House Readies for 2017-18 Budget Address
The House and Senate will convene in a joint session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly on Tuesday, Feb. 7, to hear Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal for the third year of his administration.
In a preview of his address, Wolf has pledged not to ask for an increase in the state’s sales or incomes taxes. He is also seeking to consolidate four state agencies – the departments of Human Services, Health, Aging, and Drug and Alcohol Programs – into one Department of Health and Human Services.
Lawmakers will be looking to study the details of such a proposal, along with other ways the state can save taxpayer money and fund core functions of government in the most efficient ways possible.
For the past several years, the House has been able to meet budgetary needs while not relying on increases in broad-based taxes.
To watch the governor’s address live, log onto http://www.pahousegop.com/
beginning at 11:30 a.m. The address is expected to begin closer to noon.
Thomas A. Paternostro Memorial Highway
On Sunday, Jan. 30, I had the privilege of taking part in the dedication of a portion of U.S. Route 220 stretching from the Picture Rocks Borough line to the Hughesville Borough line as Thomas A. Paternostro Memorial Highway.
Tom served as an outstanding education and community leader for more than 40 years. He also served on the Lycoming County Heroin Drug Task Force, Lycoming County’s School Safety Committee on Homeland Security, the state Legislative Joint Commission Task Force on Children and was a former member of the Picture Rocks Volunteer Fire Department Fire Police.
The photo below shows the Paternostro family along with myself and Sen. Gene Yaw.
Local and State Super Bowl Sunday Impaired Driving Campaign
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Community Traffic Safety Project (CTSP) and the Lycoming County DUI Task Force this week highlighted the importance of designated driving as part of a local Super Bowl Sunday impaired driving campaign.
Despite the Pittsburgh Steelers missing a Super Bowl appearance, regional PennDOT representatives will join forces with safety partners and Bart’s Pizzeria in Williamsport through Feb. 5 to distribute safe driving reminders on their pizza boxes or take-out items.
As part of a statewide initiative, the educational outreach will look to reduce DUI crashes and fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday and beyond. Campaign materials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Super Bowl Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk” campaign are being distributed.
Lycoming DUI Task Force Coordinator and Old Lycoming Township Police Chief Joe Hope confirmed the task force will be conducting roving patrols throughout the county during Super Bowl Sunday. Efforts will include combatting drug-impaired driving, which accounted for 50 percent of DUI arrests in 2015.
REAL ID Information Sources
Last week, I joined 115 of my House colleagues in signing on to a letter to President Donald Trump asking for his administration to re-examine the application of the REAL ID Act and encourage Congress to make changes to the law in order to resolve the constitutional and cost issues associated with it.
As you may know, Pennsylvania was recently granted an extension by the federal government to comply with REAL ID. The Commonwealth now has until June 5 to fix state law to meet the requirements of the act and legislation is currently being written to accomplish that.
The delay will allow Pennsylvania residents to continue using their driver’s licenses as identification to enter federal buildings. Without the extension, residents would have needed an additional photo ID, such as a passport, to gain access to military buildings, nuclear power plants and federal facilities starting on Jan. 30.
There are many issues and questions associated with REAL ID. These websites can provide additional insight and answers that you might need:
I will keep you informed on progress with REAL ID.
2017 Adult Trout Stocking Schedules Now Available
In what is a sure sign of spring approaching, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced this week that the 2017 adult trout stocking schedules are now available online and on the PFBC’s “FishBoatPA” mobile app. The opening day for trout season in Pennsylvania is Saturday, April 15.
Anglers can easily search the trout stocking schedules for locations and dates of interest. To view the list, simply go to fishandboat.com, click on the link “fish” in the upper right corner, then select Trout Stocking Schedules. From there, select a county and enter start and end dates from the calendars at the top of the page. Then press “go.”
For anglers with smartphones, an even easier way to view the schedules is through the FishBoatPA app, which is available for free from the Apple App and Google Play stores.
State Route 87 in Hillsgrove, Sullivan County, Open to Traffic
A project to build a two-lane temporary bridge and roadway spanning Mill Creek on Route 87 in Hillsgrove, Sullivan County, has been completed. The road is open to traffic.
The temporary structure is located just downstream of a bridge damaged and later removed following flooding that occurred in the region on October 21, 2016. A detour implemented following the flood has been lifted.
The final project for this area will be the construction of a permanent bridge where the original bridge was located. This project is planned to be bid by April 2017 and completed by October 2017.
Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting 511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 770 traffic cameras.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
PennDOT’s 2017 Summer Employment Program
PennDOT is sponsoring an extensive Summer Employment Program (SEP) which includes government services interns. The program runs April through August to supplement the permanent workforce.
The government services interns are used primarily for summer maintenance and sign upgrade services, and they perform laboring duties in maintenance organizations as well as worksites along the highway.
To be eligible for consideration, candidates must be enrolled as a full-time college student for fall 2017 and have a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license. The hourly rate is $12.97.
If interested, apply online at employment.pa.gov under the “Summer Employment Positions” category. The technical support line is 717-787-5703.
The deadline to apply is Friday, Feb. 10.
Special Veterans Assistance Hours Feb. 27
If you are a veteran or a family member of one, I encourage you to take advantage of free assistance at Penn Hills Plaza, Suite 1, Muncy.
Dan Falls, department service officer with the Pennsylvania American Legion, will be available by appointment on Monday, Feb. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., to help with issues such as compensation, pension, death benefits, education, health care and general veterans’ benefits. Veterans do not need to be a member of the legion to participate.
To schedule an appointment, call my district office at (570) 546-2084.
Road Maintenance Info Available Online
To make your travels easier, the weekly road maintenance schedule is available at the PennDOT Regional Office website here.
For statewide information, visit 511pa.com.