In this Update:
Senate Approves Laughlin Bill to Ease Antlerless Deer Hunting License Sales
The state Senate this week approved my legislation, Senate Bill 431, seeking to make it easier for hunters to obtain antlerless deer hunting licenses.
SB 431 would remove county treasurers as the sole provider of antlerless tags, and include all sellers authorized by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) through the Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System, including online sales.
Currently, hunters apply for antlerless deer licenses by sending an application to a county treasurer in a timely manner. Allowing for the sale of antlerless deer hunting licenses through other means such as online or through the PGC’s Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System would make it far more convenient for hunters.
The legislation is now in the state House of Representatives for consideration, and it received approval from the House Game and Fisheries Committee on Wednesday this past week.
Erie City Stream Restoration Projects Get a Combined $400,000 in Grant Funding
Two Erie projects focused on stream restoration have received a combined $400,000 in grants.
The grants were awarded earlier this week by the Commonwealth Finance Authority through the Watershed Restoration Protection Program (WRPP).
The City of Erie will use $200,000 for the Garrison Run Stream Restoration, which seeks to reduce the sediment load of the stream, which the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has identified as being impaired by sediment load. The restoration work will be done on a section of the stream located on the fenced property of the Erie Wastewater Treatment Plant running along Port Access Road.
Another $200,000 will be used by the city to reduce the sediment load of Cemetery Run, with the restoration work to be done on the portion of the stream that runs along the west side of Cranch Road between the roadway and Lakeside Cemetery.
By addressing the sediment issues, both projects will improve the water quality of the two streams and put them on the path to no longer being impaired.
Act 13 of 2012 establishes the Marcellus Legacy Fund and allocates funds to the Commonwealth Financing Authority for watershed restoration and protection projects. WRPP’s overall goal is to restore, and maintain restored stream reaches impaired by the uncontrolled discharge of nonpoint source polluted runoff, and ultimately remove these streams from the DEP’s Impaired Waters list.
PCN Call-In Show
Earlier this week, I was on the Pennsylvania Cable Network with Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa to discuss the latest news about the Pennsylvania Senate Agenda.
Senate Game and Fisheries Committee Visit to Keystone Elk Country Alliance
On Sept. 13, the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee travelled to Benezette, Elk County to see the work the Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA) is doing for elk in the commonwealth.
The day included an informational briefing detailing their relationship with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as well as the Pennsylvania Game Commission. We then got a habitat tour from the Game Commission and finished the evening with an elk viewing tour at the KECA sanctuary.
Senate Expands Right to Know Law to State-Related Universities
Seeking to shine light on costs driving college tuition increases, the Senate approved legislation to expand Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law to provide greater access to public records at state-related universities.
Senate Bill 488 would create an online searchable database that details information about budgets and contracts approved by Penn State University, Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University. The legislation also increases the amount of university personnel salary information subject to public disclosure.
State-related universities receive more than $600 million in taxpayer dollars.
Under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law, the Office of Open Records processes requests for documents from public agencies, such as the governor’s administration, legislative and judicial agencies and local organizations. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Among other measures passed by the Senate this week was Senate Bill 1203, which prevents companies from receiving state contracts, grants or tax credits if they are owned, controlled by, or acting on behalf of the Russian government.
Hearing Highlights Ideas to Combat Lyme Disease in PA
Pennsylvania leads the nation in Lyme disease cases, with children making up the largest demographic affected.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a public hearing to increase understanding of tick-borne diseases, tick testing and mitigation, testing options for physicians and patients, and guidelines for treatment options.
The panel heard testimony from Physician General and Acting Health Secretary Denise Johnson, as well as the director of the Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania at East Stroudsburg University, an infectious disease physician, and the president of the PA Lyme Resource Network.
Promise of Carbon Capture Technology in Pennsylvania Explored by Committee
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held an informational briefing Tuesday on Pennsylvania’s potential as a carbon capture, utilization and storage hub.
Wolf administration officials and the carbon capture and storage business opportunity manager for Shell USA, Inc. took part to discuss the region’s promise as a premier hub for both carbon capture and clean hydrogen.
The Great Plains Institute, using data from a 2009 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources report, estimates the state could store about 2.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide underground. This is equivalent to the level of greenhouse gases emitted from 517 million gas-powered passenger vehicles annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
September is Suicide Prevention Month
Approximately 1.2 million adults attempt suicide annually in the United States, with more than 85% reporting having made a suicide plan prior to their attempt. In 2020, the most recent year that data is available, approximately 1,700 people died by suicide in Pennsylvania.
Suicide Prevention Month provides an opportunity to remind Pennsylvanians that help is always available. This summer, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline officially launched nationwide, streamlining call and text access to the national lifeline that provides no-cost crisis response support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In addition to 988, many other resources also remain available to Pennsylvanians in need of support, including:
Rosh Hashanah Begins Sunday
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday and ends at nightfall Tuesday evening. For all who observe this Jewish holiday, I wish you a wonderful new year.
Collecting Items for Area Food Banks Continues
Throughout Hunger Action Month, my district offices (addresses are listed below) are collecting non-perishable items to be given to food banks in our communities.
Neighbors helping neighbors is the best form of charity and it’s one of the many traditions that make our country great. Please consider making a donation to help a family in need.
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