Senator Farry E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Congratulations to Girl Scouts
  • Bucks County Home Repair Program (BCHRP)
  • My Legislation to Expand DNA Samples in PA Criminal Justice Advances
  • Senate Bill Expanding Access to Telemedicine Services
  • Set for Enactment: Bill Providing Free Credit Monitoring for Data Breach Victims
  • June is National Fireworks Safety Month

Congratulations to Girls Scouts

I had the honor of joining Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and Representative Joe Hogan for a celebration this past weekend honoring Allison Sperling and Katheryn Weiner of Girl Scout Troop 21603 on achieving the Gold and Trifecta Awards—the highest honor Girl Scouts can receive.

For her project, Allison repurposed single-use plastic bottles, filled them with other single-use scrap plastics, and used them to build an eco-garden at Neshaminy High School.  Alison held leadership positions in high school and is now a student at Drexel University.

Katheryn constructed and installed forty-five bird nesting boxes out of recycled wood pallets at Silver Lake Nature Center for her project. She has also been a support person for younger troops in the service unit, helping to plan and run their meetings. Katheryn has held leadership positions in high school and is now a student at Slippery Rock University.

The celebration also honored Maille McGonagle who received a bronze award for building bat houses and installing them around her neighborhood, and Paul DeBlieck for 25 years of service with the Girl Scouts of America.  I was pleased to celebrate and honor these leaders for their outstanding achievements and contributions to our community.

The celebration also included a bridge ceremony honoring where the girls’ achievements throughout the year and celebrated them “crossing the bridge” to the next Girl Scout level.

The Bucks County Home Repair Program (BCHRP) will begin accepting applications July 1

The Bucks County Home Repair Program (BCHRP) will begin accepting applications July 1. Pronounced like “bee-chirp,” BCHRP is a resource available to low-moderate income Bucks County homeowners that provides qualifying households with up to $50,000 for home repairs and modifications.   

Bucks County aims to bring necessary repairs to between 120 and 150 owner-occupied homes. Common eligible repairs include roofing, plumbing, electrical systems, heating and accessibility modifications such as ramps and grab bars.   

Applications will be accepted online until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15. Mailed applications must be postmarked by that date.   

To assist with the application process, BCHRP will host two in-person application sessions:   

  • Thursday, July 11, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.   
  • Saturday, July 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.   

These sessions will take place at Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County, 539 Jacksonville Road, #100, Warminster.   

For more information about the program, including the in-person events, eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit the official Bucks County Home Repair Program website at Prospective applicants can also call the BCHRP Helpline at 267-899-6544.   

My Legislation to Expand DNA Samples in PA Criminal Justice Advances

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced my legislation to expand DNA samples in the PA Criminal Justice System earlier this week.

Senate Bill 988  would expand the number of DNA samples in the criminal justice system by requiring post-arrest testing of anyone charged with a felony or certain misdemeanors, rather than only after conviction. This sample-taking would be much like the established process of taking an arrestee’s fingerprints.  Nineteen states currently collect post-arrest DNA samples. 

The bill would also expand the collection of DNA samples for those offenders convicted of criminal homicide, which under Pennsylvania law are their own classification of crime and technically not classified as felonies. This legislation would close that loophole and require collection of DNA samples from these offenders to solve other cold case murders and crimes. It will also in mind the importance of conviction integrity served by advanced use of DNA identification. A sample can prove the innocence of someone else who has been incorrectly accused or convicted and imprisoned for a crime when the DNA ends up matching someone else.

One of my goals as an elected official is to ensure our communities are safe and our law enforcement and prosecutors have the right tools to be able to properly do their jobs.  Our legislation will enhance public safety, bring closure to crime victims, and maintain the integrity of our criminal justice system.

On May 30th , Rep. K.C. Tomlinson, Rep. Marcell, Rep Labs, Rep. Joe Hogan, and I, joined First Assistant District Attorney Ed Louka, Bucks County Sheriff Fred Harran, Chief of Lower Southampton Police Department Ted Krimmel, and local law enforcement officials for a press conference at Comic Collection in Feasterville to discuss this important legislation.  My colleagues, have the companion bill in the House of Representatives, HB2030. View full press conference here.

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration. 

Set for Enactment: Senate Bill Expanding Access to Telemedicine Services

Legislation expanding access to telemedicine in Pennsylvania received final Senate approval and will be sent to the governor for enactment.

Telemedicine allows individuals to access health care services online using a computer, tablet or smartphone. It allows medical services to be provided to some of the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians who otherwise would not be able to receive them due to location or other circumstances.

Senate Bill 739 sets a base for how telemedicine will be covered by insurance companies and medical providers in Pennsylvania. The legislation requires:

  • Health insurance policies to provide coverage for covered health care services delivered through telemedicine consistent with the insurer’s medical policies.
  • Insurers to pay providers for covered health care services delivered through telemedicine consistent with the terms of the contract between the insurer and participating network provider.
  • Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs to pay for covered health care services consistent with federal and state law.

Set for Enactment: Bill Providing Free Credit Monitoring for Data Breach Victims

Bipartisan legislation to strengthen notification requirements for data breaches and provide affected citizens with free credit monitoring for a year and a credit report is set to be signed into law. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives this week, following Senate passage last year.

Senate Bill 824 would cover instances in which an individual’s first and last name or first initial and last name have been accessed in combination with any of the following information: Social Security number, bank account number, driver’s license or state ID number. The bill also strengthens state notification requirements and mandates Attorney General notification if a data breach occurs in the commonwealth.

A record 3,122 data breaches occurred nationally in 2023, affecting hundreds of millions of Americans and costing billions of dollars, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. It marked a 72% increase in data compromises from the previous all-time high in 2021.

June is National Fireworks Safety Month

Independence Day is right around the corner, which means many of us will enjoy celebrations that include an American tradition: fireworks. While fireworks are a great way to celebrate community, being aware of restrictions on consumer fireworks can help prevent injuries and property damage.

While serving in the House of Representatives, I authored legislation to ensure people were not using fireworks contrary to the existing law or potentially harming neighbors and damaging property. House Bill 2157, now Act 74 of 2022, implemented fireworks discharge time constraints; offered guidance to local governments on reasonable controls for the sale and use of fireworks; increased fines for the selling or use of fireworks in violation of the law; and provided notice to consumers of state requirements for setbacks for use, permission to use property and any further municipal limitations.

The measure also redirected the tax collected from the sale of consumer fireworks be used to help fund EMS and firefighter programs.

Read more about state restrictions, and check with your local municipality for applicable local ordinances.


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