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Attention all veterans: CCBC & I will be hosting our annual Veterans Salute Breakfast on Friday, November 10 at the CCBC Dome. See flier for more information. Thank you to all veterans for your service to our nation!
Senate Adopts Emissions Test Elimination Impact Study
Last week, the Senate approved a resolution initiating a study on the environmental impact of eliminating the vehicle emissions program in Beaver County, among other counties.
Senate Resolution 168 instructs the Joint State Government Commission, a bipartisan research agency of the General Assembly, to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the potential impact of removing all Third, Fourth, and Fifth Class counties from the vehicle emissions testing program, as well as provide recommendations for Pennsylvania’s continued compliance with federal air quality standards.
The report is to be presented to the Senate no later than one year from the resolution’s adoption (Oct. 24). I am confident that the findings of the report will corroborate what I and many constituents have been saying for many years: the environmental benefits of emissions testing newer, low-emissions vehicles in Beaver County is negligible and imposes an unnecessary cost to the average citizen. I look forward to receiving the results from the study and will share them with you as soon as they’re published.
For the past two sessions, I’ve had an interest in and held hearings discussing legislation to remove the prohibition on the sale of consumer fireworks to Pennsylvanians. The recently passed budget includes language that makes consumer fireworks legal for purchase by Pennsylvania residents. Moving forward, consumer fireworks will now be legal for purchase by PA residents.
For many years, Pennsylvania’s unusual fireworks law permitted out-of-state residents to purchase consumer fireworks in PA, while PA residents were forbidden to purchase them without first obtaining a permit from their local government - assuming the local government even offered such a permit. Oftentimes, residents would cross state borders to purchase their fireworks—spending their money in other states and then bringing them back into PA.
Consumers will now have the convenience to shop for and purchase safety-tested, widely-available consumer fireworks in Pennsylvania similar to those found in other states. An added benefit will be the creation of a new industry in the state, allowing small businesses to compete in this newly available market with steady, yearly demand. Lastly, tax revenues will increase as these products will be taxed at a rate of 12% of the sale price, in addition to the typical sales and use tax levied on goods.
It was wonderful to meet with local representatives of the Nurses of PA to discuss industry issues and reforms.
Governor Vetoes Work Requirements for Welfare Recipients
To help contain the escalating costs of the state’s Medical Assistance program, the Senate and House recently approved legislation that would allow for reasonable work or work-search requirements for able-bodied individuals receiving Medical Assistance benefits. Work requirements are already in place for supplemental nutrition and cash assistance programs. Medical Assistance is one of the largest cost-drivers in the $32 billion state budget, accounting for 29 percent of expenditures.
As part of House Bill 59, the Department of Human Services would have been required to design work or work-search requirements for able-bodied, non-elderly individuals without children, pending federal approval. Another provision in the bill would have required the department to pursue additional cost savings before seeking any more from the state’s General Fund. I regret to inform you that Governor Wolf vetoed these important reforms, opting to continue business as usual in regards to this increasingly-costly program.
Homestead Exclusion Ballot Question Final Update
Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about the upcoming November 7 ballot question proposing an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution to expand the homestead exclusion.
The Pennsylvania Election Code requires the Attorney General to prepare a statement in plain English clarifying the purpose, limitations, and effects of the ballot question. Click here to read the plain English explanation.
It was great to visit LCCAP’s Ben Franklin Early Learning Center in New Castle recently.
Spotted Lanternfly Hearing Held
The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs recently held a hearing on the Spotted Lanternfly (see picture). The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive, highly destructive pest indigenous to Asia, but has been seen in Pennsylvania in recent years. If you see a Spotted Lanternfly, report it immediately to your local Penn State Extension.
Spent Grains Available for Livestock Feed
If you know of any farmers looking for spent grains (grains that have been partially extracted, but still used for livestock supplemental feed) it has been brought to my attention that about 750 lbs of Barley & Wheat spent grains will be available next week (Tuesday and Wednesday) thanks to a local Lawrence County brewery. If interested, please email email@example.com to discuss how and when to arrange a pickup.
Toys for Tots Collection Site
My Rochester Office will be collecting toys for the Marine Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” program through December 15th. If you would like to participate, please drop off any new, unwrapped toys at my office at 488 Adams Street in Rochester.
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Senate Box 203047