Laughlin Remembers Fuller Hose Co. Firefighter Shawn Giles on Senate Floor

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Senate today unanimously approved a condolence resolution sponsored by Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49) to remember Fuller Hose Company #1 Firefighter Shawn Giles who was tragically killed on Aug. 20, 2023, by a speeding motorist while directing traffic at an accident scene.

“Shawn died while selflessly serving the citizens of this commonwealth,” said Laughlin. “His sacrifice underscores how our Pennsylvania volunteers put their lives on the line for our safety each and every day.”

Shawn served 13 years as a firefighter and performed fire police duties for the Fuller Hose Co. Prior to that, he served as a volunteer firefighter with Brookside Fire Department in Harborcreek Township. He was also a veteran of the United States Army, having served in Germany from 1989-1993.

Shawn is survived by his wife, Adele, stepchildren, Alyssa and Alex, and grandson, Lucas.

“The unimaginable loss is felt keenly by his family, colleagues, friends and community,” Laughlin said. “My deepest condolences to his entire family, his friends and the Fuller Hose Company.”

A video of Sen. Laughlin’s full floor remarks can be viewed here.

For more state-related news and information, constituents can visit Laughlin’s website at or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @senatorlaughlin.


Contact:           David Kozak   717-787-8927

Laughlin’s Public Transportation Modernization Bill Reported from Committee

HARRISBURG – The state Senate Transportation Committee reported to the full Senate legislation that would modernize the management of Pennsylvania’s public transportation systems, said bill sponsor, Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49).

Senate Bill 597 seeks to ensure both funding predictability and local control over spending decisions so that our public transportation systems can provide critical mobility to citizens across the commonwealth,” Laughlin said.

To preserve transit operations across the commonwealth, SB 597 is designed to address its diverse funding challenges in a comprehensive way. This legislative initiative will modernize the management of our public transportation systems with a focus on capital funding predictability and ensuring funding is spent as dictated by local decision-making.

“Each day, public transportation provides over one million rides to people throughout all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties,” said Laughlin. “We need to make sure these systems can continue to contribute to mobility, economic vitality, sustainability and an enhanced quality of life throughout our state.”

Jeremy Peterson, CEO of the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority, said following the committee vote: “I want to thank Sen. Laughlin for his leadership on this vital issue. Today’s committee action signifies the beginning of a broader discussion surrounding public transportation funding in the commonwealth. SB 597 is an important first step in improving local control of transportation decision making and increases predictability in planning for public transportation providers all without increasing taxes. We look forward to working with Sen. Laughlin and transportation stakeholders as we move forward toward a final product.”

SB 597 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

For more state-related news and information, constituents can visit Laughlin’s website at or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @senatorlaughlin.


Contact:           David Kozak   717-787-8927

Senate Approves Bill to Limit Financial Burden on Private Individuals Helping to Protect Lake Erie’s Coastline Against Erosion

HARRISBURG – The state Senate has approved legislation seeking to limit the financial burden placed on private individuals helping to minimize coastal erosion on Lake Erie, said bill sponsor, Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49).

“Erie County residents and visitors are fortunate to have quick access to the beautiful coast of Lake Erie as well as Presque Isle State Park, but there’s a lot that goes into protecting the coastline from erosion,” said Laughlin. “To help preserve the shoreline, structures called ‘groins’ are used to stabilize stretches of the beach against erosion.”

However, private individuals who own groin structures must pay fees to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), with the fee skyrocketing from $25 to $750 annually. DEP and other government entities that own and operate groins are exempt from the fee.

“Since ‘groins’ are not defined in Pennsylvania statute, my legislation, Senate Bill 382, would add a definition to current law as well as cap what is now an excessive fee for private individuals,” Laughlin explained. “While I had hoped to offer private individuals a full exemption to the DEP-charged license fee, a compromise to cap the fee at $250 was necessary to advance the legislation.”

“We should be doing what we can to encourage private individuals to help with the protection of our precious natural resources, not making them pay exorbitant fees the government has exempted itself from paying,” said Laughlin.

SB 382 now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

A video of Sen. Laughlin’s floor remarks regarding the legislation can be viewed here.

For more state-related news and information, constituents can visit Laughlin’s website at or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @senatorlaughlin.


Contact:           David Kozak   717-787-8927

PA Veterans Service Award Medal Ceremony on Sept. 15

HARRISBURG – Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49) will be joined by retired Major Joe Pfadt, founder of “Warriors to Washington,” to present three Pennsylvania Veterans Service Award medals during a 4 p.m. ceremony on Friday, Sept. 15 at Presque Isle Downs & Casino, 8199 Perry Highway, Erie, PA.

The Pennsylvania Veterans Service Award is awarded to civilians, members of the Pennsylvania National Guard and members of other foreign or domestic active or reserve military components of the armed forces for meritorious support of Pennsylvania veterans.

