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Friday, February 17, 2017

Capitol Update

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Capitol Update
Friday, February 17, 2017 The latest news from the State Capitol
Thank you to Dr. Lisa Fiorentino for inviting me to speak with her Ethics of Health Care class at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford last week. We had a great discussion about the challenges facing health care providers, especially in rural areas like ours. I commend the students for their dedication to caring for others.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Clinics Start Wednesday 
Need help with your Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications? My office is holding several clinics to provide assistance -- at no charge -- to anyone eligible for the program. The first five of those clinics are coming up next week. Unless otherwise noted, no appointment is necessary.
Wednesday, Feb. 22
  • Eldred Senior Center, 169 Main St., Eldred, 9:30-11 a.m.
  • Harrison Valley Community Building, 205 E. Main St., Harrison Valley, 9:30-10:30 a.m. 
  • Smethport Senior Center, 119 W. Main St., Smethport, 1-2:30 p.m. 
Thursday, Feb. 23
  • Emporium Senior Center, 213½ S. Maple St., Emporium, 9:30-11:30 a.m. (Appointments preferred. Call 814-486-3707.)
  • Port Allegany Senior Center, 216 N. Main St., Port Allegany, 1-2:30 p.m.
Assistance is also available at my Bradford, Coudersport and Kane offices. For additional information about the program and a full schedule of clinics, click here.
Penn Grade Crude Council to Hold First Meeting
The Pennsylvania Grade Crude Development Advisory Council, designed to address challenges and help grow the conventional oil and gas industry, will hold its first meeting at the state Capitol this coming Tuesday, Feb. 21.

The council was created in Act 52 of 2016, a law which also halted implementation of regulations that threatened to force many conventional oil and gas operations out of business. In an effort to prevent that from happening again, the council will advise and assist the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with regulatory issues. In addition, it is charged with developing a plan to increase production of Pennsylvania grade crude oil to more adequately supply refineries, such as ARG, which depend upon the high-quality oil. It will also look at ways to promote the long-term viability of the conventional oil and gas industry.

I am proud to serve as a member of the council and look forward to the opportunity to shore up the future of this 150-year-old industry that is a cornerstone of the rural economy.
Detailed Look into Governor’s Budget to Begin Next Week
Members of the House Appropriations Committee will begin their detailed look into the governor’s $32.3 billion budget proposal as hearings begin on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The opening day of hearings will include testimony from the Independent Fiscal Office, and the departments of Revenue and State.

The remainder of the week will include looks into the proposed budgets of the pension systems, Public Utility Commission, departments of Labor and Industry and Transportation, treasury, offices of auditor and attorney general and the State System of Higher Education.

The full hearing schedule, as well as videos of completed hearings, will be available here.

More information about the governor’s proposal is available here.
Celebrating PA Maple Producers
The state House unanimously approved my resolution designating March 13-19 as Maple Producers Week in the Commonwealth. The week coincides with 13th Annual Maple Weekend hosted by the Potter-Tioga Maple Syrup Producers Association. Mark your calendar for March 18-19, when more than a dozen area maple producers will offer a variety of activities, samples and more. For more information about Maple Weekend, visit

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