Jul. 08, 2019

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
 
Bills to Support Crime Victims Signed into Law

Delivering on our commitment to help support victims of crime and ensure justice is served, I’m pleased to report several new crime victim protection bills were signed into law by the governor. The House focused heavily on these issues back in April.
  • Act 21 of 2019 criminalizes the act of female genital mutilation by making it a first-degree felony.
  • Act 23 of 2019 ensures a victim is permitted to be present in any criminal proceeding unless the court determines the victim's own testimony would be altered by hearing other witnesses.
  • Act 24 of 2019 helps protect victims of rape by preventing prosecutors from bringing up the victim's sexual history or prior allegations of sexual abuse while prosecuting certain crimes.
  • Act 29 of 2019 makes updates to the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act, including requiring the Pennsylvania State Police to create procedures for anonymous victims and establishing timelines for submitting, testing and storing rape kits.
  • Acts 30 and 31 of 2019 expands the circumstances under which out-of-court statements may be used by including victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder (Act 30) and adding new crimes to the list that allows such statements made by a child under age 12.
In addition to these new laws, the General Assembly has approved a proposed constitutional amendment to include a Victim’s Bill of Rights in the Pennsylvania Constitution. Voters will have the opportunity to approve the proposed amendment in the upcoming November election.

For more about House Republican efforts to support crime victims, click here.
                                      
 
Games and Ice Cream at Heritage Senior Center


I had a great time at Heritage Senior Center with Rep. Seth Grove and Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill. We played a few games of Wii with seniors and then served up some ice cream. It is always great speaking with residents and hearing their views.

 
 
Supporting Our National Guard Members and Their Families

A new initiative to help our Pennsylvania National Guard members and their families has been signed into law.

Act 32 of 2019 extends the current Pennsylvania National Guard Military Education Program by including a Guard member’s spouse or child in this benefit program. The benefit will be offered in exchange for a Guard member’s six-year reenlistment.

Under the law, the educational benefit can be used at any Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) institution or any institution of higher learning approved by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. If the approved institution costs less than the annual tuition rate charged by the state system schools, the student would not pay anything. If it costs more than PASSHE’s annual tuition rate, the student would only pay expenses in excess of PASSHE’s annual tuition rate.

Pennsylvania National Guard members will be eligible for the benefit beginning July 1. Their family members may begin claiming the benefit on Aug. 1, 2020.
 
 
New Laws Will Help Grow PA Agriculture

A series of bills to support Pennsylvania farmers and help grow the state’s top industry were signed into law by the governor.

The measures aim to address several current challenges facing our farmers by creating a special account to help fund the state’s response to threats to livestock or crops, such as African swine fever and spotted lanternfly; providing technical and financial support to farmers for implementing best management practices; and establishing the Dairy Investment Program to provide grants for the struggling dairy industry.

The measures also address the future of the industry by reviving programs to educate school children about the importance of agriculture and healthy eating; raising awareness about career opportunities in the industry; providing tax credits to existing farmers or landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers; and creating the Pennsylvania Agricultural Business Development Center to help every farmer create a business plan, transition plan or succession plan, helping to ensure farm operations continue to thrive through ownership changes.

To learn more about the efforts to support Pennsylvania agriculture, click here.

 
 
York County Eclipses $3 Million Mark in Impact Fee Revenue

York County is the beneficiary of a record windfall of more than $485,000 from the collection of an impact fee on natural gas drilling activities in other regions of Pennsylvania.

Impact fees under Act 13 of 2012 are imposed on the extraction of natural gas and fluctuate depending on price and the rate of inflation. Fees are collected from the drilling companies with 60% passed onto counties and local municipalities affected by drilling. The remaining 40% goes into the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund, which is the source of the money York County is receiving.

The recently announced 2018 distribution brings York County’s eight-year total to more than $3.1 million.

To learn more, click here.
 
 
PennDOT Accepting Applications for Winter Maintenance Positions

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.”
 
 
Antlerless Licenses on Sale Starting Today

Application for the purchase of antlerless deer licenses begin today for Pennsylvania residents who already hold a 2019-20 hunting license.

Hunters wishing to apply may do so by sending a paper application with a check or money order to their local county treasurer’s office. Cost of a license is $6.90. Please click here to view contact information for your local county treasurer.

Nonresidents may submit their first applications a week later, beginning Monday, July 15.

Hunters are limited to purchasing one license at this time. In any Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) where antlerless licenses remain, resident and nonresident applicants may apply for a second license beginning Aug. 5.

Information on how many licenses have been allotted to each WMU, as well as how many have been purchased, is available by clicking here.

All successful applicants will receive their antlerless deer licenses after the second Monday in September.
 
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