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Friday, August 21, 2015

Capitol Update

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Capitol Update
Friday, August 21, 2015 The latest news from the State Capitol

Emergency Facing Area Ambulance Services

With area ambulance services struggling with limited personnel and limited finances, I am inviting ambulance service personnel, county and local officials, and members of the community to a public meeting to discuss the problem and possible solutions.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31, at the Port Allegany Fire Department, 65 West Maple St.

Our ambulance services provide vital, life-saving care to people in need, and we cannot afford to lose them. But there is a very real chance that could happen if we don’t take steps to address these challenges. The organizations we rely upon to help us in the case of an emergency are facing an emergency of their own. It’s our turn to respond to their call for help.

Read more here.

Legislative Republicans Offer Budget Compromise

In an effort to move budget negotiations forward, House and Senate Republican leaders offered a compromise to Gov. Tom Wolf this week.

Specifically, they offered to agree to the governor’s desired $400 million increase in basic education funding if he would agree to pension reform and liquor privatization as the means to finance the increase. Privatizing the liquor store system is estimated to generate at least $200 million, while pension reform would save the state and school districts an estimated $12 billion over the long term.

As the governor considers the compromise, House Republicans remain dedicated to a responsible and sustainable state budget that funds core government services without passing the burden onto working families and senior citizens.

State Ag Leaders Continue Preparations for Avian Influenza

Poultry farming is a vital part of the state’s agriculture industry, with more than 11,000 flocks of birds, $1 billion in sales, billions more in related economic activity and wages, and more than 53,000 jobs. That’s why it is so important to take every possible step to prevent an outbreak of high pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) here.

As chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, I joined my Senate counterpart, Sen. Elder Vogel, in hosting an informational meeting at Ag Progress Days in Centre County this week to receive an update on the state’s preparedness efforts to address the threat of HPAI.

It is encouraging to know we are “ahead of the curve,” according to Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, but he acknowledges the threat remains, especially as birds begin migrating again in the fall.

As part of its outreach efforts, the Department of Agriculture is urging the registration of poultry flocks, especially those smaller in size. Knowing where poultry is located throughout the state will assist in response and recovery in the event of an outbreak. Click here to register or call 717-836-3235.

To read my press release about the meeting, click here

For additional information about HPAI, as well as a link to video of the hearing, click here.

Back to School Bus Safety

As students head back to school, it’s a good time to refresh our memories about school bus safety.

Pennsylvania law requires that motorists stop at least 10 feet away from school buses when their red lights are flashing and their stop arm is extended. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety.

Penalties for failure to obey school bus safety laws can result in a $250 fine, five points on a driving record and a 60-day license suspension.

Parents are reminded to ensure that their children are at the bus stop early to avoid rushing. Students should stay where the bus driver can see them while boarding or exiting the bus.

Click here for more information and tips for school bus safety

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