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Legislative Roundup

The presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy has submitted almost twice the amount of signatures required to gain ballot access in PA

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Kennedy poised to be on PA ballot

Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign announced it has submitted more than 9,000 signatures — nearly twice the required amount — to gain ballot access in Pennsylvania.

“We now have a candidate we can vote for who truly cares about us,” said Northeast Regional Director Jon Raso. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will give Pennsylvanians the government accountability they deserve.”

Pennsylvania allows for multiple signature turn-ins, and volunteers plan to continue to submit more signatures.

The campaign plans to be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Kennedy-Shanahan ticket is officially on the ballot in eight states and has collected enough signatures for ballot access in 15 other states.

The Kennedy-Shanahan campaign has collected the signatures needed for ballot access in states totaling 323 electoral votes, more than enough to win the Electoral College. ••

Affordable housing grants in 6th SD

Sen. Frank Farry (R-6th dist.) announced a series of affordable housing grants that will benefit the 6th Senatorial District.

Grants totaling more than $1.4 million were announced by the Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency, including:

• $500,000 for the Bucks County Housing Services Department to address housing insecurity post-Emergency Rental Assistance Program by supporting vulnerable households to prevent homelessness and enhance placement into permanent housing.

• $425,000 for the YWCA of Bucks County to provide housing and specialized services for human trafficking victims, aiming to expand capacity and reduce barriers to housing.

• $325,000 for the Bucks County Opportunity Council to provide housing, treatment and support services for incarcerated individuals with mental health or substance use disorders, and for probation and parole-supervised households experiencing housing instability.

• $175,000 for the Habitat for Humanity Bucks County to partner with low-income homeowners for home repairs and modifications to enhance safety and accessibility, preventing decline in home value and neighborhood quality.

“Today’s announcement of more than $1.4 million in affordable housing grants marks a significant investment in our community,” Farry said. “These funds will enhance housing security, ensuring residents have access to safe and stable housing. I am grateful for the Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency’s commitment to addressing these needs through the Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund, which underscores our ongoing efforts to strengthen neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for Pennsylvanians.”

Funding for the grants is provided by the impact fee charged on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale region and the state’s existing Realty Transfer Tax. ••

PA Senate passes Stand with Israel Act

State Treasurer Stacy Garrity praised the Senate for passing the Stand with Israel Act. Senate Bill 1260, sponsored by Sens. Steve Santarsiero and Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, was approved, 41-7. SB 1260 will prohibit the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, along with SERS, PSERS and PMRS, from boycotting or divesting from Israel and companies doing business with Israel. It will also prohibit state funds from going directly to an institution of higher education that engages in such a boycott or divestment.

“Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East, and it’s important for Pennsylvania to show our steadfast support,” Garrity said. “I congratulate the Senate for passing this legislation with such a strong majority, and I thank Sens. Santarsiero and Phillips-Hill for taking the lead on this important issue. I urge the House of Representatives to consider it without delay and send this bill to Gov. Shapiro for his signature.” ••

Penalties for street racing

Rep. K.C. Tomlinson announced that her legislation to increase penalties for individuals convicted of street racing passed the House by a 177-25 vote. All votes against the bill came from Democrats.

House Bill 2266 would increase the current fine for street racing from $250 up to $2,000 per violation. On a second violation, the driver’s vehicle would be taken away to stop them from using it in future street races.

“I am thrilled to see House Bill 2266 pass the House,” Tomlinson said. “The safety of my constituents is always my top priority. When I learned that in my district alone we’ve had over 40 incidents in the last year and a half, I knew this was something we needed to address. Adults, children and law enforcement have been hurt or even killed at these events. By increasing the penalties for those convicted of street racing, we will keep both our streets and law enforcement safe.”

House Bill 2266 goes to the Senate for concurrence. ••

Hogan’s financial exploitation bill passes

Rep. Joe Hogan announced his legislation to increase protections for seniors from financial exploitation passed the House, 152-49.

House Bill 2064 authorizes the mandatory reporting and disclosure of essential records to state investigators. Additionally, financial institutions and fiduciaries would be able to temporarily delay transactions linked to suspected financial exploitation and engage in judicial proceedings to protect older adults.
House Bill 2064 would also authorize the sharing of information and records among financial institutions, fiduciaries and area agencies on aging. Like other voluntary reporters to protective services, financial institutions and fiduciaries would be immune from civil or criminal liability when exercising their discretion to report, share records, provide information to area agencies on aging and temporarily delay financial transactions.

“This is great news for older Pennsylvanians,” Hogan said. “When I held a hearing on the increase of scams and fraud in March of this year, we learned tens of thousands of dollars are lost every week in Bucks County to these types of criminal acts. This kind of legislation has been discussed for over a decade in Harrisburg but with no movement. I’m glad we were able to get this done and hopefully to the governor’s desk. Seniors’ hard-earned money is at stake.”

