|The latest news from the State Capitol
Combating Human Trafficking
I recently attended a hearing on human trafficking in York County at York College.
Six testifiers, ranging from law enforcement officials to advocates and researchers, provided information to York County’s House Republican Delegation. This hearing was essential in us learning what is being done and what must be done to combat this atrocious crime, which impacts all communities and robs victims of their God-given human rights.
One tool to help police further fight human trafficking is legislation, House Bill 2029, which I co-sponsored. The bill would increase penalties on those convicted of being involved in human trafficking. It would also give law enforcement more tools to combat this heinous crime.
Testimony we received will be used to ensure our law enforcement community has the tools needed to end this human bondage and bring those responsible for this modern-day slavery to justice.
To watch the full hearing, click here.
Fighting for Agriculture
At a time when some facets of Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry are seriously struggling, Gov. Tom Wolf, once again proposed a budget that slashed critical funding from a myriad of agricultural programs. Agriculture employs tens of thousands of workers, is one of the state’s largest industries, is a critical component to our local and state economy and facilitates the essential function of feeding the Commonwealth and the country.
With that understanding, the General Assembly championed agriculture programming dollars to assure we remain competitive and are not compromising the sustainability of our food supply. Our highly regulated and labor intensive dairy industry has struggled to sustain the pressures coming from mid-west corporate farming operations supported, and sometimes funded by, large retailers for direct purchase. Despite Wolf’s cuts, House Republicans were able to secure the necessary funding to ensure research and development investments in the dairy sector remain in the 2018-19 budget.
Pennsylvania dairy farming supports 52,000 jobs and contributes $14.7 billion to the state’s economy. To find out if the dairy products you purchase are made in Pennsylvania, click here.
Another $3 million will be directed to help combat the spotted lanternfly, an inch-long black, red and white spotted insect native to Southeast Asia that threatens to destroy $18 billion worth of agricultural commodities, mainly apples, grapes and hardwoods. This funding will help increase detection and control efforts, and coordinate multi-agency response, outreach and training.
Several ag line items were also restored or reinforced in this year’s budget, including agricultural excellence; agricultural research; agricultural promotion, education and exports; hardwoods research and promotion; Livestock and Open Dairy shows; state food purchase; and food marketing and research. More information can be found here.
ALERT: No Need to Pay to Recoup Unclaimed Property
My office has received numerous calls from residents who say they have been contacted by third-party companies offering assistance filling out forms to recoup unclaimed property held by the state Treasury in exchange for payment.
While this practice by third parties is not illegal, I want to remind residents there is no need to pay for this assistance. My office can help for FREE. Call my office at (717) 432-0792 for assistance.
To see if you are owed property, search Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property online database on the Treasury Department’s website, www.patreasury.gov.
Fighting Fentanyl Trafficking
I joined Sen. Mike Regan (R-31) and members of York County’s law enforcement community Thursday to introduce Regan’s Senate Bill 1222 to further fight the fentanyl abuse.
Specifically, the bill would establish sentencing guidelines and penalties specifically for the trafficking of fentanyl, a n opioid used as a pain medication.
Bridge Work Rescheduled…Again
Construction work of the bridge carrying Andersontown Road (State Route 4033) over Yellow Breeches Creek, located between Fairview and Lower Allen townships at the Cumberland-York County line, has been rescheduled to begin on Monday, July 30. The bridge had been scheduled to close for construction earlier this month as part of PennDOT's Rapid Bridge Replacement Project but the start of the project has been delayed.
When the bridge closes for full replacement, drivers will be directed to follow a detour along Route 4022, Lewisberry Road, Siddonsburg Road, Moores Mountain Road, Route 4031, Grandview Avenue and Route 2017. Construction is anticipated to be complete in late October.
In the event of unfavorable weather or unforeseen activities, this schedule may still change.
PennDOT Offers Winter Maintenance Jobs
Individuals seeking seasonal employment are encouraged to apply for a variety of winter maintenance positions now open through PennDOT.
The program runs from September through April, and includes positions for transportation equipment operators, diesel and construction equipment mechanics, automotive mechanics, tradesman helpers, clerks, clerk typists, stock clerks, welders, semi-skilled laborers and custodial workers.
Individuals in these positions supplement the permanent workforce and have the potential to lead to permanent full-time employment. Additional details about the positions, along with the job application, are available at www.employment.pa.gov. Click on “Open Jobs” and then go to “PennDOT Winter Program.”
Calling Korean War Veterans!
On Thursday, Sept. 27, Sen. Pat Toomey’s office will partner with my office to award the Korean Ambassador for Peace medals to veterans from the 92nd Legislative District.
As such, my office is asking eligible veterans to contact my office. To be eligible, a veteran must have:
- Served in Korea at some time during the Korean War from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953.
- Been a member of the U.S. Navy who served a naval vessel assigned to Korean waters during the aforementioned timeframe.
- Participated in UN peacekeeping efforts in Korea until the end of 1955.
To apply for the medal, go to my website, www.RepKeefer.com, to download an application by clicking on “Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal,” or come to my office, located at 12 N. Baltimore St. in Dillsburg. The applications must be completed and returned by Aug. 3