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.
With an increasing groundswell of public outcry regarding the Governor’s slashing of state funding for agricultural programs, the Legislature will hold a public hearing on the impact of those cuts on Pennsylvania’s farmers and the various programs that support their livelihood.
The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, which I chair, and the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee will hold a joint public hearing on “Agriculture Partial Budget Funding” beginning at 9 a.m., March 15, in Room 8E-A of the State Capitol East Wing, Harrisburg.
With the Governor’s line-item veto of agricultural funding, Pennsylvania is close to becoming the only state in the nation that does not run an Agricultural Extension program. We might soon be the only state without 4-H, and we may soon be the only state without a state-supported College of Agricultural Sciences. These are essential programs that provide vital services to Pennsylvania’s farming families.
Scheduled testifiers for the hearing include: Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding; Nicholas Jones and Dr. Richard Roush from Penn State University to discuss the school’s agricultural extension and promotion programs; Dr. Vincent Prince and Dr. Joan Hendricks from the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the university’s School of Veterinary medicine; Karoline Kent, former president of the Pennsylvania 4-H; Joel Rotz of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau; and Chris Herr of the PennAg Industries Association.
Special Report: Budget Hearings Week 2 & 3
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I participated in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of public hearings on Governor Wolf’s proposed state budget for the 2016-17 Fiscal Year. The fact that the 2015-16 Fiscal Year budget was partially vetoed by Governor Wolf has immensely complicated the process. We heard detailed reports from cabinet secretaries and other officials regarding the budget. The following is a recap of a few of those hearings. Click here to read summaries and watch video of each hearing.
Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding discussed the Governor’s proposed zero funding in Fiscal Year 2016-17 and line-item vetoed funding in Fiscal Year 2015-16 for key agriculture programs and initiatives. Other topics discussed during the hearing included:
The Appropriations Committee discussed Pennsylvania’s support for education with Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, noting that Pennsylvania’s per-pupil spending is among highest in the nation. Other topics included:
PENNDOT Secretary Leslie Richards fielded questions from members of the Senate Appropriations Committee about the state’s new transportation funding program and a plan to eliminate registration stickers. Other topics discussed included:
State System of Higher Education Chancellor Frank Brogan, Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Michael Driscoll, and East Stroudsburg University senior Drew Johnson discussed programs and initiatives underway at PASSHE’s 14 member universities. Specific issues discussed during the budget hearing included:
Click here for video of my discussion with Chancellor Brogan on how we can better streamline the transfer of community college students into the state system and keep those graduates living & working in PA.
Secretary of Human Services Ted Dallas reviewed his budget, one of the largest in state government. The Appropriations Committee discussed:
Legislation Introduced to Improve Legislative Efficiency
Simple resolutions are introduced nearly every day in the legislature; they often mark milestones, honor people for achievements, designate awareness days, and more. These are usually uncontroversial and a way for Senators to bring attention to causes or folks from their district. But, each resolution costs taxpayer money—time spent by staff writing the resolution, tax dollars spent printing them, executing them, and publicizing them.
Senate Resolution 292, legislation that I’m cosponsoring, changes Senate rules to limit each member to a maximum of 10 simple resolutions per session. This limit would not apply to resolutions proposing amendments to the Constitution.
I appreciate the value of resolutions that commemorate achievements, bring awareness to important issues, etc. But I believe, as legislators, we can spend time and dollars elsewhere.
Beaver, Lawrence, Butler County Municipalities Receive over $18 Million in Liquid Fuels Payments
I am pleased to report that local municipalities received an increase in funding for maintenance of roads and bridges.
Pennsylvania’s transportation plan, Act 89 of 2013, allowed PENNDOT to distribute roughly $18.3 million in liquid fuels payments to Beaver, Lawrence, and Butler County municipalities on March 1 to help them maintain their roads and bridges. That is a 17 percent increase over the $15.7 million distributed in 2015.
Liquid fuels allocations are annual payments to municipalities to help pay for highway and bridge-related expenses such as snow removal and road repaving. Click here for a complete list of liquid fuel payment allocations by municipality.
PennDOT Announces 2016 Beaver & Lawrence County Highway and Bridge Improvement Projects
recently announced it will invest over $110 million on major projects in
Lawrence and Beaver Counties to improve, preserve, or rehabilitate
transportation infrastructure including structurally deficient bridges
in 2016. Highlights include the long-awaited
Freedom Road Upgrade.
Keep PA Beautiful Launches New Electronic Waste Recycling Website
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful recently launched www.eWastePA.org to help ensure Pennsylvania consumers have the information they need to properly manage their electronic waste such as old televisions and computer monitors, commonly referred to as e-waste.
The Covered Device Recycling Act (Act 108), enacted in 2010, prohibits the acceptance of ‘covered devices’ such as televisions, computers, computer monitors and all peripherals, at any Pennsylvania solid waste disposal facilities. This prohibits residents from putting them out at the curb for pickup by their waste hauler.
The website links consumers to recycling programs in their community, as well as provide information about the state of electronic recycling in Pennsylvania.
My colleagues in the legislature and I are looking at solutions to the shortage of e-recycling options currently available to Pennsylvanians. But, in the meantime, this website can be a useful tool for those looking for options.For more information and to apply for these tax credits, click here.
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Farm Study
Pennsylvania’s farmers are among the best stewards of the land and water because they recognize that healthy farms require healthy streams and vice versa. To protect soil and water quality, farmers have implemented a number of best management practices, or BMPs, often at their own expense without financial support from the government.
When farmers pay the full freight for implementing those BMPs – rather than relying on government assistance, or “cost-sharing” the expense of implementation – Pennsylvania does not receive credit against federal mandates to improve water quality.
A new survey developed by a coalition of leading farm organizations and conservation groups is designed to give farmers credit for those BMPs as part of the state’s Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts. More than half of Pennsylvania's land area drains into the Chesapeake Bay, and the Susquehanna River, which flows through much of the state's most fertile land, is the bay's largest tributary.
Penn State University is conducting the survey. It can be accessed at src.survey.psu.edu/farmbmp/ or farmers may request a copy by calling 866-898-4277. Copies also will be mailed to 20,000 Pennsylvania farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
As of early March, more than 1,200 Pennsylvania farmers had taken the survey.
Participation is voluntary and all names and locational information about the farm operation will be kept confidential. Ten percent of participants will be selected randomly for farm visits by Penn State Extension to assess inventory results and help researchers better understand the methods used and challenges encountered when adopting various management practices.
Take this opportunity to tell the story of how Pennsylvania’s farmers are doing the right thing to protect local water quality and the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The deadline is April 30.
Mentored Youth Trout Day
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s popular Mentored Youth Trout Days program takes place March 26 in 18 southeastern counties and April 9 statewide. Last year, more than 28,000 kids signed up to participate, either by purchasing a $1 voluntary youth fishing license or by acquiring a free mentored youth fishing permit. 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.
contact me to provide input on any state-related matter, or to
receive help in dealing with a state agency.
Senate Box 203047