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Senate Panel Approves Stefano Bill to Deny
Public Benefits to Illegal Immigrants in PA
The Senate State Government Committee approved legislation
I sponsored to ensure illegal immigrants living in Pennsylvania do not receive
public benefits, such as Medicaid, welfare, and unemployment.
To combat welfare fraud in Pennsylvania and ensure that
state government is efficiently providing assistance to its most vulnerable
citizens, we must ensure public benefits are going to those who are truly
deserving of the assistance. Pennsylvania citizens, who are struggling to make
ends meet, should not have their hard-earned dollars go towards benefits for
Federal law prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving state or local public benefits. However, Pennsylvania
is simply too lenient in enforcing the federal provisions. According to a 2014
study conducted by the Pew Research Center, the number of illegal immigrants
living in Pennsylvania grew from 140,000 to 170,000 between 2009 and 2012.
The Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates the current local
annual costs of illegal immigration amount to about $36 billion nationwide. In
Pennsylvania, which has more than 100,000 illegal immigrants, the current
estimated cost is $285 million. That cost is expected to grow to $812
million by the year 2020.
Last month, Pennsylvania agreed to pay the federal
government $48.8 million to settle claims that it paid non-emergency Medicaid,
family assistance and food stamp benefits to immigrants who did not qualify for them.
Senate Bill 9, would require anyone receiving public benefits in the
Commonwealth to provide identification proving they are legal residents. In
addition, individuals would be required to sign an affidavit stating they are a
United States citizen, or an immigrant lawfully residing in this country.
Any illegal immigrant who falsely claims they are residing
in the country legally, in order to obtain public benefits, will have committed
a second degree misdemeanor and be subject to arrest.
The legislation would provide compassionate exceptions to
its tough restrictions. Senate Bill 9 would only apply to residents 18 and
older and would exempt seniors who are Medicare eligible as well as disabled
Pennsylvanians who are receiving SSI or SSDI. The bill would also allow every
person in Pennsylvania access to emergency medical care, necessary immunizations
and disaster relief.
Senate Bill 9 now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Stefano Joins Supporters to Announce
Reintroduction of Medical Cannabis Bill
I recently joined Senator Mike Folmer (R-48) and other supporters at a Harrisburg news conference to announce
the reintroduction of legislation that will enable physicians to prescribe
medical cannabis to patients in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 3 would allow patients who have a recommendation from their
doctor to purchase and use medical cannabis from centers licensed by a
to-be-created State Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing. The non-smoked and
non-hallucinogenic form of the medicine would be administered under strict state
regulation and medical direction.
Senate Bill 3 was introduced last session by Senator Folmer and passed by the full Senate by a vote of 43-7. The
measure has strong bipartisan support and needs to be passed and signed into law
to help many patients, including children, receive life-saving treatment for
various illnesses. Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia have
I became involved in the effort
to legalize medical cannabis after meeting Julie Michaels, a local teacher in my
district whose daughter Sydney suffers from a debilitating disease that causes
severe seizures. The Michaels family attended the news conference with me, and
I was pleased to have them there to lend their personal story to the cause.
Senate Approves Stefano Legislation
to Correct Name of Connellsville Bridge
As one of my first official actions in the Senate, I pushed for legislation to officially rename the Officer
McCray Robb Memorial Bridge in Connellsville.
Late last year, the former West Crawford Avenue Bridge was renamed in memory of
a Connellsville police officer and Civil War veteran killed in the line of duty.
However, when legislation to rename the bridge the Officer McCray Robb Memorial
Bridge was introduced and passed, the name was incorrect in the legislation and
listed as the Robb McCray Memorial Bridge.
The Senate unanimously approved my bill to officially correct that mistake.
Senate Bill 79 now awaits House action. New signs have already been
installed with the correct name. Iím pleased we could make this correction so
quickly to properly honor a local hero.
Stefano Named to Key Senate Committees
I was recently appointed Vice Chair of the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development
Committee and will serve on four other key committees for the 2015-2016
Iím especially pleased to serve as vice chair of a committee that will focus its efforts on job creation and
As a small-business owner, I am looking forward to using my real-world experience to develop policy and
legislation to help bring new opportunities to communities throughout
Pennsylvania and encourage companies to stay and grow here. Additionally, this
committee has oversight over the gaming industry, which is important since we
have a casino in my senatorial district.
I will also serve on the Transportation, Rules and Executive Nominations, State Government and Game and