Senate Republican Leaders Congratulate Culver Following Special Election Victory Tuesday

HARRISBURG – Sen. President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) and Sen. Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41) today congratulated current state representative and incoming state Sen.-elect Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-27), who won a special election on Tuesday to fill the vacancy left by the departure of former Sen. John Gordner.

“We are pleased to welcome Senator-elect Culver and look forward to working with her to advance policies and proposals that help Pennsylvania families,” Ward said. “Lynda’s experience from serving in the House and her second-to-none work ethic will be a real asset in the Senate.”

Once sworn into office, Culver will give Senate Republicans a 28-22 seat majority.

“State Senator-elect Culver is a welcome addition to our growing majority and we fully expect her to hit the ground running,” Pittman said. “She understands the legislative process, appreciates the importance of working together to accomplish a common goal and has worked hard to gain the trust of the people in the district she’ll serve.”

Culver is serving her seventh term in the House representing the people in the 108th District. Prior to be elected to the House, she served for more than 20 years as the staff leader in the office of former state Rep. Merle Phillips (R-108).

She will resign from her seat in the House prior to being sworn in to serve in the Senate. Culver is expected to be sworn into the Senate when it returns to session, which currently is scheduled for the last week in February.

“I’m excited about this new opportunity to serve the people in our area,” Culver said. “I am honored by the support I received from people across the 27th District. I’m committed to working with my colleagues to advance legislation and enact policies that will create more and better opportunities for workers, businesses and families across our commonwealth.”

Culver will serve the remainder of the term of former Sen. Gordner, who stepped down late last year to accept a position in the office of President Pro Tempore Ward. Culver’s Senate term will last until the end of November 2024.

The 27th District includes all of Columbia, Montour, Northumberland and Snyder counties, and part of Luzerne County, including Black Creek, Butler, Conyngham, Dorrance, Fairview, Hollenback, Huntington, Nescopeck, Rice, Salem, Slocum, Sugarloaf and Wright townships, and Conyngham, Nescopeck, New Columbus, Nuangola and Shickshinny boroughs.

More information about Culver and the 27th District is available at https://27thdistrict.pasenategop.com/

 

Senator Ward Media Contact
Erica Clayton Wright
ewright@pasen.gov
717-787-6063

Senator Pittman Media Contact
Kate Eckhart Flessner
kflessner@pasen.gov
717-787-8724

 

Senate Republican Leaders Issue Statement on Inauguration

HARRISBURG – Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) and Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41) issued the following statement:

“Extending our congratulations today to Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov.-elect Austin Davis on being sworn in as our 48th governor and 35th lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

“The Senate looks forward to working with them to help Pennsylvania unleash our energy potential, reduce the tax burden, eliminate bureaucratic red tape and provide access to and empowerment of our education system, while ensuring communities across the state remain healthy and safe.”

 

CONTACTS:

Erica Clayton Wright (Senator Ward) ewright@pasen.gov
Kate Eckhart Flessner (Senator Pittman) kflessner@pasen.gov

Senate Rules & Executive Nominations Committee Advances Senate Bill 1

HARRISBURG – Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) and Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41) issued the following statement regarding Senate Bill 1:

“Today, the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee amended and reported out Senate Bill 1 to advance constitutional amendments for voter identification, legislative review of regulations and statute of limitations for child sexual abuse survivors. These issues have been a focal point of the General Assembly during the last several years, and we have remained consistent with our pledge to present these significant matters to voters through the constitutional amendment process.

“We expect swift action on Senate Bill 1 by the full Senate this week, which will allow the House ample time to complete this process and ensure these amendments are presented to voters in May.”

 

CONTACTS:

Erica Clayton Wright (Senator Ward) ewright@pasen.gov

Kate Eckhart Flessner (Senator Pittman) kflessner@pasen.gov

Senator Kim Ward Announces Additional $2 Million for Westmoreland County Airport Authority

GREENSBURG – Interim Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) today announced the approval of an additional $2 million to support the Airport Terminal Building Expansion project in Westmoreland County bringing the total commitment on behalf of the Commonwealth to more than $6.5 million in RACP funding for this project.

“Community and economic development go hand-in-hand,” said Interim Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward. “We have been working closely with the Westmoreland County Airport Authority to help to continue to advance and integrate our air transportation options to continue to strengthen our local economy while enhancing our community assets and improving the quality of life for our residents.”

Supported through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), the funding will support critical expansion projects, providing opportunities for additional employment training, job creation and community services.

“Strong support from Governor Tom Wolf and Interim Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward played a pivotal role in securing this funding,” said Gabe Monzo, Executive Director, Westmoreland County Airport Authority. “The additional $2 million in RACP sets the stage for the expansion of the terminal facilities at our airport. It is imperative that we stay on track for our airport infrastructure to meet existing and future FAA and TSA requirements”

The projects announced today are in addition to the RACP funds announced earlier in October of 2022.

