Jan. 24, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong#  The latest news from the State Capitol
Local Projects Receive State Funding

This week, we announced that eight Carbon County projects will receive $710,000 in state grants through the Monroe County Local Share Account (LSA).

I worked together with my colleagues in the Legislature to secure this funding and I am pleased we were able to help support worthwhile community projects that will improve the quality of life for all residents.

The following projects were awarded LSA grants:
  •   The Borough of Lehighton will receive $230,000 for its Waterfront Pedestrian Safety Traffic Calming Improvements Project.
  •   Lansford Borough will receive $120,000 for phase II of its Downtown Streetscape Improvement Project.
  •   The Borough of Nesquehoning will receive $106, 250 for new equipment for police department, including a new command vehicle, public and police station surveillance equipment, two license plate readers and five on-board cameras.
  •   Banks Township will receive $74,975 for a new plow truck.
  •   Carbon County will receive $30,000 on behalf of Family Promise of Carbon County. The funding will be used to purchase property to expand homeless shelter services to include an emergency shelter for single women.
  •   The Borough of Nesquehoning will receive $27,525 on behalf of the Nesquehoning Historical Society for building upgrades at the Nesquehoning Historical Society Center.
  •   The Carbon Chamber and Economic Development Corporation will receive $21, 250 for the dismantling, relocation and reconstruction of Peter’s One Room Schoolhouse.
State Funding Awarded to Our Local First Responders

This week, we announced that nearly $301,000 in state funding will be shared by 25 fire and emergency medical services (EMS) organizations in Carbon County. The grants range from $8,549 to $14,248.

The funding is part of an ongoing grant program created by the Legislature. Projects eligible for funding include construction or renovation of a fire or ambulance company facility, purchase or repair of equipment, training or reduction of existing debt.

We are grateful for the life-saving services these dedicated first responders provide for communities in Carbon County. I am pleased to see so many fire and ambulance companies are taking advantage of this state grant program in order to remain viable in future years.”
Discussing the Issues

My thanks to everyone who took part in the telephone town hall meeting I hosted on Wednesday evening. We had a great discussion on a wide variety of issues, including property tax reform, the Walter Dam study and the Jim Thorpe train. I plan to hold more of these events later this year, so stay tuned!
House Advances Landmark Bills to Combat Human Trafficking

With overwhelming support, the House this week approved more than a half dozen bills aimed at stopping the scourge of human trafficking in Pennsylvania. The problem exists in big cities, small towns and everything in between. It is especially prevalent in communities near major interstates.

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or purchase of persons for the sole purpose of exploitation. Since 2007, more than 1,200 human trafficking cases have been reported in the Commonwealth.

Among the bills passed by the House are those that would increase penalties for anyone knowingly patronizing a victim of human trafficking and anyone connected to trafficking victims. Other bills would assist victims and aim to increase resources and protections.

To further draw attention to the problem, the House also approved a resolution to recognize the month of January 2020 as “National Human Trafficking Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

 Click here to learn more.
Lawsuit to Save White Haven State Center

This week at the Capitol, lawmakers and other advocates held a news conference regarding the filing of a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the residents of the White Haven and Polk state centers, which are scheduled to be closed by the Wolf Administration. As a supporter of the lawsuit, I believe residents and their families deserve a choice in their care and that should include a state safety net.
Reforms for State System Universities Proposed

This week, several lawmakers joined officials with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) in calling for a series of reforms aimed at updating and improving operations within the system.

PASSHE is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, overseeing the 14 state-owned universities. Since its formation in 1982, it has provided accessible, affordable and relevant undergraduate, graduate and career-development programs to the public. However, despite significant changes to the landscape of higher education, PASSHE’s enabling legislation, Act 188 of 1982, has not been significantly updated since its initial enactment.

Currently, PASSHE is facing considerable challenges that threaten the sustainability of its operations. To address these challenges, the organization is in the midst of a redesign, some of which requires enabling legislation.

Bills introduced in the House aim to reform the governance and accountability of PASSHE’s Board of Governors and the Councils of Trustees, make needed financial and legal reforms, streamline reporting, and clarify and update statutory language. The bills are pending consideration in the House Education Committee. Read more here.
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