I am pleased to present my electronic newsletter. These e-newsletters enable me to provide information about issues, events and activities in Harrisburg and around the 47th Senatorial District to you in a timely manner while saving postage costs.
If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatoreldervogel.com for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the page.
Last week, I spoke at the Pennsylvania Housing Trust Fund rally in Harrisburg regarding my legislation to combat blight and homelessness without increasing taxes to pay for it. Watch the entire rally here. To read more about Senate Bill 566, click here.
Calling all photographers!
I admit that I’m biased on the issue, but I believe the 47th Senatorial District is one of the most scenic and picturesque areas of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and I’m looking for photos that capture the area’s spirit and beauty.
I’ll be holding a photo contest in which the winning pictures will be featured in a 2016 “Scenes from the 47th Senatorial District” calendar.
Contestants can submit two photos per category of their favorite shots. The categories are: spring, summer, fall and winter. The contest is open to all individuals, both children and adults, but photos must have been taken within the boundaries of the 47th District. The contest will remain open for submissions until August 31. Voting will take place in September with the winners to be announced in October.
From rolling farms to bustling main streets, the picturesque vistas throughout the many boroughs and townships that make the 47th Senate District are a photographer’s dream. It’s that little old church you drive by each day or an eagle nesting above the river, the annual parade or a school sporting event. I want you to share the local sights and scenes that you capture with your 47th Senate District neighbors.
More information and the entry form are available at http://www.senatoreldervogel.com/photo-contest/
Senate Passes Legislation Providing Transparency to Contract Negotiations, Advertising Spending
Continuing my ongoing efforts to increase accountability and transparency of state and local government entities, the Senate approved measures last week that will require advertising to be identified when it is paid for by tax dollars and to give the public greater access to contract negotiations involving government and public employees.
Senate Bill 442 requires all Commonwealth agencies under the executive, legislative and judicial branches to clearly note whenever tax monies are spent for advertising purposes. The bill would require all ads on radio, television, newspapers, magazines, billboards and through other media to include the statement “Paid for with Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars.”
This measure will let taxpayers know how their tax dollars are being spent and hopefully would deter the wasteful spending of state resources.
Two bills approved by the Senate will add transparency to negotiations between public sector unions and state and local governments.
Senate Bill 644 requires the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) to complete a cost analysis of proposed collective bargaining agreements under the Governor’s jurisdiction prior to the execution of those contracts.
Under this measure, the Governor would be required to give the IFO two weeks’ notice of pending contracts so the agency could determine the costs to cover public employee wages, benefits, pensions, and working conditions under the proposed agreement. This will ensure that the public knows how the full costs of these labor agreements would impact the Commonwealth. It is also vital information that we in the General Assembly need to develop a balanced state budget.
Senate Bill 645 requires any proposed state or local collective bargaining agreement be made available on the public employers’ publicly accessible Internet website within 48 hours. An agreement must be posted online two weeks prior and thirty days following the signing of the collective bargaining agreement.
Taxpayers have an imperative vested interest in the labor negotiations between government entities and their employees and deserve the right to review contract agreements. Requiring an online posting of the proposed collective bargaining agreements is a straightforward reform to advance government transparency and ensure taxpayer money is spent effectively
The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Majority Policy Committee Considers Senate Bill 724
The Senate Majority Policy Committee held a public hearing on Wednesday to hear testimony on Senate Bill 724, my legislation that would help the state comply with federal nutrient management requirements without the need for expensive stormwater and wastewater upgrades.
Testifiers at the hearing included Mike McCloskey, representing the National Milk Distributors Association; Ron Kreider, President of Kreider Farms; Ed Schafer, Chairman of the Coalition for an Affordable Bay Solution; Elliot Keller, General Manager of JBS; and, Phil Durgin, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.
Policy Committee Chairman Senator David G. Argall said the hearing would help lawmakers explore solutions to help Pennsylvania meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) clean water goals within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Pennsylvania Traffic Deaths Hit New Record Low in 2014
Traffic deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014 reached an all-time low, continuing a favorable trend as safety advocates work towards the nationwide goal of zero fatalities. The 2014 number totaled 1,195, the lowest since recordkeeping began in 1928.
The public can now search for finalized crash and traffic fatality data using PennDOT’s new Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool, which is accessible at dotcrashinfo.pa.gov.
PENNDOT data shows that while the number of highway deaths dropped in many types of crashes, there were significant decreases in unbuckled, drinking-driver-related and hit-tree crashes last year when compared to 2013. Unbuckled fatalities dropped from 425 to 383. Deaths in drinking-driver related crashes declined to from 342 to 294. Fatalities in hit-tree crashes decreased from 254 to 221.
Fatalities increased in some types of crashes, including those involving hit utility poles and drowsy or sleeping drivers. There were 113 fatalities in crashes involving hit utility poles, up from 103 in 2013. Also, deaths in drowsy or asleep crashes increased to 23 from 10 in 2013.
Upcoming AARP Drivers Safety Classes
Upcoming Farmers Market Voucher Distributions
Low-income Pennsylvanians can apply for $20 in vouchers to purchase local produce at farmers markets and farm stands across the state through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
Eligible older adults and WIC participants can use four $5 vouchers to buy fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables at qualified farm market stands through the state and federal program.
In the past, county Offices on Aging have distributed the vouchers at various locations throughout the 47th Senate District and will continue to do so. For a full schedule of voucher distribution sites in Beaver County, click here. For Butler County, click here. For a schedule of voucher distribution sites in Lawrence County, call 724.658.3729. Click here for a printable eligibility & proxy form.
Civilian Absentee Ballot Request Deadline Upcoming
Not going to be around May 19 for primary elections? If you are unable to attend your polling place in person on Election Day, you may be eligible to vote by absentee ballot. To vote by absentee ballot, a voter must apply to the County Board of Elections for an absentee ballot. The County Board of Elections will send a paper absentee ballot to the voter. The voter then completes the ballot and returns it to the County Board of Elections. May 12 is the last day for voters to request a civilian absentee ballot to vote in the primary. Click here for more information.
Follow Me on Twitter!
I have a Twitter account to better connect with my constituents and provide daily updates on my voting record, whereabouts, state government, and local news affecting the 47 S.D. To access my Twitter page, click here.
Please contact me to provide input on any state-related matter, or to
receive help in dealing with a state agency.
Senate Box 203047