Posted by Tom Burson on Feb 28, 2018
On February 28, State Senator Mike Regan gave a legislative update to the Club.
Pictured above (L to R) Patrick Wolfkill, Senator Mike Regan, and Amy Bockis, Mechanicsburg Rotary Club President.
Senator Regan spoke to the club on February 28th and provided an update on legislative and other issues. He talked about efforts to help restore and preserve an old "black" cemetery. Many people have stepped forward to help and he has tried to facilitate the connections to resources. He talked about New Hope Ministries and what a great organization it is and how he appreciated Rotary supporting it.
He then touched on legislative issues including a natural gas severance tax. It passed the Senate, but he voted against it because the existing impact fee is for all intents and purposes a tax, and he did not think it was fair to "change the deal" now that the gas companies were in place. The house voted no on the tax, and he does not think that there is much chance for the tax in the future. He discussed redistricting and how it has worked in the past.  Since the State Supreme Court imposed its own map, the legislature has sued it in the US Supreme Court on the grounds that it violates the state constitution which says the legislature has the authority and responsibility to draw the map. They are looking for a stay by the court so that the current election can proceed and that the map be fought out after the current election cycle. He talked about school security which has been brought to the forefront by the school shooting in Florida. He brings his background of the US Marshals Service to the conversation. He had responsibility for the security plans for the four Federal courthouses in his district. He said that most of the 3,423 schools in PA were not designed with security in mind and most do not have well designed security plans for them. He feels that there should be minimum standards and funding provided to the schools to deal with this problem. He said one armed security guard in every school would cost roughly $130 million versus the school budget of $12 billion. The kids are too much "sitting ducks" in the current situation. The legislature is starting to address the facility issue on Friday where he will be giving testimony as a security expert.  He pointed out that a lot of effort has gone into fire protection systems and constant training and a kid has not been killed in a school fire since 1949. He believes that teachers need to be trained as "first responders," and not necessarily armed, but trained in how best to react to protect the kids should something happen.
There was then a Q&A session with a lively discussion on how to deal with the shootings and the heroin epidemic. Unfortunately, no solution was agreed upon. Senator Regan closed by recognizing that there are so many people who do good things including the Rotary Club. We thank him for the message he shared with us today.