Jul. 19, 2019

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Harrisburg Update

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


Schuylkill County Borough to Receive Funding for Local Storm Sewer System


 
I have some excellent news to report. The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) has approved Auburn Borough’s request for a low-interest loan of $350,000, which will fund a storm sewer upgrade project.

The project is to construct 1,190 feet of storm sewers and 11 storm sewer inlets to redirect flows away from the existing rock channel to connect to the existing stormwater system. This will eliminate the flooding impacts that have structurally undermined buildings in the borough.

Funding this project will ultimately save residents and the borough thousands in possible restoration fees for backed-up sewers and damage to homes and businesses caused by stormwater run-off. We certainly do not need any more flooding issues in our area.

PENNVEST provides grants and low-interest loans to communities across the Commonwealth for sewer, stormwater and water projects. The projects contribute to improving Pennsylvania’s environment and the health of its people, while also providing opportunities for economic growth and jobs for Pennsylvania workers.


House GOP Advocacy Leads to New Laws to Ensure Fairness, Justice


Working to ensure justice is served for victims of crime in the Commonwealth, several initiatives championed by House Republicans aimed at improving the effectiveness and fairness of court proceedings were recently signed into law.

The measures to address court proceedings include:

• Act 31 of 2019 adds several different crimes – such as human trafficking, sexual abuse and related offenses – to the statute allowing out-of-court statements by children.
• Act 30 of 2019 extends the ability of the court to accept out-of-court statements made by people with intellectual disabilities or autism.
• Act 23 of 2019 ensures a victim is permitted to be present at any criminal proceeding unless the court determines the victim’s own testimony would be altered by hearing other witnesses.
• Act 24 of 2019 would prevent prosecutors from bringing up a victim’s sexual history or prior allegations of sexual abuse while prosecuting certain crimes.

Learn more about our victim protection initiatives here.
 

Happy Anniversary

 
Recently, I attended the 190th Anniversary celebration for D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery in Pottsville. Many people travel to the city just to tour the brewery. It is an outstanding facility. Pictured with me (from left) are Sen. Dave Argall (R-Berks/Schuylkill), George Halcovage, Schuylkill County commissioner; Dick Yuengling, D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery president; Frank Staudenmeier, Schuylkill County commissioner; and Congressman Dan Meuser (R-9th District).
 

Fiscal Responsibility Leads to Healthy Deposit in State’s Rainy Day Fund

A strong economy, combined with House Republican efforts to stand up for taxpayers and against a series of tax hike proposals from Gov. Tom Wolf over the last four years, has resulted in a healthy investment of nearly $317 million in the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The fund essentially serves as the Commonwealth’s savings account, available to help weather the next economic downturn without further burdening hard-working taxpayers.

Last year marked the first deposit in the Rainy Day Fund in more than a decade. It totaled just $22 million.

This year, lawmakers agreed during budget negotiations to deposit the full amount of the General Fund balance at the close of the 2018-19 fiscal year into the fund.
 

Supporting Foster and Adopted Children

Working to ensure success for children in the foster system and those who have been adopted, the General Assembly has enacted three new laws.

• Act 14 of 2019 promotes the placement in adoptive homes of children who have disabilities or are otherwise hard to place due to age, sibling relationships or ethnicity. The law allows family members who are granted permanent legal custodianship for qualified children up to 21 years of age to receive subsidies for their care.
• Act 16 of 2019 assists children in the foster care system with the challenges of accessing higher education opportunities by creating a tuition fee waiver option for youth in foster care, who were adopted from the foster care system, or have aged out of foster care.
• Act 47 of 2019 simplifies the process for certain adoptions by allowing a prison employee to serve as a witness to the completion of an adoption consent form by an incarcerated birth parent. If a second witness is unavailable, the new law allows the consent to be acknowledged before a notary public.

We need to continue to support children in the foster system. Foster homes teach children what it means to be a kid. They learn to laugh and love and to act their age. They get educated and eventually play a significant role in society.
 

Removing Barriers to Employment


Building on our long-term efforts to promote economic opportunity and remove barriers to work, the General Assembly has passed a new law improving the portability of professional licenses.

Act 41 of 2019 requires the licensing boards and commissions under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) to provide licensure by endorsement for applicants who hold similar licenses in other states. It also offers a provisional endorsement license to quickly move these professionals into the work force.

Under prior law, professionals moving into the state – including members of the military and their families – faced a number of barriers and delays in obtaining the appropriate licenses to reenter the work force, creating a financial burden for them and their families. In some cases, the delays could lead to missed job opportunities or even a decision to avoid moving to the Commonwealth.

The law is a win-win for both employees and employers.
 
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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 
Email: mtobash@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
 
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