Sep. 20, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Honoring Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Sen. Dave Argall (R-Berks/Schuylkill) and I had the pleasure of presenting an official House citation to Dr. Sean Grace, president of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton. It is a nonprofit, 2,600-acre wild bird sanctuary featuring a visitor center, trails and overlooks. The sanctuary, which dates back to 1934, is a prime location for the viewing of kittling and migrating raptors with an average of 20,000 hawks, eagles and falcons passing the lookouts during the late summer and fall every year. It is a great place to visit.
New Business in Our Area

In this edition of the Legislative Report, I visited Clearly Clean, a new business from Orwigsburg. What is Clearly Clean? What makes them tick? Click here to find out more.
Bill Package Aims to Energize Job Creation in PA

Continuing the House Republican commitment to #GoodJobs4PA, House Republicans and advocates gathered in the state Capitol Rotunda Wednesday to renew the call to action on a package of bills known as Energize PA.

The bills aim to build on the state’s rich history in energy production, innovation and manufacturing by enacting policies that would open the doors to creating quality, family-sustaining jobs. It does so without increasing taxes or fees on Pennsylvania residents or employers.

One measure already signed into law, Act 20 of 2019, expands the Pipeline Investment Program by making grants available to construct the last few miles of natural gas distribution lines to business parks and existing manufacturing and industrial enterprises while also providing access to natural gas for residents.

Other measures address developing more competitive tax policies, identifying abandoned manufacturing sites available for redevelopment and improving the state’s permitting processes.

For additional information about Energize PA, click here. 

The bill package aims to build on efforts earlier this session to enact other pro-growth policies, including an overhaul of the state’s career and technical education and training programs to better prepare workers for the well-paying jobs of today and tomorrow. Many of those measures are pending action in the Senate.
Dairy Investment Program Accepting Grant Applications

A grant program created last year to help Pennsylvania’s struggling dairy farmers is now accepting applications for its second round of funding.

Grants support on-farm innovation, research and development, organic transition, and value-added processing of products like cheese, yogurt and ice cream.

Act 38 of 2019 established the grant program in statute, meaning it will be offered each year funding is made available. This year’s budget funded the program at $5 million. The program is administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

Pennsylvania is home to 6,650 dairy farms, which contribute $14.7 billion in economic revenue annually and support more than 52,000 jobs. However, the industry is currently struggling with some farmers shutting down their operations. The grants are designed to help dairy farmers adjust to current markets.
Applications Open for School Safety Grants

The School Safety and Security Grant Program is now accepting applications for funding from school districts and school entities across the Commonwealth.

The program, created by the Legislature and administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, offers both meritorious and competitive grants to help ensure the safety of all students in our schools.

Meritorious grants are open only to school districts, while competitive grants are available to school districts as well as other school entities, including intermediate units, area career and technical schools, charter schools and more.

The funding may be used for any of the nearly two dozen school safety initiatives listed in the law, including such things as hiring school security officers, purchasing security-related technology, completing safety and security assessments, implementing violence prevention curricula, offering counseling services for students, and other programs and services to protect students.

For more information about the program and how school districts and school entities may apply, click here. 

The deadline to apply for the grants is Monday, Nov. 4.
Game Commission Seeks Input on CWD Response Plan

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has released a draft of its new Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Response Plan and is seeking public comment on the proposal through early next year.

The proposed plan outlines the commission’s goals and objectives in managing CWD, as well as actions that could be implemented to achieve those goals. Those actions could include hunting-related changes, such as expanded deer seasons or removal of antler restrictions, and potential small-scale, targeted removal of deer in certain areas.

Public comments on the plan are being accepted through Feb. 29, 2020, and will be considered in the adoption of a final plan, which will be implemented for the 2020-21 hunting seasons.

CWD is always fatal to the deer and elk it infects. It was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2012, and as of 2018, 250 free-ranging CWD-positive deer have been detected within the state. All but four of the CWD-positive free-ranging deer have been found within Disease Management Area 2 in southcentral Pennsylvania, which covers more than a dozen counties and more than 6,700 square miles. Additional disease management areas, established as a result of positive tests within captive deer herds, are located in Armstrong, Clarion, Clearfield, Jefferson and Indiana counties, and in Lancaster County.

To read a copy of the report and offer comment, click here.
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