Welcome to another edition of Northeast Notes! November is a time to give thanks. I am grateful to Pennsylvania’s 1 million veterans who have given their service to this great nation. This Veterans Day on Nov. 11, take time to express your gratitude toward our veterans, especially if you personally know a vet.
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SENATOR MIKE STACK
Stack, Boyle Bills Toughen Regulations for Proposed Methadone Clinics
Sen. Stack discusses his legislation outside of the proposed Healing Way site. With him is state Rep. Kevin Boyle.
Standing outside the site of a controversial proposed methadone treatment facility in Holmesburg, state Rep. Kevin Boyle and I recently announced our legislation that would tighten loose regulations currently in place for these facilities.
We as a community were recently blindsided by the Healing Way’s plans to open a methadone clinic at 7900 Frankford Ave.
The public deserves adequate notice and a chance to respond when a drug treatment center wants to open a facility in their community, and our legislation gives residents a voice in the approval process.
My legislation (Senate Bill 1277) and Boyle’s identical legislation (House Bill 1885) would require a public hearing for all proposed narcotics treatment facilities.
The owner of the proposed facility would be required to receive approval from the local district attorney.
Also, the proposed facility must have adequate parking before it could be approved by the Department of Health.
Finally, under the legislation the Department of Health would provide written notice to all locally elected public officials at the city, state and federal level of the location immediately upon receipt of the application.
The community has legitimate concerns with the Healing Way, including its proximity to an elementary school, daycare and church and the lack of parking. They are most concerned, however, that the Healing Way did not reveal its true intentions.
The community should have direct input. Our legislation accomplishes that.
PA is Making Progess with New Divestment Law
Sen. Stack talks about the state's new divestment law. With him are Reps. Babette Josephs, Josh Shapiro and Dan Frankel.
The Office of the State Treasurer has released the first comprehensive report on the outcomes of the Protecting Pennsylvania's Investments Act of 2010, legislation that I was proud to author.
The law (Act 44 of 2010) requires Pennsylvania’s Treasury Department and three public pension plans — the Municipal Retirement System, the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS), and the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) — to divest from companies that have major business activities in the rogue nations of Sudan and Iran.
According to the report, 10 companies have already ceased operations in Sudan and/or Iran and are no longer prohibited investments by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
A further six companies have declared that they plan to, or are in the process of, ceasing their involvement with these regimes in order to avoid divestment.
It is inappropriate to use taxpayer dollars to invest in companies that do business in countries that sponsor terrorism and genocide. This report shows that the law is already having an impact and we can implement terror-free investing without harming our state pension funds.
Ban on Texting While Driving Heads to Governor's Desk
Pennsylvania will soon have a statewide ban on texting while driving.
Senate Bill 314, which recently passed the Senate by a 45-5 vote, prohibits a motorist from using a cell phone, smart phone or other wireless communication device to send, read or write a text message, instant message or e-mail while driving. This doesn’t include GPS or other navigation systems.
This violation would be considered a primary offense, which means a law enforcement officer can pull over a driver for that offense alone, and would be punishable by a $50 fine. The bill is on the governor’s desk for his signature into law.
Texting while driving is not only a distraction, but a danger to the offender, other drivers and pedestrians. Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The message is clear: Don’t text and drive!
Offices of State
Senator Mike Stack
Office Hours: Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.