Week of January 28, 2019
In this Update:
Grants Available for Parks, Recreation, and Conservation
Local governments and recreation and conservation organizations can apply now for state grants to help pay for recreation and conservation projects.
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants benefit planning, acquisition, and development of public parks; recreation areas; motorized and non-motorized trails; river conservation and access; stream buffers; open space conservation; and regional and statewide partnerships to better develop and manage resources.
DCNR has scheduled a February 27 webinar to help potential applicants. The 2019 grant application round closes April 10.
State funding sources for the Community Conservation Partnership Program grants include: Snowmobile and ATV Registrations, Growing Greener Bond Fund, Environmental Stewardship Fund, and the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund.
For more information, visit DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnership Grant Program website.
Bill Signing Ceremony for Scavello’s Anti-Littering Measure
On Wednesday, I joined advocates and Gov. Tom Wolf for a ceremonial signing into law of my legislation to reduce littering in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 431, now Act 62 of 2018, requires that for a first offense of scattering rubbish, a person is required to pick up litter or illegally dumped trash for between five and 30 hours within six months, in addition to the existing fine of $50 to $300. For a second or subsequent offense, the offender may also be required to pick up litter or illegally dumped trash for 30 to 100 hours over one year, in addition to the existing fine of $300 to $1,000.
Representatives of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau were on hand to see the bill signed into law.
When you look at all of the trash along our roads, it’s clear that fines alone are not enough to deter this crime. Littering is like graffiti and other acts of vandalism – when people engage in it without fear of punishment, it sends the message that no one cares and leads to more litter. It’s time to show we really care.
Pension Forfeiture Bill Approved by Committee
Legislation to ensure that public employees who commit job-related felonies are stripped of their taxpayer-funded pension was approved Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee in a unanimous, bipartisan vote. The bill was also moved out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and now moves to consideration by the entire Senate.
This legislation, Senate Bill 113, closes the loophole used by unscrupulous public officials whereby they plead guilty to non-forfeiture crimes so they can keep a pension. It would require pension forfeiture if a public employee or public official is convicted, pleads guilty, or pleads no contest to any felony offense related to his or her employment.
I supported this legislation when it passed the Senate in the last legislative session, and I look forward to seeing it through to enactment this session.
Senate Bill 9 designates the Eastern Hellbender as Pennsylvania’s state amphibian.
Senate Bill 26 releases Project 70 restrictions on lands owned by the Borough of Topton, Berks County, in exchange for the imposition of the restrictions on other lands to be acquired by the borough.
Senate Bill 130 releases a use restriction and reversionary interest affecting a property located partly in the Township of Mahoning and partly in the Borough of Danville in Montour County.
Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness
Senate Bill 127 reauthorizes Pennsylvania’s 911 Law, which is set to expire on June 30, 2019.
Senate Bill 128 codifies the Civil Air Patrol’s state operations in Title 51 under the leadership of the Adjutant General.
Around the 40th District
This week I joined in honoring many of our area volunteer firefighters in honoring several long-time, committed volunteers for their years of service.
Chief Leon Clapper of Blue Ridge Hook & Ladder was recognized for 40 years of dedicated service. Columbia Fire of Roseto also honored Nicholas Martino Jr. (39 years), Joseph Angelini (40 years) and Michael Goffredo (40 years) for their extensive volunteerism.
Our communities owe you a great debt and our sincere thanks for your dedicated leadership and example. Your willingness to respond at anytime day or night has ensured our safety and saved many lives. Thank you all.
I want to commend the Middle Smithfield Township 2019 Person of the Year, David Paskiet, for receiving this important honor. Sensei Paskiet is an accomplished martial arts master and Navy veteran with an extensive professional background. He worked with a dedicated board to form the non-profit Phoenix Martial Arts, which serves all students regardless of ability or income.
David works with many students with special needs and challenges them to excel and grow. He also offers free classes to students with parents serving overseas, those who have lost parents and others who want to learn no matter the circumstances. Thank you for your service to our community and the real difference you have made in the lives of countless youth and families within our community.
I also want to congratulate the other Person of the Year nominees, Francis Oquendo and Thomas Watson. Francis has served his church and Boy Scout Troop for many years. His engaged leadership has helped many boys on the Road to Eagle. Thomas is an active member of his church and volunteers for Garden of Giving, Meals on Wheels, Adopt a Road litter pickup and regularly visits with Alzheimers patients at the Meadows at Stroud Nursing Home.
Thank you all for your compassionate and selfless service.
The Senate returns to voting session on Monday at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.
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