2018 Killion in the News

Nov 30, 2018
Can a moderate Republican like Tom Killion survive in the Philly suburbs?

Tom Killion.jpg

After Democratic successes in southeastern Pa., he returns to a state Senate seat that will be a political target

Tom Killion and Tom McGarrigle, two Republicans from Delaware County, often found themselves on the same side of issues.

In March 2017, the two Toms stood on stage together and pushed for increased protections for domestic violence victims — and increased gun restrictions.

Both called for some version of a severance tax on natural gas drilling — a frequent priority of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

In October 2018, after Republican leaders in the state Senate chose not to call a vote on clergy abuse legislation, they put out a joint news release saying how disappointed they were.

The two state senators were frequently on the moderate end of the Republican spectrum, staking out positions that might make sense for a moderate Democrat. But after November’s election results, it’s increasingly uncertain whether that type of Republican can survive in suburban Philadelphia districts.

That could give conservative members more power to set the agenda for the caucus, and it could make compromise more difficult.

McGarrigle is already on his way out. He lost in November to the Democratic mayor of a small college town, and his term ends today.

Killion will return to the state Senate, which will still be controlled by Republicans. His four year-term began in 2016, so he’s not up for re-election until 2020.

“Tom Killion ought to be very worried. …I know we’ll be coming after that seat,” said Dick Bingham, chairman of the Chester County Democratic Committee.

Killion brushed off concerns about the next election. He said, as a candidate, you always think you can survive — and you always have to assume you’re in trouble.

“You can’t worry. That’s the game we’re in. It’s what we chose to do,” said Killion, who plans to run for re-election. “You buckle up and just work hard to get your message out.”

A wave in the Philly suburbs changes the Legislature

On election night, McGarrigle lost by nearly 10,000 votes, according to the unofficial returns.

Here’s how the Delaware County Daily Times described part of his concession speech:

McGarrigle told his supporters, “This had nothing to do with you. This had to do with a very unpopular president in a very unpopular time in this country. It’s really a shame but you know what? I had a hell of a run and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Then, as his voice broke, he said, “To my friends and family, I thank you.”

Democrats picked up five state Senate seats in November: four in the Philly suburbs and one in Allegheny County.

Republicans did hold on to two state Senate seats in the Philly suburbs, including the Bucks County seat held by incumbent Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson. In 2014, Tomlinson won re-election by about 17,000 votes. This time, he won by about 75.

For Killion, it was “horrible” to see McGarrigle lose. They’ve been “friends forever,” he said.

“Nothing against his replacement. I mean, that’s part of the game. You win. You lose,” Killion said. “But Tom and I were good friends. As far as I’m concerned, he was a great senator. I know he was a great senator.”

Killion could have the same fate in 2020.

Sen Tom Killion office.jpgA Delaware County district office for state Sen. Tom Killion is seen in this photo taken on Wednesday Nov. 28, 2018. (Ed Mahon/PA Post)


“Hollywood East”

Killion has described his district as “probably the most diverse” in the state.

“I have the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor,” Killion said.

It includes: Chester, a city that has received national attention for its high crime rate; the Marcus Hook industrial complex along the Delaware River; the headquarters of convenience chain Wawa; the mushroom farms of the Kennett Square area; and lots of middle-class and wealthier suburbs.

His district, the 9th, is split between Delaware and Chester counties. The former has voted Democratic in presidential races from 1992 onward, but Republicans managed to keep local control. Then, in 2017, Democrats surged there, picking up two seats on County Council. Chester County has, historically, been more reliably Republican nationally — but Trump lost there in 2016 and local Democrats had big wins there in 2017.

Killion’s Brookhaven office is in the Delaware County section, a few miles from the Delaware River. It’s in the same shopping center as a martial arts studio, a pediatrics office and an eye care center. Inside, he has a green and white shamrock decoration that says “failte” — a Gaelic word for welcome.

During an interview there, Killion was asked about lessons from the election for the Republican caucus in the Senate. He didn’t mention any. Instead, he talked about the unpopularity of President Donald Trump, how the Republican statewide and congressional candidates lost by a lot in the area, and changes in the region, which has been shifting toward Democrats.

In this upcoming session, Killion will be pushing for several measures in a caucus that has lost some of the more moderate Republicans.

He wants to expand the film tax credit by tens of millions of dollars to $100 million a year. His district is home to Sun Center Studios, which he recently referred to as “Hollywood East.” (Killion saw part of the filming of a “Creed II” boxing scene there. His pitch is all about the jobs the studios support, from caterers to lumber providers.)

He wants to pick up legislation from an outgoing Republican, a bill that aims to transition Pennsylvania to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

And he wants to create extreme risk protection orders that allow a judge to temporarily restrict a person’s access to guns. It’s a measure that Wolf has supported and the NRA has opposed.

So how will he try to get those bills through the new Senate?

