Hello! Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 23rd Senate District and look forward to working with you toward building a better future for Pennsylvania!
This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
It’s better to make mistakes while trying something new than not try anything at all.
Senate to Return to Session Wednesday, Thursday
The General Assembly enacted an on-time state spending plan and presented it to the Governor on June 30, 2017. The Governor permitted the spending plan to become law without his signature – the third time he has done so since taking office.
Currently, the General Assembly and the Administration are working to develop and enact a revenue package to support the enacted fiscal year 2017-18 appropriations.
As part of that effort, the state Senate returns to Session on Wednesday July 26 to address the state’s Fiscal Code, Tax Code, Administrative Code, School Code and other budget-related components.
To watch LIVE, click here.
Bill Making Improvements to Act 537/PA Sewage Facilities Act Signed by Governor
Senate Bill 144 (Act 26 of 2017), legislation I sponsored to amend Act 537, also known as the PA Sewage Facilities Act, was signed by the Governor last week.
At a recent hearing of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, testimony was offered by a variety of organizations who are directly impacted by the Act. The consensus from their testimony was that Act 537 should be amended to allow the use of “alternative systems” for planning purposes throughout the Commonwealth.
Currently, the Department of Environmental Protection only allows for “conventional systems” to be used in site planning. Once the lots are created, “alternative systems” may then be installed. Allowing for “alternative systems” in the planning process would widen the area to which development can take place and save valuable acreage that could otherwise be used for agriculture.
This new law allows responsible development and still maintains stringent protection of our water supplies without unnecessary delay.
New Law Promotes Use of Cleaner-Burning Natural Gas in Larger Vehicles
Legislation to promote the use of cleaner-burning natural gas in larger vehicles was recently signed into law as Act 31 of 2017.
The proposal increased the maximum allowable weight for motor carrier vehicles that are powered by natural gas from 80,000 pounds to 82,000 pounds to accommodate the heavier equipment needed for natural gas-burning vehicles.
Vehicles powered by natural gas typically weigh more than gasoline- or diesel-powered trucks simply because of the heavier fuel tanks and related equipment needed to accommodate this different type of fuel.
Inspector General Legislation Becomes Law
On July 20, Senate Bill 527 was signed into law as Act 29 of 2017. The legislation statutorily creates the State Office of Inspector General and gives Pennsylvania’s top fraud, waste and abuse investigator more power and authority to conduct investigations.
This new law will go a long way to show the people of Pennsylvania that their government leaders genuinely care about finding and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in state government programs and services.
Senate passes bill that would enhance PA’s 2-1-1 system
The Senate recently approved Senate Bill 211, legislation that would enhance the already existing 2-1-1 system in Pennsylvania.
If approved by the full General Assembly and signed by the Governor, the Department of Human Services would be required to develop and implement a process to award grants to qualified applicants to be used for the following purposes:
Birth Certificate & Death Certificate Requests
As noted in an earlier E-Newsletter Edition, due to peak volumes, the Department of Health is experiencing significant delays in fulfilling birth and death certificate requests.
Processing time for birth and death certificates through our legislative offices is averaging six to eight weeks.
There are three ways to obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate. Be sure to complete all required information on the application form provided within each link:
Please note: Processing times vary by site. You may select the links above for additional information on specific processing times in public offices.
Oil and Gas Annual Report Goes Digital, Providing Easier Access to Data, Trends
Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the country and one of the most transparent states in making information publicly accessible.
For the first time, DEP's annual report on oil and gas activities is entirely digital, improving access to 2016 permit activity, inspections, operator compliance, and enforcements for conventional and unconventional wells.
Technology has made it easier to highlight trends. For example, in 2016 natural gas production from unconventional wells reached its highest level (about 5.1 trillion cubic feet) while the number of new unconventional wells drilled was the lowest since 2008.
And now, not only are the number of unconventional well drilling permits per county shown (1,321 total), but the permits are mapped. By clicking on a location, users can obtain the permit number, operator name, issuance date, and other information.
Lycoming County Announces Funding Opportunity for Affordable Housing Projects
The Lycoming County Board of Commissioners is seeking projects that address affordable housing to include in its 2017 Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE) application to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority (PHFA).
Interested parties are to submit applications to the county by July 31, 2017. Application materials and instructions are available on the county’s website at http://www.lyco.org/housing. Those who have further questions should contact Kim Wheeler, Deputy Director for the Lycoming County Department of Planning and Community Development at 570-320-2134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program Now Open
PennDOT will begin accepting competitive applications for funding through the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program on Monday, July 10, 2017. The application deadline is September 22, 2017. The Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Application form, Program Guidance, and additional information are available on PennDOT’s website.
The Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside is a federal program that offers funding opportunities to expand transportation choices and enhance the transportation experience. Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside projects are intended to build pedestrian and bicycle facilities, improve access to public transportation, create safe routes to school, preserve historic transportation structures, provide environmental mitigation or create trails projects that serve a transportation purpose, while promoting safety and mobility. Currently, there are eleven (11) general project categories that are eligible for Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside funding.
For more information, click here.
FREE Mammograms Available through Pennsylvania’s Healthy Woman Program
District Outreach Events
As a means to better serve the residents of the 23rd Senatorial District through increased outreach efforts, the added hours and locations below will provide better opportunities for area residents to meet directly with a member of my staff.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Constituent services are always available at my Williamsport District Office , located at 175 Pine Street, Suite 105, from 9 AM - 5 PM, or by calling (800) 443-5772.