Six Years of Service

December 2016 – Senator-elect Laughlin announces that — through renegotiations of the terms of the lease — he was able to create a 31% reduction in the monthly rent for the district office vacated by former Senator Sean Wiley, which represents a savings to taxpayers of $15,500 a year for the same location.

January 2017 – As one of his first official acts in office, Laughlin calls on Governor Tom Wolf to reverse his moratorium on the expansion of Keystone Opportunity Zones and City Revitalization and Improvement Zones.

January 2017 – Begins efforts to meet with and make site visits where appropriate to local businesses to gain first-hand knowledge of the challenges of operating a business in Pennsylvania.

February 2017 – Meets with school superintendents throughout the district and starts visits to all school systems in the city and county.

March 2017 – The Senate approves Senate Bill 169, a measure introduced by Senator Laughlin, that would require lobbyists to register and file reports electronically through a computerized system developed by the Pennsylvania Department of State. The bill stalls in the House.

July 2017 – At Laughlin’s request, the Erie School District is allocated $14 million in Educational Access Program Funding as a one-time, one-year expenditure in the Fiscal Year 2017-18 state budget.

September 2017 – Amid talk of crumbling neighborhoods and financial issues, Senator hosts state senate discussion on blight and community revitalization issues. Roundtable discussion with members of the Senate Majority Policy Committee kicks off neighborhood revitalization.

October 2017 – Passage of House Bill 674, an omnibus Fiscal Code bill, locks in the increased funding, secured by Senator Laughlin, for the Erie School District on a recurring, annual basis.

October 2017 – The Senate approves Senate Bill 663, a measure introduced by Laughlin that amends the UCC act to require municipalities to contract with at least three third-party agencies to handle building inspections. The bill stalls in the House.

November 2017 – Laughlin joined local elected officials to fight for higher quality “Lake Street” bridge in Girard Township.  Railroad intended a redesign to a lower quality, lower cost bridge deemed unacceptable to Girard Borough and its citizens.

January 2018 – After numerous meetings with volunteer firefighters throughout the 49th district, Laughlin floated ideas to train low risk prison inmates as firefighters to ease staffing issues and offer rehabilitation and redemption to individuals facing reentry.  Initiates discussion with Secretary of Corrections with the goal of creating a pilot project.

February 2018 – Led a negotiation and helped broker a deal between Millcreek Township and LECOM Health over senior living center taxes. Agreement helped spur LECOM to remain in the township and continue expansion creating more health care options and jobs.

March 2018 – Began discussions with Army Corp of Engineers to seek alternatives to break walls on Presque Isle. Goal was to find new technology to protect sand while eliminating rock piles to beautify the view.

April 2018 – Laughlin was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the SkillsUSA 1 Pennsylvania Union Foundation. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

May 2018 – Senate approved Senate Bill 1031; a measure introduced by Laughlin intended to increase government transparency by requiring the Department of Insurance to detail its spending for outside contractors. The bill stalled in the House.

May 2018 – Fought for expansion of Pre-K education funding.

June 2018 – In light of economic development efforts and City of Erie expansion projects, continued his advocacy in Harrisburg for a CRIZ designation for Erie.

June 2018 – Coordinated state agency collaboration to allow unique business to open and operate on the Bay.

June 2018 – State Budget announced with no tax increase. Funding increased for school safety and Pre-K and K through 12 public education.

October 2018Senate Bill 1205, a measure introduced by Laughlin that updates and streamlines reporting requirements for insurance companies in Pennsylvania received final legislative approval and is signed into law as Act 163 of 2018.

October 2018 – Early in his tenure, Laughlin reaches out for unique ideas on economic development.  Starts dialogue with Joe Max Higgins, Jr., CEO of Golden Triangle Development Link in rural Mississippi.  Higgins had been featured on “60 Minutes” and, at the time considered one of the most successful developers in the country.  Laughlin visits him along with a group from Erie and then invites him to be keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association Conference in Erie.

October 2018 – Laughlin suggested unique approach as State Senate considers grand jury report on child sexual abuse: Extend statute of limitations but also create victims’ fund.

