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Friday, October 25, 2013

Capitol Update From Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, October 25, 2013 The latest news from the State Capitol

Bills to Aid Volunteer Emergency Service Organizations Pass House Unanimously

Recognizing the challenges facing our volunteer fire and rescue organizations, the House passed two measures this week aimed at supporting them.

House Bill 1632 would create a voluntary tax credit for private sector employers that allow employees who volunteer as first responders to leave work for responding to emergencies or attend training, without penalty. The ranks of Pennsylvania’s volunteers have dwindled since the 1980s, making it more difficult to maintain adequate manpower, especially during the daytime hours. The incentive is designed to help ensure enough volunteers are available to respond in the case of an emergency.

The bill also provides protections to employees by prohibiting an employer from refusing to hire someone solely because he or she is a member of an emergency service organization, and by prohibiting an employer from discriminating against or disciplining an employee-volunteer who responds to an emergency call and misses time at work.

To further support emergency response organizations financially, House Bill 1706 would increase loan amounts available under the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program (VLAP). The program loan amounts have not been increased in more than 20 years, so the bill is designed to better meet today’s costs.

The bills go to the Senate for consideration.

You’re Invited to a Town Hall Meeting

Please join me for a town meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Emporium Volunteer Fire Department. I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about state and local issues impacting our communities. No RSVP is necessary to attend the town meeting. The fire department is located at 419 N. Broad St., Emporium.

Be Safe This Halloween

As kids get their costumes ready for trick-or-treating, the Pennsylvania State Police are offering some important tips to ensure their safety this Halloween:
 • Parents should accompany children on their rounds. If a parent isn’t available, someone the parents trust should go with the children.  
 • Trick-or-treat only during times established by the local municipality, and visit only those homes with the porch light on.  
 • Children should walk on the sidewalk, not the road, when possible. They should walk facing oncoming traffic, and cross streets only at crosswalks, not between cars.  
 • Children should avoid wearing masks that obstruct their vision.  
 • Costumes should be flame retardant and fit properly.  
 • Children should wear reflective clothing or patches on their costumes. Carrying a flashlight is a good idea.
 • Parents should check treats before they are eaten.  
 • Parents should report any suspicious activity to local police.  

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