Killion didn’t describe a major shift in strategy. On the extreme risk protection order bill, for instance, he talked about taking a similar approach he did for a bill that increased restrictions in domestic violence cases. That won support from Senate leadership.

“We’ll sell it as a public safety bill, as well as an individual safety bill,” Killion said.

The Republican caucus, Killion said, has clearly moved further to the right. But he said the leadership will hear him out on issues.

“They get it. They understand the issues in the southeast,” Killion said. “…Would it be easier if I had three, four other voices that were saying the exact same thing as me? Sure. But I just have to speak louder.”

Abortion, guns and the 2020 election

Despite some votes where Killion and McGarrigle might line up with a typical moderate suburban Democrat, there were differences. Killion and McGarrigle, for instance, both voted in favor of legislation to ban abortions at 20 weeks — which was vetoed by Wolf.

In the November election, Planned Parenthood endorsed McGarrigle’s opponent and the four other Democrats who flipped state Senate seats.

“I know that folks talk about the Republicans who lost in the southeast as moderates, but for women’s health votes, that really wasn’t the case,” said Sari Stevens, executive director of Planned Parenthood’s political arm in Pennsylvania. “So those wins were a very big deal.”

Stevens said the decision by Republican leaders to move forward on abortion bills makes Republicans in southeastern Pennsylvania more vulnerable.

Killion didn’t criticize Republican leadership for the abortion legislation — but he said he’d rather focus on bills Wolf won’t veto.

“I mean, I’m pro-life, and so I support that legislation,” Killion said. “But at the end of the day, you’ve got make sure you can win.”

Killion worked with state Rep. Marguerite Quinn, R-Bucks County, to increase gun restrictions in domestic violence and protection-from-abuse cases. It was a rare instance of a gun restriction passing in Pennsylvania.

But Quinn won’t be returning to the Capitol. She ran for a Bucks County state Senate seat that was previously held by a Republican. She lost by about 6,500 votes.

“I think the loss of moderates will hurt the chance for bipartisan work on many, many issues,” Quinn said recently, according to Billy Penn.

CeaseFirePA executive director Shira Goodman said she expects Tim Kearney, the Democrat who defeated McGarrigle, will be a strong voice on gun violence issues and will vote in ways she likes. And with more Democrats in the state Senate, it might be easier to move some bills through committees.

But Goodman said the absence of McGarrigle, who supported the domestic violence bill and other gun restrictions, is a loss. The party caucuses meet behind closed doors, and those discussions can be key for which bills pass.

“Will there be Republicans who are pushing those issues?” Goodman said, later adding, “What does that mean for getting things on the agenda, and convincing the caucus to move?”

During a recent floor speech, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, talked about the importance of compromise.

In the state House, the new majority leader, Bryan Cutler, pointed to the losses of several moderate Republicans in the southeast as one reason consensus could be harder to reach.

“I think both caucuses shifted a little bit away from each other, so I think that yeah we’ll have some challenges because of that,” Cutler said.

Kearney, the Swarthmore Democrat who defeated McGarrigle, said he’s optimistic that Republicans will be more willing to compromise on guns and other issues given their smaller majority in the state Senate.

“I hope that the Republican majority kind of wakes up and can really talk about these things in a different way,” Kearney said.

Will the wave be stronger in 2020?

Killion is now the only Republican state senator representing either Delaware County or Chester County.

“If there’s anybody in Harrisburg who should be terrified right now it’s got to be Tom Killion,” said David Marshall, executive director of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee.

Killion’s seat, along with one in Erie County, look like they will be two of the top opportunities for Democrats in 2020, Marshall said.

Val DiGiorgio, chairman of both the state GOP and Chester County GOP, said any suburban seat presents a challenge for Republicans nationwide.

“We need to do a better job of showing to suburban voters, especially women, that we have an agenda for health care, that we have an agenda for education,” DiGiorgio said, “and that we care about the needs of people, other than folks just in our districts — that we’ve got a national message.”

DiGiorgio described Killion as a seasoned lawmaker, who knows how to vote with his district and to communicate with the people there.

Christopher Nicholas, a veteran Republican political consultant, also talked about the national trends that hurt southeastern Pennsylvania Republicans in November.

For Killion, Nicholas’ advice is to focus on doing good work in the Senate, the kind of work that helped Killion win seven state House races and two state Senate races over the years.

“And you have to hope that the wave that shook through has kind of, you know, spent all its energy,” Nicholas said.    Source


Oct 11, 2018
Bill in Harrisburg would make protesting at pipeline site a crime

HARRISBURG — The Senate and House are grappling with legislation that would make it crime to protest at a pipeline site.

SB652 passed the Senate 28-20 in May and was on Wednesday’s House calendar but did not come up for a vote.

The House and Senate differ on the versions of the bill, and if the House votes affirmatively, the bill will need to again be voted on by the Senate. Representatives meet three days next week for the last time in 2018.

