May. 03, 2019

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Monthly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Last weekend, I had the distinct privilege of honoring Larry Stillwagon for 50 years of service with the Bullskin Township Volunteer Fire Co., at its annual banquet. Thank you, Larry, and thank you to all our volunteer firefighters across this Commonwealth for your commitment and dedication to our communities! May God bless each and everyone one of you and your families.

The only thing better than going fishing is going fishing with your kids! Paloma and I caught this beauty on a recent fishing trip. If you’ve been thinking of taking up fishing, you can learn more here.

Protecting Taxpayers from Higher Spending

Did you know that since 1970, Pennsylvanians have seen state spending increase by 101%…even when adjusted for inflation?

That’s unacceptable.

Out of respect for the hard-working taxpayers of this Commonwealth, I recently reintroduced the Taxpayer Protection Act to bring the state budget under control and help keep spending in check. Specifically, House Bill 1316 proposes an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would establish annual spending limits based on inflation and population growth.

This is an important step toward ensuring fiscal responsibility and opening the door to better economic growth and job opportunities for the state.

Our current path of higher spending and higher taxes that drive families and employers out of the Commonwealth and shrink our tax base is simply unsustainable.

Read more here.

Shredding, Donation Event This Saturday!
Join me this Saturday, May 4, for a community paper shredding and donation event at the Connellsville Area High School parking lot, 201 Falcon Drive, Connellsville.

Stop by between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to have papers with sensitive personal information shredded. This is an important step to protecting yourself against identity theft. Please note: the shredding company will collect boxes on-site and then send participants a certificate confirming destruction of their documents.

This even is open to residents only; no businesses or organizations, please.

You’ll also have the opportunity to help your neighbors in need by dropping off donations for Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Click here for a list of acceptable donation items.

Good News for PA Budget, Taxpayers

Speaking of the budget, we got some positive economic news this week as state revenue collections are more than $828 million ahead of estimates with two months to go in the current fiscal year.

But that doesn’t mean government should be going on a spending spree with your tax dollars.

Knowing the governor’s taste for spending, House and Senate Republican leaders and members stood together Wednesday making a commitment to devote much of the additional funding to building up the state’s reserves for a “rainy day” to help ensure we can weather the next economic slowdown.

The Commonwealth’s revenue growth is the result of pro-growth policies and our commitment to standing up for taxpayers – and standing against excessive taxes and spending proposed by the governor over the last several years. We will continue that commitment through this year’s budget negotiations. A final 2019-20 state budget is due by June 30.

Find further details on Pennsylvania’s revenues here.

Watch the press conference here.

Government Done Right – Pennsylvania Needs an Upgrade

House Republicans are devoting the month of May to giving our state government a long-overdue upgrade.

Having “government done right” means upgrading to a more effective and efficient government while providing core services. It means repealing out-of-date laws, reexamining the effectiveness of some state boards and commissions, and putting a stop to the red tape and overregulation that has tied the hands of job creators and hampered economic progress.

We kicked off the effort this week by passing House Bill 762 to require state agencies to designate a regulatory compliance officer to facilitate better understanding of new and existing regulations and boost compliance rates among affected businesses.

We also passed House Bill 509, which would boost transparency in the permitting process by requiring agencies to post information online and create an accessible tracking system for applicants to check the status of their applications.

Finally, we started a spring cleaning of sorts to get rid of some our most outdated, irrelevant laws. These include measures that regulate when things can or cannot happen on Sundays, such as movie times, baseball and football games and even playing music. Other laws we are working to repeal include antiquated sections of our Public School Code and the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children, which closed in 2009.

You can read more about what we are doing to improve Pennsylvania’s government here.

Rail Assistance Grants Announced
Our region was awarded two rail transportation assistance grants this week. This is a great investment in our rail infrastructure as well as our local and regional economies.

In Fayette County, the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad was awarded a $1.5 million grant to rehabilitate and improve approximately 2.6 miles of track on the FM&P Subdivision by installing continuous welded rail and realigning and surfacing track.

In Fayette and Westmoreland counties, the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation was awarded a $1.5 million grant to improve the Radebaugh Subdivision, including rehabilitating approximately a half mile of track, replacing two turnouts and constructing two sidings.

The grants were among more than two dozen awarded across the state to help create and sustain an estimated 255 jobs across Pennsylvania.

Prevent Lyme: Check for Ticks
With May designated as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Pennsylvania, individuals who spend time outdoors should check themselves for ticks and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-related ailments.

The first line of defense against Lyme is to take precautions in the outdoors by using insect repellent with DEET, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, checking for – and promptly and properly removing – any ticks, and showering shortly after exposure.

If bitten, an individual should monitor the area for the next month. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, a bull’s eye rash may appear, and other symptoms that can be mistaken for viral infections, such as influenza or infectious mononucleosis.

Pennsylvania has led the nation in confirmed cases of Lyme disease for three straight years.

Last year, a $500,000 grant was provided to East Stroudsburg University (ESU) to allow all Pennsylvania residents to have ticks (found on them or a family member) tested for free by the university. The Tick Lab is located within the Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute at ESU. Click here to access the Tick Lab website with all the details.
For tips about how to protect yourself from Lyme disease, click here.
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Office Locations
Capitol Office: Room B-11, Main Capitol Building, PO Box 202052, Harrisburg PA 17120-2052 | (717) 787-1540 
District Office: 1040 Eberly Way, Suite 250, Lemont Furnace, PA 15456 I Phone: (724) 437-1105