Senator Rothman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Work Continues on the 2024-25 State Budget
  • Bill to Modernize Uniform Commercial Code Becomes Law
  • Bill to Expand Hunting Opportunities, Address Crop Damage Approved by Senate
  • Legislation Limiting Smartphone Use in Schools Passes Senate
  • Senate Advances Bill to Allow Year-round Motorcycle Inspections
  • Bill Expanding First Responder Service Dog Fee Exemptions Receives Senate Approval
  • Senate Passes Bill Discounting Hunting and Fishing Licenses to Volunteer Firefighters
  • Northern Dauphin Satellite Office Hours Announced
  • Around the District

Work Continues on the 2024-25 State Budget

Our Senate Republican Caucus remains committed to a budget that funds needed services while also respecting taxpayers. We have been diligently working to come to consensus on a final product. Additional session days will be added as needed to complete the budget as quickly as possible.

Learn more about the process of enacting the 2024-25 state budget and watch the Senate in session here.

Bill to Modernize Uniform Commercial Code Becomes Law

This week, my legislation to modernize the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) was signed into law by the governor. Act 41 of 2024, which received unanimous support in both the Senate and the House, extensively revises the UCC to accommodate emerging technologies utilized in commercial transactions.

The UCC provides security and consistency to our nation’s commerce. I’m pleased that digital asset transactions are now properly addressed in law so that all parties are protected and can operate with confidence. More information is available here

Bill to Expand Hunting Opportunities, Address Crop Damage Approved by Senate

As Chair of the PA Senate Game & Fisheries Committee and Vice Chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, I’ve heard from both sportsmen and farmers alike on the need for the changes proposed in Senate Bill 67, which received Senate approval this week. Crop damage caused by wildlife is having a significant impact on Pennsylvania farmers, who describe the destruction and the resulting financial losses as ‘devastating’ and ‘unsustainable.’ 

The good news is farmers and hunters can both be part of the solution. SB 67 was introduced by Sen. Dan Laughlin and later amended to include “Ag Freedom” provisions that I sponsored, making it a comprehensive bill that protects private property rights, eliminates burdensome regulations, and allows farmers more freedom to mitigate crop damage while expanding hunting opportunities. It’s a win for all involved. I was pleased to speak on behalf of the bill, prior to passage; my remarks are available here.

Legislation Limiting Smartphone Use in Schools Passes Senate

The Senate this week approved legislation to improve students’ mental health and academic performance by limiting their use of smartphones in school.

Since the early 2010s, there has been a steep decline in mental health in children, and their academic performance is suffering. Children’s compromised mental health, social skills and academic performance directly correlates to the rise of smartphones and social media apps.

Senate Bill 1207 would establish the Cell Phone Lockable Bag Pilot Program until Dec. 1, 2026. The School Safety and Security Committee would award grants to purchase secure, lockable smartphone bags in which students would deposit their mobile devices until the end of the school day.

The bill would also require schools participating in the program to create and post online a policy prohibiting the use of smartphones during school time. It must include exemptions for students who have a documented medical condition – such as diabetes – that requires the use of a phone.

Senate Advances Bill to Allow Year-round Motorcycle Inspections

The Senate passed legislation to allow safety inspections to be performed year-round on motorcycles registered in Pennsylvania.

Even though motorcycles can be purchased and driven on Pennsylvania roadways throughout the year, the state Vehicle Code currently only allows safety inspections to be performed from March to October.

Senate Bill 1147 would eliminate that restriction so motorcycle operators have more opportunities to complete required inspections. Motorcycle registration with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation would continue to be tied to the month the vehicle is to be inspected.

Bill Expanding First Responder Service Dog Fee Exemptions Receives Senate Approval

The Senate approved Senate Bill 82 to extend license fee exemptions to service dogs integral to fire departments, sheriff’s offices and rescue services. This exemption currently applies only to municipal and state police departments. The bill was sent to the governor to be signed into law.

Service dogs detect threats, aid in search and rescue missions, and provide critical support during medical emergencies. The exemption from licensing fees aims to minimize financial barriers for agencies relying on these highly trained animals.

Additionally, the measure addresses challenges created by a revision to the state’s dog law that prohibited out-of-state residents from boarding their dogs in Pennsylvania-based kennels.

Senate Passes Bill Discounting Hunting and Fishing Licenses to Volunteer Firefighters

The Senate approved a bill that would enable volunteer firefighters to obtain discounted hunting licenses and fishing licenses in Pennsylvania. As chair of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, I was pleased to support and move this legislation through the committee process and was glad to see it receive unanimous approval from the full Senate. 

Resident adult hunting licenses cost $20.97 and fishing licenses cost $27.97. The legislation would reduce the cost of each to $1 for volunteer firefighters who served at least the previous 12 months in the commonwealth.

Pennsylvania in the 1970s had as many as 300,000 volunteer firefighters. There currently are approximately 38,000 volunteer firefighters in the commonwealth.

Northern Dauphin Satellite Office Hours Announced

We have secured space at the Northern Dauphin Human Services Center and will be providing constituent services there the second Tuesday of each month.

Staff will be on hand from 10 a.m. until noon to facilitate work with commonwealth agencies, including requests for birth certificates, driver’s license and motor vehicle registration renewals, completion of property tax/rent rebate applications and more. They will also be available to provide status updates on pending legislation and receive input.

Serving the needs of constituents and making state government more accessible are priorities for me. I’m glad that we’re able to have a regular presence in northern Dauphin County, so residents can access state-related services in a convenient location. We look forward to connecting with and providing assistance to those in the area.

Around the District

The New Bloomfield Volunteer Fire Co. Carnival was, and always is, a great time! (There’s still time to get there this year as it runs through July 6.) I was glad to attend Tuesday night to help the Ickesburg Fire Company commission their new French fry trailer, which is critical to their fundraising.  Proceeds from the sale of their famous french fries go directly to support training, equipment, and resourcing the company’s fire and rescue response services. I was honored to work with Rep. Perry Stambaugh to secure grant funding for the new trailer as well as to help make some of the first batches of fries in the new set-up!

Thanks to all of our volunteer first responders who not only risk their lives and train extensively to keep us safe but also fundraise for the opportunity to serve. We owe all our deepest gratitude.


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