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Saturday, July 18, 2020

Headline Harrisburg by Rep. Matt Gabler

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Headline Harrisburg
Friday, July 17, 2020 The latest news from the State Capitol
 Please do not reply directly to this email, as it returns to an unmanned account.
You are welcome to contact me through this link.

This email includes:
  •   Preventing It from Happening Again
  •   Improvements Coming to Winslow Hill Road
  •   Voting in Favor of Jobs
  •   Help for the Homeless
  •   Update on the Protect and Serve Initiative
  •   Help for Our Veterans
  •   Date Extended for License to Carry Permits

Preventing It from Happening Again

With bipartisan support, the House and Senate have passed legislation that would give Pennsylvania voters a voice in any future emergency declarations. Senate Bill 1166 would begin the process of possibly amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to prohibit a governor from extending an emergency declaration behind 21 days without permission from the General Assembly.

Key points:

  •   The General Assembly must also pass the exact same bill in the 2021-22 Legislative Session in order to be placed on the ballot as a referendum as early as the May 2021 Primary Election. 
  •   If that happens, voters would then decide whether or not to amend the state Constitution, something that would not be subject to approval or veto by the governor and could not be overturned by the courts.

Improvements Coming to Winslow Hill Road

Benezette Township has received a nearly $3 million grant that will be used to improve a stretch of Winslow Hill Road which serves as the sole access point for the Elk Country Visitor’s Center and two elk viewing areas.

The grant is one of 27 distributed for use with highway, bridge, transit, and bike and pedestrian projects in 23 counties.

The source of the funding is the Multimodal Transportation Fund, which provides grants to encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of this commonwealth.

The fund is administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Transportation.

Voting in Favor of Jobs for PA

A measure designed to boost job creation through tax credits to attract industries that use methane in the manufacture of petrochemicals and fertilizers in the northeastern region of the state awaits Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature after being approved by both the House and Senate this week.

The concept is part of the GoodJobs4PA initiative, which aims to grow the economy and facilitate well-paying career opportunities for citizens across the Commonwealth. The original proposal – House Bill 1100 – was vetoed by the governor earlier this year, but House Bill 732 includes minor modifications to that legislation and now have the support of the administration.

The Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit is estimated to generate more than $600 million in annual labor income and leverage more than $1.6 billion in economic output.

Help for the Homeless

Clearfield and Elk counties are about to receive financial support through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to address the impact of the coronavirus on the homeless population and prevent future homelessness across the commonwealth.

Both counties are served by Lawrence County Social Services, which will receive a more than $3.3 million grant.

The majority of the funding is targeted at homelessness prevention, with the remaining support allocated to rapidly housing those who are homeless, emergency shelter services and street outreach, and data collection and administration needs.

Update on the Protect and Serve Initiative

The following two pieces of legislation relating to calls for reforms to our system of law enforcement have been signed into law. I supported both of them when they were voted on the House floor as part of the Protect and Serve Initiative.

  •   Act 57 of 2020 (formerly House Bill 1841) will improve transparency in law enforcement’s hiring process by requiring an employer to disclose employment information to a law enforcement agency that is conducting a background investigation of an applicant.
  •   Act 59 of 2020 (formerly House Bill 1910) will require police officers and district magistrates to receive mandatory training that will help them to recognize early signs of child abuse and the reporting requirements, as well as interact and deescalate behavior in potentially dangerous situations. It will also increase mental health support for members of law enforcement with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Help for Our Veterans

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs' new initiative is called PA VetConnect.

Pennsylvania is home to nearly 800,000 veterans, and PA VETConnect is here to help them determine their needs, find resources that meet those needs, and connect veterans with the right resources.

Please click here to learn more.

We’re resuming our monthly veterans outreach service; however, it is being done by appointment only.

The first Tuesday of each month, a representative from the American Legion visits my district offices to discuss issues such as pensions, compensation, educational opportunities and health care. Veterans do not need to be a member of the American Legion in order to take advantage of this service.

If you would like to make an appointment for the Monday, Aug. 4 meeting in my DuBois district office, please call 814-375-4688.

Date Extended for License to Carry Permits

License to carry firearms permits that expire on March 19, 2020, or later are now valid through Sept. 30, 2020. The previous expiration date was July 31.

The extension is necessary due to the closure of some county courthouses and sheriff's offices, as well as other ongoing COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

In Pennsylvania, an individual 21-years-old or older may apply for a license to carry firearms by submitting a completed application to the sheriff of the county in which they reside or, if a resident of a city of the first class, with the chief of police of that city. The sheriff has 45 days to investigate and determine an individual's eligibility to be issued a license, which is valid for five years.

A license to carry firearms is required to carry a firearm concealed on one's person or in a vehicle. Any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person except in his place of abode or fixed place of business without a valid and lawfully issued license commits a felony of the third degree.

For more information on carrying a firearm in Pennsylvania, visit the PA State Police website at

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