Legislative Services

Here you will learn about my legislative issues and priorities and why I believe they're important for Pennsylvania. You will also find useful session information links to keep up to date on the issues!

Legislative Accomplishments & Priorities

Legislative Accomplishments

  • Prime sponsored jury reform legislation creating statewide jury information system to improve diversity and representation in county and federal jury pools.
  • Enacted effort to provide certified interpreters for deaf, hearing impaired and limited English proficient litigants in administrative and judicial proceedings.
  • Championed the fight for a new law to reduce the inequitable inheritance tax by 25% which resulted in a savings of millions of dollars each year for Pennsylvania families.
  • Authored a new law that would provide for a life-sentence to those who commit rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse when serious bodily injury occurs to victims thirteen years or younger.
  • Toughened a law that would impose a rigorous 0.02% blood alcohol content standard for school vehicle drivers and providing for suspension of driving privileges for up to one year if convicted, and enhanced penalties for those who are driving under the influence with a minor child in the vehicle.
  • Strengthened legislation requiring Internet Service Providers to remove child pornography from their services or face tough criminal sanctions.
  • Led legislative effort to overturn anti-employee Superior Court decision in Shick v Shirey to prevent retaliatory firings of at-will employees who file worker’s compensation claims.
  • Prime sponsored new law which enhances reporting requirements for school district financial advisors in order to protect districts from future fraudulent investment activities.
  • Improved Pennsylvania’s crime data reporting system to ensure that municipalities report crime statistics to the state police, which will leverage additional federal funds for local crime fighting activities.
  • Advocated increase to Pennsylvania State Police complement and emphasized that additional troopers be dedicated to Homeland Security and big truck safety enforcement.
  • Recognized the economic imperative of supporting legislation which led to the construction of two new stadiums and an expansion of the David Lawrence Convention Center.
  • Prime sponsor and lead advocate of state plan, FAIRx, to expand coverage and reduce prescription drug cost for seniors by leveraging additional rebates from drug manufacturers.
  • Supported and helped to enact a plan to improve education with a back-to-basics approach in elementary schools, coupled with funding to permit smaller class sizes, to implement new state-of-the-art technologies in the classroom, and to increase tutoring assistance.
  • Led efforts to direct a portion of gaming revenues toward reduction of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County development debt, including the convention center, airport, and redevelopment authorities.
  • Spearheaded drive to recast Pittsburgh taxing structure and stabilize city finances.
  • Supported efforts to expand CHIP health insurance to all children in Pennsylvania.
  • Supported 2007 transportation plan that significantly expanded state funding for mass transit.
  • Authored a new law to provide enhanced penalties to those who are driving under the influence with a minor child in the vehicle.

Legislative Priorities

  • Upgrade personal safety and security by enactment of new protections for homeowners from home invasion crimes. (Sponsor)
  • Increase the grading of all theft offenses and fraudulent or deceptive business practices against businesses and government officials who steal. (Sponsor)
  • Provide a personal tax break for employees whose companies institute guaranteed transportation benefit plans, encouraging greater use of mass transit. (Sponsor)
  • Pass a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that adequately funds services to Pennsylvania citizens, while recognizing the difficult financial struggles of many state taxpayers during the national economic recession.
  • Build additional public safeguards and law enforcement measures into the state gaming law as we identify problems and gain a better understanding of an industry that is still fairly new to our state.
  • Expand affordable comprehensive health insurance to working families throughout Pennsylvania and enact measures to contain health care costs. (Co-sponsor)
  • Expand family exemptions from Realty Transfer Taxes and from estate administration expenses. (Sponsor)
  • Expand eligibility of Allegheny County Property Tax Relief Act for longtime senior citizen owner occupants. (Sponsor)
  • Authorize Allegheny County to impose a smoking ban more stringent than the state’s.
  • Authorize cities and counties to create their own campaign finance reform measures.

Updated June 2011

 

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