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Legislative roundup

Fitzpatrick introduces Stop Foreign Funds in Elections Act; Bristol Township Senior Center hosting 'Scam Jam' June 7

A crackdown on foreign election donations

U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Jared Golden introduced the Stop Foreign Funds in Elections Act to prohibit contributions and donations by foreign nationals in American elections, including local ballot initiatives.

“Foreign adversaries have no business influencing American elections on the local, state or federal level,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to ensure that American voices are not drowned out by foreign entities at the ballot box and that our democratic process is further protected.” ••

Avoid scams

The Bristol Township Senior Center, 2501 Bath Road, invites the public to a “Scam Jam” on June 7 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Sen. Steve Santarsiero and state Rep. Tina Davis in partnership with the state Department of Banking.

Topics and activities will include:

• How and why to freeze your credit report

• Avoiding ID theft and popular scams

• Banking in the 21st century

• When to report ID theft and scams to the police

Register at senatorstevesantarsiero.com/event/scam-jam/. ••

Securing the border

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick joined a group of colleagues, including Reps. Jared Golden, Juan Ciscomani, Don Davis, David Valadao, Wiley Nickel and Zach Nunn, in introducing legislation that gives the Biden administration a two-year temporary expulsion authority for migrants who enter the United States illegally, as the Title 42 provision expired.

Sens. Thom Tillis and Kyrsten Sinema introduced similar legislation earlier this month.

“Our southern border is currently facing a humanitarian and national security crisis, and the looming expiration of Title 42 will only exacerbate the situation,” Fitzpatrick said. “In the face of this unprecedented emergency, both Chambers of Congress have proposed a solution that allows our heroic Border Patrol agents to further secure our border and protect our communities. I am proud to join my colleagues on this bipartisan, bicameral legislation and urge the House and Senate to swiftly pass it.” ••

Voluntary way to resolve family disputes

State Reps. Tina Davis and Melissa Shusterman applauded House passage of the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act.

Davis and Shusterman were the bill’s prime sponsors.

The act would simplify the family law process, allowing families to voluntarily resolve disputes outside the courtroom.

“Resolving family disputes in court is not only a long process,” Davis said, “but it often places undue stress on the families themselves, especially when children are involved. This act will allow families to expedite the process and avoid the courtroom, which can be more intimidating and stressful than helpful.”

The bill will head to the Senate for consideration. ••

Resources for mental health

U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Jared Golden introduced the Mental Health in Schools Excellence Program Act of 2023 to increase access to comprehensive mental health resources for students.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

“Over 38 percent of America’s school students do not have adequate access to comprehensive mental health resources,” Fitzpatrick said. “As co-chair of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force, I am proud to introduce the Mental Health in Schools Excellence Program Act to ensure that students have access to the mental health services they need to flourish.” ••

Warren praises gun bill passage

The state House of Representatives passed legislation that would expand background checks for firearm purchases and provide emergency protection for gun owners who are at risk of harming themselves or others, said Rep. Perry Warren, who sponsored the background-check bill.

The bills, which are now with the Senate for consideration, are:

• H.B. 714, to enact universal background checks, passed 109-92.

• H.B. 1018, to create extreme risk protection orders, passed 102-99.

“It has been a long time coming, but with a new direction in Harrisburg, we took two really big steps this week toward better protecting the public in the face of a growing gun violence epidemic,” Warren said. “I’m proud to have sponsored the universal background check bill and happy to see it received bipartisan support in the House. We have a responsibility as representatives to do everything we can to make gun sales the safest and most comprehensive they can be in Pennsylvania.”

Federal and current state laws require checks for most sales by licensed gun dealers, but they do not cover all types of guns or those sold by unlicensed sellers, including online, at shows and to strangers. Warren’s bill would require checks on all avenues of sales and for long-barrel firearms as well.

“I hope that the Senate has the foresight to move this popular and much-needed legislation on to the governor’s desk for his signature,” Warren said. “The faster we get House Bill 714 passed, the more lives we save.”

Warren also voted to allow courts to issue extreme risk protection orders under H.B. 1018, introduced by Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, in cases involving gun owners who are determined to be a risk to themselves or others.

“Studies show that background checks save lives.” Warren said. “We have a meaningful, historic opportunity to prevent deaths by gun at a time when the crime is growing rapidly. Let’s encourage the Senate to arrive at the same conclusion – and make this bill law.” ••

A statement against defunding the police

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, along with Rep. Jared Golden, introduced the Defund Cities that Defund the Police Act in honor of law enforcement officers for National Police Week. The legislation would prevent federal taxpayer dollars from being used to bankroll cities that risk public health and safety by defunding police departments.

Under the Defund Cities that Defund the Police Act, a defunding jurisdiction is defined as a state or political subdivision of a state that abolishes or disbands the police department with no intention of reconstituting the jurisdiction’s police department or significantly reduces the police department’s budget without reallocating a portion of that money to any other community policing program, provided that the jurisdiction did not face a significant decrease in revenues in the previous fiscal year. Specifically, defunding jurisdictions would be prohibited from receiving grants under certain Economic Development Assistance Programs, focused on planning and administrative expenses, and grants for training, research and technical assistance, and the Community Development Block Grant Programs.

