Dec. 15, 2017

Honoring World War II Veteran Sgt. Charles Libby

It was an honor to join with Rep. Garth Everett to pay tribute to Sgt. Charles A. Libby of Lycoming County. Sgt. Libby, who recently turned 100 years old, fought in World War II in the European Theater of Operations.

He was a driver for several units and was involved in saving Allied soldiers and transporting enemy POW’s, among other assignments. He is featured in a book titled “From the Command Car” and a soon-to-be released follow-up book “Sgt. Libby – 100 Years of Stories.”

To watch my remarks from the House floor, click here.

 

 
House OKs State Budget Reforms, Spending Control Measures

In ongoing efforts to stand up for taxpayers, the House this week approved historic legislation to change budget-making in Harrisburg by bringing integrity, transparency and spending limits to the state budget and budget process.

The legislative package – House Bills 1940-1945 – requires transparency through an official estimate of how much money the state will have, more information about the balances in taxpayer-supported special funds used to provide grants and subsidies, and the creation of monetary reserves during revenue shortfalls.

Additionally, a proposed state constitutional amendment to limit state spending, House Bill 110, would impose a cap based on recent increases in the Consumer Price Index and state population growth. A constitutional amendment must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions and then by the state’s voters.

These measures, which are now headed to the Senate, are in addition to a new state law requiring performance-based budgeting. This information will help legislators decide which programs to fund and which to shut down.
 
 
Loyalsock Creek Nominated for River of the Year!

 
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council invites you to vote for the Pennsylvania River of the Year.

One of the five nominees is Loyalsock Creek.

The Loyalsock Creek is a 64-mile-long picturesque stream, with its headwaters in western Wyoming County near the Sullivan County border and its confluence with the West Branch Susquehanna River in Lycoming County. Because of its mountainous terrain and topography, the Loyalsock Creek is prone to erosion and sedimentation challenges, and numerous government and non-government organizations are actively addressing this issue through creek bank stabilization and habitat restoration projects.

In addition to providing cold-water habitat for trout, the Loyalsock Creek also supports a natural environment for the Eastern Hellbender, the largest native amphibian growing to two feet in length or more.

Middle Susquehanna RIVERKEEPER® Association, Inc. is the WATERKEEPER® Alliance-licensed voice of the Middle Susquehanna Watershed, an 11,000-square mile watershed defined by the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna River and its drainage basin, which includes the Loyalsock Creek Watershed.

The deadline for voting is Friday, Dec. 22.

Cast your vote here.
 
 
Children’s Health Insurance Program Extension

To help ensure coverage of the popular and successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), legislation is currently on the governor’s desk to extend the program for two more years.

For 25 years, CHIP has provided insurance coverage to uninsured children and teens (up to age 19) whose families earn too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, but who cannot afford to purchase private insurance.

CHIP is supported by both state and federal funds and provides payment for health care coverage for eligible children who meet income and other criteria.

More than 180,000 children are currently enrolled in CHIP.

More information about CHIP is available online at CHIPCoversPAKids.com.
 


 

Kristi Marshall from my office and Charley Hall from Rep. Garth Everett's office joined me in visiting YIS/Cowden Group in Williamsport. This local employer handles speed-timing sales, calibrations, repairs, installations and training. It is also the only company in Pennsylvania that manufactures its own speed-timing devices. It is headquartered in Williamsport, and offers services all throughout the state.
 
 
Farmers Be Counted! Census of Agriculture Underway

Farmers across Pennsylvania are encouraged to take part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture being conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The census seeks to count anyone who earns at least $1,000 per year growing food or other crops. The data is used to develop food and agriculture policies and programs for the entire country, including funding decisions.

Census questionnaires are being mailed to farmers, ranchers and growers this month. The 2017 census form, which requires an estimated 50 minutes to complete, must be returned by Feb. 5, 2018, but respondents are encouraged to respond online at agcensus.usda.gov.

The web-based questionnaire allows access from any electronic device, and farmers can return their draft responses as their schedules allow. The new online form saves time and improves convenience for respondents, while capturing a more detailed account of U.S. farming and ranching.

With Pennsylvania a leader in the agriculture industry, it is important our farmers and producers stand up and be counted.
 


 

I joined my colleague Rep. Steve Barrar, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee to participate in the Wreaths Across America ceremony. Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony. Its mission, “Remember, Honor, Teach,” is carried out in part by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies each December in all 50 state Capitols.
 
 
Renew Dog Licenses Now

Pet owners are reminded to renew their dog’s license for 2018. All dogs three months of age or older must be licensed in Pennsylvania, either on an annual basis or with a lifetime license.

Annual license fees vary from $6.50 to $8.50, with fee reductions for senior citizens and those owners with disabilities. Lifetime license costs are $31.50 or $51.50. Applications for license renewals can be found here. Completed applications must be returned to the owner’s county treasurer’s office.

Under Pennsylvania state law, owners who fail to license and/or immunize their dogs could face fines up to $300 per violation for each dog three months of age or older. In addition, owners of non-vaccinated pets may be fined up to $300 plus court costs.
 
 
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.



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