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(HARRISBURG) – The Senate approved legislation on Thursday to protect Pennsylvanians’ Second Amendment rights by preventing local jurisdictions from imposing firearms ordinances that are more restrictive than state laws, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).

Scarnati, who strongly supported the measure, explained that the amended version of House Bill 80 would prohibit local laws or ordinances attempting to regulate firearms or ammunition.

The bill would allow an individual or organization to sue to block or overturn a local ordinance. If successful, the individual would be able to recover all expenses, including attorney fees, costs, expenses, and lost income from employment.

“This legislation is a commonsense measure to not change, but simply clarify current law,” Scarnati said. “Senate Bill 80 clarifies existing law to ensure that firearms and ammunition laws are consistent across Pennsylvania.”

“Unfortunately, anti-gun advocates are now pressuring local governments to enact laws which violate our Second Amendment rights,” Scarnati explained. “They are engaging in this underhanded tactic in order to push an unpopular agenda which has repeatedly failed to succeed at the state or federal level.”

Scarnati noted that over three decades ago state firearm preemption was enacted by the legislature to avoid the possibility of having over 2,600 separate firearm laws across the Commonwealth. In recent years more than 50 local governments have enacted local gun control ordinances in violation of the current state firearms preemption law.

“The myriad of local firearm laws across our Commonwealth makes compliance very difficult and nearly impossible for responsible gun owners,” Scarnati said. “Many local residents travel across the state with a lawfully owned gun in their car. We need consistency to prevent individuals who travel with firearms for personal protection and hunting from being at risk of breaking the law simply by crossing from one municipality to the other.”

House Bill 80 is supported by various pro-Second Amendment organizations. The legislation was approved by the Senate by a vote of 34 to 14. The bill has been sent to the House of Representatives for a vote on concurrence.

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CONTACT:
Casey Long
clong@pasen.gov
(717) 787-7084

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(HARRISBURG) – The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) has approved a total of $2,594,832 for eight energy, transportation and water and sewer projects in the 25th Senatorial District, announced Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

The projects approved for funding are a part of three different programs that are administered by the CFA, including the Alternative and Clean Energy Program, Multimodal Transportation Fund Program and PA Small Water & Sewer Program.

“I am pleased that eight projects in our region have received state funding for important public improvements to better serve area residents and businesses,” Scarnati said. “These investments will provide needed growth and updates while also helping to generate local economic development.”

Scarnati explained that in the 25th Senatorial District the following projects were approved across five different counties:

Cameron County

Mid Cameron Authority – $40,000 grant (PA Small Water & Sewer Program)
The project will involve making repairs to an aerial sewer crossing that transfers sanitary sewage waste from one side of West Creek to the other by correcting the erosion at the existing abutments on each side of the creek and adding the additional steel support to the existing steel hangers. The total project cost is $53,000.

Clearfield County

CNG Motor Fuels of Clearfield County – $681,680 grant (Alternative and Clean Energy Program)
CNG Motor Fuels of Clearfield County will install a public CNG fueling station at the existing Pacific Pride petroleum-based fuel site located in DuBois City. The station is located near major travel corridors, including I-80, US 119, US 322, US 219 and PA 255. CNG Motor Fuels of Clearfield County will provide $1,022,520 in matching funds.

City of DuBois – $596,695 grant (Multimodal Transportation Fund Program)
The City of DuBois is extending the Beaver Meadow Walkway and linking Memorial Park to the downtown business district to encourage recreation and promote commerce to the local community. An additional trail loop and streetscape project will provide access to no less than six empty store fronts along the proposed pathway. Funds will be used to make safe passage from the Memorial Park and Beaver Meadow Walkway through the Downtown Business District by replacing old, broken and missing sidewalk; adding efficient street lighting and installing informational and direction signage. The total project cost is $852,421.

Clinton County

Clean Energy – $400,257 grant (Alternative and Clean Energy Program)
Clean Energy plans to install a new CNG station at the existing Clean Energy LNG station, to provide CNG and LNG capabilities at the site. Clean Energy will provide $600,385 in matching funds.

Jefferson County

Big Run Area Municipal Authority – $125,000 grant (PA Small Water & Sewer Program)
The project will include the purchase and installation of an additional sludge storage tank to reduce the plant’s organic loading back to normal levels. Portions of the treatment facility are also exhibiting severe corrosion; therefore the project will also include sandblasting and painting rusted tank walls and replacing the cathodic anodes for corrosion protection. The total project cost is $150,000.

CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County – $287,600 grant (Alternative and Clean Energy Program)
CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County will expand an existing public CNG fueling station to meet the increasing demand by truck fleets and the public for CNG. The station is located less than 1/4 mile from exit 78 of I-80, and also has easy access to PA 36, US 322 and PA 28. CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County will provide $431,400 in matching funds.

CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County – $353,600 grant (Alternative and Clean Energy Program)
CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County will expand an existing public CNG fueling station to meet the increasing demand by truck fleets and the public for CNG. The station is located at the Punxsutawney Industrial Park along Route 436 and is less than a mile away from Route US 119 and PA 36. CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County will provide $530,400 in matching funds.

Potter County

Coudersport Borough Authority – $110,000 grant (PA Small Water & Sewer Program)
The project will remove a 100 year old water main and replace it with 700 LF of 8″ water line along with the installation of three new fire hydrants. The total project cost is $147,000.

According to Scarnati the grants were approved at the September 9th CFA meeting in Harrisburg.

“I commend our local cities, businesses and municipal authorities for seeking out support and receiving this substantial funding,” Scarnati said. “I am confident that these projects will provide significant benefits to the community for decades to come.”

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) was established as an independent agency of the Commonwealth to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania’s economic growth.

More information regarding programs administered by the CFA can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development website: http://newpa.com/find-and-apply-for-funding/commonwealth-financing-authority.

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CONTACT: Kate Eckhart keckhart@pasen.gov (717) 787-7084

canadagoose

canadagoose – Chapman State Park will again allow Early Canada goose hunting beginning Tuesday, September 2nd. The statewide season, designed to reduce local nuisance geese populations, runs through Thursday, Sept. 25.

Complete details regarding hunting seasons and bag limits can be found on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website.

Non-migratory Canada goose populations have increased drastically in recent years, causing crop damage and nuisance problems in residential neighborhoods. Park visitors often complain about goose excrement on state park beaches and other facilities, and water quality at some state parks has been adversely affected.

Resident Canada geese have been among the suspected cause of high fecal coliform counts at some Pennsylvania state park beaches, forcing swimming restrictions during peak use periods.

Many state parks have taken measures, including anti-goose fencing and/or the use of loud noisemakers, in attempt to deter the waterfowl or scare them away.

All Game Commission rules and regulations governing the early Canada goose season will apply at state parks. Park information can be found at: www.dcnr.state.pa.us

Persons with disabilities wanting to hunt geese in the early season should contact the park office for further information.

Chapman State Park office: 814-723-0250

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Route 6, Columbus, PAWestern New York & Pennsylvania RailroadME-2 Westbound

(HARRISBURG) – Two projects in the 25th District have been awarded grants through Pennsylvania’s Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP), according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

Scarnati said RTAP is a capital budget grant program funded with bonds, and RFAP is underwritten through Act 89 of 2013, the Commonwealth’s new Transportation Funding Plan.

“Just like roads and bridges, our rail lines are crucial to transportation and economic development, particularly in rural areas,” Scarnati said. “These grants will help make needed improvements to ensure that these vital rail lines are safe and in good repair.”

RJ Corman Railroad Group PA Lines will receive a $4.3 million RTAP grant to install cross ties and switch ties, renew several crossings, install bridge ties and other track work. The rail company serves Cambria, Clearfield, Clinton and Indiana Counties.

Western New York PA Railroad Company, LLC, which serves McKean County, will receive a RFAP grant of $448,078 to repair a railroad bridge, including timber repairs and replacements, and track approach repairs.

Scarnati explained that The State Transportation Commission (STC) voted last Thursday to approve nearly $35.9 million for 13 projects through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program and 26 projects through the Rail Freight Assistance Program.

“The Transportation Funding Plan enacted last year was a comprehensive and thought-out approach to our transportation needs and is getting projects moving now,” Scarnati stated. “Through these grants awarded today, we are making an important investment in updating and improving our railroads, which are helping to reduce congestion and pollution and spur economic growth.”

More information regarding the state’s Transportation Improvement Program can be found on the PennDOT website (www.dot.state.pa.us).

