Hello! Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 23rd Senate District and look forward to working with you toward building a better future for Pennsylvania!
This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Tioga and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
January 27, 2020
Senate Reconvenes This Week
The PA Senate is in voting session this week, ahead of Governor Tom Wolf’s 2020-21 state budget address next week, Feb. 4th. This week, the Senate could consider a number of bills including:
SB 94 Ensures workers compensation coverage for all active duty volunteer firefighters, fire police, officers or directors of a volunteer fire company, and integral members of a volunteer fire company if injured in the performance of their duties.
SB 595 Provides insurance coverage for breast density screenings.
SB 491 Provides for the appointment of two Certified Pennsylvania Evaluators by the Governor to serve on the State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers.
SB 492 Clarifies that revaluation company personnel who are directly responsible for the valuation of real property must be certified as a Certified Pennsylvania Evaluator.
SB 850 Establishes the Community Integrated Schools for Success pilot program.
HB 427 Provides for health insurance coverage requirements for stage four, advanced metastatic cancer.
HB 1045 Requires the Commonwealth Financing Authority to conduct business six times per year, on specific dates.
Celebrating Bradford County’s New Mobile Resource
On Saturday, I was pleased to join with Congressman Fred Keller, Rep. Tina Pickett and library officials in Bradford County to celebrate the newest mobile resource, which will include over 2,500 books, free WiFi and other special features!
Did You Know that Bradford County bookmobiles have been in operation for nearly EIGHT decades?! They have a tradition of serving our rural area, promoting literacy & bringing stories to those who can’t get to a library. To see the 2020 Bookmobile schedule, click here.
Transportation and Climate Initiative Focus of Joint PA Senate Hearing Wednesday
The state Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee, which I chair, and the Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Sen. Kim Ward (R-39), will hold a joint public hearing this week on Pennsylvania’s participation in a multi-state plan aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
This plan, titled the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), seeks to cap and reduce carbon emissions from vehicles through a cap-and-invest program and could significantly change the face of transportation on the East Coast. In 2018, Pennsylvania joined eight other states, as well as the District of Columbia, to develop a regional policy. The public comment period on the draft TCI memorandum of understanding ends on Friday, Feb. 28. To read more, click here.
What’s Your Take on TCI?
The debate over climate change and global warming is the most significant environmental public policy debate taking place today in our state, across the nation and around the globe. As Chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, I take this matter very seriously, and work to protect our environment with sound public policy that includes balancing the policy’s impact on our local and state economies.
In recent years, Pennsylvania has taken great strides to reduce emissions of all pollutants, including greenhouse gasses. In fact, Pennsylvania’s net greenhouse gas emissions dropped nearly 19% from 2005 to 2016, according to a new inventory prepared by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Furthermore, America led the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions over that time period. These reductions are having a demonstrated impact on air quality, with DEP forecasting fewer and fewer severe air quality alerts each year.
While the goal of addressing climate change is desirable, there have been many legislative proposals introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature that could have severe repercussions for the residents and small business owners of our district and our Commonwealth. If enacted, many of the initiatives, including Governor Wolf’s efforts to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) could, in the long run, lead to even higher energy costs.
I invite you to take this very brief poll to gauge the level of support for the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) in Pennsylvania. Click here.
NOW OPEN: Public Comment Period for PennDOT’s Draft Statewide Public Participation Plan
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced it will hold a 45-day public comment period on proposed updates to its Statewide Public Participation Plan, which will begin today, Monday, January 27 and conclude on Wednesday, March 11.
The plan outlines the public participation methods used when developing the Statewide Long Range Transportation Plan, the Twelve Year Program, the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, and the Statewide Public Participation Plan, and explains how the public can get involved in its statewide transportation planning and programming processes.
PennDOT encourages the public to review the draft plan in its entirety, and to provide comments. The draft document and the electronic comment form will be available at www.PennDOT.gov/PublicParticipation
Keeping Kids Safe
New state law: Act 47 of 2019 requires all employees having contact with children to obtain criminal background checks & PA #ChildAbuse History Clearance prior to beginning work. The change eliminates the ability of agencies or organizations to hire employees on a provisional basis without a waiver, ensuring that those who have contact with children meet state and federal requirements and enhancing the safety of environments where children are served. For details & waiver application, click here.
LIHEAP Applications Accepted
A PA Public Utility Commission survey found more than 18,350 households statewide entered winter without heat-related utility service or using unsafe heating sources. Consumers can find help through assistance offered by their utilities or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). For more information, click here.