December 2018 – Having been engaged in the Millcreek Township McKee Road area flooding issue over many months, Senator hosts meeting with state elected officials, township officials and engineers to allow the citizens input and together develop a plan to fix the problem.

December 2018 – Weighs in on Community College Application considering the already established Northern Pennsylvania Community College.  Meets with Sen. Scarnati and proposes compromise. Will work towards bricks and mortar NPRC located centrally in Erie County.

January 2019 – Appointed to serve as Chairman of the Senate Game & Fisheries Committee.

February 2019 – Laughlin received the Legislator of the Year Award at the PAMIC Mutual Insurance Day. The Pennsylvania Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (PAMIC) is a trade association that has proudly represented the Mutual Insurance Industry since 1907.

March 2019 – As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Laughlin questioned DCED Secretary about the viability of a CRIZ in Erie during budget hearings.  Vowed to continue to advocate for CRIZ designation to assist in economic development.

April 2019 – Sens. Laughlin and Collett introduced Senate Bill 580, which would establish a statewide Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program.

April 2019 – Invited to attend the Opportunity Zone Summit in Washington, DC – one of a handful of state elected officials invited to attend and make the case for public funding from the federal level.  Erie Times News headline April 17, 2019: “Laughlin leads Erie delegation to White House Opportunity Zones Conference”

June 2019 – Pushed for changes to the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008 by introducing legislation to eliminate most indoor smoking exemptions.

June 2019 – Senate Bill 469, Laughlin’s measure extending Pennsylvania’s existing Tender Years Hearsay Exception for court testimony to those with intellectual disabilities or autism signed into law as Act 30 of 2019.

August 2019 – In light of deadly day care fire in Erie, Laughlin called for probe, ultimately introduces smoke detector legislation.

September 2019 – Pledged support of Jake Schwab Public Workers Safety Bill named for local EMTA mechanic killed on the job.

October 2019 – Held public meeting to explain and answer questions on the “Family and Medical Leave Act,” the legislation that would allow eligible workers paid leave to care for their own or family health problems.

November 2019 – Senate Bill 147, Laughlin’s bill providing for hunting on three Sundays: one during rifle deer season, one during the statewide archery deer season and one on a Sunday determined by the Game Commission receives final legislative approval. The measure is signed into law as Act 107 of 2019.

April 2019 – The Senate approves two bills introduced by Laughlin to improve safety in state-regulated daycare facilities, measures he introduced in response to a tragic fire that claimed the lives of five young children in Erie. Senate Bill 934 requires the Department of Human Services to include the inspection of all smoke detectors in their annual inspection of childcare facilities. Senate Bill 935 amends the state Fire and Panic Act regarding smoke detectors.

February 2020 – The Senate Communications and Technology Committee heard testimony from Laughlin, prime sponsor of SB 487, a bill that requires public agencies to notify individuals whose personally identifiable information has been breached within seven business days of the discovery.

February 2020 – Laughlin’s proposal for a pilot program to train inmates as firefighters is formally announced by the Secretary of Corrections.  Program begins at SCI Huntingdon.

February 2020 – Hosted grant workshop for municipal leaders.

February 2020 – Laughlin recognized by the National Rifle Association (NRA) with the first-ever NRA-ILA Defender of Hunting award, presented by Pennsylvania State Director for NRA Institute for Legislative Action David Weber, and NRA-ILA Director of Hunting Policy Erica Tergeson. The awards were presented at the NRA Great American Outdoor Show.

April 2020 – During the COVID-19 crisis, Laughlin pushed for greater action by the Department of Labor & Industry to provide Unemployment Compensation benefits to idled workers. He also called on the Administration to impose weekly testing at long-term care facilities and to reopen a variety of businesses including marinas, golf courses, zoos and amusement parks.

June 2020 – The Senate passes Senate Bill 995, a measure introduced by Laughlin to help Pennsylvania’s farmers by updating state law regarding multipurpose agriculture vehicles.

June 2020 – Legislation to improve fire safety in family day care settings Senate Bill 934 signed by Governor.

June 2020 – Laughlin issued a statement in response to the state Board of Education’s approval of the application for a community college in Erie.