Sens. Andy Dinniman, D-19, John Rafferty, R-44, and Tom Killion, R-9, voted “no,” and Reps. Becky Corbin, R-155, and Carolyn Comitta, D-156, voted against the bill in committee.

Dinniman released the following statement on Wednesday:

“This is part of a concerted effort that is going not only in Pennsylvania but across the nation to silence and stifle any opposition, criticism or concerns related to growing network of pipelines crisscrossing our communities. Yes, our critical infrastructure needs to be safe and secure, but this isn’t the way to do it.

Furthermore, if pipeline companies, like Sunoco, are so concerned about safety why haven’t they taken the necessary steps to ensure that our schools and local emergency first responders have access to the information they need to adequately respond to potential emergencies? Instead, we want to throw people in jail for up to a year for peaceful protests or ‘trespassing’ on an easement that may be in their own backyard? That’s not only wrong; it’s downright un-American.”

Comitta is opposed to the bill.

“I opposed in committee and will oppose on the floor,” Comitta said Wednesday. “I believe this bill is unnecessary and serves only to bully pipeline protesters.

“The crimes code already addresses penalties for trespassing and vandalism. In addition, this bill also adds felony charges for certain vandalism — that level of severe punishment is not appropriate for such crimes.” Source

August 10, 2018
The Inquirer
Death of hope: Here’s how Pa. Republicans picked gun lobbyists over domestic violence victims | Maria Panaritis

Republicans in suburban Philadelphia wanted it to become law. So did every single member of Pennsylvania’s GOP-controlled state Senate from both parties. So did Democrat Gov. Wolf, advocates trying to keep domestic-violence victims alive, and just about anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together.

It was a GOP-backed bill that would order all alleged domestic abusers to give up their guns after being slapped with a protection-from-abuse order.

And as it appeared on the verge of passage this past June, Republican leaders in the House stopped it dead in its tracks.

It was a sickening display of swamp-like servitude to the gun lobby by a body whose committee and caucus leaders overwhelmingly hail from the more uber-conservative, rural districts in our state.

Instead of using their 120-83 Republican majority to help save a woman from a raging spouse or boyfriend with a Smith and Wesson, this group of elected state employees blew a kiss to the gun lobby.

They did it despite the fact that two of their own members, Republicans Sen. Tom Killion of Chester County, and Rep. Marguerite Quinn of Bucks County, were the sponsors.

They did it despite this being a common-sense change. They did it because it would have required standing up to the kooks in their caucus — and the lobbyists who think the right to bear arms includes having the right to kill your girlfriend with a gun, and pursue justice for the victim afterward.

No one will tell me exactly what happened — or at whose urging. I spent hours calling around Harrisburg and beyond, only to be left with that familiar pang of disgust you get when trying to force transparency in government.

To be completely honest,” Julie Bancroft of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence had warned me, “I don’t know that we have a full sense of what really went down.”

Let’s start with the locals.

Killion and Quinn pushed versions of this bill in the Senate and House, respectively. Both are Republicans from the Philadelphia suburbs and, as such, are now marginal players in state GOP politics. That’s because the state Republican House caucus is now home to some pretty loud tea party types.

Killion’s version passed the Senate unanimously this spring.

His bill would no longer allow alleged abusers to give up their guns to friends or family members after being hit with a final PFA order. The new law also would make it mandatory — and not up to a judge, as the law currently allows — for a PFA defendant’s guns to be taken away.

If you’re separately convicted in criminal court of misdemeanor domestic violence, Killion’s bill no longer gives you 60 days to turn in your guns. You get 48 hours.

The gun lobby did not oppose its passage in the Senate.

But then, not-good stuff happened.

The House Judiciary Committee, led by veteran conservative Rep. Ron Marsico, held unprecedented gun-control hearings on a large number of bills that resulted, unsurprisingly, in virtually zero legislative action. They were a dog-and-pony show following the Parkland, Fla., shootings.

Marsico’s committee then took action on a domestic-violence bill authored by Quinn. Staffers replaced the text with the Senate version.

So far, so good.

But then staffers rewrote a provision that, despite domestic-violence advocates warning it would make the gun lobby ballistic, did just that.

Instead of forcing convicted criminal abusers to relinquish their guns in 48 hours, as the Killion bill proposed, Marsico’s people changed that to 24 hours.

Marsico’s office would not make him or anyone on his committee available to publicly explain what happened. A spokesperson for House Republicans told me the change was intended to bring the gun-turnover period in line with the 24 hours currently given to PFA defendants. He was unclear about whether it had been done at any outsider’s behest.

This turned into a poison pill.

Just days after the bill passed out of committee on June 19, and within hours of an expected vote by the full House on June 25, gun lobbyist Kim Stolfer blitzed the General Assembly.

One of Stolfer’s messages, the leader of Firearms Owners Against Crime told me Thursday, was that the 24 hours to surrender a firearm was “ridiculous. … They knew from their prior work with us that 24 was not good.”

