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Legislature Approves $11.2 Billion in Emergency Budget Funding
Working to provide financial relief to school districts and social service agencies impacted by the prolonged budget impasse, I voted for and the legislature approved a three-bill emergency funding budget package last week.
This legislation is the latest effort by the legislature to help schools, counties, municipalities, agencies, and contractors that saw their state payments end on July 1 after Governor Wolf vetoed the Fiscal Year 2015-16 general fund spending bill on June 30.
The root of the two-and-a-half month budget impasse is the Governor’s proposed $3.8 billion tax increase. Based on the input I have received from my constituents, there is very little support for income and sales tax increases in the 47th Senate District. I hear from folks every day telling me “Don’t raise my taxes. We’re taxed enough as it is.”
The three-bill package— Senate Bill 1000, Senate Bill 1001, and House Bill 224 —provides $11.2 billion in state allocations. That represents one-third of the state funding as authorized by the original budget legislation vetoed by Governor Wolf in July. The budget also allocates federal money that Pennsylvania administers for schools and local governments.
Senate Adopts Resolutions Supporting PA Coal, Timber Industries
The Senate adopted two Resolutions this week intended promote the state’s coal and timber industries and the thousands of family-sustaining jobs they provide.
Senate Resolution 54, adopted by the Senate on Wednesday, calls on Congress and the President to review an issue that is currently crippling domestic coal production: Government-sponsored anthracite coal production in China, Russia and Ukraine provides unfair competition with domestically mined coal, providing government subsidies which reduce their prices far below market rates.
Senate Resolution 55, adopted on Thursday, reinstates the Forestry Task
Force under the administration of the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution
Control and Conservation Committee. The bicameral and bipartisan task force will
investigate and look to improve the current state of Pennsylvania’s forests and
provide long-term forest management strategies.
House State Govt. Committee Hearing on English as Official State Language
On Monday, September 21, the House State Government Committee convened a public hearing focused on legislation to establish English as the official language of Pennsylvania, House Bill 1506.
Testifiers included: Robert Vandervoort, ProEnglish; Jan Ting, Temple University; Andy Hoover, ACLU of Pennsylvania; and Matthew Shuman, U.S. English Inc. 31 other states have enacted legislation designating English as the state’s official language.
Firearm Reciprocity Update
It is with great pleasure that I announce that residents of Pennsylvania with a Pennsylvania license to carry firearms are now legally able to do so in Ohio with their Pennsylvania license to carry. Recent changes to Ohio law have made it legal for anyone with a license to carry issued by their home state to legally carry a firearm in Ohio, and that includes Pennsylvania residents. Correspondingly, the Pennsylvania Attorney General has granted reciprocity to Ohio license holders carrying in Pennsylvania. Click here for more information (Ohio’s reciprocity agreement is listed under Category 2).
DCNR Grant Awarded to Borough of Zelienople
I’m pleased to announce that the Borough of Zelienople was recently awarded a $700,000 grant by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The grant will be used to fully renovate the community pool and surrounding area. Click here for a schematic renovation rendering of the Zelienople Park Pool plan.
As always, I urge municipalities in my district to contact me when intending to submit grant requests to state government and I will do everything that I can to support your project.
Applications Now Accepted for Fire/EMS Grant Program
Independence Conservancy, a land conservation and environmental stewardship organization active in Beaver, Washington and Allegheny counties, will have tire collections this fall in cooperation with these municipalities:
- Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to noon, Brighton Township Public Works, 1250 Brighton Road, Brighton Township.
- Oct. 3, 9 a.m. to noon, Beaver Falls Street Department, 15th Street and 10th Avenue, Beaver Falls.
- Oct. 16 and 17, Hookstown Fair Grounds, 1198 Route 168, Hookstown. Collection hours Oct. 16 are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; hours on Oct. 17 are 9 a.m. to noon.
Individuals and small businesses are welcome to participate. No proof of residency is required, and there is no limit to the number of tires or wheels any one person may bring.
Disposal fees for auto and light-truck tires up to 18 inches off rim are $3 each, $5 if on rim. Tractor-trailer tires up to 22.5 inches are $20 each. Farm tractor rear tires up to 75 pounds are $20 each. Farm tractor rear tires 75 to 150 pounds are $40 each, and those over 150 pounds are $75 each. No rims are permitted on the tractor-trailer or farm tires.
Scenes from the 47th Senatorial District Photo Contest Ends Sept. 30
This Wednesday, September 30 is the last day of voting on submitted pictures for the calendar photo contest.
Winning photos will be featured in the 2016 “Scenes from the 47th Senatorial District Calendar”. The top three vote-getters in each category will serve as a featured month in the calendar. To vote for the best pictures or for more information, visit www.senatoreldervogel.com/photo-contest/. Winners will be announced in October.
No taxpayer money will be used for the publication of the calendar and a limited supply of calendars will be available in my district offices to residents free of charge.
There are 22 standing committees in the Pennsylvania Senate. They review and amend bills, consider cabinet nominations and hold public hearings on pressing issues. You can find video, testimony and other information from every Senate committee hearing here
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Senate Box 203047