May. 17, 2019

‘Energize PA’ Will Create Jobs, Redevelop Infrastructure

 

This week, I joined my House Republican colleagues at a press event overlooking the Shell manufacturing facility in Beaver County to highlight “Energize PA,” a pro-growth, pro-jobs legislative package of eight bills designed to encourage job growth and redevelop infrastructure with no new fees or taxes.

Pennsylvania has realized significant benefits from oil and gas production in Pennsylvania. For example, the industry contributes $45 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy, provides more than 300,000 family-sustaining jobs in the state, generates billions of dollars in bonus and royalty payments for Pennsylvania landowners, and provides significant reductions in air emissions, helping Pennsylvania meet Clean Power Plan goals ahead of schedule and without government interference.

We also took a tour of the facility and participated in a roundtable discussion conducted by officials from the Shell facility and the House Majority Policy Committee.

The right public policies combined with the right cooperation from the private sector can generate a $60 billion increase in Pennsylvania Gross Domestic Product, support the addition of 100,000 new jobs and potentially increase state revenues by $2 billion to $3 billion.

I spoke about the positive impacts this initiative will bring to Pennsylvania. Click here to watch my comments.

 
Pictured with me (from left) are Rep. Mike Puskaric (R-Allegheny/Washington), Rep. Jim Marshall (R-Beaver/Butler), Rep. Josh Kail (R-Beaver/Washington), Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana) and Rep. Bud Cook (R-Washington/Fayette).
     
 
Attend My REAL ID Informational Event

 
I will be hosting a REAL ID informational event on Tuesday, May 28, beginning at 10 a.m., at the Northland Public Library located at 300 Cumberland Road in Pittsburgh.

Residents who wish to learn more about the REAL ID program or who have questions regarding the program are encouraged to attend. The event will include an informational presentation by representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Starting on Oct. 1, 2020, a REAL ID driver's license or identification (ID) card will be needed to board domestic flights and enter military buildings, some federal buildings and nuclear facilities, unless you have an alternate form of federally approved identification such as a valid passport or military ID.

This event will be a great opportunity for residents to receive information about the REAL ID program, their options and how to obtain a REAL ID if they choose to do so.

Residents should register for the event by calling my district office at 412-369-2230.
 
 
Fish for Free Next Weekend

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will host the first of its two annual Fish for Free Days next Sunday, May 26.

On Fish for Free Days, anyone – resident or non-resident – can legally fish on all Pennsylvania waterways without a license. All other fishing regulations will still apply.

For your convenience, there are even opportunities to borrow equipment from certain sites at state parks and other locations. You can find those locations by clicking here.

The second Fish for Free day is scheduled for Thursday, July 4, 2019.
      
 
Speaking about the Benefits of EITC


This week, I had the great opportunity to spend time discussing the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) at an event hosted by Catholic Education Partners.

My message to the group was that every student in Pennsylvania deserves the best education possible – one that fits the individual needs of each student.

Pennsylvania was among the first states to establish a school choice tax credit scholarship program in 2001, allowing businesses to donate directly to support preK-12 education in place of a portion of their tax bill. The EITC and later the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) have provided scholarships empowering hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income students to attend the school that is right for them.

 
Pictured with me (left) Brittany Vessely, Catholic Education Partners; Eric Failing, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference; and Greg Dolan, Catholic Education Partners.
    
 
House Committee Approves Legislation to Fight Opioid Epidemic

This week, the House Health Committee approved legislation that would help health care professionals identify and treat patients who previously overdosed on opioids.

House Bill 1005 would require first responders and hospital personnel to record the use of Narcan, Naloxone or any other opioid overdose agent in the patient’s record in a state database.

Pennsylvania in 2014 enacted a law creating a state database to track opioid prescriptions. This bill would ensure the use of Narcan and Naloxone would show up on a patient’s record in that database. Knowing a patient’s history can mean the difference between life and death.

The legislation now heads to the full House for consideration.
                                        
 
Protecting Babies with Down Syndrome

In a bipartisan vote, the House passed legislation to protect the lives of unborn children who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome.

House Bill 321 makes clear that an abortion provider cannot perform an abortion solely because of a Down syndrome diagnosis. The bill would not impact those instances in cases of rape, incest or personal endangerment.

Down syndrome is a congenital, chromosome disorder that occurs in approximately one of 830 live births. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

We provide state funding in the billions of dollars, as we should, to help individuals with disabilities because their lives matter.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
 
 
Increasing Lottery Profits for Seniors

 
This week, the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee unanimously passed legislation to increase lottery profits by lowering the rate of return of lottery games. The increased profits would go to programs for seniors that are funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Act 201 of 2014 reduced the mandated rate of return from 27% to 25%. This relief gave the lottery the ability to update products in order to meet consumer demand and maximize profits for programs benefiting older Pennsylvanians. As the lottery system continues to try to increase ticket sales to increase revenues available for senior programs, it has requested an additional reduction of the statutorily mandated rate of return beginning in Fiscal Year 2019.

House Bill 956 would temporarily reduce the rate to 23% for the next three fiscal years until June 30, 2022.

By changing the mandated rate of return now, it provides the lottery with the ability to prepare the future games portfolio to maximize profits.
 
 
Supporting Our National Guard Members and Their Families

Recognizing the sacrifices made by the families of Pennsylvania National Guard members, the House approved legislation to provide them with education benefits.

House Bill 1324 would extend our current Pennsylvania National Guard Military Education Program by including a Guard member’s spouse or child in this benefit program.

The benefit would pay for 10 semesters/quarters, or five years equivalent, at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education tuition rate. The Guard member could earn these educational benefits for his or her spouse and/or children by committing to a second obligation of six years with the Pennsylvania National Guard.

The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.
 
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