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Elder Vogel Jr.
October 7, 2019
Senate Bill 318 – Stronger ‘Do Not Call’ Law
The Senate gave final approval of a bill to allow PA residents to put their phone numbers permanently on the Do Not Call list, rather than have to re-register every five years. It also requires robocalls to have an opt-out option at the start of the call, allows businesses to put their phone numbers on the Do Not Call list and bans telemarketing calls on legal holidays. The bill was sent to the governor to be signed in to law.
This is an important step forward as many of my constituents have made it apparent to me that this is an on-going and developing issue. Between scam calls and telemarketing calls it can feel like a non-stop barrage of phone calls.
Senate Bill 473 – Tobacco 21
The Senate approved legislation that would increase the legal age for selling all tobacco products –including e-cigarettes — to 21.
Senate Bill 473 would make it a summary offense for anyone under 21 to purchase any tobacco product, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars and pipe tobacco. If it becomes law, Pennsylvania will join twenty-one states that have a tobacco and e-cigarette sales age of 21. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Beaver Falls Cultural Life/Arts Center Receives Grant
The Commonwealth Financing Authority on September 17th awarded a $448,953 grant for the construction of a cultural life and arts center in downtown Beaver Falls.
Mycelia Development LLC will apply the High Performance Building Program grant toward the construction of a three story, 16,670 square foot building that will include a ceramic studio, handmade market, café, art gallery, community room, theatre and event space. The project is anticipated to create thirty-two new jobs.
The grant represents 10% of the anticipated total project cost of $4,489,530. Mycelia will provide $2,740,577 and the state will provide a $1.3 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grant for the project.
This is a dynamic project that will certainly benefit Beaver Falls and the region. The arts play an important role in the quality of life in our community and this building will provide a great central location for these efforts.
The CFA was established as an independent agency of the Commonwealth to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania’s economic growth.
Grants Awarded to Beaver and Lawrence County Projects
A total of $338,658 in Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grants was awarded by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) at its meeting for recreational development projects in Beaver and Lawrence counties.
In Beaver County, Baden was awarded $42,500 for playground restoration; Ellwood City was awarded $190,000 for Steifel Park enhancement; and, Harmony Township was awarded $62,158 for improvements to township parks.
Baden will use the grant to install a new play structure at the Virginia Heights playground and to improve safety at Schiller Street Park. Ellwood City plans to build a new nature center, observation deck and parking area at Steifel Park. Harmony Township will use the grant to replace outdated playground equipment with interactive equipment such as climbers, spinners and rockers at three community parks.
In Lawrence County, Wampum was awarded $44,000 to complete its new tennis courts at Wampum Park and remove a deteriorated court.
These grants represent an investment by the state in the development and protection of recreational areas throughout Beaver and Lawrence counties. These grants will upgrade these recreational areas and improve the quality of life in those communities.
Senate Approves Measure for Financial Knowledge Graduation Credit
The Senate approved a measure on Monday that will allow students to apply their practical financial knowledge toward their school district’s graduation requirements. Senate Bill 723 will require public schools to accept personal finance class credits towards satisfying graduation requirements. The bill gives schools the discretion to determine the graduation credit requirement to which the credit earned would be applied. Senate Bill 723 now goes to House of Representatives for consideration.
The Senate sent four additional bills to the House.
House Bill 265 addresses the transfer of credits between institutions of higher education and includes several career and technical education provisions. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Bill 439 expands the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act to include several law enforcement entities that are not currently protected by this coverage.
Senate Bill 586 addresses licensing requirements for cosmetologists.
Senate Bill 694 allows gas well bores to cross multiple units provided the operator has the right to drill wells on the units via leases with all applicable landowners.
For more information on these bills please use their links to visit the webpage or feel free to call my office.
REAP Tax Credits for Farmers
PA Farmers can apply now for tax credits to implement best management practices or purchase equipment that reduces nutrient & sediment runoff. Resource Enhancement and Protection program (REAP) applications accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
Through the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program, farmers, landowners, and businesses earn tax credits for implementing “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) that will enhance farm production and protect natural resources.
REAP is a first-come, first-served program – no rankings. The program is administered by the State Conservation Commission (Commission) and the tax credits are awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Eligible applicants receive between 50% and 75% of project cost in the form of State tax credits for up to $250,000 per operation in a 7-year time frame.
The tax credits can be used incrementally (as needed) for up to 15 years to pay PA state income tax. Farmers and landowners can elect to sell the tax credits after 1 year. Farmers can work with a sponsor that will help to finance the BMP project. The sponsor reimburses the farmer/landowner for the project installation costs and the sponsor receives the tax credits.
Applicants can apply for proposed projects and/or completed projects. For more information please click here to visit the Department of Agriculture webpage.
Please contact me to provide input on any state-related matter, or to receive help in dealing with a state agency.
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