Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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Week of October 8, 2018

Flood Recovery Aid Available to Local Governments

To assist flood recovery efforts in areas of northcentral and eastern PA, $6.25 million is available for streambank restoration and recovery efforts by local communities.  The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will provide the required cost-share so eligible projects will be available at no cost to local governments.  The funding will assist communities recovering from the recent floods and help prepare for future storm events.

Funding will be available for Berks, Bradford, Chester, Columbia, Dauphin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montour, Northampton, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties for the flooding events that occurred in summer 2018.  For more information, contact your local United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office or Bill Kcenich in the DEP Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands office at (717) 783-0369.  Applications will be accepted until October 15.

Projects eligible for funding include removing debris from waterways, reseeding damaged areas, and protecting eroded streambanks from further damage.  Funding is not available to repair or maintain existing structures or repair damage to homes and businesses caused by floodwater.

Additionally, the PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as they conduct damage assessments from the severe storms between July 21 and August 18.  These assessments are necessary to determine if the damages are eligible for assistance under the federal guidelines.  If the damages are confirmed by FEMA to exceed the state threshold to ask for assistance, $18.5 million, then a form request for a major disaster declaration can be made to the President.

Proud to Have Lowest Expenses in PA Senate

As per York Daily Record reporter Dylan Segelbaum’s recent Fact Finder article, I’m proud to learn my Senate offices again had the lowest expenses.  In 2017, my office expenses were $8,000.24.  The next lowest was former Senator Scott Wagner with $9,032.74.

Honored to be an NFIB Guardian of Small Business

I am honored to have been named a National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Guardian of Small Business for my 100% voting record on behalf of PA’s small business owners in the 2017-18 legislative session.  Thank you to NFIB State Legislative Director Rebecca Oyler (pictured below) for presenting me with this wonderful award!

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House for Further Consideration

All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.

Senate Bill 180 – updates organ and tissue donation law (Donate Life PA Act);

Senate Bill 623 – (47-1) codifies PA Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST);

Senate Bill 764 – establishes a recreational vehicle law;

Senate Bill 912 – extends presumptive eligibility for in-home care;

Senate Bill 1073 – expands the PA Heart and Lung Act;

Senate Bill 1176 – restricts the filing of ordinances or petitions under Home Rule;

Senate Bill 1237 – addresses issues related to PA’s rural hospitals;

House Bill 783 – clarifies out-of-state manufactured home titles;

House Bill 1294 – allows the display of Purple Heart/Combat Wounded Veteran license plates on motorcycles;

House Bill 1386 – changes to teacher certifications;

House Bill 1414 – allows towing lights for certain emergencies;

House Bill 1499 – clarifies laws related to planned communities, condominiums and cooperatives. 

Bills Pass Senate, Go to Governor for Further Action

All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.

Senate Bill 172 – (47-1) establishes a five-year PennDOT and Turnpike pilot program for speed cameras in certain active work zones;

House Bill 126 – gives facilities more flexibility relating to epinephrine auto-injectors for emergencies;

House Bill 2060 – (43-5) adds restrictions for persons convicted and given Protection from Abuse orders as it relates to firearms.

Executive Nominations Unanimously Confirmed by the Senate

Liquor Control Board – Michael Negra, Centre Hall

Council on Aging – Gary T. Duncan, Dunmore and Estella M. Hyde, Linesville

Architects Licensure Board – Darryl R. Hamm, Harrisburg

Council on the Arts – Dennis L. Astorino, Upper St. Clair; Natalee Colon, York, and; William F. Morgan, Warren

State Conservation Commission – Donald A. Koontz, Mercer and Mary Ann Warren, New Milford

Board of Trustees of Ebensburg Center – John J. Letizia, Johnstown

State Board of Education – Jeffrey D. Keeling, Hadley

Fish and Boat Commission – Donald K. Anderson, Meyersdale

Housing Finance Agency – Mark Dombrowski, Erie

Human Relations Commission – Adrian E. Shanker, Easton

State Planning Board – Robert M. Hess, Hershey

State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists – David Pennoni, Havertown and Carol D. Sides, Williamsport

State Board of Psychology – Vito J. DonGiovanni, Indiana

Board of Trustees of Selinsgrove Center – Margaret E. Keller, Port Trevorton

State Board of Veterinary Medicine – Andrew P. Nebzydoski, Honesdale 

Bill Signed into Law by the Governor

Act 77:  House Bill 1917 – strengthens the training and oversight of humane society police officers.  Congratulations, Representative Frank Ryan!

LVC Awarded Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant

The PA Department of Transportation has awarded Lebanon Valley College (LVC), in Annville, Lebanon County, a $400,000 Multimodal Transportation Fund grant to improve and widen the existing pedestrian bridge over the Norfolk Southern railroad between LVC’s north and south campuses and the greater Annville area.

Commonwealth Financing Authority Grants Awarded

Four Commonwealth Financing Authority grants have been awarded to municipalities and authorities in the 48th Senatorial District:

Londonderry Township, Dauphin County – $170,000 Greenways, Trails and Recreation grant to construct upgrades at Sunset Park, including construction of a half mile trail connecting existing features within the park and providing access to nearby residential areas, installing signage, pedestrian crossings, a 25-space ADA compliant parking area and restroom facility.  An existing parking lot will also be upgraded to meet ADA requirements.

Highspire Borough, Dauphin County – $190,751 Flood Mitigation Program grant to perform a feasibility study and evaluation on three drainage systems (Burd Run, Laurel Run and the railroad track embankment along the Susquehanna River) to identify methods to reduce flooding impacts in the community.  The study will assess the potential to improve water flow through existing drainage structures, reduce stream flows by adding drainage detention capacity, and moderate Susquehanna River water back-up through the railroad embankment into the community.

South Londonderry Township Municipal Authority, Lebanon County – $312,035 PA Small Water & Sewer Program grant to reduce inflow and infiltration by rehabilitating 128 manholes and replacement of two manholes.

Northern Lebanon County Authority, Lebanon County – $85,174 PA Small Water & Sewer Program grant for the replacement of a sanitary sewer line along Fisher Street between West Hill Street and West Swatara Drive, and the installation of two manholes and replacement of 20 service laterals along the project route. 

Palmyra School District Receives School Energy Efficiency Rebate

Upon Palmyra Area School District’s recent completion of upgrades to Forge Road Elementary School, UGI presented them with an $18,750 Energy Efficiency and Conservation rebate check for efforts to be more energy efficient and improve the school’s air quality.  Upgrades included three new energy-efficient natural gas boilers and fresh air ventilation systems, façade improvements, renovated kitchen, new classroom cabinetry and ADA compliance.  The School District received a guaranteed energy savings agreement from the contractor, and, in addition to the UGI rebate, is expected to save more than $4,600 annually on heating costs.

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