In This Edition:
Senate Advances Measures to Streamline Review of Regulations and Permits
Some of the biggest concerns I hear from local residents pertain to government getting in the way of progress on our shared priorities. This week, a number of bills moved forward in the Senate to address the negative impact of government regulations and permitting delays.
The Senate approved a bill that would provide better oversight by lawmakers of proposed government regulations. This step will ensure lawmakers have ample time to review regulations to ensure they match the intent of the bills we pass, and to schedule hearings when proposed regulations could go beyond the intent of the law and negatively impact Pennsylvania communities.
Also this week, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved two bills I authored to limit unnecessary delays in the appeals process for permits issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The bills would bring Pennsylvania in line with the federal process for reviewing and appealing permit decisions, provide more clarity regarding permit appeals from decisions made by DEP, and shorten and restrict terms on the Environmental Hearing Board.
More information about these bills is available here.
I am proud to announce my appointment to serve on the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, an advisory council that offers recommendations to the Governor on a wide variety of issues that impact women. More information about the appointment is available here.
House Committee Approves Bill to Expand Job Training Program Availability
Career and technical schools could offer job training programs to a broader number of students under a bill approved by the House Education Committee this week. The bill, which I introduced in the Senate and was passed unanimously in June, would allow career and technical schools to establish branch campuses within 60 miles of the primary location. Current law limits branch campuses to the same county as the primary campus, which makes it more difficult for potential students to train for new, in-demand career opportunities. The measure now goes before the full House for consideration.
More details about the proposal are available here.
I had a very informative tour of the State Correctional Institution (SCI) in Camp Hill with my fellow Criminal Justice Reform Caucus co-chair, Senator Art Haywood. Also pictured are Shawn Kephart, Deputy Superintendent for the Diagnostic Center at SCI; State Representative Joanna McClinton and her intern; and Laurel Harry, Superintendent of SCI.
Veterans Expo Scheduled for November 13 in Washington
Veterans and their families can learn more about local job opportunities at a special Veterans Resource and Job Expo I will host in conjunction with Congressman Guy Reschenthaler on November 13 from 10 a.m. until noon. The event will take place in the Washington County Fair Building #2, which is located at 2151 North Main Street in Washington.
Additional information will also be available on health care, education, housing, family support and other topics of interest to veterans. I hope to see you there!
Special Event Will Honor a Local Fallen Hero
While saving the life of a fellow soldier, Washington County’s own Lt. Col. Juanita Warman was one of 13 people killed in the domestic terrorist shooting at Fort Hood in 2009. Next month, the community will come together in Avella to celebrate her extraordinary life and legacy by naming a portion of Route 50 in her honor.
The road will be dedicated on November 2 at 11 a.m. during a ceremony at the Avella Volunteer Fire Department. The event coincides with the 10th anniversary of the shooting. I encourage members of the community to come and show their support.
I was proud to sponsor the bill in the legislature to honor the incredibly brave actions of this hometown hero with this designation, and I am thankful that we are able to pay tribute to her amazing courage in the face of imminent danger.
I appreciated the chance to provide an update about parole and probation reform and other issues of interest in Harrisburg during the Washington County Re-Entry Conference and Community Resource/Job Fair recently.
Hearing Explores Accommodations for Individuals With Disabilities
Many families of individuals with disabilities struggle due to the lack of accommodations in public places, including changing stations for older children and adults. The Senate Labor and Industry Committee, which I chair, held a public hearing this week to further explore this issue.
The hearing included a broad range of perspectives, including families of individuals with disabilities, advocates, schools, architects and other experts. Video of the entire hearing is available below.
Grants Available to Help Reduce Pollution and Improve Efficiency
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently began accepting applications for the Small Business Advantage Grant Program, which assists businesses in implementing projects to trim energy costs and reduce pollution. The program provides a 50 percent matching grant of up to $7,000 toward energy efficiency improvements on systems such as lighting, heating, cooling, as well as building insulation projects.
The program also provides assistance for projects on farms to reduce pollution and preserve our natural resources. Applications and more information are available here.
My thanks goes out to all of the local residents who attended my first Real ID seminar in Hopewell Township to learn more about new driver’s license and photo ID requirements that go into effect in October 2020. I look forward to hosting similar events next year.
Special thanks to Robert Duffy and Barry Bacha from PennDOT and Tyler Laughlin from the Allegheny County Airport Authority for taking part in this educational event!
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