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Friday, August 30, 2013

Capitol Update By Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, August 30, 2013 The latest news from the State Capitol

House Committees Examine Endangered Species Legislation

As chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, I led a public hearing this week on legislation that would standardize the state process for designating species of fish, wildlife or plants as threatened or endangered, as well as for designating waters as wild trout streams.

House Bill 1576, known as the Endangered Species Coordination Act, would require the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to go through the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) process to make such designations. The Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which are also empowered to designate species as threatened or endangered, already must go through IRRC. Changing the law to require the same of the PGC and PFBC will go a long way toward ensuring much-needed consistency, transparency and accountability in the regulatory process.

A second hearing on the bill is planned in mid-September.
Congratulations to Marlin “Mud” Moore upon his retirement after 27 years of dedicated service to the Borough of Coudersport. Mud started his public service as a member of borough council in 1986 and a year later was named borough manager. During his tenure in Coudersport, Mud was a leader in the effort to improve the borough’s sewer, water and roadway infrastructure. I wish him well in his retirement.
 Thanks to the folks at the Bradford Family YMCA for giving me a tour of their facility last week. It was helpful to learn more about recent improvements made there and the services they provide to our community and the region. Pictured with me are Dan Minich (left), membership director, and Jeff Alevy (right), CEO of Olean-Bradford Family YMCA.
Committee Hearings Focus on Reducing Costs for Public Projects

Continuing the effort to save taxpayer dollars, the House Labor and Industry Committee is hosting a series of public hearings on proposals to reform the state’s prevailing wage laws to keep the cost of publicly funded building projects in check.

The law requires municipalities and school districts to pay a “prevailing minimum wage,” set by the Department of Labor and Industry, on all public projects exceeding $25,000, an amount that hasn’t increased in more than five decades. House Bill 796 would increase that $25,000 threshold to $100,000 to help save taxpayer dollars.

Another bill aims to reverse a policy change implemented during the Rendell administration that made road repair projects subject to prevailing wage rates. According to testimony offered by municipal officials, that policy change has significantly limited the amount of road maintenance being done in our communities. House Bill 665 would make it clear that prevailing wage would not apply to road repair projects.

To learn more about the issue, visit 

Driver License Centers Closed for Holiday

All PennDOT driver license and photo centers will be closed on Saturday, Aug. 31, and Monday, Sept. 2, in observance of the Labor Day holiday. A variety of driver and vehicle products and services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website. Services include license and photo ID renewals, vehicle registration renewals, driver history services, changes of address and exam scheduling.  

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