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CONTACT: Kate Eckhart keckhart@pasen.gov (717) 787-7084

FRACKING IN PENNSYLVANIA BRINGS RISKS AND REWARDS

HARRISBURG – Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) has issued the following statement regarding the Flatirons Development, LLC decision concerning the Brandon-Day well:

“Flatirons Development, LLC, has agreed to discontinue Marcellus drilling operations of the Brandon-Day well which is located upstream of the Brockway Borough Municipal Authority Rattlesnake Reservoir.  The existing bore hole will be abandoned, sealed and reclaimed to eliminate the possibility of watershed contamination.

“This recent decision by Flatirons Development to stop plans for drilling at the Brandon-Day well is a good and responsible decision for our community.  Earlier this year after taking part in numerous discussions and meetings regarding this well, I reached out to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to express serious reservations with permitting any further drilling at the proposed site or any nearby site which could potentially compromise the reservoir.

“Toby Creek Watershed Association President Bill Sabatose and members of the Toby Creek Watershed have done an outstanding job monitoring the process surrounding this well and working to make sure the watershed remains clean.  This decision is a strong testament to the successful teamwork of area residents, local leaders, DEP and Flatirons to do what is in the best interest of our community to ensure public safety and protect our natural resources.”

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CONTACT:
Kate Eckhart
keckhart@pasen.gov
(717) 787-7084

Sports_Equipment

From Representative Kathy Rapp:

With the fall sports season getting underway, students, parents and coaches should be aware of two recent state laws aimed at protecting student athletes.

Act 59 of 2012 raises awareness about the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest by requiring coaches and parents to complete an online training program to learn how to identify symptoms. Under the law, student athletes must be removed from practices or games if they display symptoms, and they cannot return to play until cleared to do so by a medical professional.

Similarly, Act 101 of 2011 requires the removal from play of a student athlete who shows symptoms of a concussion, such as confusion, headache, nausea, blurred vision or memory loss. Parents and their student athletes are required to sign a concussion awareness sheet annually before the student is allowed to participate in a sport, and coaches of those sports must complete a concussion certification course each year.

Additional information about both laws, and access to the online training course related to sudden cardiac arrest, are available through the Department of Health website.

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stateeducationfundinglargeFrom the office of State Representative Kathy Rapp:

Last night, I voted with a majority of my legislative colleagues to approve a final 2014-15 state budget that for the fourth consecutive year maintains the core functions of state government without raising taxes.

As a member of the House Education Committee, I am especially pleased to report that this year’s fiscally responsible $29.1 billion state budget invests a record high of $10.5 billion in K-12 education—representing a more than $500 million increase over last year’s budget.

All totaled, funding levels for public schools located in the 65th Legislative District (Forest Area School District, Kane Area School District and Warren County School District) have increased by approximately $1.7 million above the 2013-14 state budget. As a result, Warren County School District now ranks as Pennsylvania’s 23rd top-funded school district.

This year’s budget also adds $20 million for special education funding, the first increase since 2007!

It also includes many other notable increases that are important to citizens across the Commonwealth. Higher education is increased by nearly $10 million, with $5 million of that total going to the new Ready to Succeed Scholarship to help defray the cost of higher education for middle-income families across Pennsylvania.

Finally, there are also significant public safety investments including $15 million to train four new state police classes and put 350 new state troopers on patrol.

Visit RepRapp.com for the latest legislative updates.

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The 25th Senatorial District will receive a total of $24,471,926.46 from 2013 Marcellus Shale Impact Fee revenues, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).

Scarnati explained that the county and municipal impact fee amounts are now available for review on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) website. Checks are expected to be mailed by the end of June, 2014. Statewide more than $225 million in impact fees was collected for calendar year 2013, an increase in revenue of over 11% from 2012.

“These funds continue to have tremendously positive effects within our region and across the entire state,” Scarnati said. “In addition to bringing new jobs and opportunities to our area, the industry is generating revenue through this fee that our communities can use for a wide variety of projects and improvements.”

Scarnati, who was instrumental in drafting and enacting the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee (Act 13 of 2012) noted that this is the third round of impact revenue disbursements to local governments. To date, the impact fee has generated a total of more than $630 million in new revenue.

