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Slag Waste Designation Bill
Legislation that I introduced supporting the beneficial use of steel slag -- a byproduct of the steelmaking process -- received final legislative approval this week and was sent to the Governor for enactment into law.
Steel slag’s environmentally friendly properties make it very useful for a number of uses. PENNDOT has used slag in road construction projects for more than 80 years because it is reliable, versatile, and cost effective. However, current state law dictates that slag is considered to be “waste.” Therefore, mills and slag processors must seek special classification from the state Department of Environmental Protection to sell the product.
This bill, Senate Bill 497, removes requirements for “waste” classification of steel slag for piles produced after January 1, 2007 that have not been commingled with residual or hazardous waste. This legislation would help to remove the “waste” stigma associated with steel slag and promote its environmental and cost-savings benefits over other materials.
I am pleased to see this legislation move forward to the Governor for his approval. This bill will help support our slag manufacturers, encourage environmentally friendly practices, and could generate significant cost savings for taxpayers by encouraging the reuse of steel slag in Pennsylvania’s road projects. For more information please call my office at724-774-0444 or contact me on my website by clicking here.
Disposal of Opioids by Hospice Staff
As part of our continuing efforts to address Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis, the Senate approved a bill that provides for the proper disposal of unused hospice drugs. Until recently, when a home hospice patient died, unused medications could be discarded by a hospice or homecare provider. A change to federal Drug Enforcement Agency rules now prohibits that practice. The result is home hospice providers cannot dispose of the drugs unless otherwise authorized by state law to dispose of the decedent’s personal property.
This places an unnecessary burden on grieving families as they must find a legal way to dispose of those medications, which has resulted in the intentional or unintentional misuse or abuse of those drugs. Senate Bill 978 will give hospice staff the authority to properly destroy unused drugs following a patient’s death, and was unanimously approved by the Senate on Tuesday and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
For more information on this initiative call 724-774-0444 or contact me on my website by clicking here.
Community Parks and Recreation Grants
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is offering grants for municipalities, municipal agencies and nonprofit organizations. Funding is available to assist communities with planning and rehabilitation for public parks, recreation, conservation areas, and facilities. These projects can support both indoor and outdoor community recreation pursuits.
The application process is open from January 22nd to April 11th 2018. DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation also offers informational videos for grantees to use throughout the project management process and for future grant applicants to learn more about what is involved with a Park Rehabilitation and Development grant project. For more information regarding funding, or to see the informational videos, click here.
PACE and PACENET
Pennsylvania’s premier prescription drug assistance programs for seniors, PACE and PACENET, provide life-sustaining medications to approximately 300,000 older Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, while many individuals readily welcome Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, such COLA increases typically result in some individuals facing ineligibility due to the increase in income.
Recently enacted Act 62 extends coverage to seniors enrolled in PACE and PACENET prescription drug programs who would have lost eligibility due to increases in income from Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. A 0.3% Social Security COLA would result in almost 13,000 PACE and PACENET cardholders exceeding eligibility limits and, thereby, losing their benefits. Visit this link for more information on PACE and PACENET.
Homes for Heroes
Homes for Heroes was established shortly following the tragic events of 9/11 as a way to give back and say “Thank You” to our nation’s heroes. They are the largest nationwide network of affiliate real estate agents, lenders and local businesses providing easy ways for heroes to save significant money when buying, selling or refinancing a home; or when making every day home-related purchases.
Homes for Heroes is Dedicated to Serving and Giving Back to Firefighters, Law Enforcement, Military (Active, Reserves and Veterans), Healthcare Workers, EMS and Teachers When You Buy, Sell or Refinance a home. For more information call 866-443-763737 or visit their website by clicking here.
Nice to sit down and discuss Agriculture issues with Secretary Redding at the Farm Show
Five Under Forty
Young Professionals of Lawrence County (YPLC) is seeking nominations for “5 under 40”. YPLC is seeking nominations for young professionals who have shown a commitment to excellence in their career, as well as significant dedication to our community and outside organizations. Candidates should exemplify great character and a passion for a better future in their respective profession and community.
Nominees must be 39 years or younger as of December 31, 2017 and must live or work in Lawrence County, PA. All nominations must be received for review by February 2, 2018. Nominees will be recognized as part of the Lawrence County Regional Chamber's Annual Dinner on March 14, 2018.
It is their hope to recognize the talented individuals who are doing magnificent work and impacting the future of Lawrence County. This honor should be a show of support and thanks so the honorees will continue to grow and serve Lawrence County for many years to come! All nominees will be recognized and the Top 5 will be selected by an independent panel. For more information please contact 724-654-8408.
Water and Infrastructure
The United States Environmental Protection Agency offers the Water Finance Center, which provides financing information to help local decision makers make informed decisions for drinking water, wastewater, and storm-water infrastructure to protect human health and the environment.
Communities across the country face the challenge of aging and inadequate water infrastructure. Most of our underground water infrastructure was built 50 or more years ago, in the post-World War II era. In some older urban areas, many water mains are a century old. The implications of deteriorating infrastructure can be felt nationwide. For more information visit this link.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, helps low-income families pay their heating bills. LIHEAP is a grant that offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat. For more information, please contact your local county assistance office or contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095, Monday through Friday (individuals with hearing impairments may call 711).
In addition to the LIHEAP cash program, households experiencing a heating crisis may be eligible for additional benefits through the LIHEAP crisis program. Emergency situations include:
Assistance with home heating crisis situations will be available 24 hours a day; in most counties, you should contact your local county assistance office.
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Senate Box 203047