“Defunding the police welcomes criminals to prey on vulnerable members of society. Without police, our communities are left unsafe,” said Dan Doyle, president, Bucks County Fraternal Order of Police. “Funding should be increased in the areas being addressed by law enforcement today; dealing with the mentally ill, training of police officers and meeting with community leaders to have those ‘difficult’ conversations regarding race and equality. The Bucks County FOP stands with supporters of law and order, and the ability to live in peace and dignity.” ••

Farry office hours in Bensalem

State ​​Sen. Frank Farry (R-6th dist.) is offering satellite office hours the first Wednesday of every month, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bensalem Township Municipal Building, 2400 Byberry Road, Bensalem.

Farry’s staff will be on site to assist with state government services; Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications, birth and death certificate applications, SEPTA Senior Key card registrations and renewals; and unemployment issues. ••

Accessibility to community college

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, along with Reps. Derek Kilmer, Tom Kean Jr. and Frederica Wilson, introduced the Promoting Advancement Through Transit Help to College Act.

The legislation is endorsed by the Association of Community College Trustees.

“Lack of public transit often acts as a barrier to entry for students looking to enroll in higher education programs, particularly in rural and underserved areas,” Fitzpatrick said. “My bipartisan PATH to College Act will provide grants to encourage the expansion of public transit options near community college campuses, further expanding accessibility for students across the country. I am grateful to Reps. Kilmer, Kean, and Wilson for leading with me on this effort and look forward to advancing this bill through the House.” ••

Trash rebates available

The Sanitation/Trash Rebates for the 2022 tax year will be given to qualifying Lower Southampton Township residents through May 31. The rebate is $50 per household. To qualify for this rebate, a resident must meet the following criteria:

• Must be a Lower Southampton Township resident.

• Must be age 65 or older.

• A veteran who is 50 percent disabled or greater with a letter stating the percent of disability.

• Must be the homeowner for the entire year of 2022. No rebates will be given if not the owner from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31.

There is only one rebate per household. Rebates will be given for primary residence only (must match with the address on your driver’s license).

You must present an ID showing you are 65 years or older. Must be 65 by Dec. 31, 2022.

To receive your rebate, stop by the Township Administration Building, 1500 Desire Ave. in Feasterville, or call Denise at 215-357-7300, Ext. 312. ••

No pay for Congress during default

Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Abigail Spanberger introduced a bill that would block members of Congress from receiving their pay during any default or government shutdown.

The No Pay for Congress During Default or Shutdown Act would block the pay of members of Congress if the public debt limit is reached or a federal government shutdown occurs.

“Members of Congress promise to fight for their constituents in Washington, and should not be paid a taxpayer-funded salary if they cannot deliver on that promise,” Fitzpatrick said. “Our bipartisan legislation is a no-brainer — lawmakers should not be paid if we irresponsibly default on our nation’s debt.” ••

Lower South supervisor meeting schedule

The Lower Southampton Township Board of Supervisors will meet on Wednesday, June 14, at 7:30 p.m., at the Township Building, 1500 Desire Ave., Feasterville.

Future meetings, all at the same times and location, are scheduled for June 28, July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 13 and 27, Oct. 11 and 25, Nov. 8 and 20 and Dec. 13 and 20. ••

Bensalem Council meeting schedule

Bensalem Township Council meetings are generally held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building at 2400 Byberry Road, Bensalem.

Meetings can be viewed live on Comcast Xfinity Channel 22 in Bensalem and on Verizon Fios Channel 34 throughout Bucks County. They can also be streamed live on the Bensalem Township YouTube channel.

The schedule is June 12 and 26, July 10 and 24, Aug. 14 and 28, Sept. 11, Oct. 16, Nov. 13 and 27 and Dec. 4 (budget meeting) and 11. ••

Bensalem school board meeting schedule

The Bensalem Township Board of School Directors holds meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Dorothy D. Call Administrative Center, 3000 Donallen Drive, Bensalem.

Upcoming meetings will take place on June 27, Aug. 22, Sept. 26, Oct. 24, Nov. 28 and Dec. 19 (third Tuesday).

The public is invited to attend.

Due to summer vacation, the board will not meet during July.

The School Board annual reorganization meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. ••

Commissioners meeting June 7

The Bucks County Commissioners will hold their next meeting on Wednesday, June 7, at 10:30 a.m. at the Bucks County Administration Building, 55 E. Court St., in Doylestown.

The meeting will be broadcast on the county’s YouTube channel.

Future meetings will be on June 21, July 5, July 19, Aug. 2, Aug. 16, Sept. 6, Sept. 20, Oct. 4, Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Nov. 15, Dec. 6 and Dec. 20. ••

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