the budgets for the Departments of Aging, Health, Human Services and Drug and Alcohol Programs.
 
Photo courtesy of Pennlive.
Clean Slate Law Takes Effect This Month.
Pennsylvanians with low-level offenses on their records who have gone 10 years without a subsequent arrest, prosecution or conviction will have their records automatically sealed under a new law taking effect this month. Act 56 of 2018 allows records of second and third-degree misdemeanor criminal convictions to be automatically sealed after a 10-year period without subsequent offenses. The law does not apply to violent offenses or those committed with a firearm or other dangerous item; sexual offenses; cruelty to animals; or corruption of minors.
 
Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) sent co-sponsor memo SCO 49, which amends Section 106 of the Public School Code to authorize school districts to advertise public notices in a more flexible manner.
 
Rep. Jim Cox (R-Berks) sent co-sponsor memo HCO 24, which requires government agencies to make meeting agendas available to the public prior to all public meetings. PNA encourages you to reach out to your local legislator asking them for their support.
 
Rep. Cox also circulated co-sponsor memo HCO 33, which requires a municipality to have at least one publicly advertised meeting prior to finalizing an agreement to sell or lease a sewer or water system owned or operated by the municipality. This legislation passed the House unanimously last session, but was not considered by the Senate. PNA encourages you to reach out to your local legislator asking them for their support.
 
Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) and Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill, Berks) sent co-sponsor memo SCO 141, which would address SLAPP lawsuits in Pennsylvania. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, SLAPPs, are lawsuits filed against a person or organization for statements made or positions taken in connection with a matter of public interest or regulation. PNA encourages you to reach out to your local legislator asking them for their support.

Building Relationships with your Legislators

LegislativeBrochuresLegislators make key decisions about your business in Harrisburg. Developing ongoing relationships with your state elected officials and participating in legislative advocacy is an essential part of being an effective leader of a community newspaper. Here are two brochures with additional information. Check out this video featuring Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale and Senator Mike Folmer confirming why it is critical for you to have these relationships.
 
In addition, a webinar recording, featuring Holly Lubart, PNA’s Director of Government Affairs, offering tips on building a rapport with your legislators is now available. Now that new legislators are coming to Harrisburg after a contentious election, there’s no better time to work on developing and improving these connections. For further information, e-mail Holly.

 

 

 
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