Feb. 03, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
Wolf Again Seeks to Increase Minimum Wage

Once again, Gov. Tom Wolf has pulled a page from his tired, old playbook ahead of his yearly budget address. Just as in years past, he wants to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

One of the arguments he has made, and in the words from his own administration, is “workers will generate more than $300 million in state tax revenue in 2026.” With that statement, I must question his motive to increase the wage. It sounds like he just wants another revenue stream so he can spend more of your money.

According to Wolf’s own Department of Labor and Industry, 1.6% of Pennsylvania workers are paid the minimum wage and the majority are young people below the age of 25. The minimum wage was never meant to be a family-sustaining wage. It is, however, a wage offered for jobs held by first-time workers, like teenagers entering the workforce.

Government shouldn’t dictate pay rates. The market should set the rates and it has. I recently stopped at my local convenience store and a help wanted sign stated the starting pay was about $5 more an hour than the current minimum wage.

Instead of setting some arbitrary figure as the minimum wage, House Republicans have passed several bills, such as the career and technical education package which you can read about here, to assist students and current workers with obtaining the needed training to qualify for jobs that pay above Wolf’s proposed minimum wage. That is the way to higher pay.
Honoring a Longtime Council Member

Congratulations to Dillsburg Councilman Jeff Griffin on his retirement from public service after 20 years. Jeff helped improve our town throughout his two decades on council. Thank you, Jeff, for all you’ve done to make our community a better place for us all.
Governor’s Address to Kick Off 2020-21 Budget Process

The House and Senate will convene in a joint session of the General Assembly at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday to hear Gov. Tom Wolf outline his spending proposal for the 2020-21 fiscal year. You can watch the address live at pahousegop.com.

House Republicans have been standing up for taxpayers and will continue to do so, working to ensure your hard-earned money is invested wisely in the core functions of government, such as education and public safety.

We are also committed to building the economy through a better tax and regulatory climate, as well as ensuring our students are trained for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The governor’s address is just the beginning of the annual budget process. The House Appropriations Committee will conduct a series of hearings starting Tuesday, Feb. 18, to delve into the details of the governor’s plan and how state agencies are spending their funding.

For a schedule of the hearings, click here. 
Legislative Panel with A.B.A.T.E.

It’s always great spending time with fellow motorcycle enthusiasts! I recently participated once again in the annual A.B.A.T.E. legislative panel with my colleague Chairman Mark Keller (R-Perry). It was bittersweet as Charlie Umbenhauer, second from left, is retiring and this was his farewell meeting. Motorcyclists in PA have attained great strides thanks to the tireless efforts of Charlie. His leadership will be missed but he’s left a legacy to be proud of.
New Law Allows Landowners to Mark Properties with Purple Paint

Thanks to my House Bill 1772, Pennsylvania has joined several other states in adopting a “purple paint law,” which provides landowners with an alternative to marking their properties as “no trespassing.”

Under the law, landowners may paint purple stripes on trees or posts to mark their properties. The lines must be vertical and at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. They must be 3 to 5 feet off the ground, readily visible to a person approaching the property and no more than 100 feet apart. While the law does not specify a certain shade of purple, a number of paint manufacturers offer a product called “No Hunting Purple.”

You can read more about the law by clicking here.

Previously, the only way landowners could post their properties was by posting signs that would deteriorate or become dislodged over time. The new law does not apply in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.
Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

With Coronavirus having been confirmed in five U.S. states so far, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is urging citizens to learn more about the virus and how to protect yourself.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. They can make people and animals, such as camels, cats and bats, sick. These viruses, at times, can evolve and infect people, then spread through human to human contact, just like the flu or a cold.

Symptoms are also similar to flu or cold, including runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of not being well. The virus can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract infections as well.

To protect yourself and others, cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, do not use your hands; clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas; and contain the spread of any sickness by staying home until you are feeling better.

Learn more here.
Attending the Builders and Contractors Economic Breakfast

I was honored to be the guest of local electricians Chris Woll and Anthony Leer at the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Keystone’s annual economic breakfast on Wednesday. This was a great opportunity to receive an economic outlook as we enter the new year and learn more about this trades industry.

Pictured with us are Rep. Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland) and ABC economist Anirban Basu.
What Do You Think? Public Comment Period Opens for PennDOT’s Statewide Public Participation Plan

PennDOT has announced it will hold a 45-day public comment period on proposed updates to its Statewide Public Participation Plan.

The plan represents PennDOT’s documented public involvement process outlining opportunities for public participation in statewide transportation planning and programming. PennDOT encourages the public to review the draft plan in its entirety, and to provide comments.

The draft document and the electronic comment form are available here. Paper copies of the draft document and comment form are also available at PennDOT district offices, Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organization offices, and at stakeholder locations throughout the state. A list of the viewing locations is available at the website noted above.

All comments received during the public comment period will be reviewed and evaluated by PennDOT. Changes to the draft plan will be determined as part of the evaluation process. All comments and questions received during the comment period will become a part of the update process documentation.

The comment period concludes on Wednesday, March 11.
House in Session This Week

The House is back in session this week. You can stay up on all the latest news on my website, www.RepKeefer.com and the House GOP site, www.PAHouseGOP.com, where you can also find this week’s schedule.
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Email Address: DKeefer@pahousegop.com