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.
March 22, 2019
“Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don’t expect it from cheap people.” -Warren Buffett
The state Senate will reconvene on
The state Senate will reconvene on Monday, March 25th at the State Capitol. The Senate’s Legislative Calendar is updated each day the Senate is in Session. The calendar identifies bills and resolutions awaiting Senate floor actions. To preview the meetings and hearings, visit online.
First Bill of the 2019-20 Legislative Session Sent to Governor’s Desk
A measure that would strip taxpayer-funded pensions from public employees and lawmakers who commit job-related felonies received final approval in the Senate this week and has been sent to Governor Wolf for approval.
Senate Bill 113 would require pension forfeiture if a public employee, lawmaker or public official is convicted, pleads guilty, or pleads no contest to any felony offense related to his or her employment.
Senate Panel Endorses Telepresence Education Proposal
The Senate Education Committee approved a bill this week that would ensure students who face an extended absence from school due to injury or illness could continue to participate in classroom activities and learning.
Senate Bill 144 would create a new grant program to help Intermediate Units purchase technology that will allow homebound students to participate in normal classroom learning, schoolwork and activities remotely through the use of telepresence technology.
What We’re Watching…
On Wednesday, state legislators questioned Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding on specifics of the Governor’s proposed $24 million PA Farm Bill. The bill is being championed as a measure supporting the future of farming, while also providing investments in new agriculture innovations. While I support many of the components of the proposal, I still question the Governors ag line-item cuts from his 2019-20 budget plan.
My office has been receiving phone calls and emails regarding House Bill 768, legislation which would require all Pennsylvania gun owners to register their firearms annually, as well as impose a $10 fee on each and every firearm. There is widespread opposition to this proposal, and I do not anticipate the Senate to consider the bill should the House of Representatives approve it.
Pennsylvania State Police deputy commissioners this week further explained the agency’s interactions with foreign nationals and reports made to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The discussion was called in response to questions during recent state budget hearings about how and when foreign nationals are reported to ICE, and what types of warrants are used as the basis for that report. Major James Degnan, the State Police Acting Deputy Commissioner of Operations, also noted nothing in the new policy “establishes Pennsylvania as a sanctuary state” for undocumented foreign nationals who have a criminal warrant issued against them or are subjects of criminal investigations.
Governor Wolf this week signed the sixth renewal of his 90-day opioid disaster declaration. Sixteen state agencies and commissions, as well as the Office of the Attorney General, are part of the Opioid Operational Command Center established by the declaration. As I have said, there is no silver bullet to addressing the growing epidemic, but I continue to work with my colleagues to craft common sense legislation that could aid in the fight.
Tours ADS Manufacturing Plant in Muncy
This month’s television report will air on:
Please check local listings for air times.
In Other News….
PennDOT is hiring!…The Department of Transportation, Lycoming County Maintenance Organization, is seeking to fill two vacancies for full-time CDL Equipment Operators, as well as one vacancy for a Mechanic Supervisor to support the maintenance of the County highway and bridge systems. Spread the word if you know of a qualified candidate(s).
PPL Electric Utilities has announced the creation of a scholarship program to aid high school seniors pursuing an environmentally-related career. The PPL Electric Utilities Future Environmental Leaders scholarship contest will be open to students looking to attend both two-year and four-year schools. One winner will be picked from each of seven geographical regions within the utility’s service area in central and eastern Pennsylvania to receive $2,000 toward college expenses. To learn more about the scholarship and view the application and rules, visit pplelectric.com/scholarship.
News from SEDA-COG…..Several spots are still open on the waiting list for Jersey Shore Borough residents to receive no-cost housing rehabilitation work. Borough officials are urging residents to apply now, but you must meet certain income eligibility requirements. Eligible repairs include structural, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating/furnace, window replacement, radon and lead-based paint mitigation, and energy-related improvements. Interested homeowners may call SEDA-COG’s Sue Goddard at 800-326-9310.
PennDOT and DEP are seeking volunteers for this year’s Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania, a campaign of statewide community cleanup activities that runs through May 31st. Groups participating in PennDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) program, which involves volunteers cleaning roadsides year-round, are also encouraged to take part in the campaign.
The PA Business One-Stop Shop, authorized by the Legislature in 2018, helps owners of new and existing businesses plan, register, operate and grow their business. PA Business One-Stop Shop includes help finding the right location and business experts near you, along with tax information, business grants, etc. To read more, click here.
Builders Association Hosts Home Show
More than 100 vendors filled the Keiper Recreation Center at Lycoming College last weekend for the West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association 60th Annual Home Show. I was happy to attend, along with Rep. Jeff Wheeland and the Lycoming County Commissioners.
Lycoming County Company Named Environmental Excellence Award Winner
Congratulations to Ralph S. Alberts Company, Montoursville, who has been selected by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to receive the prestigious 2019 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The company is being recognized for innovative furnace and lighting upgrades.
“An innovative new furnace system removes degraded polyurethane from the metal framework of amusement park rides so the frame can be reused. Through this and the conversion of 269 bulbs at the plant with LED lighting, Alberts has eliminated 410 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, saved 6,900 MMBTU in natural gas and over 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, and saved about $28,000 annually.”
Any individual, business, school, government agency, or community organization in Pennsylvania was eligible to apply. DEP evaluated projects for their degree of environmental protection, innovation, partnership efforts, economic impact, consideration of climate change, and sustainability and results achieved.
HRSA Announces TWO Funding Opportunities
Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Implementation
The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) will be making approximately 75 awards of up to $1 million each to rural communities to enhance service delivery for substance use disorder, including opioid use disorder. Over the course of a three-year period of performance, grant recipients will implement a set of core prevention, treatment, and recovery activities that align with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Five-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis. Award recipients are strongly encouraged to leverage workforce recruitment and retention programs such as the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). All domestic public and private entities, nonprofit and for-profit, are eligible to apply and all services must be provided in HRSA-designated rural areas (as defined by the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer).
The applicant organization must be part of an established network or consortium that includes at least three other separately-owned entities. At least two of these entities must be located in a HRSA-designated rural area.
FORHP will hold a 90-minute webinar for applicants on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 from 11:30-1:00 pm ET. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend. For the webinar dial-in and playback information, please reference page (ii) in the Notice of Funding Opportunity on Grants.gov. (Click “Preview” on the Package tab, and then “Download Instructions.”)
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Evaluation
The purpose of this cooperative agreement is to evaluate the impact of Rural Community Opioid Response Program (RCORP) initiatives which currently include the RCORP-Planning, RCORP-Implementation, and RCORP-Technical Assistance (RCORP-TA) activities, and to develop valuable RCORP-based evaluation tools and resources for use in rural communities and to inform future rural health initiatives. Working with all RCORP award recipients, the RCORP-Evaluation anticipated activities include collecting and analyzing award recipient-reported data, defining and implementing impact indicators to assess the effectiveness of TA and award recipient activities, working with the RCORP-TA provider to identify RCORP best practices, using RCORP findings to identify research needs, and making recommendations to enhance RCORP activities and inform future rural health initiatives.
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