In this Update:
Reinforcing State Law for Second Amendment Rights
The Senate voted to reinforce Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to bear arms by preventing municipalities from infringing upon these rights and ensuring individuals legally allowed to own a gun can carry openly or concealed, without needing a government permit.
Senate Bill 448 allows for an individual or member organization to sue a county or municipality that implements a local firearms ordinance in violation of existing state law; allows for individuals adversely affected by local action to seek relief and damages; puts the burden on the municipality to defend its actions instead of placing the burden on the individual; and makes it clear the General Assembly is the elected body responsible for passing legislation related to the right to bear arms.
The legislation seeks to maintain uniformity in gun laws across the state and level the playing field for gun owners by allowing recovery of legal fees and damages if the municipality is found in violation of the state’s preemption law.
Senate Bill 565 would decriminalize the concealed carrying of guns without a permit, further aligning state law with Article I, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution, which specifies: “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” Use of firearms, whether criminal, for self-defense, or sport, is still controlled by other Pennsylvania statutes that remain unchanged.
Both bills now head to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
Approving Tax Reform Measure for Small Business Employers
This week the Senate approved my legislation to advance small business tax reform that will help move Pennsylvania out of a pandemic economy and create jobs for Pennsylvanians.
Senate Bill 347 eliminates a disadvantage faced by Pennsylvania small businesses when competing with those in other states. Under federal tax law, a “like-kind” exchange under the Internal Revenue Code allows for tax deferral when property is exchanged for similar property. This long-standing federal provision allows employers to invest in the job-creating assets businesses need to remain competitive. Every state but Pennsylvania provides for a similar deferral on the state level.
My legislation levels the playing field for small businesses looking to expand or even relocate in our Commonwealth. Like-kind exchange treatment can be a deciding factor for real estate transactions, and my bill will improve Pennsylvania’s business climate to encourage economic growth and job creation.
The bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. It is part of a Small Business Tax Reform Package to help employers recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and mandated shutdowns. Small businesses create 65% of the jobs in the commonwealth.
The Senate previously passed Senate Bill 349 to bring state tax law governing expense deductions in line with federal law, eliminating the unequal treatment of small businesses in Pennsylvania. The increase in limits makes it easier for employers to buy equipment and to invest, which promotes job growth.
Helping PA’s Economy and Veterans
To support Pennsylvania’s economy and veterans, the Senate supported legislation that would establish a Veteran-owned Business Loan Guarantee Program and would clarify the Veterans Preference Law to include veterans who served honorably but were discharged with a disability before completing their initial obligation.
Senate Bill 830 would create a program providing loan guarantees to commercial lending institutions that make loans to veteran-owned businesses. The program would authorize the Commonwealth Financing Authority to guarantee up to 50% of the outstanding principal of the loan, limited to $250,000 for any one loan.
Senate Bill 849 would add an exemption for those with a disability discharge and would ensure that veterans with medical discharges receive the preference with seeking careers within the Commonwealth.
Both bills now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.
DiSanto Hosts Veterans Appreciation Breakfasts Next Week
I am hosting two 15th Senatorial District Veterans Appreciation Breakfasts next week. Veterans may choose to attend one of the following events, scheduled for 8:30 – 10:30 am:
Thursday, Nov 18 – Linglestown American Legion Post #272, 505 N Mountain Rd, Harrisburg
In addition to breakfast, the program will consist of patriotic performances, the presentation of colors, an update on legislation regarding veterans’ benefits and resources, and a special keynote speaker from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
All veterans who live in the 15th District are invited, along with one guest.
For more information or to register, please contact my New Bloomfield office at 717-582-2454 or Harrisburg office at 717-787-6801, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://www.senatordisanto.com/veterans-appreciation-breakfast/.
Financial Assistance Available Soon for Homeowners
Pennsylvania has been allocated $350 million through the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) to help homeowners behind on their mortgage and other home-related expenses due to the pandemic. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) will administer the program and is working to develop the Pennsylvania HAF program, which must be approved by the U.S. Treasury before it can become operational.
Pennsylvania’s program will include an online and mobile application portal. Applicants will be able to apply and submit required documentation through the web-based application or may be assisted by a third-party counseling agency.
The program is expected to be available in the coming months, but homeowners may sign up now to receive updates about the financial relief. Click here to be notified or for more information.
Control Your Electricity Costs with PA Power Switch
As electric costs are on the rise and only projected to worsen throughout this winter, there has never been a better time to be proactive about controlling your electricity costs.
You can shop for your electricity and choose your supplier, regardless of your local utility, by researching your options on PAPowerSwitch.com.
Under state law, you have the option to switch to a competing supplier which can offer the lowest price or provide a specific service you want such as green or renewable energy. The electric utility that distributes your electricity will remain the same. You would simply be taking advantage of the power of competitive retail electric shopping to see if a better price is available with a supplier.
PAPowerSwitch.com offers comparison data regarding price, fixed-price contract terms, renewable content, deposit/cancellation fees and other consumer information.
Northern Dauphin Human Services Center Announces Upcoming Community Events
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