Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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August 26, 2019 

Governor Replies to My Questions on SB 48 Veto

Although dated August 12, I did not receive a copy of the Governor’s reply to my July 11 letter questioning his veto of Senate Bill 48 until August 20.  SB 48 would have:

  • Eliminated straight party voting (a proposal unanimously reported from the Senate State Government Committee that later became partisan);
  • Reduced the number of ballots counties need to print (another proposal reported from Senate State Government Committee);
  • Changed requirements related to whenever more than 50% of voting machines are to be replaced;
  • Allocated $90 Million to help counties pay for new voting machines, and;
  • Made voting by absentee ballot easier.

After tracking down the enclosures that were supposed to be, but not included with the reply, I found it interesting the Governor thought he had provided meaningful input that relied upon a September 8, 2017 draft from his Department of State and a House Bill (HB 101) no one had ever discussed with me.

As Forrest Gump said, “Mama always had a way of explaining things so I could understand.”  Where’s Mama when you need her?

Funding Available to Help Farmers Improve Water Quality in Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The PA Department of Environmental Protection announced the Agricultural Plan Reimbursement Program to provide $1.3 million in reimbursement grants to help farmers with the cost of preparing agricultural plans to help reduce flooding, protect public health and water supplies, and promote the long-term viability of farming.

State regulations require all farmers to implement manure management, nutrient management, or agriculture erosion and sediment control plans, and, in some cases, more than one plan.  The regulations are a key component of PA’s effort to meet federally mandated water pollution reduction targets for the Chesapeake Bay.

Reimbursement funds are available to farmers for plans developed on or since January 1, 2019, and a farmer may be reimbursed for more than one plan.  Small farmers are especially encouraged to register.  The deadline to register is April 1, 2020.  Information can be found at the Agricultural Plan Reimbursement Program website.

Volunteers Needed for York Co. Youth Diversionary Program

York County Juvenile Probation Services is seeking volunteers to its Youth Aid Panel, a diversionary program that holds youth accountable while avoiding permanent criminal records.  Under the program, select children facing summary and misdemeanor charges avoid entering the formal criminal justice system by being diverted to court-sanctioned panels made up of community members.

The panels interview the child and their families before deciding the appropriate course of action in the case.  The goal is to address the needs of the victim, community and child.  Like a court, the panel assigns tasks for the child to complete, including community service, apology letters, drug and alcohol screenings, and writing or research assignments.  If the child successfully completes the tasks, he or she will be released from the program.  No criminal record will be created for the child and his or her name will be expunged from all documents related to the arrest.

There are youth aid panels in every school district in York County.  Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, have no criminal record and successfully pass PA child abuse and FBI clearances.  The panels meet once a month with the juveniles and families in the evening.  There will be an informational session for prospective volunteers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 12.  New panel members must attend a one day training that will tentatively occur from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on October 5.  For more information, contact Lori Petraco at (717) 771-2679 ext. 2679 or Michelle Breen at ext. 2643.

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