More than $318,000 in Grant Funding Distributed to Area Outdoor Recreation Projects

HARRISBURG – The Commonwealth Financing Authority has awarded more than $318,000 in Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grants to two projects located in Beaver and Lawrence counties, Sen. Elder Vogel (R-47) announced Tuesday.

Neshannock Township, Lawrence County, has received a $250,000 grant for repairs and upgrades to a community center located within Pearson Park.

“The current structure has fallen into disrepair and this project will repair the roof, install an ADA-accessible entrance and bathrooms, and update the kitchen, HVAC systems and wiring for a security system,” said Vogel. “Improving these community amenities will not only benefit current residents but also help to attract future residents and businesses looking for a great place to live and work.”

Also receiving a grant, of $68,676, is Big Beaver Borough, Beaver County, for a project to an ADA-compliant comfort station and an extra-wide walking trail as part of the first phase of improvements to the Big Beaver Community Park. Included in the work will be the creation of a parking lot that will extend from the trail to the comfort station.

“The trail will expand the system of trails in the borough and will improve the ease of access to the facilities contained at the site,” Vogel said. “The completed project will increase the year-round accessibility and usage of the Big Beaver Community Park for residents and visitors alike.”

Act 13 of 2012 established the Marcellus Legacy Fund from which funds, derived from fees paid by natural gas producers, are allocated to the Commonwealth Financing Authority for various programs including the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program.

CONTACT: Heather Burke

Informational Meeting on Enhancing Meat Processing Opportunities in PA

Joint Informational Meeting

Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

Wednesday, August 10, 2022 | 10:00 a.m.

Red Barn Annex
Ag Progress Days, Pennsylvania Furnace, PA


Informational Meeting on Enhancing Meat Processing Opportunities in PA


10:00 a.m. – Opening Remarks by Committee Chairmen and Member Introductions

10:05 a.m. – Presentation: Enhancing Meat Processing Opportunities in Pennsylvania

Dr. Jonathan Campbell, Associate Professor of Animal Science and Statewide Meat Specialist
College of Agricultural Sciences
Penn State Butcher School

Daniel Brockett, Assistant State Program Leader for the Energy, Business, and Community Vitality Team
Penn State Extension

10:25 a.m. – Penn State 2021 Butcher School Apprentices:

Nick Oman
Parker Bell
Cash Sprankle

10:45 a.m.

Russell C. Redding, Secretary
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

11:05 a.m. – Questions

11:30 a.m. – Adjourn

Very Small Meat and Poultry Processor Reimbursement Grant Program Now Accepting Applications

HARRISBURG – The application period for the Very Small Meat and Poultry Processor Reimbursement Grant Program opened today at 8 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2022, according to Sen. Elder Vogel (R-47), chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

The funding can be used for the start-up costs associated with meeting federal inspection and certification guidelines for very small meat processors, defined by state law as entities with sales of less than $2.5 million and less than ten employees, either in existence or that plan to meet such criteria once established.

Applicants can submit their application through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Single Application for Assistance online application system at

Questions about the program and application process should be directed to Joshua Scheinberg at

CONTACT:               Cara Laudenslager

Meeting to consider SB 1289

Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 | 9:30 a.m.

Main Capitol, Room 461


Meeting to consider SB 1289


SB 1289 P.N. 1785 (Vogel) – Amends Dog Law to provide for dog and kennel license fee updates and make changes to other provisions of the law.

  • Amendment A04915 (Vogel) – Removes incorrect language.

Historic Preservation Grant Awarded for New Brighton’s Irish-Townsend House

HARRISBURG – The New Brighton Historical Society has received a Keystone Historic Preservation Grant to continue its efforts to restore an historic Beaver County property to its original splendor, said Sen. Elder Vogel (R-47).

“The Irish-Townsend House has had multiple lives as a structure since it was built in 1855, including being a stop in the Underground Railroad and part of a pathway to freedom for slaves fleeing the South,” Vogel said. “The New Brighton Historical Society bought the property in 2020 and is hard at work ensuring that future generations will know the important role this house played in America’s history.”

The $39,083 grant will be used to repair the Irish-Townsend House’s front porch and address prior alterations made to the façade, as well as the unaltered portions that are rotting and pulling away from the house.

The Keystone Historic Preservation Grant program is funded through the Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund. Since the grant program’s creation, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission has supported 910 preservation projects throughout the state. Grantees ensure they will continue maintenance and preservation of the historic building and ensure public accessibility for at least 15 years after a grant is received.

CONTACT:               Heather Burke   

Tuesday Ceremony Marks Capitol Hunger Garden Opening for 12th Season

HARRISBURG – Deputy Senate President Pro Tempore Elder Vogel Jr. (R-47) was joined by members of the General Assembly and hunger awareness advocates on Tuesday, June 7, for a ceremony to mark the 12th season opening of the Capitol Hunger Garden.

The ceremony will began at 9 a.m. The Capitol Hunger Garden, which is overseen by the Hunger Caucus and tended to by the Penn State Master Gardeners, is an approximately 1,000 square-foot area plot of land adjacent to the State Capitol Building.

Livestream of Hunger Garden Opening Ceremony

CONTACT:               Heather Burke    

Senate Ag Committee Considers Very Small Meat Processing Grant Program Update, Horse Racing Regulations Legislation

HARRISBURG – The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee reported out two bills during a voting meeting held Tuesday in the state Capitol, according to Committee Chair Sen. Elder Vogel (R-47).