Stolfer said he texted his displeasure to Pittsburgh-area House Speaker Mike Turzai. Rank-and-file members got emails, too.

House leaders didn’t do what they get paid to do — whip their members behind a vote for a good bill.

They instead scotched it. With just 11 days left when the House reconvenes next month, the bill is viewed as all but dead.

“It is definitely the intention to bring this bill back up when we come back in September and October,” House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin told me on Thursday. “We wanted to give the members the opportunity this summer to fully ascertain what is and what isn’t in the bill. When members have a lot of questions, they usually vote no.”

There are no assurances it can pass.

Killion still calls this bill a “no-brainer.”

Quinn, who left the Capitol in June with unconcealed frustration, also sounds hamstrung.

I’m going to hope,” she told me, “that common sense prevails.” 

This is no way to run a railroad, people.
Enough already.    Source

April 4, 2018
Pennsylvania is moving toward requiring students to learn CPR

There’s a growing movement for students in Pennsylvania’s secondary schools to learn more than the three Rs by adding three more letters to their curriculum: CPR. An increasing number of states are recognizing cardiopulmonary resuscitation as an extremely valuable skill and have passed laws requiring high school students to take it as a class. This year, Pennsylvania could become the 38th state in the nation to pass such a law.

In the Pennsylvania Legislature, Senate Bill 521 (the CPR in Schools Legislation) is in committee and may soon go before the full Senate for a third and final vote. A similar bill was also introduced in the PA House of Representatives last year. Pennsylvania is now one of only a handful of states that does not require or recommend CPR training for students. West Virginia enacted the requirement in 2015 and Ohio’s law took effect this school year. In fact, every state that borders Pennsylvania now has a CPR education requirement.

Why the push to teach students CPR?

“I believe this bill will go a long way in helping to prepare individuals to save lives through CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) ultimately helping to reduce the number of deaths that occur from cardiac arrests this year,” explains PA Senator Tom Killion (R-9th), who sponsored the bill. “I introduced legislation that would add a hands-only, 30-minute cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instruction to the state curriculum for high school students at the request of one of my constituents,” says the Senator, who represents Chester and Delaware counties.

That constituent is a volunteer for the American Heart Association and the mother of a young man who recently suffered a heart attack and whose life was saved by CPR. Killion adds, “It is my hope that we may send Senate Bill 521 to the House of Representatives in the near future.”

The bill has support from the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the American Heart Association. “The legislation allows schools to implement CPR training in a way that best fits within the school’s curriculum and it can be done at no cost by using available online resources or by partnering with local community groups that can provide the training for free,” says David Greineder, Pennsylvania Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “Thirty-seven other states passed legislation, including all our surrounding states, so we believe there is absolutely no reason the Legislature cannot, and should not, immediately consider this bill.”

How effective is CPR? According to the American Heart Association, performing CPR in the first few minutes of someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest can double or triple a patient’s chance of survival. Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes irregular heartbeat and disrupts the flow of blood to organs and it is a leading cause of death. Each year, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of hospitals in the United States and almost 90 percent of those patients die. Survival depends on immediately getting CPR.

Educators and parents are weighing in on the proposal with some favoring it and others seeing a CPR requirement as an added burden on students’ schedules. Blair Carpenter, a father and grandfather who grew up and lives in Washington, endorses the movement. “I think it’s a great idea,” he says. “I can remember doing CPR in school at (Washington Park Elementary School) in Ms. Bennett’s class and I feel that everyone should know how to give it.”

Carpenter’s father had a heart attack at age 32 but recovered. “As a son growing up with a father having heart issues, I am glad I knew how to give CPR, but have never had to use it.”

Several local school districts already offer optional CPR courses. Ringgold High School currently offers a First Aid and CPR course to students in grades 10-12 as a one quarter elective. Central Greene School District already incorporates CPR instruction into its health class curriculum.

“Central Greene does not require CPR certification at this time for students, however, they do have CPR instruction at the both the middle and high school levels,” offers Superintendent Dr. Helen K. McCracken. “It is my understanding that only one in four cardiac arrest victims receives CPR. Not surprisingly, many of them die. Educating our youth in this area makes good, healthy sense. We do have several of our teachers that are Certified CPR Trainers. I believe it is a benefit to everyone to receive CPR training, especially students.”

As for teachers and staff learning CPR, neither Pennsylvania nor Ohio require CPR training for educators. West Virginia, Maryland and New York are among the many states with laws mandating CPR training for teachers. In the Canon-McMillan School District, students are not required to take CPR, but staff members can get training. “Canon-McMillan provides CPR training to staff upon request by building administrators,” C-M Superintendent of Schools Michael Daniels says. “We actually employ two nurses who are certified to provide the training in house. This is not a requirement for the student population.”     Source

Jan 4, 2018
Daily Local News
Local officials turn up heat to ensure safety of pipeline process

BILL RETTEW JR. – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA The Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline sits prior to burial in East Goshen Township.
BILL RETTEW JR. – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA The Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline sits prior to burial in East Goshen Township. 