June 2020 – In an effort to determine the rationale and motivation behind Erie County’s continued status as a “yellow” county under the Administration’s COVID-19 reopening plan, Laughlin filed Right to Know requests for the public release of correspondence between the state and Erie County since May 1, 2020. Laughlin also requested that all internal Erie County correspondence between the Department of Health, the County Executive and the County Executive’s staff regarding Erie County’s phase designation.

August 2020 – Laughlin worked with local leaders to bring the New Markets Tax Credit Program to the community. The funding enabled the Erie Center for Arts and Technology to redevelop the former Wayne School Building.

August 2020 – With Laughlin’s assistance, eight local school systems were today awarded $235,761 in state Continuing of Education Equity Grants, providing them with additional resources to help students succeed.

September 2020 – Since the start of the pandemic, Senator Laughlin has helped thousands of individuals obtain their unemployment and PUA benefits.

September 2020 – Laughlin attended the Senate Majority Policy Committee to discuss the ongoing economic recovery of Western Pennsylvania.

September 2020 – Safari Club International presented Laughlin with the 2019 State Legislator of the Year Award.

September 2020 – With the help of Laughlin, the Erie Downtown Partnership was awarded a Keystone Historic Preservation Grant by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.

September 2020 – The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania was awarded a $50,000 Veteran Trust Fund Grant by the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Laughlin advocated for the food bank in receiving this grant.

September 2020 – The Senate approved Laughlin’s bill (Senate Bill 487) requiring timely public notification when a security breach compromises personal information.

September 2020 – Laughlin supported legislation that would ease Wolf’s arbitrary and burdensome restrictions on owners of bars and restaurants.

October 2020 ­– Laughlin joined Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman to speak at a press conference in Erie to discuss the need for the proposed Family Care Act and its potential benefits for working Pennsylvanians who have a disability and/or have a family member with a disability.

October 2020 – Laughlin’s bill (Senate Bill 995) helping Pennsylvania’s farmers by updating size restrictions on multipurpose agriculture vehicles was signed into law.

October 2020 – The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee approved Senate Bill 1229, legislation introduced by Laughlin that addresses motor vehicle service contracts and theft protection program warranties — products that are sold primarily by auto dealers and provide financial protection against damage to or theft of motor vehicles.  

November 2020 – Laughlin joined colleagues on legislation to rescind the approval of the transportation projects adopted at the P3’s Nov. 12 Board meeting regarding the Major Bridge Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Program.

January 2021 – Laughlin was sworn into office on Jan. 5, 2021, during a ceremony in the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol to begin his second term representing the 49th Senatorial District.

January 2021 – Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman appointed Sen. Dan Laughlin to serve as Chairman of the Senate Game & Fisheries Committee for the 2021-22 Legislative Session. He took over the committee at the start of the 2019-20 Legislative Session.

January 2021 – The Senate approved a proposed constitutional amendment limiting the length of future emergency disaster declarations unless an extension is approved by the General Assembly. Laughlin voted for the measure.

February 2021 – Sens. Laughlin and Street announce plans to introduce bipartisan legislation to legalize adult use marijuana in Pennsylvania. The bill prioritized safety, community reinvestment, social and economic equity.

February 2021 – A comprehensive $912 million relief package to help restaurants, schools, employers and tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic received final legislative approval and was sent to the Governor’s desk for enactment into law. Laughlin strongly supported the bill.

March 2021 – Laughlin prepared to introduce legislation that would bar parking authorities from using vehicle restraint devices, commonly known as “boots.”

March 2021 – Laughlin prepared to introduce legislation to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10 per hour. Laughlin’s bill would also increase the tipped wage to 50% of the minimum wage, raising it from $2.83 to $5 per hour.

March 2021 – The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a measure that would preserve access to ventilator and tracheostomy care for hundreds of patients. Laughlin was a prime co-sponsor of the measure.

March 2021 – Sens. Laughlin and Haywood introduced legislation that will promote economic development efforts and generate jobs by supporting alternative energy production and use in Pennsylvania.

April 2021 – A major sewer system project was awarded $2.5 million in funding from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority with the help of Laughlin.

April 2021 – Laughlin joined Sens. Yaw and Martin to seek $250 million of Pennsylvania’s allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) to establish a “Clean Streams Fund” for Pennsylvania. 

