|House Committee Advances Bill to Free the Wine
The House Liquor Control Committee passed legislation that will allow grocery and convenience stores, hotels, and restaurants the ability to buy product from private sector wholesalers and wineries without having to go through the Liquor Control Board (LCB).
House Bill 1346 would also eliminate any price floor requirements, whether from the wholesaler to the retailer or the retailer to the consumer, that artificially inflate the cost and dampen competition.
My legislation made history with the first sales of wine in the private sector, finally moving Pennsylvania, at least in part, into the 21st century and out of the Prohibition era. Act 39 of 2016 brought wine privatization by authorizing the sale of wine in private retail markets and by providing for the availability of more than 1,000 additional licenses.
Purchasing wine through the wholesale market removes the additional cost of going through an unnecessary middleman in the LCB, which only increases the cost to consumers and limits choice of products.
The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.
Honoring the North Allegheny Swimming Team
I am extremely proud of the North Allegheny High School Boys’ Swimming Team. They captured the PIAA Triple-A state title for a third straight year!
I was so pleased to celebrate with the team and their outstanding coaches on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Recently, at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium, the boys team accumulated 279 points to easily outdistance second-place finisher North Penn.
Winning a state championship is an outstanding accomplishment for any athlete or team. Dedication, determination and hard work are the three ingredients that best describe the North Allegheny Boys’ Swimming Team.
Government Done Right Requires Efficiency, Transparency, Fiscal Responsibility
As part of our “Government Done Right” initiative, House Republicans passed additional bills this week to increase transparency, save taxpayers money and improve the efficiency of government.
House Bill 24 would hasten retirement of the Commonwealth’s General Obligation debt. This will decrease the amount of interest paid and put the state on a path to improve its overall bond rating. The legislation would also require the principal for new state debt to be repaid in equal amounts over the term of the bond.
House Bill 880 would extend and accelerate the reduction of the debt ceiling for the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program by $500 million over five years. Lowering our debt reduces the financial burden of current and future taxpayers.
To ensure businesses get effective and efficient treatment when navigating the Commonwealth’s legal system, the House voted to create Commerce Courts. Under House Bill 332, these courts would have judges dedicated to hearing and deciding complex business-related cases, including acquisitions, mergers, dissolutions and liquidations, among other items.
The bills now go to the Senate for its consideration.
Calling All Veterans!
The desire to help veterans in need reflects a fitting gratitude for service to our country. On Friday, May 17, I will partner with the American Legion to assist veterans and their families at my district office in McCandless. Through this outreach, we have been able to provide some direct links between our veterans and the services and programs available just for them.
Please call my office at 412-369-2230 to schedule an appointment. If you can’t make it on May 17, we have scheduled additional hours that may fit into your busy schedule better. The dates include the following Fridays:
• June 21
• July 19
• Aug. 16
• Sept. 20
• Oct. 18
• Nov. 15
• Dec. 20
My district office is located at 125 Hillvue Lane, first floor, in McCandless.
Expanding School Choice Scholarships
This week, the House adopted my legislation to enhance a vital school choice program in the Commonwealth.
House Bill 800 would increase funding for Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $100 million to $210 million, providing tens of thousands of additional Pennsylvania families the ability to choose a school that best fits their students’ needs.
Additionally, it includes an automatic escalator that would increase the funding for these scholarships by 10% in any year that 90% of the credits are claimed, allowing the program to grow to meet demand.
To allow more middle-class families access to this program, the bill would increase the maximum annual household income by $10,000 (to $95,000, before add-ons per child), while guaranteeing that once a student has received a scholarship, he or she will remain eligible through high school graduation regardless of changes to family income.
The EITC program provides tax credits to businesses that make contributions to approved scholarship organizations offering scholarships to children in kindergarten through grade 12, educational improvement organizations providing funding for innovative educational programs in public schools, and pre-kindergarten scholarship organizations offering scholarships to children enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs.
Click here to view my comments on the bill from the House floor.
The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.
Following the passage of House Bill 800, expanding our EITC program, students and teachers from the Yeshiva Schools from Pittsburgh and Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh visited me in the Speaker’s Office. School choice is not an alternative to a great public school system; it’s a necessary complement.
Celebrating Our Small Businesses
This week marks Small Business Week in Pennsylvania. Small businesses are the backbone of the Commonwealth’s economy, employing more than 2.5 million people. In fact, 99.6% of employers in the state are small businesses.
House Republicans have been working hard to help Pennsylvania’s small businesses thrive and grow by cutting the red tape that creates barriers to growth and cleaning up our outdated laws.
Improving CPR Education to Save Lives
This week, the House passed Senate Bill 115 aimed at teaching students cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to help them save lives.
The bill would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to work with the Department of Health and other stakeholders to develop curriculum that could be used by schools across the state.
The aim is to help reduce the more than 350,000 cardiac arrests that occur outside of a hospital each year by preparing students to save lives through CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED).
The bill now heads back to the Senate for its concurrence.
Keep PA Beautiful Accepting Beautification Grants
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is accepting applications through June 28 for the 2019 Fresh Paint days Pennsylvania, a program designed to provide community groups with paint and painting supplies enabling them to renew a community structure in need into something beautiful through the application of fresh paint.
Eight grants of up to 20 gallons of exterior paint and a gift card for painting supplies will be awarded to tax-exempt groups within the Commonwealth. Groups will have 30 days in September to complete their projects.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will select the eight winning projects from among applications submitted. Selected grantees must meet the following requirements to be considered - only one building per application, proof of liability insurance, signed permission to paint from the building owner and two before photos of the intended project.
Applications must be received by June 28, and grants will be awarded in July. For more invitation visit this site.