Senator Laughlin E-Newsletter

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October 2019

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to present my electronic newsletter. These e-newsletters enable me to provide information about issues, events and activities in Harrisburg and around the 49th Senatorial District to you in a timely manner while saving postage costs.

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Roundtable Discussion Focused on Family Care Act

10/8/19 – Informational Meeting: Family Care Act

I was pleased to host a roundtable discussion on October 8 at the Pennsylvania Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in Erie on my Family Care Act legislation.

Senate Bill 580, would establish a statewide Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program. Under the program working individuals would make small contributions from their weekly earnings to the leave program, which would be administered by the Department of Labor & Industry.

Workers could then use the fund to care for themselves or a close family member in the event of a serious health condition, to care for a new child, or to care for a member of the military in qualifying circumstances. Leave benefits would be calculated on a graduated scale to make sure the program is accessible to all workers, regardless of how much they earn.

Panelists at the roundtable discussion included: Ben Stahl, Chief Executive Officer, Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania; Heather McLaughlin, Program Manager, UPMC Home Healthcare and Family Hospice; Matthew White, Founder and Managing Director of Whitethorn Digital; and Jill Hrinda-Patten, Executive Director, Mission Empowerment.

Green Light Go Grant Applications Now Accepted

Municipalities and planning organizations can apply now for grants from PENNDOT’s Green Light-Go Program to improve existing traffic signals.

Eligible projects include signal retiming, LED replacement, the study and removal of unwarranted traffic signals, monitoring, innovative technologies, communications with traffic management centers, detection and/or controller upgrades, modernization, and intelligent transportation system applications.

The Green Light-Go program, also known as Pennsylvania’s Municipal Signal Partnership Program, was created by Act 89 of 2013. For more information, click here.

Major Erie Water Project Awarded $32M in PENNVEST Funding

A major water system project in Erie was recently awarded $32 million in funding from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).

The Erie City Water Authority was awarded the low-interest loan toward a major four-phase water system project to correct deficiencies including inadequate pumping capacity and lack of water storage facilities.

The overall project includes: replacement of all eight pumps and installation of a sodium hypochlorite feed system and emergency power back up at the Cherry Street Pump Station; numerous upgrades to the Wasielewski Water Treatment Plant; upgrades to the Asbury Pump Station; and, construction of a new 1 million gallon storage tank at the South Booster Tank site.

The project will replace deteriorating water lines and upgrade equipment to ensure that customers have access to a continuous flow of safe water. This PENNVEST funding will help the Authority to address water flow issues and meet state regulation, while easing the financial burden that otherwise would have fallen on ratepayers.

PENNVEST financing is provided through the use of federal funding and prior bond issues by the state. It is not supported by the state’s General Fund budget, which covers the daily operations and services of the Commonwealth.

$5 Million Available for Teacher in the Workplace Grants

A total of $5 million in Teacher in the Workplace grants is now available to enable teachers to visit local employers and learn the skills and industry trends that will enhance their classroom instruction, student learning, and career readiness.

Education agencies and local workforce development boards are eligible to apply for the Teacher in the Workplace grants. Two types of grants are available.

Teacher in the Workplace Targeted Grants, administered by the Department of Education, provide up to $25,000 to local education agencies to expand career readiness and work-based learning experiences. The application deadline is November 20, 2019.

Teacher in the Workplace Advancing Grants, administered by the Department of Labor & Industry, encourage educators to develop partnerships with businesses with up to $50,000 for local workforce development boards, as well as up to $125,000 for schools and school districts that focus on underserved communities. The application deadline is December 23, 2019.

Click here for more information.

Deer Crossing: Game Commission Cautions Motorists to be Alert

With deer becoming increasingly active and more vehicles on the road during the hours when deer move most, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is advising motorists to slow down and stay alert.

Deer become more active in autumn with the lead-up to their fall breeding season, commonly referred to as the “rut.” Around this time of the year, many yearling bucks move from the areas where they were born and travel to find new ranges. Meanwhile, adult bucks more often are cruising their home ranges in search of does, and they sometimes chase the does they encounter.

When daylight saving time ends on November 3, there also will be increased vehicular traffic between dusk and dawn – the peak hours for deer activity.

Each year, State Farm Insurance compiles a report on the likelihood drivers in each state will collide with a deer or other large animal, and Pennsylvania regularly is near the top of list. In the 2019 report, Pennsylvania ranked third among the states with drivers having a 1-in-52 chance of a collision with a deer or other large animal.

As a precaution, drivers should stay alert — especially while driving on stretches marked with “Deer Crossing” signs. Deer often travel in family groups and walk single file. So even if one deer successfully crosses the road in front of a driver, it doesn’t mean the threat is over. Another could be right behind it.

To report a dead deer for removal from state roads, motorists can call PENNDOT at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.

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