Sep. 20, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Bill Package Aims to Energize Job Creation in PA

This past week I joined other legislators to promote a package of bills known as “Energize PA.” The bills focus on promoting industrial opportunities in Pennsylvania’s rust belt, where we already have industrial infrastructure and a skilled workforce. Among other things, this legislation would make it easier for new industrial operations to occupy old industrial sites.

Pennsylvania has traditionally been an energy and manufacturing powerhouse – two co-related industries that brought jobs and growth to the Commonwealth for over a century. Many of those sites have modest environmental damage, a legacy of past practices but not damage that creates any ongoing environmental contamination. These are called “brownfields.”

By highlighting available brownfields, and easing the path to future permitting, those sites could be brought back into productive use again, bringing with them jobs and opportunities for communities that currently suffer from a lack of both. These old industrial sites also already have infrastructure in place, such as rail, roads and utilities. They are ready-made for development.

In addition to regenerating communities that need opportunities, helping companies to locate on brownfield sites creates additional markets for other Pennsylvania raw materials like natural gas and chemicals. Using existing sites also prevents loss of farm and forest land, and cleans up the blight of shuttered factories.

Pennsylvania has much to offer, but we lag most other states in growth. We are also losing working-aged residents to states with greater opportunities. Making Pennsylvania a location of choice for modern industry is key to our future.

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. I support the entire package of bills, with the exception of two which are based on a false model of incentives. Incentives are poor public policy because they place the government in the position of selecting winners and losers.
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.
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.

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.
PennDOT’s Schedule for Sept. 23 to 27
  • Surface treatment on Yearkle Mill Road in Warren Township
  • Crack sealing on Eby and Falling Spring roads in Guilford Township
  • Crack sealing on Main Street in Fort Loudon
  • Crack sealing on Timmons Road in Fannett Township
  • Base repair on Amberson Road in Fannett Township
  • Bridge repair on Roxbury Road in Southampton Township
  • Crack sealing on U.S. 11 (Molly Pitcher Highway) in Antrim Township
I was honored to present a citation from the House of Representatives to Eagle Scout Davey Witmer of Boy Scout Troop 99 in Greencastle.

I am an Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 99 and have gotten to see Davey grow up to be the young man that he is today. Congratulations!
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