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I was glad to participate in National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in Butler County on January 9. I wholeheartedly support our police officers; thank you for your service to our communities.
Senator Vogel Reappointed Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman
On January 9, I was reappointed by President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
The Committee considers legislation and holds hearings on issues pertaining to agriculture in Pennsylvania and provides review and oversight on regulations proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
I am honored to be reappointed by Senator Scarnati to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. I look forward to continuing our efforts to support agriculture in the Commonwealth, promote Pennsylvania-made farm products, and address the diverse issues facing the state’s rural communities.
For more information about the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, click here.
Child Protection Laws Website
During the 2013-14 Legislative Session, 23 pieces of legislation were enacted changing how Pennsylvania responds to child abuse. To ensure that you, your school districts and organizations are kept up-to-date on the implementation of these changes, I wanted to make you aware of the resources available online. Information on changes to the law, links to training providers and online child abuse clearances are available at www.KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov.
Child Abuse History Clearances Now Processed Online
On a related note, Pennsylvanians can now have their Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151) completed and certified online. The Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance will provide the applicant information as to whether or not they are listed in the Pennsylvania statewide database as a perpetrator of child abuse. In the past, this process could only be completed via paper application.
The online application will notify the applicant once their results have been processed. Applicants will be able to view and print their online results. Organizations will also have the ability to create business accounts to prepay for and have access to the results of their employees or volunteers. For more information and to complete your clearance online, visit here.
New Department of Aging Website
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has launched a newly designed website featuring user-friendly design for navigation and enhanced search capabilities. You can find information about caregiver support, senior-citizen employment, housing, assistance with prescriptions, and much more at www.aging.pa.gov.
Library Grants Awarded To New Brighton, Monaca, Zelienople
Three communities in the 47th Senate District will receive state grants totaling nearly $330,000 to support capital improvement projects at their public libraries.
The Borough of New Brighton will receive $160,000 for a 2,000 square-foot building extension and to add ADA-accessible restrooms to its public library. The Borough of Monaca will receive $150,000 for renovations including bathrooms, electrical service, ADA-accessibility and an elevator. The Borough of Zelienople will receive $18,430 to upgrade to energy-efficient lighting at its library.
Many families use our local libraries as a resource for leisure and learning. These investments by the state in New Brighton and Monaca will improve handicapped accessibility and provide a better experience for library patrons. Zelienople will use the money to provide better lighting, while reducing costs. Those are worthwhile initiatives that certainly deserve state support.
Keystone Fund Grants, awarded by the state Department of Education, provide funding to municipalities that sponsor state-aided public libraries. These competitive grants pay up to 50 percent of eligible costs of planning, acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of public libraries. A dollar-for-dollar local match is required for state grant funds received.
Local Company Receives $375,000 State Grant
A Beaver County business was recently awarded a state Natural Gas Energy Development program grant. Beemac Trucking LLC was awarded a $375,000 grant to purchase 15 trucks fueled by compressed natural gas.
This is great news for Beemac and Beaver County. Not only is natural gas cheaper and cleaner than gasoline, it also helps to promote good paying jobs right here in Pennsylvania.
The grant was part of $7.3 million in funding to 18 companies and organizations making the switch to natural gas for their heavy-duty fleet vehicles announced by Governor Tom Corbett. Grant requests could not exceed 50 percent of the incremental purchase or retrofit cost per vehicle or a maximum total of $25,000 per vehicle.
Act 13 of 2012 authorized the Department of Environmental Protection to develop and implement the Natural Gas Energy Development program, funded by impact fees paid by natural gas operators. The program distributed up to $20 million in grants over three years, to help pay for the incremental purchase and conversion costs of heavy-duty natural gas fleet vehicles.
For more information about the state’s alternative fuels programs, click here.
Monthly Revenue Report Released
Every month, the Senate Appropriations Committee releases a fiscal report detailing revenue collections for all of the different taxes in Pennsylvania and compares them to the official estimates. To summarize this month’s findings, general fund revenue collections for last month were 6.3% above estimate. To read the report, click here.
Auditor General Fraud/Waste Hotline
The Pennsylvania Auditor General is the chief fiscal officer of our Commonwealth. The office performs financial audits of state agencies, municipal governments, school districts, public sector pensions, entities that receive state funding support, and corporate tax returns. The Auditor General’s hotline for reporting suspected misuse, fraud, or waste of taxpayer dollars can be found at http://www.auditorgen.state.pa.us/auditor-general-hotline.
Meals on Wheels In Need of Sugar-Free Desserts
Meals on Wheels has asked me to let constituents know that the organization is in need of pre-packaged sugar free pudding, Jell-O, cookies, etc. for their diabetic clients. Donations can be dropped off at my Rochester District Office at 488 Adams St. Rochester, PA 15074.
Follow Me on Twitter!
I have a Twitter account to better connect with my constituents and provide daily updates on my voting record, whereabouts, state government, and local news affecting the 47 S.D. To access my Twitter page, click here.
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Senate Box 203047