Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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Week of April 8, 2019

Honored to Receive ACUF Award for Conservative Excellence

The American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF) recently released ratings of the 2018 PA General Assembly, and I’m honored to have ranked above 90%, receiving the Award for Conservative Excellence along with my colleague, Senator John DiSanto!  The ratings are designed to reflect how elected officials view the role of government while revealing positions on a variety of issues that directly affect Pennsylvanians.  Click here to see the 2018 Ratings of PA. 

Constituent Highlight: Alexa Hartranft and Hermiony Valdes

The PA Liquor Control Board sponsored its annual Alcohol Awareness Poster Contest, challenging students to create posters encouraging peers to pursue healthy alternatives to underage drinking.  Forty-three posters were selected for recognition.  Congratulations Alexa Hartranft, a fifth-grader from Union Canal Elementary School (Cornwall-Lebanon School District) on a First Place poster, and Hermiony Valdes, a seventh-grader from Allen Middle School (West Shore School District) on a Third Place poster!  Job well done!

PUC Public Hearings on UGI Utilities Proposed Rate Increase Request

The PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) has scheduled two public input hearings to receive comments on the proposed rate increase request of UGI Utilities, Inc. – Gas Division.  Both of these hearings will be in Harrisburg and consumers may participate either in person or by telephone.  The hearings will also be live-streamed on the internet for viewing by the public.

There are two ways to participate in the hearings:  1) testify and have your testimony become part of the record in the proceeding, or 2) make an unsworn statement.  Anyone choosing to testify must be sworn in, either in person or over the telephone, and the parties in the proceeding will have an opportunity to ask questions after testimony.

The hearings will be held on Monday, April 22 at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Commonwealth Keystone Building, Hearing Room 1, 2nd Floor, 400 North Street, Harrisburg.  No prior action is required for those who would like to participate in person.  For those who would like to participate by telephone, you must contact the PUC Office of Administrative Law Judge by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, at (717) 787-1399.  You do not need to have access to the live-streaming event to testify by telephone.  To watch a live-stream of the hearing, visit 

PennDOT to Replace Route 441 Span in Roytalton

The PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is coordinating with water, sewer, and utility crews, and conducting preparatory work in advance of a project to remove and replace the concrete slab structure that carries Route 441 over a tributary to the Susquehanna River near Market Street Park in Royalton Borough, Dauphin County.

PennDOT advises motorists they may encounter periodic daylight short-term single-lane restrictions between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. with flaggers alternating traffic through the work zone.  Once traffic is shifted to one side of the roadway and the barrier is set in place limiting traffic to a single lane, temporary traffic signals will assist in alternating traffic in a single lane through the work zone as crews remove and replace the existing span.  Milling and paving work may be conducted after the roadway is reopened to unrestricted two-way traffic under short-term single-lane alternating traffic patterns.

This portion of Route 441, locally known as Canal Street, averages 4,172 vehicles traveled daily.  For more information on projects occurring or being bid this year, those made possible or accelerated by the state transportation funding plan (Act 89), or those on the department’s Four and Twelve Year Plans, visit

PennDOT to Replace Market St. Span in Schaefferstown

PennDOT will close the bridge that carries Market Street over the East Branch of Hammer Creek in the Village of Schaefferstown, Heidelberg Township, Lebanon County, on Monday, April 8.  Crews will begin demolition of the existing span to start a project to replace with a precast concrete box culvert.

PennDOT advises motorists they may encounter periodic daylight short-term single-lane restrictions with flaggers alternating traffic through the work zone as crews conduct preparatory work.  Market Street will be closed from April 8 to August 9.  During this time a detour which follows Route 897, Weidman Road, will be available for motorists.

Market Street averages more than 1,000 vehicles traveled daily.  Though Market Street is a township road, the bridge over the East Branch of Hammer Creek is state-owned.

100 Years of Violet Oakley, Capitol Muralist

January 20 marked the one-hundredth anniversary of PA artist Violet Oakley finishing her Senate Chamber murals.  Unity and The Creation and Preservation of the Union were completed and dedicated first, on February 12, 1917.  Two years later, The Little Sanctuary in the Wilderness and The Slave Ship Ransomed were completed and dedicated on January 20, 1919.  In honor of this milestone, the Library of the Senate’s current featured exhibition is “Spirit and Substance:  100 Years of Violet Oakley, Capitol Muralist.”

This retrospective exhibition is a celebration of Violet Oakley’s Senate Chamber murals and her efforts to preserve the vision behind them.  The Senate Library is located in Room 157 Main Capitol, and the exhibit will be featured until May 22, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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