WEST CHESTER >> In light of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s decision yesterday to shut down construction on the controversial Sunoco Mariner East 2 statewide, state Sen. Andy Dinniman has decided to turn up the heat on Sunoco.

Dinniman, D-19 of West Whiteland, said Thursday that the state has not, and is not, fully overseeing the safety of the pipeline process. The senator is inviting a group of citizens, civic leaders and elected officials to meet next week at his office to consider funding a study of the pipeline project with private money.

“The governor didn’t solve the problem in terms of protecting public safety, and if the state doesn’t do it we’ll perform a risk assessment ourselves,” Dinniman said.

Dinniman said that while other states regulate pipeline construction in high-density areas and consider an area’s geology, there is very little oversight in Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday the DEP indefinitely suspended work on the pipeline statewide until Sunoco complies with the terms of its permitting process.

The ruling comes in the wake of a DEP violation notice served to Sunoco concerning the company’s using the controversial horizontal directional drilling method without the proper permitting out near Harrisburg.

Dinniman also is working closely with state Sen. John Rafferty, R-44, to propose a series of pipeline bills to be considered when the Legislature returns to session in late January.

“The reason we will have the bills – more pipelines will be built and we have to have protections that do not exist in this state now,” Dinniman said.

Dinniman feels that it’s important for citizens to know who was responsible for decisions being made every step of the way in the approval process leading up to construction of Mariner East 2.

Sunoco Pipeline LP’s $2.5 billion project is expected to deliver as much as 250,000 barrels a day of ethane, butane and propane from the state Marcellus Shale regions to the former Sunoco refinery complex at Marcus Hook.

“Who made the decision to allow for such an easy process?” Dinniman asked. “It’s a little late for the DEP to start acting tough when for six months they didn’t enforce. They still haven’t taken care of adequate enforcement in our area.”

Jeff Shields, Sunoco Pipeline communications manager, insisted Thursday that the company is working with DEP to resolve the problems.

“We continue to work with the DEP to resolve all issues connected with our environmental permits and look forward to promptly returning to work on this important pipeline project,” Shields said. “Safety is our first priority: The safety of those in the community, the safety of our employees and the safety of the environment.”

Lynda Farrell is executive director of Pipeline Safety Coalition. Both she and Dinniman pointed to a group of citizens in Chester and Delaware counties that has created a united front against pipeline construction.

This shows that people have different approaches to the basic problems of this project, Farrell said.

“All worked together for a common goal with our legislators saying, ‘enough is enough.’” she said.

In Delaware and Chester counties, there are now 50,000 residents in the loop and connected to grassroots organizations, raising their voices, largely in opposition to the pipeline project. Their concerns center on safety, including the proximity to densely populated neighborhoods, schools and senior centers.

“This is just the first step,” Farrell said. “As much as this has been a long haul, it’s a stellar achievement by our citizens and legislators. This is the first step to make a real difference. When a collective community works together, things happen.”

“This is the most amazing, dedicated and organized group I’ve seen in 30 years of public service,” Dinniman said.

State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-156, is also meeting with stakeholders next week.

“I’m pleased that the administration is responding to the violations and safety concerns that have been raised by so many people, however, we still don’t a have a risk assessment and it’s essential that it happens,” Comitta said. “This is a step that needs to be done.”

Farrell pointed to a letter that Dinniman wrote to the governor asking him to pull the plug on pipeline construction. After that letter was posted, other legislators decided to fight pipeline construction.

Dinniman isn’t getting complacent.

“While we certainly appreciate the actions of the governor taken thus far, much needs to be done in term of public safety,” Dinniman said. “We need to go even further in terms of protecting the health and safety of residents.”

State Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, and state Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, Thursday joined the chorus of voices stressing public safety following the DEP action to suspend construction.

“From the beginning of this regulatory process, we have insisted that the job creation and energy development that come from this project must not occur at the cost of health, safety or protecting the environment,” their statement points out

“We still believe that the economic benefits can co-exist with safety and environmental protection, but this pause ordered by DEP seems necessary to ensure that this occurs. It is critical that Sunoco Pipeline L.P. follow all permit conditions.

“Pennsylvania can be a leader in natural gas development, but we must get it right. That is why we are co-sponsoring several bills to ensure pipeline safety across Pennsylvania and hold pipeline owners accountable if anything goes wrong.”

Senator McGarrigle and Senator Killion are co-sponsors of legislation that would:

• Strengthen the pipeline siting review process.

• Require pipeline operators to conduct proper studies of aquifers that may be impacted by construction.

• Make owners and operators of pipelines liable for contaminating water supplies.

• Establish notification requirements for residents impacted by pipeline construction.

• Ensure pipeline construction in densely populated regions includes automatic or remote control safety valves.

• Require pipeline companies to provide funding to support emergency responders.

• Improve communication and coordination between emergency management agencies and pipeline companies in the event of an emergency.

