May. 03, 2019

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Harrisburg Update

A quick look at what’s happening in Harrisburg
and the 125th Legislative District...

Good News for PA Budget, Taxpayers

We have some great economic news to report related to the state budget! State revenue collections are more than $828 million ahead of estimates with two months to go in the current fiscal year. But that does not mean we should be spending it all.

My House and Senate Republican colleagues came together earlier this week to stress our intention to devote much of the additional funding to building up the state’s reserves for the next “rainy day” to help ensure we can weather the next economic slowdown.

The Commonwealth’s revenue growth is the result of pro-growth policies and our commitment to standing up for taxpayers – and standing against excessive taxes and spending proposed by the governor over the last several years.

We will continue that commitment through this year’s budget negotiations. A final 2019-20 state budget is due by June 30.

Find further details on Pennsylvania’s revenues here.

Government Done Right – Pennsylvania Needs an Upgrade

House Republicans are devoting the month of May to giving our state government a long-overdue upgrade.

Having “government done right” means upgrading to a more effective and efficient government while providing core services. It means repealing out-of-date laws, reexamining the effectiveness of some state boards and commissions, and putting a stop to the red tape and overregulation that has tied the hands of job creators and hampered economic progress.

We kicked off the effort this week by passing House Bill 762 to require state agencies to designate a regulatory compliance officer to facilitate better understanding of new and existing regulations and boost compliance rates among affected businesses.

We also passed House Bill 509, which would boost transparency in the permitting process by requiring agencies to post information online and create an accessible tracking system for applicants to check the status of their applications.

Finally, we started a spring cleaning of sorts to get rid of some our most outdated, irrelevant laws. These include measures that regulate when things can or cannot happen on Sundays, such as movie times, baseball and football games and even playing music. Other laws we are working to repeal include antiquated sections of our Public School Code and the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children, which closed in 2009.

You can read more about what we are doing to improve Pennsylvania’s government here.

Committee Supports Legislation to Offer Free College Education to Families for PA National Guard Reenlistment

The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness (VAEP) Committee unanimously supported legislation that would award a free college education to the spouse or a child of a Pennsylvania National Guard member who reenlists for another six years.

The educational benefit could be used at Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities.

Under the Military Family Education Program, a guard member may claim no more than five academic years or their equivalent. However, the member may split the benefit between multiple family members.

The guard member would be required to repay all or part of the grant payments made if he or she does not meet the six-year enlistment obligation, except in the cases of a line-of-duty death or disability.

House Bill 1324 moves to the full House for consideration.

News From the 125th District

Recently, the Schuylkill County Career Fair, sponsored by the Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Council, was held at Martz Hall in Pottsville. It was a very big success as approximately 1,300 students from 12 school districts in the county spoke to area businesses, potential employers, trade schools and colleges.

I am a strong believer that in order to grow our economy, it is imperative that we connect our education system with the needs of job creators.

Also, I was the guest speaker at the Open House/Building and Equipment Dedication ceremony for the Hegins Area Ambulance Association (HAAA) in Valley View. HAAA recently added to their existing facility. Staffed solely by volunteers, they are one of four ambulance providers in Schuylkill County that provide advance life support.

I presented them with a new state flag and thanked them for the important work and service they provide for the community.

Motorcycle Procession Safety Bill Advances to Senate

Legislation that would improve highway safety by affording certain rights to organized motorcycle processions, was overwhelmingly approved by the House this week. House Bill 634 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Under the proposal, such processions, which are often charity events, would have many of the same rights that funeral processions currently receive in Pennsylvania.

Under House Bill 634, which does not apply to the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, is defined as a group of no fewer than 10 riders, not including the lead or trailing vehicle or motorcycle. Also, the group must notify the affected municipalities no later than 14 days in advance.

House Advances Legislation to Give Charities More Fundraising Options

This week, the House approved legislation which would give local charities additional avenues to raise money at certain sporting events.

Expanding a law enacted in 2012 that permitted nonprofit organizations affiliated with the Commonwealth’s major league sports teams to conduct 50/50 raffles at sports games, House Bill 826 would expand this fundraising tool to collegiate sports teams.

Under the bill, half of the proceeds from raffle sales would go to the sports teams’ designated charity and the other half would go to the lucky fan holding the winning ticket. This legislation is about all types of organizations coming together for the good of our communities. Sports teams can help our charities raise money that will be invested back into the community.

House Bill 826 now awaits consideration by the Senate.

Prevent Lyme: Check for Ticks

With May designated as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Pennsylvania, individuals who spend time outdoors should check themselves for ticks and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-related ailments.

If bitten, an individual should monitor the area for the next month. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, a bull’s eye rash may appear, and other symptoms that can be mistaken for viral infections, such as influenza or infectious mononucleosis.

Pennsylvania has led the nation in confirmed cases of Lyme disease for three straight years.

Last year, a $500,000 grant was provided to East Stroudsburg University (ESU) to allow all Pennsylvania residents to have ticks (found on them or a family member) tested for free by the university. The Tick Lab is located within the Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute at ESU. Click here to access the Tick Lab website with all the details.
For tips about how to protect yourself from Lyme disease, click here.
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Office Locations
988 Route 61 South, East Main Street, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 | Phone (toll free) (855) 271-9384
Borough Building, 200 S. West St., Williamstown, PA  Phone (717) 647-7208
4B East Wing, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2147 
TTY: 855-282-0614