Oct. 12, 2018

First of Three Gun Law Seminars Next Week
 
 
The first of three free Gun Law Seminars, which I am hosting with Rep. Garth Everett, will be held this coming Thursday, Oct. 18, at Mountain View Alliance Church. If you haven’t already signed up for one of the seminars, please click here to register.  

The informative events will include presentations from Lycoming County Judge Marc Lovecchio, who will discuss Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws; Lycoming County Sheriff Mark Lusk, who will explain rules and regulations surrounding licenses to carry firearms; a police officer, who will discuss how to safely interact with the police when carrying a firearm; and an officer from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, who will discuss firearm carry laws as they relate to hunting seasons.

The events are scheduled as follows:
Seating is limited and advance registration is required. To RSVP, click here, or contact the district office by calling (570) 321-1270 or emailing Kristi Marshall at kmarshall@pahousegop.com.
 
 
Area Fire Departments Earn Grants for Wildfire Protection

Three Lycoming County fire departments have been awarded grants totaling more than $15,000 to help guard against the threat of wildfires in the state’s forests and other undeveloped areas.

The grants were awarded by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) as follows:

     • Duboistown Fire Department, Williamsport – $5,000. 
     • Eldred Township Volunteer Fire Co., Montoursville – $6,500. 
     • Picture Rocks Volunteer Fire Co., Picture Rocks – $3,565.

Local firefighting forces in communities with fewer than 10,000 residents qualify for the aid, which is used for training and equipment purchases directly related to fighting brush and forest fires. Grants may be used for purchasing mobile or portable radios; installing water supply equipment; wildfire prevention and mitigation work; training wildfire fighters; or converting and maintaining federal excess vehicles.

A total of 132 volunteer fire companies were awarded $646,891 to help guard against the threat of wildfires in the state’s forests and other undeveloped areas. The grant program, offered through DCNR and paid through federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, has awarded more than $12.5 million since it began in 1982.
 
 
DEP Launches Electronic Permit for New Projects Affecting Wetlands and Waterways

 
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has launched an electronic permit system to provide landowners a more efficient way to request permit registrations for new projects that affect wetlands and waterways and get a faster response.

A variety of projects are covered by Chapter 105 Wetland and Waterway Obstruction and Encroachment General Permits, including stream crossings, small docks and boat ramps, streambank rehabilitation or protection, gravel bar removal, intake and outfall structures, agricultural crossings and ramps, minor road crossings, agricultural activities, and fish habitat enhancement structures.

DEP processes at least 2,500 Chapter 105 registration requests for business, municipal and individual landowners each year. The Chapter 105 e-permit, which is accessed through DEP Greenport (registration is required for first-time users), will save time for applicants and department reviewers, include online permit payment, reduce the expense of printing complex design drawings, and make information available in real time to the public, for increased transparency. DEP will also continue to accept paper registrations to accommodate applicants whose only option is a paper form.
 
 
Giving Students Flexibility for Graduation Requirements
 
As a way to ensure students get the most out of their educational experience, the House passed legislation this week that would remove the heavy focus on standardized testing as a requirement to graduate and instead allow students various options to show proficiency in pursuing their own career paths.

Senate Bill 1095 would provide Pennsylvania students with additional options to fulfill high school graduation requirements beyond the Keystone Exams. Students who do not score proficient on the Keystone Exams would be able to demonstrate their readiness to graduate through alternative routes.

Specifically, the bill outlines several commonsense options for assessing student performance while also giving teachers more flexibility with classroom instruction time. Some alternatives include a student’s successful completion of work-based learning programs, a service learning project, or an offer of full-time employment as evidence of post-secondary readiness.

As part of the bill, the Keystone Exam graduation requirement would be put on hold until the 2021-22 school year. The alternate graduation options in Senate Bill 1095 would take effect when that delay expires.

This legislation, which now goes back to the Senate, seeks to enhance a multi-bill package to expand career and technical education to benefit both students and employers looking to fill jobs in high-demand fields.
 
 
New Law Enhances Training, Oversight of Humane Officers
 
To help ensure the state’s animal cruelty laws are enforced in the fairest way possible, legislation has been signed into law to strengthen the training and oversight of Humane Society police officers.

Act 77 of 2018 increased initial and annual training hours for Humane Society police officers, and requires the training to include the proper procedure to file citations and warrants, including when and how to contact other law enforcement.

Other provisions of the new law require training in farm operations and biosecurity, including at least one on-site visit to a working commercial farm operation. Any organization that employs Humane Society police officers will be subject to the state’s Right-to-Know Law.

Additionally, a Humane Society police officer must be a resident of Pennsylvania. If the appointment of a Humane Society police officer is revoked in one county, it would be revoked in all counties.
 
 
House Passes Bill to Crack Down on Hazing
 
Legislation that seeks to better ensure the safety of students on college campuses by cracking down on hazing passed the House this week.

Senate Bill 1090 is a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s anti-hazing law to give law enforcement better tools to prosecute hazing-related activities and to encourage those nearby to call for assistance for someone who may need help.

Specifically, the bill would increase penalties for those involved in hazing; require schools to have policies and reporting procedures in place to stop hazing; and ensure that parents and students are provided with information related to the issue. The legislation also would establish clear parameters on hazing for organizations such as fraternities and sororities.

The legislation is named in memory of Tim Piazza, a Penn State student who died as a result of hazing in 2017 and was denied medical care for hours. The measure now heads back to the Senate for concurrence.
 
 
Look, Listen and Learn During Fire Prevention Week
 
The Office of State Fire Commissioner is urging residents to “look, listen and learn” as part of this year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week, which lasts through Saturday, Oct. 13.

With today’s homes being filled with synthetic materials that burn hotter and faster, residents may have as little as two minutes to safely exit a burning structure. The theme focuses on three basic but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire: Look for places fire could start; listen for the sound of the smoke alarm; and learn two ways out of every room.

A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place that is a safe distance from the home.

For additional information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit firepreventionweek.org.
 
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