The three individuals who will be receiving the award are all volunteer officers of the nonprofit “Warriors to Washington” organization: 

  • Retired Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Henning, who serves as vice-president
  • Retired Captain John Boyko, who serves as treasurer
  • Retired Air Force Master Sergeant Andrew Smith, who serves as secretary

The Pennsylvania Veterans Service Award is a bronze medal that features Abraham Lincoln on a wheat wreath below the words, “FOR HIM WHO SHALL HAVE BORNE THE BATTLE,” and has a ribbon with gold, blue and black stripes.

The medal presentation will take place prior to the departure of this year’s “Warriors to Washington” trip from the parking lot of Presque Isle Downs & Casino.

The nonprofit “Warriors to Washington” organization conducts an annual trip to Washington, DC, taking local veterans to historical and national sites in the nation’s capital. The group also conducts an annual flag-raising ceremony at Presque Isle State Park, hosts a Memorial Day reception and partners with another veterans group for an annual 5K run/walk for local veterans’ causes. 

CONTACT:    David Kozak

Senate Approves Critical Budget Implementation Bills

HARRISBURG – The Senate advanced two bills to implement key parts of the 2023-24 budget and drive out funding to schools, hospitals, EMS providers, higher education, libraries and more, according to Sen Dan Laughlin (R-49). These fiscal code bills take an important step to further finalize portions of the state budget which require implementation language.

“While we still need the House of Representatives to act on these bills, we have done our job to advance the budget to completion,” said Laughlin. “My Senate colleagues and I have tried to work with the governor and the House to produce a budget that maintains our commitment to moving Pennsylvania forward by holding the line on taxes, promoting job growth, continuing historic support for schools and setting aside money to prevent future tax hikes.”

House Bill 1300 reauthorizes assessments and payments to hospitals, boosts reimbursement rates for EMS providers, and reauthorizes judicial fees that courts rely on for funding. All three of these budget items are important and time-sensitive, Laughlin said.

In addition, the bill directs funding to many non-controversial and bipartisan budget items related to education, including:

  • Providing for a two-year tuition freeze for PASSHE schools.
  • Allocating more than $260 million for community colleges.
  • Distributing more than $70 million in state aid for libraries.
  • Allocating more than $76 million for special education funding for Intermediate Units.
  • Reimbursing schools for providing free breakfasts for all students ($46.5 million).
  • Transferring more than $8.5 million to maintain current PHEAA grant levels.
  • Distributing $11 million in grants for non-public school safety initiatives.
  • Increasing the Payment in Lieu of Taxes rate paid to municipalities from the Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission.

HB 1300, approved by a bipartisan vote, also distributes $150 million for the state’s Clean Streams Fund to address agricultural conservation, nutrient management, clean water procurement and stormwater management.

The bill also allocates $16 million in medical assistance incentive payments and changes how nursing home reimbursements are calculated to prevent dramatic swings that could force many providers to cease operations.

The Senate also voted to advance Senate Bill 757, which addresses other priorities included in the original budget deal Senate Republicans negotiated with Gov. Josh Shapiro in June.

This includes the creation of the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) program to provide additional educational options for students in failing schools, as well as $150 million in new funding for the state’s popular Educational Improvement Tax Credit program to expand educational opportunities to families throughout the state.

“There is no reason the people of Pennsylvania should be kept waiting on further implementation of the state budget. We call on the House of Representatives to immediately return to session to complete the 2023-24 budget. I truly hope the House can get back to Harrisburg to finish this process rather than waiting until September or October,” said Laughlin. 


Contact:   David Kozak   717-787-8927

America 250 PA Infrastructure Improvements & Projects Committee Hearing

America 250 PA Infrastructure Improvements & Projects Committee

August 10, 2023 | 11 a.m.

Jefferson Educational Society, Monticello Room, Erie


     Co-Chair, Rep. Jared Solomon
2. Introduction to America250PA and Today’s Hearing Process
     America250PA Executive Director, Cassandra Coleman
3. Proposed Project Testimony
     a. Theron Miles — Clarion Blueprint Community
          i. Panel Q&A
     b. Todd Burns, Treasurer — Grove City Area Historical Society and Museum
          i. Panel Q&A
     c. Jeremy Bloeser, Executive Director — Bayfront East Side Taskforce
          i. Panel Q&A
     d. Anita Brattina, Chairman — Friends of the Manor Charitable Trust
          i. Panel Q&A
     e. Richard Arthur, Eagle Hotel Curator — Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society
          i. Panel Q&A
     f. Benjamin Beck — Greenville Redevelopment Authority
          i. Panel Q&A
     g. Averie Shaughnessy-Comfort, Executive Director, and Tom Sebald, Board President —
          Presque Isle Light Station | Lake Erie Lights
          i. Panel Q&A
     h. Jessica Horan, Director — Erie County Department of Planning and Community Development
          i. Panel Q&A
     i. Charles Gerbe, Partner — Gerbe Holdings LLC
          i. Panel Q&A
     j. Melinda Meyer, President — Erie Yesterday
          i. Panel Q&A
     k. Dr. Kat Lyons, Operations Director — Jefferson County Historical Society
          i. Panel Q&A
     l. Cal Pifer, Executive Director — Hagen History Center
          i. Panel Q&A
     m. Samuel McCrimmon, Vice President for Advancement and External Relations — Mercyhurst University
          i. Panel Q&A
     n. Kimberly Hawkes, Grant Director — Northwest Pennsylvania Trail Association
          i. Panel Q&A
     o. Bishop Curtis L. Jones Sr. — Historical Institute of Culture and the African American Experience
          i. Panel Q&A
     p. Kate Philips, Board of Directors, Erie Zoo; and Joel Deuterman, President & CEO, VNET — Erie Zoo
          i. Panel Q&A
     q. Joe Pfadt, Executive Director & CEO — Oliver Hazard Perry Shipyard
          i. Panel Q&A
     r. Robert Guy, Director of Operations — Becoming America
          i. Panel Q&A
4. Closing Remarks
     Co-Chair, Rep. Jared Solomon