 

Contact: Erica Clayton Wright, ewright@pasen.gov, (412) 334-4856

Senator Kim Ward Announces $2.0 Million for UPMC Children’s Hospital

GREENSBURG – Interim Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) today announced the approval of $2 million to support UPMC Children’s Hospital as part of an economic development and revitalization project in Allegheny County.

“Community and economic development go hand-in-hand,” said Interim Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward. “The funding announced today for these projects will strengthen our local economy through job creation, advance our regional efforts to attract and grow businesses, while also improving the quality of life for our residents.”

Supported through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), the funding will support critical expansion projects, providing opportunities for additional employment training, job creation and community services.

Allegheny County
UMPC Children’s Hospital – $2 million
This project will renovate and expand the Heart Institute at UPMC Children’s Hospital. It will address foundation, structure, and mechanical systems. Through renovation, clinical spaces will be upgraded with new catheterization labs, including a hybrid lab connected to a new cardiac MRI suite. Additionally, extra lab space and upgrades will be made to any outdated equipment. The expanded space will house a new patient waiting area, conference room, staff offices, and have a direct connection to the cafeteria. A portion of the patio will be transformed into a dining and play area to enhance the patient experience.

The projects announced today are in addition to the RACP funds announced earlier in October of 2022.

 

Contact: Erica Clayton Wright, ewright@pasen.gov, (412) 334-4856

Senate Republicans Elect Leadership Team for New Legislative Session

HARRISBURG — Senate Republicans today elected their leadership team for the 2023-24 legislative session.

Sen. Kim Ward (R-39) has been elected to serve as interim Senate President Pro Tempore from Dec. 1 until Jan. 2. On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Senate will vote for a President Pro Tempore to serve for the new two-year legislative session. She becomes the first woman to hold the position, the third-highest post in Pennsylvania government. She previously served as Senate Majority Leader.

The President Pro Tempore is responsible for appointing the chairpersons and members of the 22 standing committees of the Senate and serves as an ex-officio member of all committees. She presides over the Senate floor when the Lieutenant Governor is unavailable and fills the position of Lieutenant Governor if the office becomes vacant. The office also refers bills and resolutions to the appropriate Senate committees for consideration.

Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41) will serve as Senate Majority Leader. His duties include overseeing the legislative agenda, developing policies and strategies for the Senate Republican Caucus, and playing a key role in floor debates. He also has a major role in negotiating issues with the Administration and House of Representatives and in coordinating action on the Senate floor. Pittman previously chaired the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.

“To all members of the Senate, Democrat and Republican, I look forward to working with you to chart a path forward that requires us to selflessly work together advocating for all Pennsylvanians and their families by putting the principles and respect for this institution and our Commonwealth above all,” Ward said. “Together we have done big things for Pennsylvania, and they should be acknowledged in the bipartisan manner in which they were achieved. It is proof we can be diverse and unified at the same time and a kind reminder of the work we must continue to do on behalf of our Commonwealth its citizens.”

“To serve as the majority leader of the Senate Republican Caucus in the upcoming session will be a great honor,” Pittman said. “I am flattered to have the support of my colleagues and am committed to advancing a positive, pro-growth agenda for the citizens of this entire Commonwealth. The constituents of the 41st Senatorial District who have elected me to represent them as their senator will always be my top priority and focus, and I will use my voice to represent them and their interests.”

Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36) was elected Majority Whip. The duties include acting as assistant floor leader, working to gain support for legislation and ensuring that Republican policies and strategies are maintained through the cooperative efforts of the majority caucus.

Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) will chair the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee reviews all legislation for its fiscal impact and plays a crucial role in negotiating and developing the state budget. Each year, the panel holds a series of public hearings with leaders of state departments and agencies to study the governor’s budget proposal and ensure taxpayer dollars are being utilized properly.

Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) will serve as Majority Caucus Chair for the 2023-24 legislative session. The chair presides over Republican caucus meetings to discuss bills and amendments and to develop caucus strategy.

Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) was elected Senate Majority Caucus Secretary to oversee all executive nominations submitted to the Senate for confirmation. She will coordinate the review of the background and experience of nominees and ensure that proper documentation is submitted.

 

CONTACTS:  Erica Clayton Wright  (Sen. Ward)

                         Jeremy Dias (Sen. Pittman)

VOTES EXPECTED: PA SENATORS TO CONSIDER TWO BREAST CANCER BILLS, SENATE RESOLUTION PROPOSED

Senate to vote Tuesday on SB 1225 for no-cost breast MRI, ultrasound and SB 1330 for no-cost genetic testing

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on Senate Bill 1225, which eliminates out-of-pocket costs of breast MRI and ultrasound screenings for women at high-risk for breast cancer and Senate Bill 1330, which removes costs associated with genetic testing and counseling for hereditary cancers.

Senate Bill 1225, sponsored by PA Senator Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery) and co-sponsored by 46 other senators, covers Pennsylvania women with high-risk conditions including a personal history of breast cancer, family history, genetic predisposition, dense breast tissue or radiation therapy. Studies show breast MRI is more than two times as effective than even 3D mammograms in detecting breast cancer in women at high-risk for breast cancer.

