Senator Farry E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Relay for Life of Bensalem
  • Guests at the Capitol
  • New Distracted Driving Law Bans Use of Handheld Devices
  • Senate Approves Bills to Reverse Nursing Home Worker Shortage
  • Legislation Giving Disabled Veterans Financial Relief Receives Senate Support
  • Senate Acts to Modernize Rules for Electronic Commerce

Relay for Life of Bensalem

My family and I were proud to join Rep. KC Tomlinson and members of the Bensalem Community for their 25th Relay for Life of Bensalem last weekend. The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is the only Global walk that stands for every cancer while communities come together to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against every cancer and come together for every life.

This year, the Relay for Life was closer to my heart, as my wife Kristen, battles breast cancer.  We look forward to walking next year celebrating her as a survivor.  

Guests at the Capitol

I was pleased to welcome two families to the Capitol last week.  Thank you to both families for taking the time to visit.

Pictured above is the Goodwin family from Churchville, PA; Charles “Chuck” Goodwin, his wife Patty, and their daughters Madison and Elena.  

Pictured below is Ella McDevitt and her parents.  Ella is a bright, inquisitive third grade student in the Council Rock School District and has a passion for civic engagement.  Ella recently petitioned her school board to bring slushees to the school cafeteria. She dreams of one day becoming an elected official to make a positive impact in her community. 

New Distracted Driving Law Bans Use of Handheld Devices

A new law prohibits the use of handheld cellular and other devices while operating a vehicle on a Pennsylvania highway or traffic way. Drivers may still use their phone if they are using hands-free technology, such as a docking station, Bluetooth or speaker technology.

For the first year, only warnings will be issued for violations. After that, there will be a $50 fine.

Distracted driving fatalities in Pennsylvania surged to a decade high in 2022, claiming 80 lives. The AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index found that the majority of drivers believe distracted driving has outpaced all other traffic-related issues as a growing safety concern. All of Pennsylvania’s border states and 28 others have enacted hands-free laws.

Senate Approves Bills to Reverse Nursing Home Worker Shortage

With the number of older Pennsylvanians rising and nursing homes struggling to find qualified workers, the Senate passed two bills this week to reverse the worker shortage. Both bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Bill 1102 would increase the number of nursing home workers by streamlining the training and certification process and removing barriers that prevent people from entering the health care workforce in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1104 would further increase the nursing home workforce by enabling high school juniors and seniors to earn up to two elective credits for working or volunteering at a nursing home, personal care home or assisted living facility. Schools would establish program guidelines and procedures to allow students to earn one elective credit for each 250 hours of paid or volunteer work at a qualifying facility.

Legislation Giving Disabled Veterans Financial Relief Receives Senate Support

To provide financial relief to more disabled veterans, the Senate passed Senate Bill 194 to exclude U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Attendance benefits as income when calculating eligibility for Pennsylvania’s 100% Disabled Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption.

Federal Aid and Attendance benefits provide monthly payments to disabled veterans who are housebound or need help with daily activities. Without the exclusion of this federal benefit, some disabled veterans are prevented from qualifying for property tax reductions.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Acts to Modernize Rules for Electronic Commerce

The Senate passed legislation to modernize the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), updating rules that govern digital asset transactions to ensure security, consistency and confidence. It now advances to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The UCC has provided consistency for commercial law and interstate commerce since 1954, when Pennsylvania led the initiative to adopt it. Since then, it has been adopted by all states and gives Americans legal confidence when transacting business across state lines. The last major revisions to the UCC took effect in 2001. In the two decades since, electronic property, or digital assets, have become much more prevalent in commercial transactions.

Senate Bill 1084 would bring the law into the 21st century by establishing guidelines to cover digital asset transactions involving virtual currencies, non-fungible tokens, electronic accounts and other forms of electronic commerce. It would also make other needed technical updates to the UCC.


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