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Friday, October 4, 2013

Capitol Update By Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, October 04, 2013 The latest news from the State Capitol

Senate Committee Hears Testimony on Proposed Rural Community College Program

The Senate Education Committee held a public hearing this week on legislation introduced by Sen. Joe Scarnati to create a rural regional community college pilot program in our area. I introduced a companion bill, House Bill 1701, in the state House.

The bills were introduced in response to a 2011 study by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee that noted the importance of community colleges in meeting the demand to provide education and training necessary in today’s economy. However, it also found that 25 of 26 rural counties in Pennsylvania have no community colleges and that rural youth typically pay twice the tuition of youth from areas with a community college.

To read the full report, click here.

To view the hearing, click here.

Sportsman Newsletter Now Available

Check out the fall edition of my sportsmen newsletter for updates on new laws and legislative proposals impacting sportsmen and sportswomen in our region and throughout the Commonwealth. The newsletter also includes the full listing of seasons and bag limits. Click here to read it.

To ensure you receive future sportsmen updates, please sign up here.

Game and Fisheries Committee Approves Bills

The House Game and Fisheries Committee, which I chair, held a voting meeting this week at which four bills were unanimously reported to the full House for consideration.

Among them is a bill I sponsored (House Bill 1584) to clarify in statute that conservation officers have the authority to issue written or verbal warnings in lieu of making arrests or issuing citations. While this authority is available to conservation officers currently, it is not specifically spelled out in law and therefore may not be being used as much as it could be or should be. As a former police officer, I know how important it is to exercise discretion in law enforcement.

The committee also approved Senate Bill 648, sponsored by Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Adams/Cumberland/ Franklin/York), which protects the rights of property owners who allow hunting on their property. The bill ensures those landowners are not subject to prosecution for violations committed by hunters on their land.

Finally, the committee approved two bills sponsored by Rep. Gary Haluska (D-Cambria). House Bill 681 removes the authority for commissioners of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to enforce powers granted to waterway patrolmen. House Bill 1144 amends the definition of “bow” to include crossbows and any device held in place by a brace secured around the body.  

Recognizing the Importance of Independent Oil Producers

I am really looking forward to taking part in a press conference with local oil producers at the Drake Well Museum in Titusville next Thursday to talk about their many contributions to the state and local economies.

The event, organized by Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers (PIPP), will focus on the jobs supported by the conventional oil industry and our local refinery, the types of products created by Penn-grade crude and the regulatory challenges these producers face.

As we mark the 40th anniversary of the 1973-74 oil embargo, it is important to recognize the value of this industry in Pennsylvania both then and now.

The event will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Drake Well Museum, 202 Museum Lane, Titusville.  

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