Senator Gebhard E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee Hold Two Hearings on Gaming Law and Skill Games
  • Senate Favors Harsher Penalties for Drug Dealers
  • Bill to Provide New Career Paths for Individuals in Recovery Passes Senate
  • Senate Votes to Improve Bridge Maintenance and Safety
  • Bill Offering Free Credit Monitoring to Data Breach Victims Receives Senate Support
  • Veteran Appreciation Event
  • Opioid Awareness Workshop
  • Recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Stocking PA’s Waters with Trout
  • Tour State Game Lands on Oct. 8 and 15
  • Local Events

Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee Hold Two Hearings on Gaming Law and Skill Games

The Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, which I chair, held two separate public hearings this week examining the state’s gaming laws and the skill games industry. 

We had over five hours of testimony, ranging from bar owners, casino executives and skill game manufacturers.  There was a lot of great information provided to the committee on what can be done better and what changes need to be made.  I truly appreciated all the stakeholders who were willing to participate in the hearings and look forward to working together soon.

These hearings were necessary considering all the recent changes in the gaming landscape since the last update to the Gaming Control Act and the increased presence of skill game machines in the Commonwealth.

Both hearings can be viewed at the links below.

Public hearing on gaming in the Commonwealth – Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee (

Public hearing on skill games in the Commonwealth – Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee (

Senate Favors Harsher Penalties for Drug Dealers

The Senate voted to enact harsher penalties for drug dealers who sell products that lead to the poisoning death of a victim, including drugs laced with fentanyl.

Senate Bill 235 would establish a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a minimum $15,000 fine for anyone convicted of selling or distributing drugs that result in a death. Under current guidelines, drug dealers who poison victims with fentanyl can be back out on the streets in two years or less.

The bill would not apply to drug users who share drugs with family members or friends, or those who seek medical help for individuals who overdose.

Bill to Provide New Career Paths for Individuals in Recovery Passes Senate

Individuals in recovery for substance use disorder would be able to maintain meaningful employment and chart a new path under a pilot program approved by the Senate.

Senate Bill 69 would create a Recovery to Work pilot program to connect individuals in recovery with high-priority occupations through local workforce development boards. The boards would work with the treatment and recovery community as well as local employers and training providers to find job training and employment opportunities.

The pilot program would be led by the Department of Labor and Industry with the assistance of the departments of Health, Community and Economic Development, and Drug and Alcohol Programs, as well as the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Senate Votes to Improve Bridge Maintenance and Safety

This week, the Senate passed legislation to make state funding available for local bridge projects.

Currently, state Motor License Fund dollars are made available for the construction and repair of county bridges. While the funds are used to repair county-owned bridges, spending guidance fails to note how the funds could be used for bridges owned by municipalities within the counties. As a result, municipal bridges suffer and go without repair while remaining funds go unused due to ambiguous guidance.

Senate Bill 799 would give counties the flexibility they need to fund local bridge projects.

Bill Offering Free Credit Monitoring to Data Breach Victims Receives Senate Support

The Senate approved legislation to strengthen notification requirements for data breaches and provide affected citizens with free credit monitoring.

Senate Bill 824 would provide citizens affected by a data breach a free credit report and a year of credit monitoring while they recover. The bill also strengthens state notification requirements and requires Attorney General notification if a data breach occurs in the commonwealth.

The measure would cover instances in which an individual’s first and last name or first initial and last name have been accessed in combination with any of the following information: Social Security number, bank account number, driver’s license or state ID number.

Veteran Appreciation Event

In honor of Veterans Day, I will be joining PA Reps Russ Diamond, John Schlegel, and Tom Jones to host a Veteran Appreciation Drive-Through Event at the Lebanon Expo Center on November 11th from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Veterans and families may register by calling 717-274-6735 or visiting…/

Lebanon County businesses that are interested in honoring veterans at this event may register or for more information, call 717-274-6735 or visit,

Opioid Awareness Workshop

In response to the rise of fentanyl and opioid prescription deaths, Rep. Diamond and I are hosting an Opioid Awareness Workshop.  If you or a friend/family member are struggling with suspected opioid drug abuse, please come to this event to have informal, one on one discussions with health and substance abuse experts.

The event is open and free to the public – no registration is required.

Recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every October, we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, but early detection can drastically increase the survival rate. Take action by scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.

Of course, my colleagues and I work throughout the year to support people facing breast cancer. We passed comprehensive breast cancer screening legislation earlier this year that eliminated out-of-pocket costs for necessary BRCA testing and screening for high-risk Pennsylvanians.

This week, the Senate supported my resolution highlighting metastatic breast cancer-state four when cancer has spread to other parts of the body.  Despite advancements in medical science, metastatic breast cancer remains incurable.  See my full remarks below.

Stocking PA’s Waters with Trout

Pennsylvania’s waterways are being restocked with approximately 117,500 hatchery-raised adult Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout in 119 stream sections and lakes. The effort, which began this week, will continue through mid-December.

The stockings will replenish popular fishing spots across the state and provide ice fishing opportunities. Review the trout stocking schedules here. They are subject to change because of water temperature fluctuations and hatchery logistics.

Trout that are stocked during fall and winter can be fished for immediately. Anglers ages 16 and older must have a valid Pennsylvania fishing license and trout permit. You can buy 2023 fishing licenses and permits online or at a retail license issuing agent.

Tour State Game Lands on Oct. 8 and 15

Across the commonwealth, you can tour state game lands the next two Sundays: Oct. 8 and 15. The drive-through tours, offered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, are free and held rain or shine for vehicles licensed to travel on public roads.

The tours offer the opportunity to learn about the historical aspects of the game lands and the habitat improvements being made on them.

Find specific locations and times for the tours here.

Local Events

Friday, October 6, 5pm-9pm Levitz Park Pumpkin Carving Night
H.M. Levitz Memorial Park
Click here

Saturday, October 7, 2-7pm Lebanon Hispanic Multicultural Festival
8th Street between Cumberland and Chestnut Streets
Click here

Friday, October 6-7, Miss Morgan’s Antique & Artisan Show
Lebanon Expo Center
Click here

Friday, October 6-7, Apple Dumpling Days
Ephrata Cloister
Click here

Friday, October 6, 5-9pm Halloween Trail Hike
Berks County Heritage Center
Click here


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