Capitol Update Friday, May 26, 2023
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.
Remember the Fallen This Memorial Day
Monday, May 29, is Memorial Day – a day set aside to honor the more than 1.1 million Americans who have died in wars which the United States entered.
Please take a moment this weekend to remember these men and women who sacrificed their lives for us and for our country and consider participating in Memorial Day events in your community.
For more information about Memorial Day and its history, click here.
If you are traveling this Memorial Day, be sure to drive safely and check traffic conditions at www.511pa.com or on Twitter.
A Great Day in Kane!
Last week, I had the opportunity to read to preschoolers at the Kids Learning Center and discuss the importance of early childhood education. I took a look at the proposed location for a children’s museum and toured the new Six and Kane building. Thank you to Mayor Brandy Schimp for taking me around town. It’s great to see continued growth and development in this community!
I’m pictured here with Kane Mayor Brandy Schimp; Kate Kennedy, executive director of the Kane Area Development Center; and Jill Grosch, Kane district office manager.
Advocating for PA’s Energy Industry
Advancing our Commonwealth’s energy industry is key to a thriving economy. Unfortunately, that growth is being threatened by misguided policies advanced by House Democrats who are now in the majority in the state House.
Earlier this week, on a party line vote, the House Environmental Resources and Energy (ERE) Committee approved a bill that will significantly drive up costs for our conventional oil and gas producers by increasing the cost of well bonding. The bill is based on the false narrative that today’s drillers are abandoning thousands of wells every year and the increased bonding is needed to plug those wells.
The reality is the vast majority of wells that are in need of plugging are orphan wells that date back decades or even a century ago and there is no identifiable responsible party. That’s why we passed a law last year to increase funding for plugging those wells, but the Department of Environmental Protection continues to drag its feet on implementing the grant program.
The bill now goes to the full House for consideration. As Republican chairman of the ERE Committee and advocate for our local conventional oil and gas producers, I will continue pushing back on these damaging policies.
Fighting for a Fiscally Responsible Budget
With the June 30 budget deadline just around the corner, House Democrats started the process of advancing Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro’s $45.8 billion proposal that increases spending by $2.5 billion, or 6%, over the current year.
Especially given the rising inflation and economic uncertainty we are all facing, it is irresponsible to support a budget that eviscerates an anticipated $7.9 billion budget surplus over the next three years and the $5 billion Rainy Day Fund over the next five years.
This budget does nothing to prepare the Commonwealth for the turbulent economic climate many economists are predicting.
Given the demographic challenges we face in balancing the Commonwealth’s budget with significant growth in the elderly population and contraction in the working-age population, this is not the time to expand government and introduce new spending initiatives.
As part of our Keystone Commitment to the Commonwealth, we are working toward policies that will promote a thriving economy and affordable living for all Pennsylvanians. This budget would move us in the WRONG direction. Learn more about the Keystone Commitment here.
Grants Offered to Boost Sales, Expand Export Markets for PA Products
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is inviting proposals for projects designed to boost domestic sales and exports of Pennsylvania agricultural products. The department plans to award up to $303,000 in matching funds to PA nonprofits to reimburse up to 50% of costs for promotional and educational projects intended to increase consumer awareness and sales or expand export markets.
Grants will be awarded to PA nonprofit agricultural promotion and marketing organizations for projects ranging from festivals and tourism events to regional buy-local campaigns and statewide promotions of PA products.
Priority consideration will be given to projects that:
• Promote PA Preferred® hardwoods, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. • Promote agritourism, Farmers Market Nutrition Programs and farm markets. • Expand or create export markets. • Increase food security and decrease food waste. • Leverage additional private or federal funds.
Complete guidelines for the Pennsylvania Agricultural Product Promotion, Education and Export Promotion Matching Grant Program are in the May 20 issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Grant applications must be submitted online through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development Electronic Single Application. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday, July 14.
Fish for Free Coming This Weekend!
This Sunday, May 28, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will host a Fish for Free day to allow anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish on all Pennsylvania waterways. No license is required, but all other fishing regulations still apply.
This is the first of two dates set by the PFBC to enhance fishing opportunities. The next day is Independence Day, Tuesday, July 4. This is a great way to expose the next generation of anglers to the outdoors. More information about fishing in Pennsylvania is available here.
Driver License, Photo Centers Closed for Memorial Day
PennDOT driver license and photo centers will be closed Saturday, May 27, through Monday, May 29, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.
Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov. Services include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.