Nov 21, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf looks to get guns away from abusers

Gov. Tom Wolf is trying to generate support for legislation to get firearms out of the hands of those convicted of domestic violence.

Last week, the Democratic governor called for lawmakers to support a measure sponsored by state Sen. Tom Killion, a Delaware County Republican. Earlier this year, Killion introduced a bill that would require someone convicted of domestic abuse or subject to a final Protection from Abuse order to turn in firearms to authorities or a licensed gun dealer within 24 hours.

Under current law, those convicted of abuse have as much as 60 days to turn in their firearms.

Wolf said studies show mass shootings are often committed by individuals with a history of domestic violence.

“We must protect victims – spouses and children – of domestic violence and attempt to prevent domestic abusers from escalating their violence in everyday places that result in mass murder,” Wolf said in a statement.

Killion has said the measure would provide additional protection for family members of abusers. In language accompanying the bill, he said he consulted the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the state police, district attorneys and local police chiefs.

But the bill hasn’t gained traction since Killion introduced it in March. The bill has a number of co-sponsors in both parties, including state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat.

Wolf is hoping to give it a push.

The governor also backs a number of other bills aimed to reduce domestic violence, such as: giving district judges more latitude in determining bail based on a threat to the victim; a bill to allow judges to extend the terms of a PFA or create a new one if the order is set to expire while a defendant is in jail; and a measure to allow residents of a county housing authority to request relocation if they have suffered physical or sexual abuse.


Oct 31, 2017
City & State
Pork-barrel provisions in gaming bill pit DelCo pols against one other

After more than three months of gridlock, Gov. Tom Wolf quickly signed off on a massive gaming package that will legalize 10 new “mini-casinos,” truck-stop video slots, online poker and more. The move effectively ends the long stalemate over how to pay for PA’s $32 billion budget.

But some legislators, like state Rep. Madeleine Dean, openly complained that they had barely had time to grasp the nearly 1,000-page bill before it passed both the state House and Senate about one day after its introduction.

That may have been intentional, some say – the product of last-minute dealing to get the package through the General Assembly. Despite the state’s shaky financial outlook, this latest iteration of the bill is larded with convoluted payout schemes to fund ambiguous economic development projects in localities impacted by gaming.

“There was a complete lack of transparency in the process,” said Democratic state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky. “Nearly all the changes were all put in by Senate Republicans. They had very little if no debate when it went through the Senate. When you have to vote on something less than 24 hours later, of course you can’t analyze everything.”

A share of the forthcoming $90-$100 million in new annual revenue will primarily be funneled into a wing of the Department of Community and Economic Development, called the Commonwealth Financing Authority, as a “host fee.” While the CFA is jointly guided by a board with representatives from the governor’s office, the House and the Senate, the department has notably been criticized for its own lack of transparency.

Krueger-Braneky said she was shocked to discover that Delaware County – where her district lies – would see its cut shoehorned into a new and somewhat unique county-controlled gaming authority.

Krueger-Braneky predicted this new gaming authority would fall under the sway of a Republican political machine that has long dominated Delaware County. She compared the setup to the troubled Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, which had faced dissolution after allegations of financial mismanagement became public.

“What they’re setting up in Delaware County has already failed in Erie,” she said. “We’ve already got way too much patronage in Delaware County and I was shocked to see them making another money grab two weeks before an election. Maybe this is a golden parachute for someone who could lose their job.”

But Mike Rader, chief of staff to DelCo Sen.Tom McGarrigle, said that Krueger-Braneky was simply jealous of the good deal his boss and other local Republicans like Sen. Tom Killion had helped hammer out. Carving his home county out of the CFA arrangement would ensure more local control of gaming funds, he said. Read more

Sept 13, 2017
Moms Demand Action urge action on bill to bar gun possession by domestic abusers

HARRISBURG – The press conference late Tuesday morning at the downtown city government center created a line across the back of the lobby, featuring a number of volunteers with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

It was one of three similar meetings with the press (the others were in Lewisburg, Union County, and Media, Delaware County) that the group held across the state Tuesday. Two more are scheduled for Thursday, all to try and push Senate Bill 501 out of committee and to the main body for a vote. That legislation would require all domestic abusers subject to final protection from abuse orders to surrender their guns. The bill would also shorten the current 60-day period convicted domestic abusers have to surrender their guns to 24 hours.

Carol Thornton, a Moms Demand Action volunteer who was part of the Harrisburg event, said later that other members of the group spent time in May visiting the offices of state House and Senate members to build awareness for the bill, introduced by Sen. Tom Killion, R-9th District, in March. With the Senate returning next week, it was time to send a reminder, she said. Read more

Sept 9, 2017
Daily Local News
East Goshen getting state-of-the-art playground, including a zipline

EAST GOSHEN >> Township staffers and officials expect to attract kids and their parents, from both near and far, to a now-under-construction “destination playground.”

