Lampe Marina Fish Cleaning Station Project Receives Additional PFBC Funding

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has approved a $100,000 grant for the Erie-Western Port Authority’s Lampe Marina Fish Cleaning Station, according to Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49), who chairs the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee.

“The Port Authority, recreational anglers and charter boat captains have been struggling for years to manage the waste generated from cleaning fish,” Laughlin said. “To help address that problem, the PFBC in 2021 approved an initial $150,000 grant to construct a refrigerated building, for the storage of fish remains, and a fish cleaning station at Lampe Marina on Lake Erie. However, during the engineering phase of the project, it was determined an additional $100,000 would be needed to complete the project because of increased material and construction costs.”

The expanded Lake Erie program project grant will ensure the work is completed, with the construction to include a larger concrete pad for a second fish cleaning table, water service, wastewater drains, a roof and enclosure with sidewalls for the cooler building, and a chain-link fence to secure the facility.

“The additional funding will ensure the facility has features similar to other popular fish cleaning stations in the area, with the Lampe Marina station to be the third such station to be constructed on Lake Erie, along with the stations at the Walnut Creek Access Area and the North East Marina,” said Laughlin. “I’m happy to have helped make these stations a reality as they have been needed in Erie County for decades.”

The grant program is funded through proceeds from the sale of Lake Erie permits to be used for projects that benefit public fishing on or at Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and their tributaries.

Martin, Laughlin and Yaw Applaud Establishment of $220M Pennsylvania Clean Streams Fund

HARRISBURG – Legislation establishing the landmark Pennsylvania Clean Streams Fund heads to the governor’s desk this week as part of the 2022-23 budget, Sens. Scott Martin (R-13), Dan Laughlin (R-49) and Gene Yaw (R-23) announced today.

The senators have spearheaded the creation of this fund over the last two legislative sessions through multiple proposals, including Senate Bill 832, which passed the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee in September of 2021.

“This is a momentous investment in our rivers and streams to improve water quality for all Pennsylvanians,” Martin said. “We will be able to reduce pollutants to support healthy habitats for fish and humans alike, decrease flooding in prone areas, while reducing water treatment costs. This is all at no additional expense to taxpayers.”

The Clean Streams Fund uses $220 million from the American Rescue Plan to clean up rivers and streams damaged by decades of non-point source pollution, including agricultural runoff, abandoned mine drainage and stormwater management in developed areas.

“I’m happy that we could get this done as part of the budget,” Laughlin said. “In a year where we had this type of surplus, it would be a travesty if we couldn’t invest in our environment the way we have with the Clean Streams Fund. As Chairman of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee and a proud conservationist, I have a million reasons to support healthy and vibrant streams, rivers and waterways. This is a win-win-win for Pennsylvanians.”

The fund will support a new statewide Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program that will partner with counties to remediate the affected waterways. It will also launch a “Pay for Success” pilot program that rewards entrepreneurs for discovering new and cost-effective ways to reduce pollution.

“The Clean Streams Fund puts money into action by correcting decades of non-point source pollution with innovative solutions, like farming cooperatives and strategic tree planting, without demanding a single cent from taxpayers,” Yaw said. “Our rivers and streams are a source of beauty, purpose and economic opportunity in this state and the Clean Stream Funds will preserve and enhance these waterways for generations to come.”

Pennsylvania boasts the highest stream density in the continental United States, with more than 85,000 miles of waterways that support a $26.9 billion outdoor recreation industry and more than 390,000 jobs.

Unfortunately, one-third of those rivers and streams are not safe for fishing, swimming or drinking. Every mile of polluted stream limits economic opportunity and increases treatment costs for residents, though historically, the state’s efforts to remediate its waterways has focused on point sources of pollution – like wastewater treatment plants.

“An investment of this magnitude will go a long way toward restoring our streams with the help of farmers, whose modern techniques and commitment to conserving our land and water will be crucial to the success of this program,” Martin said. “I appreciate the support and commitment from the General Assembly and our governor in making the Clean Streams Fund a reality.”

Without a regulatory permit, and without any ratepayers or user fees to support them, the burden of protecting our local streams and creeks from non-point sources falls on individual farmers and landowners. However, the impacts of non-point pollution as well as the benefits of its clean-up are felt by all Pennsylvanians.

“This is an historic achievement and I am grateful for the support of my fellow lawmakers and our governor in getting this across the finish line,” Yaw said. “We must do all that we can to support our top industries, agriculture and tourism, and preserve the natural resources we’ve been gifted.”

Senators Martin and Yaw represent Pennsylvania as members of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. Martin serves as the vice chair of the commission.



