Capitol Update by Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint)
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Capitol Update Friday, December 16, 2022 The latest news from the State Capitol
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Snowmobile Season Begins Friday in Allegheny National Forest
The opening of the snowmobile season is this Friday, Dec. 16, at 8 a.m. in the Allegheny National Forest. Snowmobile trails will remain open until noon on March 31, 2023. Sufficient snowfall is needed for the trails to be usable. All winter recreationists in the forest should be aware of the following changes in snowmobile use for the 2022-23 winter season:
• Temporary re-route of approximately 3.45 miles of the Allegheny Snowmobile Loop near Four Corners in Highland Township, Elk County. The re-route uses Forest Road 661, the Timberline ATV trail, and Corduroy Road (T-323), a township road open to snowmobiles. The new route will be signed, and the former trail segment will be closed this snowmobile season. • Forest Road 141 and Forest Road 262 (Longhouse Scenic Drive) will be open to snowmobile use this winter. These roads were closed during the 2020-21 season due to construction.
• Connector Trail #38 (The Lewis Run Snowmobile Bypass Trail) is located east of Marshburg on both private property and National Forest System lands. The 5.5-mile trail segment provides an alternative route to the main 1A trail that utilizes FR 455. It begins at Pine Acres Country Club and ends at the intersection of Forest Roads 188 and 455.
• New Connector Trail # 39 (Bradford Airport Connector Trail) is located east of Marshburg on both private property and National Forest System lands. The new trail segment will provide access to the main 1A trail via Forest Road 310. Trail segments begin at the Bradford Regional Airport and the intersection of State Highways 59 and 219. The new trail ends at the existing snowmobile trail connector #38.
In the Allegheny National Forest, there are approximately 365 miles of interconnected snowmobile trails and, when conditions permit, another 52 miles of trails are used for both snowmobiles and ATVs/OHMs. Everyone is asked to exercise caution as trail users may encounter vehicles, groomers, snowshoers, dogsled teams, hikers and cross-country skiers on the trails.
Trail users are reminded to:
• Stay on designated trails.
• Practice “Leave No Trace” principles.
• Follow T.R.E.A.D. principles.
• Plan ahead and prepare for variable trail and weather conditions. • Remember, motorized vehicles are not allowed on the Allegheny Reservoir once it is frozen.
Until there is a significant amount of snow on the ground, the maintained snowmobile trails will not be groomed. Trail condition reports will begin when adequate snow accumulates and will be updated weekly, or when conditions warrant. The snowmobile trail map and condition reports will be available here. You can also listen to condition reports by calling one of the forest offices and following the prompts: Bradford Ranger District: 814-362-4613; Marienville Ranger District: 814-927-6628; or the supervisor’s office: 814-723-5150.
Congratulations to Byron Sutton of Eldred on his retirement from PA CareerLink! Byron is concluding a long career of service to veterans, most recently serving as a veterans employment specialist assisting veterans in McKean, Potter, Cameron and Elk counties. I was honored to present him with a congratulatory citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. We were joined by Steve Pifer, program supervisor, McKean and Potter County Careerlink; and Bruce Jones, assistant regional director, Northern and Central PA CareerLink. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement, Byron!
New Law Allows for Faster Receipt of Childcare Background Clearances
|Pennsylvanians applying for childcare clearances can now receive most results electronically, instead of through the U.S. mail, thanks to a new law passed earlier this session.|
Act 12 of 2022 allows certain employers to conditionally hire an individual for up to 45 days before all required childcare clearances are obtained. The goal is to address the delay that employees who required childcare clearances were experiencing in receiving their paperwork via the U.S. mail. Because this process often took weeks, this prevented the timely hiring of employees and caused businesses and nonprofits to limit work and programs due to the inability to staff them.
However, in addition to this legislation, businesses also asked for help in obtaining FBI clearances electronically to reduce another logjam in the hiring process.
Legislators from both sides of the aisle worked for 18 months with state agencies and the Pennsylvania State Police to work this option out with the FBI.
As a result, FBI background checks can now be applied for online and an electronic result received in as quickly as one day. Prior to this fix, it could take anywhere from 3-13 weeks for an applicant to receive FBI results. The shortened time to receive results will further safeguard children, aid applicants in obtaining positions of employment, and will aid employers in filling vacancies of positions that serve children. In addition to any email notification, all applicants will still receive results transmitted by U.S. mail.
Here’s an overview of how to obtain childcare clearances online:
Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification – apply online at Pennsylvania Child Welfare Information Solution.
Criminal background check performed by the Pennsylvania State Police – apply online at the ePATCH website.
FBI fingerprint background check – register online for fingerprint submission at identogo.com.
At this time, the National Sex Offender background check is not available to complete online.
Final Reminder for Rebate Program Applications
| Older adults and Pennsylvanians with disabilities have until Dec. 31 to apply for the state’s 2021 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. Remember, assistance through my offices is always free.|
The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.
For additional information and applications, click here, or contact my office for assistance.
License Your Dog in 2023
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is reminding dog owners to license their pets for 2023.
All dogs three months of age and older are required to be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. The fee for an annual dog license is $6.50, or $8.50 if the animal is not spayed or neutered. Lifetime licenses are available for dogs that have permanent identification such as a microchip or tattoo. Discounts are available for qualifying older adults and persons with disabilities.
Pennsylvania dog licenses are available for purchase through county treasurers. For more information, including contact information for your local county treasurer and license purchasing options, visit licenseyourdogpa.pa.gov.