The younger crowd will play like Indiana Jones, searching for a buried dinosaur, ride a 75-foot zip line, or climb and slide, at the $715,000 tot lot, at East Goshen Park.

Parents will be able to oversee the action protected from the sun in a centrally located and covered area.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Saturday, with completion of the park expected during late October, weather permitting.

On Tuesday, the ground was leveled, and old equipment from the park built in the ‘90s was trucked away. Read more

August 14, 2017
Daily Local News
Elected officals seek Sunoco’s assistance for training

WEST CHESTER>>Three elected officials have joined together to request that Sunoco furnish the county with a 20-inch pipeline simulation unit for first responders to use for training.

State Sen. Tom Killion, R- 9, State Rep. Becky Corbin, R-155, and Michele Kichline, Chester County Commissioner, teamed to write a letter to Joseph McGinn, senior manager, public affairs, of Energy Transfer and the Sunoco Mariner 2 East pipeline project.

The county currently trains with an 8-inch pipe. A mock 20 inch pipe would mimic the pipeline now being constructed in the county.

Several public forums concerning the Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline project have attracted as many as 300 residents. Read more

August 11, 2017
Daily Times News
Legal gambling in bars can solve state budget crisis, owners say

MEDIA >> Flanked by fellow tavern owners and state Rep. Stephen Barrar, R-160, of Upper Chichester, Jack’s Tavern owner Jerry McArdle warned that if video gambling isn’t approved in bars only one thing will happen – taxes will increase.

“To all the hardworking citizens of Pennsylvania, make no bones about it, if this Legislature doesn’t pass (video gaming terminals) and other recurring-revenue plans, you are getting a tax increase,” he said.

McArdle, who is also a county delegate to the Pennsylvania State Tavern Association, said the state stands to earn between $300-$500 million a year, based on Illinois’ experience, if video gambling is permitted to be installed in local bars.

Pennsylvania representatives passed House Bill 271, allowing for VGTs, in the spring. The measure rests in the state Senate but Barrar said senators indicated no interest in voting on it. Read more

July 27, 2017
Daily Times
McGarrigle, Killion provide key votes in Pa. budget dispute

Pennsylvania’s reign as the largest natural gas-producing state without a severance tax may be coming to an end after the state Senate voted 26-24 in favor of a spending package Thursday.

In a vote that was divisive within parties, two local Republican senators — Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26 of Springfield, and Sen. Tom Killion, R-9 of Middletown — proved to be the decisive votes the Legislature needed to pass the package. Read more

July 22, 2017
Daily Local News
Comitta joins call for halt to pipeline construction

WEST CHESTER >> Add state Rep. Carolyn Comitta to the list of those calling for a halt to construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline.

Comitta, D-156, cited several of what she claims are safety issues related to the Sunoco Logistics’ project in Delaware and Chester counties in making her decisions.

More than a dozen West Whiteland well water users first complained of damage to their tap water sources on July 3. Sunoco has agreed to hook up impacted residents to public water and pick up their water bill tab for 20 years.

Comitta wants Sunoco to stop drilling until a Department of Environmental Protection investigation is complete. Yesterday the DEP indicated they have filed four notices of violation against Sunoco in conjunction with pipeline work across the state.

“I am deeply concerned about making sure our drinking water is safe,” Comitta said in a press release. “Yesterday, (it was) reported there have been 61 incidents during the construction of the Mariner East 2 in Section 6 (including Chester and Delaware counties) since pipeline construction began in April, with the vast majority of those incidents resulting in water problems. Read more

July 18, 2017
Daily Local News
Lawmakers continue talks about funding Pa. budget

State senators from Delaware County said Tuesday budget discussions among their leaders continue while elected and industry officials debate the optimum way to fund this year’s financial package.

The $32 billion spending package became law after it was passed by the House and Senate and not vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf. However, there is no mechanism yet in the budget to outline how those billions will be raised.

Senators said leaders were working on that Tuesday.

“The leaders of both chambers are in negotiations today and have also been meeting with administration,” state Sen. Tom Killion, R-9 of Middletown, said. “The governor has insisted on a certain level of recurring revenue. The leaders are working with members of the General Assembly to find the best way to fund the compromise budget that the governor agreed to in June.”

State Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26 of Springfield, had similar news, confirming that the GOP leadership from both the House and the Senate met Tuesday morning.

“I think they’re just trying to come up with some recurring revenue that will be OK with the governor,” he said, adding that legislators are on a six-hour callback.

He said some of the measures being considered to fund the budget are Internet gaming and changes to liquor provisions.

At this time, McGarrigle said, a shale tax is not being evaluated.

Both he and Killion are supporters of a shale tax. Read more

July 17, 2017
Daily Local News
State lawmakers want to beef up protections for pipeline neighbors

Local legislators are looking for new ways to create a greater level of transparency of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project after multiple incidents of fluid leaks have affected both private and public waterways in Chester and Delaware counties in recent weeks.