Terry Trego (Martin)

David Kozak (Laughlin)

Nick Troutman (Yaw)


Laughlin’s Child Care Facility Smoke Alarm Legislation Heads to Governor

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania General Assembly has sent to the governor Sen. Dan Laughlin’s Senate Bill 563 to improve safety in state-regulated child care facilities, a measure he introduced in response to a tragic fire that claimed the lives of five young children in Erie in 2019.

“Many of the bills introduced in the General Assembly are in response to real life events that take place in our hometowns and local communities,” said Laughlin (R-49). “Tragically, in this case, I introduced this legislation because of a Aug. 11, 2019 child-care facility fire that claimed the lives of La’Myhia Jones, 8; Luther Jones Jr., 6; Ava Jones, 4; Dalvin Pacley, 2; and Jaydan Augustyniak, age 9 months.”

“What made this horrific incident even more tragic was the fact that these young lives may have been saved if the home had been properly equipped with smoke detectors,” Laughlin continued. “As it turned out, only one smoke detector was found in the home and it was in the attic.”

To help avoid another such tragedy, SB 563 amends the state Fire and Panic Act to designate the locations where smoke alarms must be installed in child care facilities and require the alarms be interconnected so that if one is triggered, they all go off.

“This bill will not restore the lives that were tragically lost, nor will it ease the pain those grieving families endured,” said Laughlin. “However, it is government’s responsibility to learn from these tragic cases and to act to prevent them from ever occurring again in the future.”

Contact:           David Kozak   717-787-8927

Senate Approves Laughlin Scooter Legislation

HARRISBURG – The state Senate has approved Sen. Dan Laughlin’s legislation seeking to ensure electric low-speed scooters are properly regulated within Pennsylvania’s vehicle code.

“Low-speed scooters are part of the next generation of transportation,” said Laughlin (R-49). “Senate Bill 892 would create a pilot program to take the next step toward expanding their use in Pennsylvania.”

Electric low-speed scooters are small electric- or human-powered vehicles with two or three wheels, handlebars and a floorboard that can be stood upon while riding. They weigh less than 100 pounds and go no more than 15 miles per hour on level ground.

“The scooters provide innovative, flexible and low-cost transportation to tens of millions of riders across the country,” Laughlin said. “They help relieve traffic congestion, pollution and stress by reducing car trips and increasing access to public transit.”

SB 892 would, generally, allow certain municipalities to designate where low-speed scooters could be used, though they would be prohibited on any roadways with a posted speed limit of at least 35 miles per hour. The scooters would be limited to operating on specified roadways, pedalcycle lanes or pedalcycle paths at a speed no greater than 15 miles per hour. 

Prior to its final passage, the Senate amended the bill to increase the age requirement for scooter operation from 16 to 18 years of age.

SB 892 was also altered to grant the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) the authority to rescind approval of the use of a highway under its jurisdiction if safety issues have been identified that cannot easily be corrected. PennDOT will create a process to evaluate safety issues and communicate issues to the local authority and commercial electric scooter enterprise.

Additionally, the Senate-adopted amendment inserted recommendations for ordinances, policies and regulations regarding deployment locations, parking locations, data sharing and reporting, and education and awareness.

“SB 892 will prevent Pennsylvania from falling further behind other places that have already embraced low-speed scooters, and I thank my Senate colleagues for approving the measure,” said Laughlin. “I urge the House of Representatives to consider this measure.”

Contact:           David Kozak   717-787-8927

Senate Committee Approves Laughlin’s Local Option Small Games of Chance Legislation

HARRISBURG The Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee has approved legislation, Senate Bill 643, that would amend Pennsylvania’s Local Option Small Games of Chance (SGOC) Act to allow club licensees to retain 50% of their proceeds from small games of chance while maintaining charitable donation requirements for the other 50%, said bill prime sponsor Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49).

“Originally, clubs were only allowed to keep 30% of their proceeds, and in 2013, that number was increased to 40%,” explained Laughlin.

Laughlin noted that in 2020, because of the pandemic, the General Assembly enacted Act 118, which allows SGOC licensees to temporarily forgo their annual donation requirement so that, presently, clubs may use 100% of their SGOC revenue for operating expenses. That authorization is set to expire on June 10, 2022, but legislation, Senate Bill 1159, to extend that expiration date to Dec. 31, 2022, was approved by the committee in addition to SB 643.

“With the expanding gaming landscape in Pennsylvania, the purpose of this legislation is to allow our club licensees the opportunity to remain viable competitors,” said Laughlin. “The intention is not to take away from the communities they serve but rather to give the club licensees the tools to thrive so they are able to continue helping their communities through charitable giving. The committee today approving a short- and long-term solution is a positive step for our Small Games of Chance licensees.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Contact:         David Kozak     

Joint Public Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Joint Public Hearing of the

Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Game and Fisheries Committees

on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 | 9:00 a.m.

