In This Update:
Special Committee Set to Begin Bipartisan Election Review
A newly created Senate panel will begin a comprehensive review of the 2020 General Election with its first hearing on Monday, March 15, beginning at 10 a.m. The hearing is scheduled to review best practices of election integrity and security from other states.
The Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform is anticipated to produce a report that will be presented to the General Assembly with recommendations to improve the administration and safety of elections in Pennsylvania.
State residents are encouraged to submit comments through the online form.
Budget Hearings Delve Into Wolf’s Spending and Tax Plans
The Senate Appropriations Committee began the formal process of reviewing Governor Wolf’s budget proposal this week, including exploring how the governor’s massive new spending plans and record-breaking tax increases would impact Pennsylvania communities, families and small employers.
Some of the key points discussed during the hearings this week include:
Northampton County COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program – Available 3/15
Financial help is on the way for the hospitality industry, bars and restaurants in Northampton County. The County will receive $3.4 million in funding through Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP). This funding was recently made available by the State Senate to help the hospitality industry. In Northampton County the grant program will be administered by The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund.
The program will make available grants, not loans, of up to $10,000 for eligible businesses within the hospitality industry. Applications will be accepted beginning March 15th and the program will remain open until the funding has been exhausted or June 15th, whichever comes first. The application will be available Monday, March 15th on The Rising Tide’s homepage. Program guidelines and an FAQ document are now available.
The Monroe County CHIRP is still accepting applications. Program information is available through the Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation (PMEDC).
Emergency Rental Assistance Applications Available Now
Renters struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic can apply now for financial assistance through a program authorized by the General Assembly last month. Applications and more information on the program are available from the Department of Human Services.
Funding for the program was released to counties by Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity on Tuesday.
Lawmakers Seek to Put the Brakes on New Bridge Tolling Plan
PennDOT recently announced plans to add tolls to nine existing bridges on Pennsylvania’s interstate system. Legislation has been introduced in the Senate to put the brakes on this tolling plan and reform the state’s Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) process, which produced the tolling plan.
The legislation would:
Several Senators gathered in Harrisburg for a news conference this week to announce the legislation and to voice support for voiding the statute that PennDOT is using to enact these new tolls.
Senate Returns to Session Next Week, Budget Hearings Continue
The Senate will return to session on Monday. You can follow all committee hearings, meetings, floor debates and votes live at www.PASenateGOP.com.
In addition, the Senate Appropriations Committee will continue its review of Governor Wolf’s budget with hearings featuring the Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education on Thursday.
Discounted Fishing Licenses Available for Non-Resident Students
Non-resident students attending in-state universities now qualify for a discounted fishing license from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The price of a license is $22.97, which is the same price as an annual license for state residents and $30 less than the cost of an annual non-resident license.
Licenses are available through the HuntFishPA online licensing system. The opening day of trout season is April 3.
Waterways Conservation Officer Training Program Applications Due March 14
Pennsylvanians who are interested in a career as a Waterways Conservation Officer can apply now through March 14 to be a part of the next training program, which begins this summer.
The training includes a 26-week basic training course for municipal police officers in Hershey, followed by an additional 26 weeks of training at the H.R. Stackhouse School of Fishery Conservation and Watercraft Safety in Bellefonte, Centre County.
Around the 40th District
Monday, I joined State Rep. Ann Flood at NESTEC Inc. in Pen Argyl. NESTEC CEO James Nestor was recently honored with the Patriot Award from the U.S. Defense Department’s Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve program. The Patriot Award is an award that recognizes supervisors and bosses nominated by a Guardsman or Reservist employee for support provided directly to the nominator.
James was nominated by First Lieutenant Morgan Nester who serves his nation as part of the Pennsylvania Army national Guard. At NESTEC, Morgan serves as the companies controller. I thank Morgan for his service to the nation.
Rep. Flood and I presented James with a plaque from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania congratulating him on his achievement. Thank you James for your support of Morgan’s service to our country!
This week I met with Pleasant Valley FBLA President Tyler Moore and faculty advisor Denise Hopley. I presented them with two copies of a Senate Resolution I sponsored last year to recognize “National Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda Week” in Pennsylvania. I used the opportunity to speak to Tyler about his experiences in FBLA and his ambitious future plans. I expect great things from this intelligent young man.
This year I again introduced a senate resolution (SR24 of 2021) recognizing “National Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda Week,” otherwise known as FBLA-PBL.
FBLA is an organization dedicated to bringing business and education together in a positive working relationship and assists students in the transition from school to work. FBLA programs are prevalent throughout many of our school districts in Pennsylvania and strive to develop students in business and leadership skills, and community involvement that will enhance their daily lives in the future.
Pennsylvania FBLA has grown to encompass approximately 13,000 members statewide and over 200,000 members and advisors nationwide. I’m happy to show my support of this important organization and recognize the skills they aim to provide our students at the middle school, high school, and college level.
Spring Ahead: Turn Clocks Ahead One Hour This Weekend
Daylight saving time begins on Sunday, March 14, at 2 a.m. Be sure to turn your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night before going to bed.
This is also a good time to check and/or change batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. In addition to regularly replacing batteries, it is recommended that the alarm units themselves be replaced every 10 years.
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