State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19 of West Whiteland, submitted a list of concerns to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection after he claimed the agency both failed to protect the well water of residents on Valley View Drive in West Whiteland Township and failed to hold Sunoco Pipeline L.P. accountable.

“Following reports of groundwater impact and wells running dry, I immediately began investigating what DEP requires to protect homeowners with well water,“ Dinniman said. “I was shocked to discover that while notification is required, Sunoco was taking advantage of a significant loophole in the permitting process by claiming they were unaware that these wells existed.” Read more

June 24, 2017
Herald Media
Pa. lawmakers eye wider DNA sampling of convicts

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania lawmakers moved closer this week to mandating that DNA samples be collected from people who have been convicted of crimes — something supporters predict will help solve serious crimes.

The state House voted 157-32 for a bill that would require cheek swabs from those convicted of any first-degree misdemeanor and a list of 15 second-degree misdemeanors.

Current law requires testing for those convicted of felonies and certain other offenses. Pennsylvania classifies as first-degree misdemeanors many crimes that are felonies in other states.

It was sent to the state Senate, where a nearly identical proposal is pending. A Senate Republican aide said Friday one of the bills could get a final vote before lawmakers adjourn for the summer.

“Not only will some crimes be solved, serial offenders would be stopped before they could reoffend, and innocent people would be ruled out of suspicion in cases where their DNA does not match what’s found at the scene,” said Tom Dymek, an aide to House Judiciary Chairman Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin, the bill’s prime sponsor.

Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, opposes the bill in its current form, saying it would test for too many minor offenses, and its costs are not funded.

A fiscal note for the House bill estimated the additional testing would eventually cost more than $3 million annually, based on an estimate of 40,000 offenders.

“Gov. Wolf believes we should expand DNA collection to combat violent crime,” his press secretary J.J. Abbott said. “However, this bill expands the law to include more than 100 misdemeanors, including many offenses that are nonviolent in nature such as retail theft and littering.”

The Senate will likely consider amending the proposal to remove a few of the less serious misdemeanors, said Mike Stoll, chief of staff to Sen. Tom Killion, R-Delaware, sponsor of the Senate bill .

“The list can’t be reduced that much, or you defeat the purpose of it,” Stoll said. Read more


June 8, 2017
Proposed Pa. bill will protect those with disabilities

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (WPVI) — There is a push to strengthen Pennsylvania’s hate crime laws to protect people with disabilities.State Senator Tom Killion, State Representative Becky Corbin and Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced Senate bill 7-49 on Thursday.
It’s an amendment to Pennsylvania hate crime statute of ethnic intimidation to include people with physical and mental disabilities.The announcement follows two recent attacks. One happened in West Chester, where a man with cerebral palsy was mocked and then punched in the face outside a 7-eleven. The other attack occurred in the Germantown section of Philadelphia where four young men attacked a mentally challenged man on a sidewalk. Read more


March 28, 2017
Fighting domestic violence v. gun owners’ rights: What’s a politician to do?
Every elected politician in Pennsylvania is a committed foe of domestic violence.
Most elected lawmakers in Pennsylvania are committed supporters of gun owners’ rights.
So what happens when these two popular causes clash?
That could be one of the interesting subplots of the Pennsylvania Legislature’s 2017-18 session.
Victims right advocates threw their support Tuesday behind a package of bills designed to strengthen the future value of protection-from-abuse orders won by victims of domestic violence. Read more

March 25, 2017
Daily Times News

3 Delco pols oppose property tax bill

NETHER PROVIDENCE >> Bipartisanship can be hard to come by these days, but three area lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are united in opposing a bill that would dramatically alter the way schools in the state are funded.

During a town hall-style meeting on Friday night at Strath Haven High School, state Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161, and the chief of staff for state Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, were unequivocal in declaring Senate Bill 76 as a non-starter as far as they are concerned.

McGarrigle said the bill, which has been dubbed the “Property Tax Independence Act” by its backers, would “destroy” education in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Read more

For those losing land because of Mariner East II, give the Senator a call and thank him. As for jobs, fracking sure brought a lot of jobs to PA didn’t it?

DEP’s Approval of Environmental Permit for Mariner East II Brings Praise

Posted on Feb 14, 2017
Killion Press Release

Harrisburg, PA –State Senators Tom McGarrigle (R-26), Senator Tom Killion (R-9), Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) and labor leaders today praised the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) approval of permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline. This permit approval is the culmination of years of work between the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Sunoco Logistics to ensure the Mariner East II project is completed in an environmentally sound manner.

“This development is game changer for the entire Commonwealth, especially Delaware County. It’s the first major link from natural gas rich areas to the Southeast and it will create thousands of labor jobs and hundreds of permanent, family-supporting jobs, and has the potential turn our region into a 21st century ‘energy hub,’” Senator McGarrigle said. He continued, “that said, I’ll continue to follow the development of this project to ensure every single safety and environmental safeguard is in place.” Read more

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