Hearing Room 1, NOB


Joint Public Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)


9:00 a.m.

Opening Remarks

  • Senator Laughlin, Majority Chair, Game & Fisheries
  • Senator Vogel, Majority Chair, Agriculture & Rural Affairs
  • Senator Brewster, Minority Chair, Game & Fisheries
  • Senator Schwank, Minority Chair, Agriculture & Rural Affairs

9:10 a.m.

Dr. Erick Gagne, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Disease Ecology
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife Futures Program

Dr. Michelle Gibison, Manager of Research Projects
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife Futures Program


9:40 a.m.

Dr. Richard Roush, Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State University

Calvin Norman, Forestry and Wildlife Extension Educator
Penn State Extension


10:10 a.m.

Darell Rowledge, Director – Testimony
Alliance for Public Wildlife

10:40 a.m.

Closing Remarks and Adjournment

Erie County Broadband Projects Receive Grant Funding

HARRISBURG – The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) has approved more than $140,000 in grants for two projects that will improve broadband access in Erie County, said Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie.

An Unserved High-speed Broadband Funding grant of $111,084 was awarded to Spectrum Northeast LLC, formerly known as Time Warner Cable Northeast LLC, to install wired infrastructure to serve 65 households in Erie County’s Girard Township. The total project cost is expected to be $241,084, with the remaining $130,000 committed by Spectrum’s manager Charter Communications, Inc.

Spectrum Northeast LLC also received a $32,577 grant to install hybrid fiber-coaxial wireline to serve 17 residents in North East Township, Erie County. The total project cost is $66,577, with the remaining funds committed by Charter Communications, Inc.

An unserved area is defined as a designated geographic area in which households or businesses do not have access to at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream speeds and 3 Mbps upstream speeds.

The new infrastructure in both locations will provide broadband speeds of at least 30 Mbps download and 4 Mbps upload, with maximum speeds of 1000 Mbps download and 35 Mbps upload. Spectrum has indicated it will work with the state and local partners to assist with Digital Literacy and broadband adoption strategies.

“Many areas of Pennsylvania face issues of getting that last mile of broadband put in the ground and distributed for access, particularly for those in rural communities,” said Sen. Laughlin. “This money will allow local broadband developers and municipalities to expand their infrastructure for internet access.”

The Unserved High-speed Broadband Funding Program was made possible by Act 132 of 2020, formerly Senate Bill 835, and is administered by the CFA. The program provides grants to deploy middle-mile and last-mile high-speed broadband infrastructure to unserved areas in Pennsylvania.

CONTACT: Dawn Fidler

Grants Support Efforts to Boost Digital Literacy in Erie County

HARRISBURG – More than $134,000 in grants were awarded by the Department of Labor and Industry to three Erie County organizations with the goal of connecting Pennsylvania workers with the technology skills they need to succeed in today’s workplaces, according to Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie.

A total of 21 recipients throughout the state were selected for Digital Literacy and Workforce Development Grants, which will help workers develop basic digital skills they need to apply for jobs and excel in new careers.

The Greater Erie Community Action Committee received a $45,000 grant with the focus being on digital fundamentals with job seeking aspects.

The program would include teaching skill sets in typing, utilizing different applications necessary in most fields such as Excel, PowerPoint, email, video conferencing, PDF creation and editing, document organization, scanning and printing documents, and safe internet utilization to seek information, seeking and filling out online applications, resume and cover letter creation and attachment to applications. This would be a two-part course creation with the initial section being digital fundamentals and the second being employment seeking activities.

A $45,000 grant was awarded to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants/Erie Field Office (USCRI) to establish Refugee Connect: Bridging Digital and Cultural Divides with linguistically and culturally competent digital literacy instruction for a minimum of 120 refugees, who have been in the U.S. for fewer than 5 years. The goals of the program are to increase refugee economic self-sufficiency and employability; increase refugee community integration; and increase refugee English language attainment and comprehension.

Lastly, the Corry Higher Education Council received a $44,495 grant to, in collaboration with Penn State Behrend, provide digital fluency training to the community leveraging the fiber optic infrastructure installation from Impact Corry for growth. Impact Corry is a community organization that developed a strategic revitalization plan for the region to transform the area with fiber optic connectivity for homes, businesses and the school district through awarded grants and tax credit donations from regional businesses.

