Jun. 30, 2023

Capitol Report
The latest news from the State Capitol
 Please do not reply directly to this email, as it returns to an unmanned account.
You are welcome to contact me through this link
Roundtable with WellSpan Health

I recently joined my colleagues for a roundtable with WellSpan Health CEO Dr. Roxanna Gapstur. We discussed issues with nurse shortages, EMS response, insurance reimbursements and other issues facing the health system. WellSpan Health operates in the midstate and provides services to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, including many here in Cumberland County.

By the Way… Did You Know?

By the Way… Did You Know… How the State Budget Works? I joined my colleagues Reps. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland), Kristin Marcell (R-Bucks) and Mike Cabell (R-Luzerne) recently for a discussion on the 2023-24 state budget.

You can listen to the podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

Mark Your Calendar for My Document Shredding Event

Constituents of the 87th Legislative District are invited to my free Document Shredding Event on Saturday, Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to noon. Stop by the district office in Mechanicsburg to safely dispose of documents containing sensitive information, like tax forms.

No RSVP is required for this event. Shredding will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

I hope to see you then!

Budget Negotiations Continue

June 30 is the deadline for the 2023-34 state budget, yet negotiations continue. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have been diligently tracking and following along with the budget as it has been developed, but there is still work to be done.

I’m hopeful that a final product will provide much needed reforms and responsible measures so that the General Assembly does not have to turn to taxpayers to foot the bill for unsustainable spending down the line. Economists predict our nation is headed toward economic turbulence; we need to be smart with state dollars today, so we are not at risk tomorrow.

I’m committed to a budget that benefits Pennsylvania now and in the future, and I will keep you updated as things evolve.
Broadband Funding on the Way to PA

The Commonwealth is set to receive more than $1.16 billion in federal funding to expand access to affordable, high-speed internet in unserved and underserved areas.

Reliable, high-speed internet access is a necessity for business owners and employees who work remotely, for doctors and patients who use telemedicine, for teachers and students who learn from home, and all Pennsylvanians who wish to stay connected.

The funding was awarded through the federal Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program and aims to ensure all Americans have access to broadband service by 2030. Grants through the program here will be administered by the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority.

To ensure the funding is invested wisely, the authority is now working to complete a five-year action plan for Pennsylvania’s BEAD allocation, which must be submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration by Aug. 12.  

Visit the authority’s website to learn more.
Happy Independence Day!

I wanted to share a few important reminders as you plan to celebrate our nation’s independence.

Fireworks are a great way to celebrate our independence, but with ongoing drought conditions the elevated risk of wildfires, the Office of State Fire Commissioner and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are urging us to leave the fireworks displays to the professionals this year.

Low precipitation has dramatically increased the number of wildfires in the Commonwealth. There have already been 1,400 wildfires reported statewide so far in 2023, compared to 1,036 in all of 2022. This year's wildfires have burned more than 8,500 acres, compared to 2,700 acres in 2022. Visit DCNR's website for more information on wildfire danger, maps, forecasts and tips on reducing wildfire risks.

If you are going to set off your own fireworks, be smart, be careful and be considerate of your neighbors. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission offers the following safety tips:

  •   Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  •   Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, even sparklers.
  •   Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  •   Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  •   Never pick up or try to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  •   Never use fireworks after consuming alcohol or other substances that impair judgement or the ability to act quickly.

For details about the state’s fireworks laws, click here. 

If you are traveling, check out www.511pa.com. Free and available 24 hours a day, the site provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 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 will close its driver license service centers on Tuesday, July 4. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov.

Have a safe and happy July Fourth!

Fish for Free on Independence Day

On Tuesday, July 4, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will host a Fish for Free day to allow anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish on all Pennsylvania waterways. No license is required, but all other fishing regulations still apply. This is a great way to expose the next generation of anglers to the outdoors! More information about fishing in Pennsylvania is available here.
Support Pennsylvania Creameries this Summer

This summer, you can beat the heat and get a sweet treat by visiting any of the 42 creameries that make up the 2023 Scooped: An Ice Cream Trail.  

Add to the fun by earning a commemorative stainless-steel ice cream scooper by accruing 600 points on your digital passport. Each ice cream shop check-in is worth 100 points. Simply stop in at six shops, make your purchase, and receive a four-digit code to “check-in” and accrue your points this summer.

The trail is a partnership of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and its PA Preferred® program, the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Tourism Office, and the Center for Dairy Excellence. The trail offers a delicious way to support Pennsylvania’s more than 5,200 dairy farm families and the small businesses that source from them while offering a unique opportunity to explore the Commonwealth by the scoop.

A list of participating creameries is available here.