Senator Michele Brooks E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Acts to Protect Women’s Sports
  • Joint Hearing on Government Data Breach Notification 
  • Capitol Rally Aims to Stop Wolf Bridge Tolling Plan
  • Scammers are Stealing Military Pensions
  • National Fishing and Boating Week

Senate Acts to Protect Women’s Sports

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which protects the integrity of women’s sports in Pennsylvania, was approved by the Senate. The bill advances to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Bill 1191 states that school athletic teams designated for women should not be open to those of the male sex. The bill defines “sex” as the biological distinction between male and female, based on reproductive biology and genetic make-up.

The bill was introduced earlier this year after concerns grew about preserving the increased athletic opportunities female students have gained since Title IX was enacted 50 years ago next week.

Joint Hearing on Government Data Breach Notification 

Legislation requiring timely notification to victims of a state or local government data breach was the topic of a joint Senate/House public hearing.

The Senate Communications and Technology Committee and the House State Government Subcommittee on Government Information Technology and Communication held the hearing to review Senate Bill 696.

The panels heard from representatives of the Department of General Services, the State Privacy and Security Coalition, and the Cybersecurity Association of Pennsylvania. You can view the hearing and read testimony here.

Capitol Rally Aims to Stop Wolf Bridge Tolling Plan

The No P3 Bridge Tolls Coalition was joined by lawmakers at a capitol rally Wednesday to voice opposition to the Wolf administration’s plan to toll interstate bridges in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) plan proposes tolling to pay for bridge projects and has received an overwhelming amount of disapproval, including citizens, members of the General Assembly, local officials and business operators.

PennDOT’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) bridge tolling initiative would cost the average commuter an additional $1,000 per year and was moved through the process without legislative input nor approval.

This bridge-tolling plan would be as damaging as the I-80 tolling scheme, which prompted me to organize a House and Senate legislative delegation to travel to Washington, D.C. to oppose the proposal. As you know, ultimately, through the efforts of so many, we were able to stop the tolling of I-80, where the tolls generated would have been diverted to mass transit in Philadelphia.  

These proposed bridge tolls would hurt local families and businesses who are already struggling with record high gas prices.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 382, which reforms the P3 statute and voids PennDOT’s plan. However, Gov. Wolf has stated that he will veto the bill. Commonwealth Court temporarily halted the tolling plan. The Wolf administration has appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Scammers are Stealing Military Pensions

Pennsylvania veterans and their advocates should be aware of an increase in scammers looking to poach their VA pensions, warns the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).

“Pension poaching” occurs when scammers or dishonest financial planners charge veterans or their beneficiaries for help in applying for or submitting applications for VA pensions. The scheme often involves financial maneuvers such as advising claimants to hide their assets in trusts or annuity products sometimes resulting in lost investments and lucrative fees paid to the advisor.

The DMVA says veterans and their advocates should remember to never share their VA login information, or deposit VA benefits directly into a third-party bank account unless the person is court appointed or a VA accredited fiduciary. More on avoiding pension poaching, and what to do if you know someone who was targeted, can be found here. 

National Fishing and Boating Week

Pennsylvania has multiple scenic outdoor venues for fishing and boating, whether you’re an expert or a beginner.

HuntFishPA.com is a good place to start to find out what you need to enjoy angling. The PA Fish and Boat Commission can help you find the best waters for fishing and information on fishing licenses, fishing seasons and more. 

Boating Safety Education Certificates are required to operate a personal watercraft and for persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1982, to operate boats powered by motors greater than 25 horsepower. People who successfully complete an approved boating course are issued a Boating Safety Education Certificate good for a lifetime.

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