State Sen. David G. Argall shares this week's Senate activity. Each week, Argall will release a recap of actions to keep constituents informed.

Special education funding reform sent to Governor

The Senate unanimously approved legislation on Tuesday providing reform measures for equitable special education funding. House Bill 2 now goes to the governor for his signature and enactment into law.

The measure, which is the companion bill to Senate Bill 470, allocates any new state special education funding in a manner that recognizes the actual number of physically- and mentally-challenged students in a school and the various levels of their need for services. It does not reduce the current level of special education funding received by local school districts. The legislation does not establish a new funding formula. It empowers a legislative commission to develop the formula.

Bill would allow victim testimony at parole hearings

The Senate passed Senate Bill 508 on Tuesday. This legislation would allow a crime victim or a member of the victim's family to testify directly before the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole when the victim's offender is being considered for parole. Current law does not allow a crime victim to present direct testimony before the board. The measure now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Measure expands low-interest loans for local governments

The Senate passed a measure on Wednesday that would expand a low-interest loan program for municipalities. Senate Bill 591 would increase the amounts local governments can borrow through the Local Government Capital Project loan program for equipment purchases (increased from $25,000 to $50,000) and facility upgrades (increased from $50,000 to $100,000). The program, which was set up as a self-sustaining revolving loan fund, provides loans at a two-percent interest rate. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Committees hold hearing on child protection legislative changes

The Senate Public Health and Welfare and Aging and Youth committees held a joint hearing on Tuesday to review legislative recommendations made by the Statewide Task Force on Child Protection created by Senate Resolution 250 of 2011. The committees heard from members of the task force and a representative from the Office of Children, Youth and Families at the Department of Public Welfare. For more information and video from the hearing, visit http://pasenategop.com/committees/public-health.htm [1].