Mar. 06, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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Harrisburg Update
A quick look at what’s happening in Harrisburg
and the 125th Legislative District...

#Listrak\DateStampShort# The latest news from the State Capitol
 
The Loss of a Friend and Colleague


I am deeply saddened by the passing of Schuylkill County Commissioner Frank Staudenmeier, whose legacy will strongly live throughout our area.

My heart goes out to his wife, children and grandchildren. Frank was devoted to serving his county. He was an inspiration to all of us.

Staudenmeier was a county commissioner since 2002 and served on numerous boards. He was the president and board member for both the Manufacturers Association of Mid-Eastern Pennsylvania and the Economic Development Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He served on numerous boards: Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation, where he was chairman; Schuylkill United Way, where he was past president; Schuylkill Area Community Foundation; Ashland Community Enterprises; and Schuylkill Community Action. He was named Schuylkill County Businessman of the Year in 1992. In addition, Frank was recently inducted into the County Commissioner Association of Pennsylvania “Academy for Excellence.”

Frank was an all-around great person. He even coached youth sports.

We have lost one of our most ardent, passionate and effective voices. His desire, dedication and determination to serve will live with me forever. May Frank Staudenmeier’s memory be for a blessing.
 
 
Boating Facility Grants for Schuylkill River Greenways

This week, Sen. Dave Argall (R-Berks/Schuylkill) and I announced the Schuylkill River Greenways was awarded a $50,000 Boating Facility Grant from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).

The Schuylkill Rover Greenways plans to construct parking improvements at the canoe/kayak ramp located at Peter Yarnell Park along the Schuylkill River in Perry Township. The grant funds will also be used to expand the parking area and to provide ADA-accessible parking. In addition, it plans to install ADA-accessible paths from the parking area to the boat launch ramp and the existing pavilion.

The PFBC created the Boating Facility Grant program to provide grants for the planning, acquisition, development, expansion and rehabilitation of public boating facilities located on the waters of the Commonwealth. The goal of the program is to ensure Pennsylvania’s recreational boaters have the highest-quality boating facilities.
 
 
I Fight for Veterans and Volunteer Fire Companies

My legislation to eliminate a licensee surcharge only to national veterans’ organizations and volunteer fire companies passed the House unanimously in January and is before the Senate Law and Justice Committee for consideration.

It is my hope that the committee will act on this bill when the Senate returns to session later this month.

House Bill 1048 would amend Act 39 of 2016 that requires a $700 renewal surcharge for all licenses that are renewed or validated on an annual basis.

My bill is part of the House’s continued commitment to supporting first responders – the “helpers and heroes” of our communities. The House is working to complete work on more than a dozen measurers designed to boost volunteerism, offer more flexibility in funding and assure better access to training. 
   
 
Hearings on Governor’s $36 Billion Budget Proposal Conclude

The House Appropriations Committee concluded its in-depth review of the governor’s budget proposal this week with a focus on education and human services, the two biggest state agencies in terms of funding.

As was the case in the prior two weeks of hearings, members drilled down on the estimated $1 billion in overspending in various areas of the current year’s budget, working to identify areas of mismanagement by the administration as well as items that could or should have been anticipated during the budget negotiation process.

With the hearings concluded, lawmakers can now move forward with developing a state budget that funds the core functions of government while also being respectful of the taxpayers who foot the bill. Additional information about the 2020-21 state budget proposal, as well as archived video of the budget hearings, may be found here.
 
 
Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement Program in Effect

As of Wednesday, March 4, drivers speeding through certain active work zones in the state could find themselves being cited for the offense through the new Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program.

The AWZSE program uses vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits using electronic speed timing devices. Work zones will be marked with signage in advance of the enforcement area, and the systems are operational only in active work zones where workers are present. Locations are posted on the project website.

A 60-day pre-enforcement period, which has been in place since January, ended earlier this week. Now, registered owners who are found to be speeding will receive a warning letter for a first offense, a violation notice and $75 fine for a second offense, and a violation notice and $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. These violations are civil penalties only; no points will be assessed to driver’s licenses.

In 2018, there were 1,804 work zone crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 23 fatalities, and 43% of work zone crashes resulted in fatalities and/or injuries. Since 1970, PennDOT has lost 89 workers in the line of duty. The PA Turnpike has lost 45 workers since 1945.
 
 
Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expands

A dozen counties have been added to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. This brings the total quarantine zone to 26 counties, more than a third of the state’s 67 counties.

The counties added this week are not completely infested, but rather have a few municipalities with a known infestation which led to a quarantine being placed on the entire county out of an abundance of caution. Allegheny, Beaver, Blair, Columbia, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Juniata, Luzerne, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry and York have been added to the quarantine for 2020.

Businesses that operate in or travel through quarantined counties are required to obtain a Spotted Lanternfly permit; fines associated with noncompliance can be up to $300 for a criminal citation or up to $20,000 for a civil penalty. Homeowners with questions about treatment are encouraged to contact their local Penn State Extension office or learn about management, including approved sprays, online. Pennsylvanians who live inside the quarantine zone should also review and sign the Compliance Checklist for residents.

For more information about Spotted Lanternfly, click here.
 
 
Spring Ahead: Turn Clocks Ahead One Hour This Weekend

Daylight saving time will begin on Sunday, March 8, at 2 a.m. Be sure to turn your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night before going to bed.

This is also a good time to check and/or change batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. The alarms should also be replaced every 10 years.
 
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RepKnowles.com
Office Locations
202 East Broad Street, Tamaqua, PA 18252 | Phone: 570-668-1240
61 North Third Street, Hamburg, PA 19526-1501 | Phone: 610-562-3411
314C Main Capitol, PO Box 202124, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2124 | Phone: 717-787-9029
Email: jknowles@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
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