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Bailey Mine Permitting Decision Provides Boost to Local Economy
The coal industry plays a critical role not only in our local economy, but also in the state’s energy portfolio. Greene County received good news recently with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) approval of permits for the next three panels at the Bailey Mine. This announcement should allow for uninterrupted work for several years to come in the Pennsylvania Mining Complex. It will also provide some much-needed stability for the hundreds of families whose livelihoods depend on coal mining and related industries in Greene County.
My thanks goes out to the DEP, the Governor’s Office and CONSOL Energy for reaching an agreement that promotes the continued development of our natural resources safely and effectively.
It was a pleasure to celebrate the renaming of the Iceoplex to Printscape Arena at Southpointe. Pictured from left to right: Bubba Snider (owner of Bubba’s Gourmet Burghers), Rich Hopf (Director of Hockey Operations – Printscape Arena), and John Dziak (owner of Printscape Imaging & Graphics).
Performance-Based Budgeting Proposal Highlights Legislative Activity
Two weeks ago, lawmakers finalized work on the 2017-18 state budget. In addition to completing work on the revenue plan and related bills, lawmakers also approved a bill that is designed to implement performance-based budgeting in Pennsylvania. The plan would require every state agency to justify all expenses each year as part of the budget process to ensure tax dollars are not lost to waste, fraud, mismanagement or abuse.
Other legislation to receive final passage included:
House Bill 46, which would allow taxpayers to designate a portion of their state income tax refund for pediatric cancer research beginning with tax year 2018 filings.
House Bill 203, legislation that amends the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code to increase from $5,000 to $10,000 the amount an employer may pay directly to a surviving relative for the decedent’s final paycheck.
Senate Bill 222, which adds Court of Common Pleas judges in several counties across the state, including Washington County.
Senate Bill 242, a measure that transfers enforcement authority for the Pennsylvania One Call System from the Department of Labor & Industry to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Senate Bill 260, legislation that provides broader representation of crime victims on the state Victims’ Services Advisory Committee.
Senate Bill 690, a bill that establishes a mechanism for the initial apportionment of any home rule or optional plan municipality without a mayor that will be dividing into wards either partially or totally.
Senate Bill 691, which establishes uniform residential qualifications of office for persons seeking election to, or appointment to fill a vacancy in, a municipal elected office where recent service in the military might interfere with the person’s ability to satisfy the relevant residency requirements.House Bill 790, legislation to establish the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Act to provide for the regulation of noxious weeds and controlled plants and repeals the Noxious Weed Control Law.
Congratulations to Nolan Sion for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor bestowed upon members of the Boy Scouts of America. I presented Nolan with a Senate Citation honoring his monumental achievement.
New Managed Care Plan Focus of Upcoming Cable Show
Pennsylvania is preparing for the implementation of a new managed care program that is expected to impact several hundred thousand Medicaid recipients across the state. Beginning in January of 2018, aged and disabled residents of 14 counties will be the first in the state to be transferred into the new Community HealthChoices managed care program. The next edition of my monthly cable television show will focus on this new change in greater detail and provide answers to the many questions being asked by the Commonwealth’s older residents. Stay tuned for more details in the coming days.
Financial Assistance Available for Families Struggling With Home Heating Costs
The onset of cooler weather creates significant challenges for many low-income families throughout the region. A number of customer assistance and service programs are available to help families who are struggling to pay heating bills during the winter months.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides grants to help eligible families pay heating bills. Crisis grants are also available for heating emergencies such as a broken furnace, utility termination or fuel shortage. Applications for LIHEAP can be completed online on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services (COMPASS) website at www.compass.state.pa.us.
The Pennsylvania Customer Assistance Program (PCAP) helps eligible homeowners and renters eliminate past-due balances to maintain heating services. The program also establishes consistent monthly payments so customers are not faced with cost spikes during the winter months. More information is available by calling (888) 282-6816.
The Dollar Energy Fund offers assistance to customers who have experienced a temporary financial hardship and need help paying their electric bill on a short-term basis. Details on the program are available online www.dollarenergy.org.
The WARM program helps low-income customers reduce utility bills through the use of in-home energy evaluations. Additional information and eligibility criteria is available by calling 1-800-207-9276.
I was honored to present certificates of recognition to all of the honorees at the Lemoyne Community Center’s 6th Annual Roast. Honorees included The Honorable Traci McDonald Kemp, Ricky Mull and Nettie Robinson (posthumous).
For more information on issues of importance to southwestern Pennsylvania, please visit my website at www.senatorbartolotta.com and connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/senatorbartolotta) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/senbartolotta).
SouthPointe District Office
Greene County Office Building