House Bill 2064 heads to the Senate for concurrence. ••

Transparency in Holocaust, genocide education

Reps. Kristin Marcell, Martina White and Rob Mercuri held a news conference to announce a discharge resolution for House Bill 1986.

The resolution is in response to the Democratic majority’s failure to advance any legislation to address the rise of antisemitic actions and confrontations that have been occurring on college campuses and in Pennsylvania communities.

The discharge resolution is for House Bill 1986, which requires transparency in Holocaust and genocide education.

“With an Economist poll finding that 1 in 5 young Americans believe the Holocaust is a myth, it is clear we need to ensure our children understand the profound impact of these historical events and recognize the importance of combating antisemitism in all its forms,” Marcell said. “Despite a growing number of antisemitic incidents across the commonwealth, the Democratic majority has failed to act on any legislation this session to address these issues.”

White announced she is introducing two pieces of legislation to fight antisemitism on campuses and in public spaces. The first bill would not fund higher educational institutions that support or promote antisemitism. The second bill from White would prohibit the wearing of face coverings and masks in public spaces, with limited exceptions.

Mercuri will introduce legislation that mandates any universities receiving state funding must have anti-harassment policies in place that address antisemitism. ••

Learn about wills and estates

Bucks County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court Linda Bobrin is embarking on her 2024 Senior Center Tour. Bobrin and members of her staff will be giving presentations about wills, estate planning and inheritance tax at senior centers across Bucks County.

Hour-long presentations will be held on the following dates:

• July 23: Bensalem Senior Center, 10 a.m.

• July 25: Central Bucks Senior Center, 12:30 p.m.

• July 26: Middletown Senior Center, 10:15 a.m.

• July 30: Morrisville Senior Center, 10 a.m.

• Aug. 20: Upper Bucks Senior Center, 11 a.m.

• Aug. 27: Pennridge Senior Center, 11 a.m.

• Sept. 10: Lower Makefield Senior Center, 10:30 a.m.

Attendees can expect to learn the basics of what makes a will valid, along with an overview of probate and inheritance tax. They will also be sharing interesting anecdotes, including unusual wills received in the office.  

The Bucks County Register of Wills is responsible for appointing the personal representative of a decedent’s estate and is the agent for the state to collect inheritance tax. The office’s primary goal is to serve the public, especially when they may be grieving the loss of a loved one.

For more information, email Rachel Landsberg at ralandsberg@buckscounty.org. ••

Honoring K9 heroes

Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Mike Quigley introduced the Honoring Our K9 Heroes Act, which establishes a grant program for nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations to provide essential veterinary care for retired federal and military working dogs.

More than 5,500 K9s serve federal agencies, performing tasks to safeguard the country and communities nationwide. From detecting explosives and narcotics to rescuing individuals in danger, their roles often result in chronic health issues, resulting in overwhelmingly high healthcare costs that fall on their handlers after retirement.

The grant program created through the legislation under the Department of Homeland Security — the largest employer of K9s — will authorize $1 million through 2029 for increased access to medical care for retired working dogs through qualified nonprofits that provide veterinary care to K9 heroes. As these organizations confront mounting waitlists and escalating medical expenses across the country, the bill takes the necessary step forward to ensure that retired working dogs and their handlers receive support and compassionate care.

“Our federal and military K9 heroes have stood by our side, playing crucial roles in defending our communities and country with unparalleled loyalty and selfless dedication. This common-sense legislation marks a pivotal step in honoring their service and sacrifice by providing them with the essential veterinary care they need in retirement and alleviating the substantial financial burdens placed on their handlers,” Fitzpatrick said. “We must ensure our retired working dogs receive the respect, support and care they have rightfully earned. The time is now for us to stand up and protect them, as they have stood by and protected us.” ••

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. ••

Lower South supervisor meeting schedule

The Lower Southampton Township Board of Supervisors meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at the Township Building, 1500 Desire Ave., Feasterville. The next meeting is July 10. ••

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 July 22, Aug. 12, Aug. 26, Sept. 9, Sept. 23, Oct. 15 (Tuesday), Oct. 28, Nov. 12 (Tuesday), Nov. 25, Dec. 4 (budget meeting) and Dec. 16. ••

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.

The next meeting will take place on Aug. 27.

The public is invited to attend.

Future meetings are on Sept. 24, Oct. 22, Nov. 26 and Dec. 17 (third Tuesday). ••

Commissioners meeting

The Bucks County Commissioners meet on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 10:30 a.m. at the Bucks County Administration Building, 55 E. Court St., in Doylestown.

The meetings are broadcast on the county’s YouTube channel.

The next meeting will be July 17. ••

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