Apr. 27, 2018

Traffic Deaths Hit a New Low in 2017

Traffic deaths in the Commonwealth last year dropped to the lowest level since record keeping began in 1928, according to a recent report from PennDOT. In 2017, 1,137 people died on Pennsylvania roadways, 51 fewer than 2016.

PennDOT officials attribute the reduction to educational outreach, effective enforcement and low-cost safety improvements.

Significant decreases were noted in fatalities involving impaired drivers, pedestrians and unrestrained occupants. Work zone fatalities increased slightly, as did fatalities among drivers ages 75 and older, and red light runners.

More information on highway safety and safety initiatives is available here.
Second Amendment Rally Monday, April 30

Once again this year, I will join many other pro-Second Amendment state lawmakers and gun owners from across the Commonwealth for this year’s Rally to Protect Your Right to Keep and Bear Arms on Monday, April 30, at 10 a.m. at the Capitol in Harrisburg. 

Established in 2006, dozens of state lawmakers and hundreds of citizens from across the Commonwealth attend this annual grassroots event in support of the Second Amendment and Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which clearly states: “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”

This year’s featured speakers will include: Justin Moon, founder and president, Kahr Arms; Cam Edwards, NRA News; Larry Pratt, executive director emeritus, Gun Owners of America; Joshua Prince, chief counsel, Firearms Industry Consulting Group; and Reps. Matt Dowling (R-Fayette/Somerset), Eli Evankovich (R-Westmoreland/Allegheny) and Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong/Butler/Indiana).
Protecting Students from the Sun

In a commonsense measure, the House endorsed legislation that would allow students to apply sunscreen and use other sun-protective clothing during school hours or at a school-sponsored activity.

Under current state law, only the school nurse can administer sunscreen because it is considered an over-the-counter medication by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a result, students must have a doctor’s order, not just their parent’s permission, and the sunscreen has to be administered by a nurse. Students can’t even bring sunscreen to school and apply it themselves.

House Bill 1228 would specifically allow students, during school hours or at a school-sponsored activity, to apply a topical sunscreen product without a physician’s note or prescription if the product is approved by the FDA for over-the-counter use.

In addition to the application of sunscreen, House Bill 1228 would also allow other sun-protective clothing, including but not limited to hats, for outdoor use. The items must still follow a school’s dress code.

The legislation is now with the state Senate.
Bills Clear House to Help Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Legislation to help grandparents who are the sole caregivers of their grandchildren received overwhelming support in the state House last week. The bills now go to the state Senate for consideration. 

House Bill 2133 would establish the Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program, an informational resource to operate both as a website and a toll-free hotline. The website would offer information on support and services available, and a specially trained navigator would be able to provide support and guidance to kinship caregivers.

House Bill 1539 would grant temporary guardianship to grandparents when the parents of the grandchildren are unable to care for them primarily due to substance abuse issues.

Additionally, House Resolution 390 would study the trend of grandfamilies in Pennsylvania and include a focus about how the opioid crisis is impacting this growing trend. The rise of the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania has increased the number of grandparents who take on this role.

An estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania.
High Tunnel Farm Structure Exemption Signed into Law

As a way to help farmers struggling through recent agriculture challenges, legislation was signed into law last week as Act 15 of 2018 to waive storm water management plans for high tunnel structures, which are temporary buildings often used to raise produce through the early spring and late into the fall. 

The legislation was needed to clarify storm water requirements put in place by the Department of Environmental Protection in 2016, which required them for these temporary structures. In many instances, the cost of a storm water engineering plan and executing that plan is more expensive than the high tunnel itself.

The use of high tunnel structures is not limited to professional agriculture. They are also being used in suburbs – on empty lots and even on rooftops – to raise fresh food in decent quantities in an urban setting where larger crop plantings would otherwise be difficult.

The new law takes effect early this summer.
House Citations for Lycoming County Bowling Hall of Fame Inductees

It was a pleasure to issue House citations for these new inductees to the Lycoming County Bowling Hall of Fame. The sport of bowling enjoys a great reputation in the area because of outstanding participants.

The inductees for the Men’s Hall of Fame are Robert Bohner, Walter Gibbs and Russell Hall. For the Women’s Hall of Fame, new inductees are Karla Anderson, Jeanette Kita and Frances “Fran” Utter.

Congratulations on behalf of the House of Representatives for helping to keep the sport of bowling rolling!
Safely Dispose of Unused Prescriptions

Residents have an opportunity to remove opioids and other unused medicines from homes this Saturday, April 28, in honor of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This observance helps prevent prescription drug abuse.

You can drop off unused prescription medications at these locations on any day during the hours listed.

More than 18 tons of prescription drugs were disposed of across Pennsylvania in the Prescription Drug Take Back Day held last October.

Here are locations for you: For more information, click here.