April 2021 – The Senate approved a measure introduced by Sens. Boscola and Laughlin that would require drivers to remove ice and snow from their vehicles.

April 2021 – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission announced several local grants awarded through the Erie Access Improvement Program. Laughlin, who chairs the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, supported these grants.

April 2021 – The Senate voted to repeal a portion of the state’s school code to protect the first amendment rights of teachers. Laughlin supported the bill.

May 2021 – Three local organizations were awarded Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program funding by the state Department of Agriculture. SSJ Neighborhood Network received $10,000 for growing supplies and materials, Green Thumb Organics received $2,500 for a water line, and Wild Field Urban Farm received $2,497 for refrigeration.

May 2021 – The Senate approved legislation introduced by Laughlin that would strengthen the independence of the State Banking Fund and ensure a strong banking system in Pennsylvania.

May 2021 – Laughlin joined with the Erie Branch of the League of Women Voters in a press conference to introduce legislation increasing participation in Pennsylvania’s primary elections.

May 2021 – Sens. Laughlin and Street discussed their bipartisan legislation to require the state Insurance Department to collect and make publicly available data pertaining to the cost of each drug produced by a pharmaceutical company. Senate Bill 579 was intended to address the affordability and access to critical medications and the challenge patients, providers, businesses, government health programs and insurers face with the rising costs of prescription drugs, especially the recent development of extremely expensive but valuable drugs.

May 2021 – The Senate Communications & Technology Committee approved Laughlin’s bill requiring timely public notification when a security breach compromises personal information.

June 2021 ­– The Senate voted to end the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration while ensuring Pennsylvania can take the steps necessary to recover. Laughlin supported the measures.

June 2021 – Laughlin comments on the passage of the 2021-22 State Budget.

June 2021 ­– Laughlin was honored with a plaque for supporting term limits on Congress by U.S. Term Limits, the nation’s oldest and largest pro-term limits group. Mike Riley of USTL gave Laughlin the “Champion of Term Limits” wood plaque which reads, “In recognition of a steadfast commitment to restore citizen government through term limits.”

June 2021 – The Governor signs into law SB 108, introduced by Sens. Bartolotta and Laughlin, preserving access to ventilator care in PA.

July 2021 – Laughlin called for an investigation into the Wolf Administration’s attempt to cover up sweeping overcharges levied against unemployed Pennsylvanians from whom it was attempting to recoup erroneous payments. The call came in response to a report by SpotlightPA revealing that the administration learned of the overcharges in 2016 and it quoted former employees saying they were told to keep quiet about the matter.

July 2021 – The Erie City Water Authority was awarded a $6.5 million grant by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.

August 2021 – The City of Erie and the Erie Redevelopment Authority were awarded Keystone Communities Program grants totaling $379,251 by the state Department of Community & Economic Development.

September 2021 – Laughlin joined his Senate colleagues in voting to extend waivers of an array of regulatory statutes, rules and regulations to aid in Pennsylvania’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

October 2021 – Sens. Laughlin and Street introduced bipartisan legislation to legalize the adult use of marijuana in Pennsylvania.

October 2021 ­­– Laughlin announced Fish and Boat Commission Grants that would improve Lake Erie ‘s fishing access and the protection and improvement of fish habitats.

October 2021 – Sens. Laughlin and Costa introduced legislation that would expand access to solar power through a local voluntary program, while ensuring adequate ratepayer protection.

November 2021 – Senate approves tax reform measure for small business employers. Laughlin supported the measure.

November 2021 – Laughlin announced he would join Sen. Sharif Street in sponsoring important legislation to help those who rely on medical marijuana to address their health needs.

November 2021 – Laughlin introduced legislation that would increase tax credits for jobs created in the state’s Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ). Senate Bill 944 would allow a company to claim a tax credit of $1,500 per new job created in a federally designated opportunity zone, or $3,000 per each new job created in a federally designated opportunity zone if the newly created job is filled by a veteran or an unemployed individual.

November 2021 – The Commonwealth Financing Authority awarded nearly $800,000 in grants to two Erie County projects, with the support of Laughlin.

December 2021 – Sens. Mastriano and Laughlin introduced legislation to combat out of control insulin costs in Pennsylvania. The Affordable Insulin Act would cap the price of insulin at $30 or less for an individual’s thirty-day supply of the life-sustaining medicine.

