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, Susquehanna 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.
2018-19 State Budget Hearings Underway; Continue Thru March 8th
The state Senate and House of Representatives Appropriations Committees have convened three weeks of hearings to consider Governor Tom Wolf’s 2018-19 budget proposal.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am taking part in these discussions. To watch the hearings LIVE, click here. Hearing summaries and a video recap will be made available at www.pasenategop.com.
On February 6th, Governor Wolf unveiled a proposed $33.2 billion General Fund Budget before a joint session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The proposal represents a $1.2 billion increase in spending from the current fiscal year.
Citing Power Grab by PA Supreme Court, Senate GOP Leaders File with Court to Protect, Defend Constitution
On February 22nd, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34) and Senator Mike Folmer (R-48) filed a complaint in the U.S. Middle District Court asking for the court to stop the implementation of Congressional District maps recently crafted by the PA Supreme Court.
The Senators were joined in the complaint by members of the state’s Congressional delegation.
Senator Corman issued the following statement:
“Our concerns stem from the attack on the constitution initiated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court – not the design of a map. What is at stake here is larger than the makeup of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation. The state Supreme Court’s decision seizes power from the other branches of government. We are unwilling to acquiesce to the court’s attempt to hijack the functions of the legislative and executive branches.
“In taking this matter to federal court, we are upholding our oath of office to protect and defend the state and U.S. Constitutions.”
Emergency Prescription Refill Bill Signed Into Law
Legislation addressing prescription refills in emergency situations has been signed into law by Governor Wolf as Act 8 of 2018.
The law eliminates a life threatening loophole in the state’s emergency prescription refill law. Under current law, in the event of an emergency situation where a patient cannot obtain a doctor’s script for the refill of a prescription, a pharmacist could issue a 72 hour supply of that drug. Issues with the law arose, with drugs that are not available in 72-hour supplies, such as insulin, and therefore could not be dispensed to the patient. This situation has resulted in fatalities in other states.
With the signing of this legislation, pharmacists are now permitted to dispense up to a 30 day emergency supply as long as certain conditions are met, such as the drug is not available in a 72-hour supply, is not a controlled substance and is essential to maintain life.
Legislation to Expand Economic Opportunities for Veterans
Two new proposals in the Senate would help create new business and job opportunities for military veterans.
Senate Bill 1040 would require state agencies to provide appropriate credit for military service toward licensure and certification requirements. In current practice, credit is not given for the training and experience gained during military service.
Senate Bill 1041, directs the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to create special logos to promote veteran-owned and disabled veteran-owned businesses.
WASD Multimodal Project Funding Awarded
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recently announced that the Williamsport Area School District will receive $1.2 million in Multimodal Transportation Funding.
As announced, the funds will be awarded to replace and upgrade the access road (Millionaire Drive) to Williamsport Area High School, including replacing all inlets, manholes, headwalls, drainage pipes, and curbs; excavating and replacing some areas of roadway; milling and resurfacing the entire roadway; and installing a sidewalk/bike path.
When the legislature enacted Act 89 of 2013, we recognized the need to enhance highway, bridge, bike, pedestrian and other investments in our communities. These funds will improve travel for motorists heading to the High School. I applaud the officials who worked on this grant funding for the betterment of our local community.
Nippenose Valley Park, Limestone Twp., Receives Grant
Lycoming County and Limestone Township officials recently celebrated a state investment to support rehabilitation and further development of Nippenose Valley Park.
Announced by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) in December 2017, a $50,000 Keystone Fund grant will support development of playground equipment, with required safety surfacing, ADA access, landscaping, project signage and other related site improvements at Nippenose Valley Park.
Well-maintained, accessible parks add value to our communities. DCNR’s decision to fund the Nippenose Valley Park project through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program will allow the township to restore this space, while improving recreation and providing enhanced outdoor opportunities for area visitors. I commend the state and Limestone Township officials on this exciting partnership.
Property Tax Rent Rebate Forms Available Now
Application forms and additional information on the state’s Property Tax Rent Rebate program are available now in my Williamsport District Office, 175 Pine Street. The program provides rebates of up to $650 on property taxes or rent paid in 2017.
To be eligible, applicants must meet income requirements and be a Pennsylvania resident age 65 and older; a widow or widower age 50 or older; or a permanently disabled individual age 18 or older.
The program is available to homeowners with a household income of $35,000 or less and renters with a household income of $15,000 or less, excluding one-half of Social Security Income and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits. Rebate amounts vary based on income.
I encourage you to contact me if you have questions about the program or need assistance in obtaining or completing an application.
DEP and PennDOT Earn State Agency Partner Awards
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) were honored with 2018 State Partner Awards from Keep America Beautiful (KAB). The awards are a result of the departments’ collaboration on the Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania in 2017, an event that brought together 132,000 volunteers to work over 7,200 cleanup sites around the state.
The Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania, organized by KAB affiliate Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, began in 2004 and aims to bring citizens together to collect trash and plant trees, shrubs, and flowers. In 2017, PennDOT partnered with over 4,800 groups in their Adopt-A-Highway program, which covered 10,733 miles of highway and saved the commonwealth over $5 million in cleanup costs. The DEP provided funding for volunteers’ supplies, and participants collected more than 5 million pounds of trash across the state’s roads, trails, and other well-visited areas. In addition, volunteers planted over 16,000 trees, bulbs, and plants.
For more information on Keep America Beautiful, click here.
For more information on the Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania, click here.
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