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Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress of my legislative priorities. If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to visit my website at www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about issues that may affect you and your family.

Week of May 2, 2016

PA Department of Agriculture Alerts Residents of New Invasive Pest
An invasive pest, known as the allium leafminer or onion leafminer, new to the United States, was discovered in Lancaster County late last year, and has now been confirmed in Chester, Dauphin, Delaware and Lehigh Counties. The pest infects crops such as leeks, onions, garlic, chives, shallots and green onions. Research suggests it can be more damaging in organic, non-commercial farms or homeowner gardens.

PA Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding stated, “…know that there is no risk to public health.” The adult leafminer is about three millimeters long and appears to be a gray or black fly with a yellow or orange patch on the top and front. The adults appear in late winter and spring, and lay eggs on the base of stems, with larvae mining downwards and feeding on bulbs. Damage results in softening of the plant parts, increasing susceptibility to bacterial and fungal infections. The leaves of infected plants appear wavy, curled and distorted with a row of white dots.

Anyone who thinks they have observed damage or life stage of the allium leafminer should contact a plant inspector in the regional Department of Agriculture office or Penn State Cooperative Extension. Do not transport any crops suspected of infection as it increases the risk of spreading the pest. Adult leafminers can be placed in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container and turned into the department’s Entomology Lab or Extension office. Individuals can also take photos and submit to Badbug@pa.gov, or call the Bad Bug Hotline at 866-253-7189.

PA DCNR Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants
Volunteer fire companies in rural communities with less than 10,000 residents have until May 19 to apply for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant. Fire company officers may apply through DCNR’s Grant Portal. This is a cost-share program, and funds can be used to organize, train and equip local forces in preventing, controlling and suppressing wildfires that have the potential to threaten human life, livestock, crops, pastures, woodlands, orchards and farmsteads.

Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Scholarships Awarded
Families at Lebanon Christian Academy recently received a total of $7,040 of Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) scholarships through the Bridge Educational Foundation for the current school year. The scholarships were donated by PNC Bank.

Educational Improvement Tax Credit Scholarships Awarded
Families at The Samuel School in Harrisburg recently received $2,000 of Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) scholarships through the Bridge Educational Foundation. The scholarships were donated by LeTort Management and Trust.

Bills Signed into Law by the Governor
House Bill 12 – Act 24 – protections for victims of domestic violence in divorce;
House Bill 794 – Act 18 – enables 54 counties to increase their county hotel room taxes;
House Bill 1278 – Act 19 – enables the sale of automobiles in PA with an image display device;
House Bill 1329 – Act 20 – the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act;
House Bill 1340 – Act 21 – clarifies liens for assessments and amendment declarations.

Governor Wolf Visits Lebanon County
Governor Tom Wolf recently visited my Lebanon District Office in the Municipal Building to meet with and thank medical cannabis advocates, and celebrate Senate Bill 3 being signed into law as Act 16. This was truly a bipartisan effort.

 

Contact Information
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are of concern to you. I may be reached through my website or my Lebanon or Harrisburg offices.

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