View in browser
The time has finally come for the legislature to convene for the 2015-2016 legislative session. While my vision for an interregnum session did not come to fruition, committees have started convening this week to consider bills that we should then be able to vote on next week.
As was announced last week, I am the new Chairman of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee. In addition, I have been appointed to several other key committees.
Labor and Industry – Vice Chair
Being provided the opportunity to serve as Vice Chair of the Labor and Industry Committee is important to me as a small business owner. I came to Harrisburg with several priorities, including making Pennsylvania a better place to do business and promoting job growth across the Commonwealth. In addition, it is no secret that reducing the influence of public sector unions in Harrisburg is also a priority.
Serving on Appropriations will provide me direct input on the state budget and other state spending matters. The methods used in recent years to balance the budget are of concern to me, and now this year we are facing at least a $2 billion deficit. I am very focused on finding areas where we can save money, and I am looking forward to the budget hearings the Committee will be conducting with each department head at the end of March and into April.
Law and Justice and Transportation are both committees that have great influence over major legislative matters. In particular, liquor privatization falls under the jurisdiction of the Law and Justice Committee. This is an issue I believe we must tackle early in the new session. Of course, as an owner of a trash hauling business and a trucking company, I am in tune with transportation issues ranging from the current crumbling infrastructure to the recent increases in fuel and diesel taxes.
Having served as Chairman of the Intergovernmental Operations Committee last session, I am pleased to have the opportunity to remain on the Committee under the leadership of Senator Ryan Aument. I was open to continuing as Chairman because it is a great resource for delving into a broad range of state-related matters, and I am confident Chairman Aument will utilize the Committee to its fullest potential.
Finally, I was also notified that I will be serving as a member of the Senate Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Senator Dave Argall. This is not one of the traditional standing committees with voting authority but instead is a resource for our Caucus to develop legislative proposals together and to further vet issues before voting on them.
Overall, I am ready to get down to business and do the work I was sent to Harrisburg to do.