The bills that received unanimous committee approval were:

  • Senate Bill 1236 (Sen. Vogel) – Amends Title 3 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to make several updates to the Very Small Meat Processor Federal Inspection Reimbursement Grant Program. Prior to final committee consideration, this legislation was amended to update and clarify definitions and provisions within the bill.
  • Senate Bill 1237 (Sen. Vogel) – Amends Title 3 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to extend the existing temporary horse racing regulations by three years and provide the Horse Racing Commission the authority to issue temporary regulations in compliance with forthcoming federal regulations.

A video recording of the meeting can be found on the committee website.

CONTACT:                  Cara Laudenslager          

Meeting to consider SB 1236 and SB 1237

Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

May 24, 2022 | 12:30 p.m.

Main Capitol, Room 461


Meeting to consider SB 1236 and SB 1237


SB 1236 P.N. 1650 (Vogel)—Amends Title 3 of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes to make several updates to the Very Small Meat
Processor Federal Inspection Reimbursement Grant Program.

  • Amendment A04288 (Vogel)—Updates and clarifies definitions and
    provisions in the bill.

SB 1237 P.N. 1654 (Vogel)— Amends Title 3 of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes to extend the existing temporary horse racing
regulations by three years and provide the Horse Racing Commission the
authority to issue temp

Senate Passes Crime Victim Protection Package

(HARRISBURG) – The Pennsylvania Senate today passed a package of four bills designed to assist crime victims by providing stronger protections, increasing support, and improving access to services, according to Senator Lisa Baker (R-20), Senator Ryan Aument (R-36), Senator Kim Ward (R-39), Senator Pat Browne (R-16) and Senator Elder Vogel (R-47).

Senator Lisa Baker (R-20), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, emphasized that protecting children and adult victims of abuse has been a focus of the Judiciary Committee for the last several sessions. The measures advanced by the full Senate this week address some of the pressing needs voiced by many victims and advocates.

“In addition to streamlining the process so more victims of domestic violence can benefit from the program, Senate Bill 1179 takes a very important step forward in helping to better protect children and victims of human trafficking,” Senator Baker said. “The need was brought to our attention by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.”

Senate Bill 1179 was introduced jointly by Senator Baker and Senator Aument. The bill extends the address confidentiality provisions of the ‘Domestic and Sexual Violence Victim Address Confidentiality Act,’ to include the victims of child abduction and the victims of human trafficking.  In addition to the expansion of this coverage, the bill updates the Act to allow for applications for address confidentiality to be submitted electronically.

“It’s already incredibly difficult for victims of sexual and domestic violence to get to a place of safety and freedom,” Senate Majority Caucus Secretary Ryan Aument said.  “Our bill makes that process simpler so victims can focus on healing and rebuilding their lives.”

Senate Bill 118, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, expands Megan’s Law to require offenders convicted of any sex trafficking-related offenses to register.

“Sex trafficking is a significant issue in Pennsylvania as our state ranks 9th in the nation for the most reported cases of human trafficking,” Senator Ward said.  “Most human traffickers are repeat offenders and most use psychological ploys of tricking, defrauding, manipulating, or threatening their victims to the point that many victims don’t realize they are being trafficked, in particular minors.  We must serve as advocates for these victims by immediately registering offenders when trafficking incidents are reported. SB 118 does just that by helping victims when they cannot help themselves, by amending Megan’s Law to include sex trafficking of minors to the sex offender registry, offering one more resource to reduce such heinous acts and help victims.”

Senate Bill 1040, sponsored jointly by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Browne and Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, seeks to ensure that in the tragic event of a murder, communication with the family of a victim takes place before the law enforcement agency otherwise publicly releases the victim’s or intervenor’s identity.

“The family of a murder victim should never find out about their loved one’s tragic death from the news or on social media,” Senator Browne said. “This legislation will require law enforcement to make reasonable efforts to ensure that a surviving family member of the victim is properly notified before releasing their identity to the media. It is my hope that this measure will help to ease some of the shock and pain of grieving families.”

Expanding access to quality care for victims is also a crucial part of this package. Senate Deputy President Pro-Tempore Elder Vogel introduced Senate Bill 1172 to enact the Sexual Assault Emergency Services Act.  This legislation expands access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (“SANEs”) to better provide quality care for victims. SANEs have specialized training in trauma and forensic nursing and are vital to a complete care system for survivors of sexual assault.

“Senate Bill 1172 sets up a critical foundation for the development and augmentation of sexual assault care here in the Commonwealth,” Senator Vogel said.  “I’m gratified to see it join this package of bills empowering victims and survivors of crime.”

All four bills now advance to the House of Representatives for consideration.


Kate Flessner (Senator Baker)

Erica Clayton Wright (Senator Ward)

Matt Moyer (Senator Browne)

Stephanie Applegate (Senator Aument)       

Madisyn Breiner (Senator Vogel)


Joint Public Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Joint Public Hearing of the

Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Game and Fisheries Committees

on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 | 9:00 a.m.

Hearing Room 1, NOB


Joint Public Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)


9:00 a.m.

Opening Remarks

  • Senator Laughlin, Majority Chair, Game & Fisheries
  • Senator Vogel, Majority Chair, Agriculture & Rural Affairs
  • Senator Brewster, Minority Chair, Game & Fisheries
  • Senator Schwank, Minority Chair, Agriculture & Rural Affairs

9:10 a.m.

Dr. Erick Gagne, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Disease Ecology
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife Futures Program

Dr. Michelle Gibison, Manager of Research Projects
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife Futures Program


9:40 a.m.

Dr. Richard Roush, Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State University

Calvin Norman, Forestry and Wildlife Extension Educator
Penn State Extension


10:10 a.m.

Darell Rowledge, Director – Testimony
Alliance for Public Wildlife

10:40 a.m.

Closing Remarks and Adjournment