Mar. 10, 2017

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Weekly News Update


 The latest news from the State Capitol

Thanks for Attending Our Concealed Carry Seminar

Thanks to all those who attended our concealed carry seminar held on Tuesday evening. We had nearly 200 people turn out to learn more about Pennsylvania’s firearms laws. I’d like to extend a special thank you to Sheriff Timothy Chamberlain and District Attorney Thomas Leipold for sharing their expertise and to the Buckhorn Fire Department for the use of its facility.
Is I-Gaming in the State’s Future?

This week, the House Gaming Oversight Committee and the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee discussed potential changes to the gaming industry, including an expansion as a way to raise much-needed state revenue.

Much of the hearing focused on the pros and cons of internet gaming and the impact it would have on brick-and-mortar facilities within the state, along with other measures contained within House Bill 392. That legislation also includes provisions designed to improve consumer protections, rein in the black market and off-shore gaming operators, and address a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court regarding the share of casino revenue directed to local governments.

Since casino gaming was authorized in 2004, the industry has generated more than $11 billion in tax revenue and created 18,000 jobs.
Asking State Employees for Money-Saving Solutions

A new effort to help save taxpayer money by asking state employees for their ideas was announced this week by the House Appropriations Committee.

The program, State Employees Achieving Savings (SEAS), will ask state employees, who can remain anonymous, about their strategies to better streamline services and be more efficient. Retired state employees are also being encouraged to participate.

State employees – from any department anywhere in the state – can click here to submit their ideas.  The submissions will then be reviewed and possibly implemented.

The committee emphasized that no idea is too small for consideration.
Education, Human Services Focus of Budget Hearings

The House Appropriations Committee wrapped up its three-week series of budget hearings Thursday, with two full days of questions about the education and human services aspects of the governor’s proposal.

Monday’s hearing featured the Department of Education, including details about increased funding for basic and higher education, and whether additional state investments are being directed into the classrooms.

Questions about the opioid crisis, child care, food stamps, Medicaid and specific programs for those with developmental and physical disabilities were the focus of Tuesday’s hearing, with members asking details about the waiting list for services, program eligibility, and federal and state matching funds.

During its appearance, the state police answered questions about the governor’s proposed $25 per person fee for coverage in municipalities without their own police protection.

The final hearing involved the Office of the Budget and included questions about the governor’s overall $32.4 billion spending plan and the estimates on a number of cost-saving initiatives.

The Appropriations Committee will take the testimony gathered from these hearings into negotiations for the 2017-18 budget. All of the hearings and written testimony are available here
Spring Ahead: Turn Clocks Ahead One Hour This Weekend
Daylight saving time will begin on Sunday, March 12, at 2 a.m., and residents are reminded to turn their clocks ahead one hour Saturday night.

This is also a good time to check and/or change batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, which should also be replaced every 10 years.

Daylight saving time will end on Nov. 5.
Upcoming Events

• Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 12.
• Benton High School presents “The Wizard of Oz” Friday, March 17, through Saturday, March 19.
• A Children’s Fair will be held at Columbia Mall on Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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904B Orange St., Berwick PA, 18603 | Phone: (570) 759-8734
Market Street Plaza, 1000 Market St. (Suite 39), Bloomsburg, PA 17815 | (570) 387-0246
316 Main Capitol, PO Box 202109, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2109 | Phone: (717) 783-1102
TTY: 855-282-0614