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Senator Elder Vogel

Dear Friend,

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.

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Elder Vogel

Congratulations to the state champion Quigley Catholic HS Mock Trial Team! Best of luck at the national championships next month!

Fiscal Code Enacted into Law

I am thankful that the Governor has allowed the 2015-16 budget Fiscal Code to become law. As a result, schools in Beaver, Lawrence, and Butler Counties will not have their funding cut and they will receive the full increase allotted to them by the bipartisan, fair funding formula developed by the Basic Education Funding Commission. In addition to the increase in Basic Education Funding, the Fiscal Code authorizes over $350 million in PlanCon reimbursements owed to school districts for construction projects. I look forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues in the Legislature on the 2016-17 budget in the very near future.

Medical Marijuana Legislation Signed Into Law

After months of hearings, debates, and compromises on both sides of the argument, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 3, bipartisan legislation authorizing a tightly-regulated Medical Marijuana program in Pennsylvania. Over the past few months, I’ve heard an overwhelming outpouring of support for this bill from my constituents. I’ve met with children suffering debilitating diseases and the parents that are desperate for a cure to alleviate their child’s suffering.

Click here for video of Senator Mike Folmer, prime sponsor of the bill, sharing his remarks at the bill signing ceremony in Harrisburg.

Tax-Free Savings Plan for Individuals w/ Disabilities Signed into Law

I voted for, the Senate approved, and the Governor signed into law legislation providing for a state Treasury administered 529-ABLE Plan account to encourage families to set aside funds for future costs related to the disability of the beneficiary, much like our

PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan.

Act 17 of 2016 will alleviate some of the financial challenges faced by families raising and caring for those with disabilities by allowing families to continue to receive essential services while also planning for their financial future. Setting aside money to overcome barriers or for protection against serious setbacks would be encouraged instead of being penalized via these accounts.

Senate Approves Resolution to Review Corrections Department Overtime

I voted for and the Senate approved a Resolution authorizing an official study of mandatory overtime in the Department of Corrections. Senate Resolution 263 directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to review costs associated with mandatory overtime for corrections officers versus the costs to hire, train and equip additional corrections officers.

Corrections Secretary John Wetzel testified at a Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing that overtime costs for his department amount to approximately $90 million annually. The Department of Corrections receives the third largest state appropriation from the General Fund and its overtime costs have outpaced all other state agencies from 2010 through 2014.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice recently held a hearing on this and other issues within the Department of Corrections.

Click here to watch the hearing.

Senate Holds Hearing on Job Creation and Economic Development

I recently participated in a Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing reviewing the burdensome permitting process in Pennsylvania and exploring different ways to incentivize job creation and investment in Pennsylvania.

Testimony and recommendations from a number of state offices and organizations regarding our regulatory climate and permitting process was presented. Testifiers included representatives from the PA Economic Development Association (PEDA), the PA Chamber of Business and Industry, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Pennsylvania Business Council.

Particular attention was paid to the permitting process. I have heard from many constituents in the district that want to build in Pennsylvania and create jobs here, but continuously run into roadblocks erected by state government regulatory agencies. This especially hurts small businesses and new entrepreneurs that can’t afford to pay for the legal staff to make sure the business is in compliance with regulations, whether it’s local, state, or federal. Click here to watch video of my comments during the hearing.

Pennsylvania cannot afford to continue to lose out on jobs and economic development to other states and countries. From the testimony gathered at this hearing, it is apparent to me that the myriad permits, bureaucracy, and regulations on business is impeding economic development in Pennsylvania. I’ve recently introduced legislation to streamline the DEP permitting process and make it much more business-friendly and navigable. Click here to read more about Senate Bill 1092.

Click here to watch that hearing in its entirety.


Last week, I was at Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV in Grove City to learn more about Pennsylvania’s Early Intervention Program. Click here for more information.

Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Grants

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) is currently accepting applications for grants funded by the Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund. The deadline for applications is June 30 and will be considered at the September 2016 CFA Board meeting.

Programs include:

  • Watershed Restoration: The overall goal of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Program is to restore, and maintain restored stream reaches impaired by the uncontrolled discharge of nonpoint source polluted runoff, and ultimately to remove these streams from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Impaired Waters list.
  • Abandoned Mine Drainage Abatement and Treatment: Projects which involve the reclamation of Abandoned Mine Well(s), construction of a new AMD site, remediation and repair of existing AMD project sites, operation and maintenance maintaining current AMD remediation sites, establishment of trust fund to ensure ongoing maintenance is achieved, and monitoring of water quality to track or continue to trace nonpoint source load reductions resulting from AMD remediation projects.
  • Orphan or Abandoned Well Plugging Program: Projects which involve the cleaning out and plugging of abandoned and orphan oil and gas wells; stray gas mitigation systems; and well venting projects.
  • Baseline Water Quality Data: Projects which involve practices for water sample collection and analysis to document existing groundwater quality conditions on private water supplies.
  • Sewage Facilities Program: Costs associated with the planning work required under Act 537 Sewage Facilities Act.
  • Flood Mitigation: Projects authorized by a flood protection authority, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or identified by a local government for flood mitigation are eligible for the program.
  • Greenways, Trails And Recreation Program: Projects which involve development, rehabilitation and improvements to public parks, recreation areas, greenways, trails and river conservation.

For more information and instructions on how to apply, visit the Act 13 Programs webpage.

AK Nahas Appliances & Furniture in Beaver recently celebrated 100 years of business in Beaver County. Pictured: Dan Nahas, President. Congratulations!

Be Aware of Identify Theft Scams

As part of Financial Education Month, Pennsylvania senior citizens are urged to be on guard for identity theft and tax-related scams. Family, friends and caregivers are encouraged to remind the older adults in their lives not to give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the internet unless they initiate contact and are absolutely certain of the recipient. Here are some tips to identify potential scams:


I recently met with Martha M. of New Sewickley Twp. at my office in Rochester to discuss Turner's Syndrome, a rare disease that afflicts Martha and approximately 70,000 other women in the US. Martha told me that we've come a long way in researching and developing therapies for those afflicted with Turner Syndrome, but we have a long way to go. More information can be found at

2 New Publications on Blight and Land Banks

The Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania recently released two publications on blight and land banks: “ We Can DO This: A Five-Step, Fast-Track Blight Plan,” and "The Pennsylvania Land Bank Resource Guide.” These two reports are a follow up to the "From Blight to Bright" Toolkit, a data-driven manual that identifies key strategies to eradicate the harmful effects abandoned, blighted properties have on communities. The two new reports explain a process for vetting strategies locally and also how to effectively utilize land banks as one of those strategies

Both publications are available as e-books at 

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.

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Contact Me


Senate Box 203047
362 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3047
Phone: (717) 787-3076
FAX: (717) 772-2756

8:30 - 4:30

488 Adams Street
Rochester, PA 15074-1940
Phone: (724) 774-0444
FAX: (724) 773-7384

New Castle
1905 W. State Street
New Castle, PA 16101
Phone: (724) 654-1444
FAX: (724) 656-3182



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