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State Senate Reconvenes This Week
Tune-In at 1PM
Committee Activity Streamed Live at www.PASenateGOP.com
Monday, October 18, 2021
(to consider House Bills No. 1332 and 1660)
Off the Floor
(to consider Senate Bills No. 157, 236, 327, 603, 731, 777, 786, 827 and 849)
[Committee Meetings Subject to Change]
Long Serving Senate Staff Retire
[Left to Right: Gerald A. “Arnie” Kriner, Linda Fiorilla and Sen. Yaw]
In recent weeks, two of my longtime serving staff members retired from the state Senate after years of dedication to the residents of the 23rd Senate District.
Gerald A. “Arnie” Kriner served as my Williamsport District Director. Arnie worked for the House of Representatives in the Republican Public Information Office for two years before beginning his tenure with the state Senate in 1987. He worked for both myself and my predecessor Sen. Roger A. Madigan. Arnie retired with over 36 years of service to the Commonwealth.
Like Arnie, Linda Fiorilla also retired after nearly four decades of service. Linda served as my Harrisburg Executive Assistant and Scheduler. She began her career in 1982 working for Senate President Pro Tempore Henry G. Hager. From 1982 to 1984, she served as Secretary and Administrative Assistant to the Pro Tempore. In 1984, Linda was named Executive Secretary and later Executive Assistant for Sen. Madigan and continued on in my office.
Throughout their careers, they worked tirelessly for the residents of our region, earning the respect and admiration of their many friends and colleagues. I wish them both a heartfelt thank you and congratulations on their retirements and wish them all the best in the future.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Opens Oct. 18
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which promotes funding for mitigation measures that reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property for future disasters, opens today, Monday, Oct. 18.
State agencies, federally recognized tribes, local governments/communities and private nonprofit organizations are eligible to develop mitigation project sub-applications to submit to their state, territory or tribal government. States, territories and tribes are then responsible for selecting the sub-applications that align with their mitigation priorities and submit them in an application to FEMA.
FEMA will conduct a final eligibility review of all sub-applications to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Click here for more information.
Limiting the Influence of Lobbyists and Political Consultants
Last week, Senate Republicans introduced a package of bills that would subject lobbyists and political consultants to new transparency and ethical standards to limit their level of influence in state government.
Senate Bill 801 would require lobbyists to register any clients seeking state financial assistance or grants and prohibit kick-backs and inducements for referrals or performance bonuses for a successful application for taxpayer-funded grants.
Senate Bill 802 would prohibit any state entity from hiring an outside lobbyist or political consultant to lobby any branch of government. The bill would also prohibit former lobbyists who become employees of the General Assembly from being lobbied by their previous colleagues for one year after separation from employment. This would prevent the revolving door of individuals leaving a lobbying firm to join the legislature and immediately being influenced by their former coworkers.
Senate Bill 803 would prevent lobbyists from also being registered as political consultants and would prohibit a political consultant from lobbying a state official who was a client for the remainder of the term for which consulting services were provided.
Senate Bill 804 would require all registered lobbyists to complete mandatory annual ethics training developed by the Department of State.
Discussing How to Best Protect PA Communities
The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee hosted a public hearing focusing on Senate Bill 698, which would allow counties to create countywide public safety authorities for firefighting and/or emergency medical services (EMS). Rather than replacing volunteer and career fire and EMS companies, authorities would exist to support them and their work.
The speaking panels included people representing local government, fire and EMS. They shared varying opinions about how to most effectively preserve access to life-saving care for all Pennsylvanians.
Showcasing Pennsylvania Energy
On Friday, I toured Fisher Mining Company in English Center, Lycoming Co, along with many Tri-County Rural Electric staff and board members. Deep mining at this site has been in operation since the 1880’s and was carried out through 1962 with surface mining starting around 1940. The company mines low-sulfur bituminous coal for the metallurgical and steam markets. The two electric drag lines at the site are supplied by 7,200 volts that power 1,500 horsepower motors.
Last week, I had the opportunity to welcome my colleague state Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) and his staff to Northeastern PA where we joined officials from Lackawanna Community College and Coterra Energy for a tour of the College’s School of Petroleum and Natural Gas in Tunkhannock, PA.
Sen. Street and I followed up the tour of the College with a visit to several natural gas operations in Susquehanna County hosted by Coterra Energy.
Consumer and Economic Impacts of Failing to Invest in PA’s Natural Gas Infrastructure
The Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee and the Environmental Resources & Energy Committee recently held a joint hearing to examine the consumer and economic impacts of failing to invest in the state’s natural gas infrastructure.
The committees brought together industry experts and others to provide feedback on labor, economic development and consumer protection.
View hearing video and written testimony here.
PennDOT Invites Pennsylvanians to Share Feedback
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is inviting the public to share construction and maintenance services feedback via an online survey through Oct. 26.
The 20-question survey asks how they receive PennDOT roadway information and how often PennDOT meets or exceeds expectations in construction and maintenance activities.
Respondents are also asked about experiences with reporting concerns to the department, and whether or how they use the state’s 511PA traveler information services, which provide information about the condition of more than 40,000 roadway miles in Pennsylvania online at www.511pa.com.