Laughlin Announces $6 Million in PENNVEST Funding for Erie City Water Authority

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) today awarded $6 million in funding to the Erie City Water Authority for a lead service line replacement project, according to Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49).

The funding will be used to replace approximately 850 service connections consisting of cast iron pipe attached to water mains by lead goosenecks, which are short, curved sections of pipe located between the water main and shut-off valve.

“These lead goosenecks are deteriorating and corroding, increasing the risk that lead could contaminate the water,” said Laughlin. “This funding will allow for necessary upgrades to be made to not only improve public health and safety conditions, but also service reliability.”

PENNVEST is not supported by the state’s General Fund budget, which covers the daily operations and services of the Commonwealth. Financing is provided through the use of federal funding and prior bond issues by the state as well as proceeds from the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee legislation, Act 13 of 2012.


Contact:  David Kozak   717-787-8927

Senate Majority Policy Committee Hearing About Criminal Justice Statistics and Trends in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG – The Senate Majority Policy Committee will be holding a public hearing about criminal justice statistics and trends in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, June 21, starting at 2 p.m. in Room 8E-B East Wing of the state Capitol, according to Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49), chair of the committee. 

During the hearing, the committee will receive information from the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing as well as hear the perspectives of Pennsylvania prosecutors and law enforcement.

The hearing will be livestreamed here.

CONTACT:    Sheila Fitzgerald Sterrett   717-787-8927 

Laughlin, Williams to Introduce Drug Overdose Treatment Legislation

HARRISBURG – Sens. Dan Laughlin (R-49) and Anthony Williams (D-8) announced they will introduce legislation aimed at helping individuals regain control of their lives following a drug overdose in which a life-sustaining medication was administered.

“While the ability to administer a life-sustaining medication has reduced the death rate, it is not treatment and does little to address the individual’s underlying substance use disorder,” said Laughlin. “Treatment will allow individuals to regain their hopes, dreams, goals and, most importantly, their lives.”

“Left untreated, the disorder will result in additional overdose situations requiring more doses of life-sustaining medication,” Williams said. “That’s no way to live, and we need take a stand and address the underlying mental health issue that is depriving too many people of life and liberty.”

According to Pennsylvania Open Data, 77,714 doses of Naloxone – a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose – were administered from Jan. 1, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2022, by emergency medical services personnel. From Jan. 1, 2018, to Feb. 24, 2023, 49,398 emergency room visits were due to opioid overdose. Even before the pandemic, Pennsylvania’s drug overdose death rate was one of the highest in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and that rate has continued to rank high compared to other states. In 2021 – the most recent year for CDC data – our commonwealth recorded its highest-ever total of overdose deaths, 5,449.

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a treatable mental health condition that affects a person’s brain and behavior, leading to their inability to control their use of substances like legal or illegal drugs, alcohol or medications.

An individual suffering with SUD is a harm to themselves and others as they lack the ability to make good decisions or manage their own personal affairs and take care of their own basic needs. Unfortunately, too often when this disorder is left untreated, these individuals resort to criminal behavior leading to jail or worse.

We seek to create an involuntary commitment process for those given a life-sustaining drug to counteract a drug overdose who have been transported to a hospital to be evaluated. This process would be similar to the 302 commitment process, provided for by Pennsylvania’s Mental Health Procedures Act, which seeks an involuntary commitment for emergency evaluation and treatment for persons who are a danger to themselves or others due to a mental illness.

Recovery is the key for individuals with SUD to move forward. However, without treatment, there is no recovery.

For more state-related news and information, constituents can visit Laughlin’s website at or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @senatorlaughlin.

Contact:  David Kozak   717-787-8927

Senate Hearing to Explore Rural Workforce Challenges

 WILLIAMSPORT –The Senate Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49) will hold a hearing on Wednesday, May 17 at 1:00p.m.

The hearing will explore present-day workforce challenges in rural Pennsylvania, focusing on population decline, labor and housing shortages, and their economic impact on communities and businesses.

The hearing will be held at Pennsylvania College of Technology Professional Development Center located at 1 College Avenue in Williamsport.

Your coverage is appreciated.

Watch LIVE

Elizabeth Weitzel (Sen. Yaw)

Sheila Sterrett (Sen. Laughlin)