Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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Week of January 28, 2019

ABC Keystone MSTRC Scholarships

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., Keystone Chapter (ABC Keystone) is accepting applications for the Merit Shop Training & Research Center (MSTRC) scholarships to assist individuals seeking to further their education in careers in construction. To be eligible, applicants must enroll in a trade school, college or university program directly related to a construction career, including skilled trades, engineering or construction management. An average of eight scholarships of up to $4,000 each is awarded annually.  The deadline to apply is February 22. Click here for further information.

Medical Cannabis Qualifications for Financial Hardship

Notice has been published in the PA Bulletin regarding qualifications for financial hardship necessary to obtain a waiver or reduction of the application fee for a medical cannabis identification card. The PA Department of Health (DOH) may waive or reduce the fee for an identification card application or renewal application for an applicant who demonstrates financial hardship.

DOH has determined that an applicant may demonstrate financial hardship by verifying they are currently participating in one or more of the following programs:& Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid, Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), PACE Needs Enhancement Tier (PACENET), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Women, Infants and Children (WIC). DOH may verify an applicant’s current participation in any these programs.

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding this notice to John J. Collins, Office of Medical Marijuana, Department of Health, Room 628, Health and Welfare Building, 625 Forster Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120, (717) 547-3047, or

Constituent Kudos and Congratulations!

Congratulations Viraj Govani, son of Geetaben and Nitin Govani, of Lebanon, for achieving semifinalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. Viraj was PA’s highest PSAT scoring entrant!

Kudos to Jamie and Mike Saphore, owners of the Fredericksburg Eagle Hotel, for hosting the 2018 Major General Frank H. Smoker, Jr., Foxhole Invitational golf tournament to benefit the PA National Guard Military Museum, raising $11,300!

Congratulations to Lauren Radkiewicz, of Palmyra, on being named Archives Technician with the Friends of the Railroad Museum of PA!

PA Industrial Hemp Plan Allows for Commercial Growing

PA Department of Agriculture (PDA) Secretary Russell Redding recently announced PDA has submitted its state plan for industrial hemp to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and will reopen the 2019 program to include applications for commercial growing operations. PA is only the second state to submit a state plan to USDA.

“Pennsylvania’s story is shaped by agriculture and the products that help grow the Commonwealth, and industrial hemp presents an exciting new chapter in that story,” said Secretary Redding. “The passage and signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, particularly the language removing industrial hemp from regulation under the Controlled Substances Act, and providing for commercial production of industrial hemp, are welcome changes that will benefit both Pennsylvania producers and consumers.”

PDA also approved 84 permit applications. Acreage caps, previously set at 100 acres, have been lifted for the 84 approved applicants and acreage will no longer be restricted under the new program. Additionally, there will not be a cap on the number of applications accepted for 2019. The 84 approved applications will be finalized first; additional applications will be reviewed and processed on a first come, first serve basis.

The plan will make industrial hemp subject to the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee. With the committee’s approval, industrial hemp will become a controlled plant, which will require all growers to register and obtain permits through PDA. The permit will include all information required by federal law for industrial hemp production and will allow enforcement necessary for any violation of permit conditions.

DEP Driving Forward Grants to Reduce Emissions

The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is accepting applications to replace, repower, or retrofit fleet diesel-powered trucks, buses and other vehicles and equipment through the Driving PA Forward grant program. More than $2.6 million will be available due to the 2018 emissions settlement with Volkswagen.

Grants are available for both public and private entities, including school districts, local governments, and non-profit organizations.&n The application package, including guidance and instructions, is available electronically at DEP’s Driving PA Forward webpage, or by contacting the Bureau of Air Quality at or (717) 787-9495. DEP will accept online applications until 4 p.m. February 28.

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