Change, but Not Enough in Small Games Law

Sen. Tim Solobay also talks about the Voter ID law, Domestic Violence Awareness Month and meeting Mike Ditka.

The debate got a little heated this week as the Senate considered a bill to fix the problems with Pennsylvania’s small game of chance law.

Senate Republican leaders threw out House amendments that I supported, so Sen. Richard Kasunic and I offered similar amendments in the Senate but they were blocked by the majority.

The bill passed without them, but only with the commitment that we further refine the law to help small organizations continue their good work without the burden of unnecessary and expensive restrictions.     

I think most lawmakers realize more changes are needed to get to the difficult balance between protecting volunteer organizations and protecting the community from runaway gambling. 

Sen. Kasunic and I tried to end the annual reporting and background check requirements for charitable organizations and their volunteer workers with small games proceeds of $100,000 or less, but the majority set the limit at $2,500.

Among the amendments we offered was a proposal that would give small games of chance enforcement authority to local police officers rather than state liquor enforcement officers, who have recently been hammering nonprofit organizations for harmless infractions that organizations have engaged in for decades.

District attorneys and area police departments have a better understanding of a community’s needs and standards—and a better handle on appropriate enforcement priorities.  

Click here to read more.

Photo ID not needed for Nov. 6 Election

As I mentioned in a special edition of On Point, a Commonwealth Court judge this week blocked Pennsylvania’s controversial Voter ID law for the Nov. 6 election. 

Judge Robert Simpson’s ruling will continue the “soft roll-out” of the law that took place during the spring primary. That means election official will ask you for a photo ID, but if you don’t have one, you can still cast your vote.

I’m going to tell people who call my office to continue to try to get a photo ID card because it might be required some day.

But in the meantime, just go vote on Nov. 6.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA is looking for individuals and organizations that would like to decorate a small tree with purple ribbons or a large tree with a big purple bow.

The organization will provide a sign explaining the purpose of this awareness campaign. You can make your own bows and ribbons, however bows will be available. 

For more information, contact Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA: Washington County 724-223-5477, Greene County 724-852-2373, Fayette County 724-437-2530.

Seats Available for the Holiday Bus Tour

Seats are still available for the annual Holiday Bus Tour of the Capitol. Anyone interested in joining us should let us know soon to guarantee a spot. 

The tour will include stops at the Governor’s Mansion, the Capitol building and Hershey Chocolate World. A hot lunch will be served at the Capitol and is included in the $65 ticket price. The trip is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 12.

Anyone interested in going along can contact my Washington satellite office at 724-223-2114 for reservations, pick-up times and places.

Coach Ditka Delivers Powerful Presentation

I had the honor this week to talk with former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka, who was the keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association Convention in Hershey.

Coach Ditka’s presentation was titled: “ACE—Attitude, Character and Enthusiasm." 

It was a powerful presentation and, coming from a pro football Hall-of-Famer who won Super Bowls as a player, coach and assistant coach, his words carry a lot of credibility.

Pat Henry October 10, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Senator Solobay hasn't gone out of his way to kill jobs like Rep. White has. Need I remind everyone of this point "The company has big questions to answer about its ethane, but concern has shifted to a court battle over how much control municipalities have over drilling, Carlson said. If municipalities move to slow drilling, that could slow Shell’s plans, too, he said. “We’re less and less concerned about whether or not there’s enough hydrocarbon (underground). That’s become more and more clear. But there is concern about whether that gas will be able to be developed over the long haul,” Carlson said." http://triblive.com/news/2409927-74/shell-plant-carlson-company-business-able-county-ethane-officials-whether#ixzz28tCRMHOc
Jason Parks October 10, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I’m sure you do resent it. You do because I’m pointing out fact, something you’re reluctant to do yourself. You said this: Here’s another scare tactic-claiming the impact fee money (which translates into about a 1 percent tax with plenty of gas industry givebacks) won’t materialize because of the court decision.  There are no facts to back that up-the court deliberately left the impact fee language in place and struck down the zoning provisions.” You said it here: http://canon-mcmillan.patch.com/articles/act-13-ruled-unconstitional-what-happens-now   Odd because the exact same words appear on your website (with the exception of changing ‘provisions’ to ‘portions’) : 3. The impact fee is not affected. Here’s another scare tactic—claiming the impact fee money (which translates into about a 1 percent tax with plenty of gas industry givebacks) won’t materialize because of the court decision. There are no facts to back that up—the court deliberately left the impact fee language in place and struck down the zoning portions”  : http://www.supportjesse.com/2012/08/act-13-ruled-unconstitutional-what-happens-now/   But then you changed your tune and put this on the Post Gazette website Sept. 27: “They’re holding your impact fee money hostage to gain political leverage…” http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-south/resident-challenges-puc-to-review-some-local-marcellus-drilling-laws-655097/  
Jason Parks October 10, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Part 2: Well, if the impact fee won’t be affected by the court ruling, how can somebody be “holding your impact fee hostage”? Simply, if it can’t be affected, why are you so worried about it? ILet me answer it for you. Because the fact (the word you don’t like) is that if a challenge is filed and the ordinance doesn’t comply with Act 13, the money disappears. That’s what the drill companies have been telling the townships. If I give you the benefit of the doubt and actually assume you’re honest (and if anyone believes that I have a bridge to sell you), then you just don’t understand the law. And if that’s the case you shouldn’t be a representative. On the other hand if you claim to be articulate in legal matters, then by changing your story with no explanation makes you in one sense or the other a liar. Which is it? There’s also this: “To clear up another common attack from opponents of the Act 13 challenge, the attorney who filed the suit did the work pro bono, or totally for free”, posted here: http://canon-mcmillan.patch.com/articles/act-13-challenge-essential-to-protect-our-constitutional-rights So John smith is doing all the Act 13 work for free? You sure about that? If you’re going to keep trying to pick fights in public, then you’ll keep getting responses in public. Quit being a baby and stop with the conspiracy theory stuff. Just answer the questions. If you're right about every point you make then facts will support it.
Jesse White October 13, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Your facts are way wrong. Nothing in the Act 13 challenge sought to stop the Impact Fee money. The Impact Fee is being threatened by leaseholders (and Range itself) filing complaints to the PUC for purely punitive reasons; those challenges could have been filed to the PUC even if Act 13 had never been challenged in Court. Please tell me how I'm wrong.
Jesse White October 13, 2012 at 05:44 AM
And again, I renew my offer to sit down and discuss this like adults, face to face, instead of cowering behind a fake internet profile. It's been a couple of weeks now with no response, which speaks volumes.


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