December 2021 – A $5 million grant was awarded to the expERIEnce Children’s Museum Facility through the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

December 2021 – A $3 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant was awarded to the Erie County Convention Center Authority to construct an indoor market house on Erie’s west bayfront.

January 2022 – The Senate advanced Laughlin’s legislation that would require state agencies to notify victims of a data breach within one week.

January 2022 – Laughlin announced that the Senate approved critical funding for hospitals and frontline health care workers who continue to keep Pennsylvanians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

February 2022 – The Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, chaired by Laughlin, held a joint public hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease in Bedford.

February 2022Legislation prime sponsored by Laughlin seeking to ensure low-speed scooters are properly regulated within Pennsylvania’s vehicle code was reported to the full Senate out of the Senate Transportation Committee.

March 2022 – More than $134,000 in grants were awarded by the Department of Labor and Industry to three Erie County organizations with the goal of connecting Pennsylvania workers with the technology skills they need to succeed in today’s workplaces.

March 2022 – The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved more than $140,000 in grants for two projects that will improve broadband access in Erie County.

April 2022 – Laughlin offered statement regarding shooting at Erie High School.

April 2022 – Laughlin joined advocates and state lawmakers in launching an effort to open future Pennsylvania primary elections to registered unaffiliated voters. Laughlin spoke at the April 12 event on his Senate Bill 690, which would allow registered unaffiliated voters – those not registered as Republican or Democrat – to vote in primary elections.

April 2022 – A $500,000 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant was awarded to Millcreek Township for a Presque Isle Gateway District.

April 2022 – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission announced a pair of Erie County grants awarded through the Erie Access Improvement Program. Laughlin, who chaired the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, supported the grants.

May 2022 – Laughlin introduces legislation allowing medical cannabis patients to purchase edible medicine.

May 2022 – The Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee approved Laughlin’s legislation that would amend Pennsylvania’s Local Option Small Games of Chance Act to allow club licensees to retain 50% of their proceeds from small games of chance while maintaining charitable donation requirements for the other 50%.

June 2022 – The House State Government Committee sent Laughlin’s legislation to the full House of Representatives that would require state agencies to notify victims of a data breach within one week.

June 2022 – The Governor signed Senate Bill 563 which would improve safety in state-regulated childcare facilities, a measure he introduced in response to a tragic fire that claimed the lives of five young children in Erie in 2019.

July 2022 – Legislation Laughlin supported that halted the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation from imposing new tolls on nine interstate bridges throughout the state was passed by the Senate.

July 2022Legislation establishing the landmark Pennsylvania Clean Streams Fund signed by the Governor as part of the 2022-23 budget. Sens. Martin, Laughlin, Yaw spearheaded the creation of this fund over the last two legislative sessions through multiple proposals, including Senate Bill 832, which passed the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee in September of 2021.

July 2022 – The Senate Game & Fisheries Committee held a public hearing to discuss the environmental improvements of Lake Erie, as well as the economic impact that fishing has on the region.

July 2022 – The Senate approved a $45.2 billion General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23 that met the needs of Pennsylvanians without creating multi-billion-dollar budget deficits in the future. Laughlin voted in support of the measure.

July 2022 – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, which Laughlin chairs, approved a $100,000 grant for the Erie-Western Port Authority’s Lampe Marina Fish Cleaning Station.

July 2022 – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission approved a $100,000 grant for the Erie-Western Port Authority’s Lampe Marina Fish Cleaning Station.

September 2022 – Laughlin announced that two Erie projects focused on stream restoration have received a combined $400,000 in grants.

September 2022 – The state Senate approved Laughlin’s legislation, Senate Bill 431, seeking to make it easier for hunters to obtain antlerless deer hunting licenses.

October 2022 – Laughlin received the National Federation of Independent Businesses Guardian of Small Business award.

October 2022 – The Governor signs into law two of Senator Laughlin’s bills, Senate Bill 431 and Senate Bill 696.

November 2022 – Laughlin appointed by Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) to serve as the chairman of the Senate Majority Policy Committee for the 2023-24 legislative session.