Senate Bill 1330, sponsored by PA Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), requires health insurance policies to cover, without patient cost-sharing, genetic counseling and genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. BRCA mutations are shown to increase a person’s chance of developing various hereditary cancers including breast and ovarian cancers. 

Senator Kim Ward and Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) will also introduce a Senate Resolution declaring the month of October 2022 as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and October 21, 2022 Mammography Day in Pennsylvania.

WHEN:    Wednesday, October 19, 2022

                     2:00 p.m. news conference

WHERE:  Pennsylvania State Capitol East Wing Fountain (pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month)

                     Commonwealth Ave.

                     Harrisburg, PA 17120

WHO:       PA Sen. Majority Leader Kim Ward, (R-Westmoreland), chief sponsor, Senate Bill 1330

                    PA Sen. Bob Mensch, (R-Montgomery), chief sponsor, Senate Bill 1225

                    PA Sen. Christine Tartaglione, (D-Philadelphia)

                    Pat Halpin-Murphy, President & Founder, PA Breast Cancer Coalition

The PA Breast Cancer Coalition is a 501(c)3 organization that represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants.  The PBCC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to.  For more information, please call 800-377-8828 or visit www.PABreastCancer.org.

Senate Committee Votes to Remove Out-of-Pocket Costs for Life-Saving Genetic Testing and Breast Cancer Screenings

HARRISBURG—Today Chairman John DiSanto (R-Dauphin) convened a meeting of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee to consider three bills, two of which would remove out-of-pocket costs associated with genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome as well as supplemental breast screenings for women with a high lifetime risk of breast cancer.

Senate Bill 1330, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), requires health insurance policies to cover, without patient cost-sharing, genetic counseling and genetic testing for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutations which are shown to increase a person’s chance of developing one of many hereditary cancers in his or her lifetime.

“Advancing this legislation from committee puts us one step closer to providing more resources for high-risk individuals to take proactive steps to monitor their potential for breast and ovarian cancer by removing the financial burden, said Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward. “This legislation requires insurance coverage for genetic counseling and genetic testing for the BRCA1 and BRACA 2 gene mutation if a person is diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer or had a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.”

Approximately 13% of all women will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives while up to 75% of women who inherit a BRCA gene mutation will develop breast cancer according to Penn Medicine’s Basser Center for BRCA. Men with BRCA mutations are also at increased risk of hereditary cancers, as nearly 25% will develop prostate cancer.

“Early Detection Save Lives, added Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward. “As an individual who benefited from genetic testing, I can say this legislation will go a long way in helping individuals to remain vigilant about getting regular testing or help best determine treatment.”

Genetic testing is an important life-saving tool that often allows for earlier cancer screenings and preventive treatments and procedures. Senator Ward’s legislation removes any out-of-pocket cost barriers for individuals at increased risk of BRCA mutations based on clinical risk assessment tools as well as a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

Senate Bill 1225, sponsored by Senator Mensch (R-Montgomery), requires health insurance policies to cover, without patient cost-sharing, an annual supplemental breast screening for women with a high lifetime risk of breast cancer. The legislation builds upon Act 52 of 2020 which had secured coverage for breast MRIs by eliminating patient copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for this preventive screening. This supplemental screening is necessary because of failed early detection by screening mammography among women with dense breasts and those at high lifetime risk of breast cancer.

“All of us know someone whose life has been negatively impacted by breast cancer,” said Senator Mensch. “Research and experience tell us that the best way to have a fighting chance at beating this deadly disease is knowing the risk factors and early detection. Both bills remove barriers to early detection experienced by thousands of Pennsylvanians, and today’s vote signals another monumental step taken by this Legislature to fight, and hopefully eventually eliminate, breast cancer.”

“Identifying those susceptible to hereditary cancers and routine screening of all those at increased risk will help beat cancer early and before symptoms develop,” said Chairman DiSanto. “By removing out-of-pocket costs for preventive healthcare services such as genetic testing and breast MRIs, we ensure all have affordable access to this lifesaving care.”

Senate Bill 1330 and Senate Bill 1225 now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

 

CONTACT:

For Senator DiSanto, Chuck Erdman cerdman@pasen.gov (717) 787-6801

For Senator Ward, Erica Clayton-Wright ewright@pasen.gov (717) 787-6063

For Senator Mensch, Lisa Walter lwalter@pasen.gov (215) 541-2388

Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward Issues Statement on PA Supreme Court Ruling, Act 77

HARRISBURG – Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-39) today offered the following statement regarding the PA Supreme Court ruling on Act 77.

“Today’s ruling by the PA Supreme Court comes as no surprise considering previous precedent set by the court. If anything, today’s decision reinforces matters related to ensuring integrity in our elections should remain with the people. It also underscores the importance of the actions recently taken by the General Assembly to add election safeguards including banning third party funding from running Pennsylvania elections and constitutional amendments on voter ID, and post-election audits.”

 

Contact:   Erica Clayton Wright, ewright@pasen.gov, (412) 334-4856