“Digital skills are becoming integral to many jobs, and digital literacy is critical to effectively navigating both the job search process and the workplace,” Sen. Laughlin said. “These grants support our ongoing efforts to improve job training options and prepare those within our communities for 21st Century employment opportunities.”

The digital-literacy grants support the Commonwealth’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Combined State Plan and are 100% federally funded.

Contact:           Dawn Fidler          

Laughlin Seeks Permanent Cocktails-to-Go Sales for Bars, Restaurants

HARRISBURG – Many small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lot – such as our restaurants and bars – continue to struggle.

“Since these establishments still need help, I, along with Sen. John Yudichak, have introduced Senate Bill 1138 to permanently allow bars and restaurants to sell cocktails-to-go,” said Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, the bill’s prime sponsor.

Earlier during the pandemic, as part of efforts to address the impacts of the governor’s COVID emergency declaration, the ability to sell cocktails-to-go by bars and restaurants was temporarily granted to give them a new source of revenue.

During a recent hearing conducted by the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee, statewide business advocates and entrepreneurs told lawmakers that recovery has not started for many small businesses.

“A January 2022 National Restaurant Association operator impact survey showed that 76 percent of restaurant operators have lower sales volume now than they did prior to the pandemic. Unpredictability has plagued the industry for 20 months and recovery will likely take years,” said Lauren Brinjac, senior director of government affairs for the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA). “In 2020, the state allowed for the temporary sale of mixed drinks to-go and we saw then that Pennsylvanians love having that choice and it helps bars and restaurants.”

“While cocktails-to-go served as a lifeline during the COVID-19 emergency declaration, it also provided a way for family-owned establishments to expand their product offerings and increase customer convenience,” added Chuck Moran, executive director for Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA). “Unfortunately, the end of the emergency declaration also meant the end to these products. This was a loss to both our industry and our patrons.”

“This legislation will give restaurants and bars an opportunity to maintain cash flow and expand offerings, aiding them in their recovery,” Sen. Laughlin said.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, 33 states adopted alcohol-to-go programs in the early days of COVID-19, with 16 of those states making their programs permanent, while another 15 have provided extended approval to their programs. Across Pennsylvania’s borders, New York’s governor has urged making drinks-to-go permanent, while New Jersey lawmakers approved legislation last year allowing local governments to authorize cocktails-to-go.

“By introducing SB 1138, Sens. Laughlin and Yudichak have demonstrated their concern for the future success of small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants,” PLBTA’s Moran said. “The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association and our members, representing tens of thousands of employees and many more patrons, thank both senators for introducing this bill.”

“It’s a win-win and PRLA is happy to hear that Sens. Yudichak and Laughlin are reviving the conversation on making the drinks permanent,” added PRLA’s Brinjac.

“We need to continue supporting our businesses in Pennsylvania, giving them additional options to help them recover and avoid permanent closure. This legislation will do that,” said Sen. Laughlin.

After its introduction, SB 1138 was referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Contact:         Dawn Fidler

Joint Hearing Receives Testimony About Chronic Wasting Disease

BEDFORD – A joint hearing about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was held in Bedford, PA, on Wednesday, Feb.9 by the Senate’s Game and Fisheries and Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees, according to committee chairs Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-49, and Sen. Elder Vogel, R-47.

Since first being detected in Pennsylvania deer roughly a decade ago, CWD has spread to all or part of 27 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

The neurological disease affects members of the cervid family (deer, elk, moose, and reindeer/caribou). The abnormal proteins that cause CWD are shed in saliva, urine, and feces, meaning animals can be infected via animal-to-animal contact or through contaminated environments. CWD-infected animals might not show symptoms of the disease for 18 to 24 months, but all white-tailed deer and elk that contract CWD die, there are no exceptions.

The committee heard from several state officials and experts about CWD and what is currently being done to monitor and combat the expanding problem, as well as future efforts to address the disease.

Testimony was provided to the committee by Bryan Burhans, executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission; Kevin Brightbill, Pennsylvania’s state veterinarian and director of the Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services within the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Gregory Hostetter, the deputy secretary for Animal Health and Food Safety within the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Torin Miller, director of policy for the National Deer Association; Josh Newton, president of the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association; as well as other CWD experts.

Click on the following link for VIDEO of the full hearing.

The Alliance for Public Wildlife, a group of scientists and professionals whose stated goal is establishing, developing, promoting, and defending principles and policies that will ensure the conservation of North American wildlife, has produced documents examining the science behind CWD, the history and process of its spread, and the public policy implications and recommendations for dealing with it – click on the following links for the document The Challenge of CWD: Insidious and Dire, as well as a supplement to that analysis.


Koty McGowan

Cara Laudenslager