Two Life-Saving Proposals
Last week, I formally reintroduced two pieces of legislation aimed at saving lives in different ways.
One bill would establish cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training in Pennsylvania’s high schools, while the second bill is designed to reduce heatstroke deaths for children left in cars during hot weather.
My CPR legislation, Senate Bill 115, passed the Senate unanimously during the last legislative session but was not considered in the state House. The bill would set new academic standards for CPR training in grades nine through twelve while adding hands-only CPR instruction to Pennsylvania’s education curriculum.
The goal of the legislation is to prepare generations of students with fundamental life skills.
Over 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of hospitals each year. There is a less than ten percent survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest.
If enacted, this instructional enhancement in high schools will substantially expand CPR training in Pennsylvania. Thirty-eight states have similar high school CPR instruction policies.
My child heatstroke bill also unanimously passed the Senate during the previous legislative session but was not scheduled for a vote in the House. This legislation would extend Good Samaritan civil liability protections to individuals who, in an effort to save an unattended child, break a window or forcibly enter a locked vehicle.
In 2018, at least 49 children died from vehicular heatstroke in the United States. My heatstroke legislation is Senate Bill 49 in memory of the number of children who died in hot cars last year.
Nineteen states have similar laws protecting Good Samaritans who enter locked cars in order to save children from heatstroke.
CPR and child heatstroke laws have helped save lives in other states. It is time for them to be enacted in Pennsylvania.
Fighting Childhood Cancer
Too many families have suffered the tragedy of childhood cancer. This week, I met Matt McHugh who lost his son, Jake, to cancer.
Matt and his wife, Sandy, started Jake’s Dragon Foundation to fund research and help families affected by childhood cancer. They are supporting legislation I co-sponsored to provide $100 million in tax credits over ten years for pediatric cancer research.
More information about this Senate legislation can be found HERE.
Last year, the General Assembly passed and Governor Tom Wolf signed into law another piece of pediatric cancer legislation. This bill, which I also co-sponsored, allows Pennsylvanians to donate $5 to the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund when electronically renewing a driver’s license, photo identification card or vehicle registration with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
We must do everything we can to end this disease, and I am pleased Harrisburg lawmakers have been working on legislation to help achieve this critically important goal.
PA’s Film Tax Credit Provides Major Economic Boost
In 2007, Pennsylvania implemented a film production tax credit program to encourage movie and television production in our state. The economic impact of this program has been nothing less than astounding.
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s 2017-2018 report on the film tax credit program indicated that film and TV productions located in Pennsylvania using the tax credit generated a staggering $4.5 billion in total economic activity and $593 million in state and local taxes.
The report also indicated that the tax credit program has supported 21,000 full-time jobs.
In addition, the Department’s report revealed that 750 applicants have applied for the program, and 478 productions have been awarded tax credits through 2018. The tax credit program typically runs out of money by mid-year, and production companies locate their projects in other states that provide a tax credit incentive.
With this in mind, I have introduced legislation to raise the cap on the state’s film production tax credit program from $65 million to $125 million.
Data on Pennsylvania’s film tax credit program has clearly shown it to have been incredibly successful. In fact, it is so successful that we have many movie, TV and commercial productions interested in locating here, but we reach the cap on the tax credit shortly after it is authorized. This means we are losing countless job opportunities and tax revenue to other states that have more robust tax credit programs.
The production industry has long called for an increase in the film tax credit cap to allow more film projects to participate in the program. Over the last two years alone, over 30 projects representing $400 million of investment have gone elsewhere because the cap had already been reached in the tax credit program. This number does not include productions that the state was not aware of that completely bypassed Pennsylvania after the tax credits had expired.
We are fortunate to have film and television production facilities in the 9th Senatorial District, including SunCenter Studios in Aston where last year’s Creed II movie was filmed.
I have repeatedly heard from local film and TV production facilities and others involved in the industry that we are losing too many important projects to other states that have a higher tax credit cap or no cap at all. These are missed economic opportunities for us.
In addition, it is important to remember that so many jobs and businesses that support film production are impacted by our tax credit program. This includes design and carpentry jobs, transportation and vehicle rental businesses, wardrobe-related businesses, food and catering services, lumber suppliers used for the enormous sets that are built for productions, and many others.
We need to help Pennsylvania’s economy and workers by becoming more competitive with the tax credit programs in other states by raising the cap here. I am hopeful we will do so during our current two-year legislative session.
Click HERE to read more about my film tax credit legislation, Senate Bill 185.
Click HERE to see a video of a tour I took at SunCenter Studios and a discussion about the benefits of the film tax credit program.
Our hearts broke with the passing of Ted Erickson last month. Ted served local families as a state Senator and county Councilman in Delaware County, as well as in many other roles. He was a remarkable individual, a true statesman and a complete gentleman who will be deeply missed. I spoke about Ted in the Senate last week as we honored his many contributions to our state.
Election Reform Initiative
On January 29th, I spoke at a press conference about my new legislation designed to make voting easier for Pennsylvanians. This bill on vote centers and curbside voting was part of a new bipartisan election reform package that includes several pieces of legislation on a variety of election-related issues.
My election reform bill would give counties the option of establishing vote centers to make voting more convenient and to also help voters with disabilities.
Vote centers are alternatives to traditional, neighborhood-based precincts. By giving counties the option of using vote centers, voters are able to cast their ballots at any vote center in the county – regardless of their home address.
Thirteen states currently allow jurisdictions to use vote centers on Election Day: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
As vote centers provide voters with greater convenience, they may increase voter turnout. Additionally, there are possible cost savings for counties opting to establish vote centers.
My legislation also provides for curbside voting to better assist voters with disabilities. Under the legislation, if a voter is physically unable to enter a poll, he or she may ask an election officer to bring a ballot to the entrance of the polling place or to a car parked at the curb. Those assisting must read voters the entire ballot – unless the voter asks to have only parts of the ballot read to them.
Reforming how we vote is critical to Pennsylvania’s future. Voting must be convenient and easy for citizens. This package of election reform bills is a step in that direction.
Information about all of the election reform bills can be found HERE.
Assistance for Veterans
I partner with the Pennsylvania American Legion every month to assist local veterans at my Brookhaven office. A representative from this organization will be helping veterans with issues on:
Date: Wednesday, February 27th
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Senator Killion’s Brookhaven Office, 4110 Edgmont Avenue, Brookhaven, PA
I encourage veterans and their families who have questions about benefits and programs to schedule an appointment during these assistance hours. Appointments can be made by contacting my office at (610) 447 – 3163. This service is offered the fourth Wednesday of each month.
How I Can Help
My offices provide many services to families in our area. Here are some of the ways we can help.
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