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Boscola Bulletin

Gun Reform Legislation Passes State Senate

Domestic Violence AwarenessOn Wednesday, October 3, 2018 the State Senate passed House Bill 2060. This bipartisan effort is the first substantive gun control legislation passed by both chambers in over a decade. The bill is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.  The legislation requires those with a domestic violence ruling or action, such as a protection from abuse order, against them to relinquish all firearms, weapons, ammunition and licenses to law enforcement, a licensed firearms’ dealer, a commercial armory or the defendant’s attorney.  The passing of this bill takes a significant step of removing guns from highly volatile situations, and its landmark passage was only achievable through almost two years of work and compromise.  Victims’ advocacy groups collaborated with National Rifle Association and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to achieve consensus.  This was a common-sense measure aimed to better protect victims of domestic abuse. As a former Deputy Court Administrator, I personally came to understand that it was a presence of a gun that made both men & women fearful in domestic violence situations. 

The statistics confirm my personal experience.  The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.  Approximately 4.5 million American women alive today have been threatened by intimate partners with firearms. One million have been shot or shot at by their abuser. 

Restitution Still an Issue – Taxpayers Must be Made Whole

Senator Boscola's Floor Remarks on
Pennsylvania’s Broken Restitution Law

On the Senate floor this week, I encouraged my colleagues to fix Pennsylvania’s broken restitution law before the close of session. Currently there are two bills that remain stuck in either the Senate or House of Representatives - Senate Bill 897 & House Bill 1806 respectively, that address the problem.  Either of these bills would clarify the restitution law allowing government agencies, non-profits, churches and businesses the ability to recover the funds that were stolen.  The lack of movement of these bills is gaining local media attention, and I will continue to strongly advocate for the passage of one of these bills. There is only one voting week left in the 2017-18 session and I am hopeful that one of these bills will get passed onto the Governor.  It is pretty simple actually – those who steal from taxpayers & non-profits should be required to pay it back.

Bill Making Pet Store Sales Ethical

Senate Bill 1154 moved out of the Judiciary Committee this week. The bill requires pet stores to sell dogs, cats, and rabbits that are sourced from animal rescues and shelters. This legislation seeks to continue to crack down on unethical puppy, kitten, and rabbit mills in the Commonwealth. By restricting the retail sale of puppies, kittens, and rabbits to only those that are sourced from animal shelters or rescue organizations, it will ensure that those animals will be coming from a much more safe and humane home. I was proud to support this bill at the Judiciary meeting and I am hopeful that the passage of this legislation will ensure that sheltered and rescued animals will find loving homes in Pennsylvania. 

Tourism Funds from Uncollected Fees Initiative Advances

Travel AgencyLegislation advanced from the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development committee on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 to get needed dollars back into Pennsylvania’s Tourism Fund.  House Bill 1511, as well as a similar Senate Bill that I co-sponsored, clarifies and requires online travel booking agents, such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc., to collect and remit state sales and hotel occupancy taxes to the Commonwealth.  Currently, any person booking a hotel room has to pay the appropriate sales tax and hotel occupancy tax.  Online booking entities often make arrangements with hotels in bulk booking for a negotiated rate, leaving a disparity between the taxes and fees under an agreement and those being paid by an individual renting a room.  This legislation fixes a loophole and will result in additional funds dedicated to the state’s tourism industry.  The state’s tourism fund has diminished due to budget constraints.  However, closing this loophole will help bring in an estimated $20 million into the fund.  The return of investment on tourism spending and advertising brings back almost double the amount initially spent, per the Department of Community and Economic Development.  This bill is supported by each of the state’s large tourism bureaus, including the Lehigh Valley and Pocono Regions.

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

BETHLEHEM OFFICE
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Senator Boscola's Floor Remarks on Pennsylvania’s Broken Restitution Law