Apr. 26, 2019

Creating Jobs and Redeveloping Infrastructure in PA

At a press conference scheduled for Monday, April 29, I will join my House colleagues as we unveil “Energize PA,” a pro-growth, pro-jobs package of eight bills that creates jobs and redevelops infrastructure without increasing fees or taxes.

“Energize PA” builds on our history, one that is steeped in energy production, innovation and manufacturing.

The right public policies combined with the right cooperation from the private sector can generate a $60 billion increase in Pennsylvania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It can also support the addition of $100,000 new jobs and potentially increase state revenues by approximately $3 billion.

Pennsylvanians are hard-working and resilient. The bill package will energize our economy by creating family-sustaining jobs.
Taproom Tax Causes Concern

This week, the House Liquor Control Committee held a public hearing at Spoonwood Brewing Company in Pittsburgh to discuss a new “taproom tax” set to take effect July 1.

Of concern to brewers is the recent state tax bulletin indicating that breweries which bypass wholesalers and sell beer directly to consumers in their tasting rooms and retail storefronts would be required to issue the 6% state sales tax at the point of sale. In general, brewery owners have argued the tax should be applied at the wholesale level instead.

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Brewers of PA, the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, and the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association were present to testify before the committee.

Pennsylvania has an outstanding brewing history and our local breweries are an asset to the state’s economy. We need to be a support system, not a hinderance.
TransformPA Bills Advance in House

Recently, a package of bills aimed at transforming local governments in the Commonwealth earned overwhelming approval in the House Local Government Committee.

The package of bills includes:

House Bill 883 would require any money borrowed by a municipal authority for a specific project be used for that project only. None of the funds could be diverted into a slush fund or used for other purposes.
House Bill 320 would restrict the use by local governments of complex financial interest rate transactions known as “swaps.”
House Bill 884 would tighten the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) oversight of municipal borrowing.
House Bill 885 would prohibit local governments from using alternative securities.

The bills go to the full House for consideration.
Deadline to Submit PHEAA Grants Ends Soon

Parents and students preparing to attend college this coming fall, please keep in mind that the deadline to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and to qualify for PA State Grants from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority (PHEAA) is May 1.

Students attending community college, technical/trade schools or a hospital school of nursing have until Aug. 1 to apply. However, I strongly recommend you apply well in advance, so it doesn’t slip your mind.

For more information on PHEAA’s student grants program, click here.
Protecting Children and Animals in Hot Cars

As temperatures begin to rise outside, the heat in your vehicle can quickly reach levels that can be deadly for children and pets locked inside.

House Bill 279, which was passed by the House earlier this month, would provide civil immunity for any damage that may be done to a vehicle when forceful entry is necessary to rescue a child.

Last year, the Legislature enacted Act 104 of 2018, which provides civil immunity to law enforcement, animal control and humane officers and emergency responders who enter a car to save an animal that was left behind.

The civil protections in Act 104 do not extend to civilians attempting to break into a car to rescue an animal.
Safely Dispose of Unused Prescriptions This Saturday

Residents have an opportunity to remove opioids and other unused medicines from homes this Saturday, April 27, as part of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

More than 18 tons of prescription drugs were disposed of across Pennsylvania in the Prescription Drug Take Back Day held last October. The initiative helps prevent unused medications ending up in the wrong hands.

Locations in our area to safely dispose of unused drugs are listed here.

You can also find permanent disposal boxes in your community by clicking here.
April is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. An estimated 30,000 Pennsylvanians live with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

To help families, providers and those with autism access services to meet their needs, Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Autism Services maintains a comprehensive online resource at PAautism.org.

The website helps connect people with autism or those who support people with autism with resources and a community to help them improve their lives.

The General Assembly further supports people with autism by dedicating funding to autism intervention and services in the annual state budget. In the current 2018-19 budget, funding totals more than $31 million, an increase of $3.6 million over the previous fiscal year’s spending.

Learn more here.