Impact Fee Revenues Being Distributed to Counties and Municipalities in the 25th Senatorial District Include:

• Cameron County & All Municipalities in Cameron County – $7,049,512.13
• Clearfield County & the City of DuBois, Brandy Township, Huston Township, Sandy Township and Troutville Borough – $271,578.39
• Clinton County & All Municipalities in Clinton County – $1,462,896.92
• Elk County & All Municipalities in Elk County – $1,004,303.87
• Jefferson County & All Municipalities in Jefferson County – $584,045.58
• McKean County & All Municipalities in McKean County – $1,141,665.98
• Potter County & All Municipalities in Potter County – $1,071,223.66
• Tioga County & All Municipalities in Tioga County – $11,886,699.93

According to Scarnati, in addition to imposing an annual impact fee on the industry, provisions laid forth in Act 13 have placed an increased level of transparency on natural gas drilling and are ensuring that Pennsylvania’s environment is protected.

Under the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee, the Public Utility Commission is responsible for the collection and distribution of impact fees. The revenue being distributed to municipalities and counties can be utilized to fund a number of local services, from emergency preparedness to road, bridge and infrastructure projects.

“The passage of Act 13 was a major achievement for Pennsylvania residents,” Scarnati stated. “The shale industry has brought tens of thousands of family-sustaining jobs and economic growth to Pennsylvania. At the same time, it is generating significant funding to protect our environment, promote public safety and enhance our infrastructure. I’m pleased that this impact fee money will directly benefit local residents at a time when budgets are tight and state funding is limited.”

A full listing of impact fee distributions is available on the on the Public Utility Commission’s website at www.puc.state.pa.us or by clicking here.

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CONTACT: Drew Crompton dcrompton@pasen.gov 717-787-7084

historicalsociety

HARRISBURG – Museums and historical societies in Pennsylvania have been awarded a total of
$2 million for 130 grants, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) and Speaker of the House Sam Smith (R-66).

Scarnati explained that the grants were awarded as part of the state’s Cultural and Historical Support program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The goal of the program is to strengthen the Pennsylvania museum community through providing general operating support to museums and official county historical societies that are not supported by other state agency funding programs.

“Our Commonwealth is fortunate to have outstanding museums and historical societies across Pennsylvania,” Senator Scarnati said. “I am glad that these grants will help offer assistance to historical sites so that they can continue to provide excellent educational opportunities within our communities.”

“Museums inspire curiosity and allow people to interpret works of art, history and culture,” Speaker Smith stated. “For the public good, they collect, safeguard and hold in trust valuable artifacts.”

According to Speaker Smith, this is the second year that legislative leaders have worked to ensure funding for museum grants was included in the state budget appropriation. This year’s program furthered the efforts of last year’s program, which allotted just over $1 million in funding for the grants in the 2012-13 state budget.

“We are pleased that this year’s program was able to expand upon the success of last year, and now provide aid to some of our smaller, local museums and historical societies,” Scarnati and Smith stated. “These grants are an important investment in helping communities across our state to preserve history for future generations to learn from.”

Local Museums and Organizations receiving awards include:
• Cameron County Historical Society (Cameron County) – $2,500
• Clearfield County Historical Society (Clearfield County) – $3,000
• Clinton County Historical Society (Clinton County) – $4,000
• Piper Aviation Museum Foundation (Clinton County) – $3,737
• Jefferson County Historical Society (Jefferson County) – $4,000
• Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center (Jefferson County) – $3,000
• Eldred World War II Museum (McKean County) – $3,000
• Elk County Historical Society (Elk County) – $2,500
• Tioga County Historical Society (Tioga County) – $4,000

The program was open to museums located in Pennsylvania, as well as Official County Historical Societies. Award amounts were determined using an equation based on a percentage of the eligible museum’s previous year’s operating budget. The maximum any museum could receive was $65,000. The maximum for historical societies was $4,000.

For more information on the program, please visit PHMC’s website: www.phmc.state.pa.us.

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CONTACT:

Kate Eckhart – Senator Scarnati – (717) 787-7084 or keckhart@pasen.gov
Kelly Fedeli – Speaker Smith – (717) 783-1633 or kfedeli@pahousegop.com

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Pennsylvania has many sportsmen’s clubs and conservation groups stepping up to introduce people to hunting and the outdoors. These groups provide day-long events featuring activities such as firearm shooting, turkey calling, trapping, canoeing, camping and much, much more. Each event offers a brief introduction to many different, enjoyable outdoor recreational activities. The Game Commission often participates in these events, staffing a station or two. If this sounds like a great opportunity for you, then visit the Field Day calendar to find an event near you and register today!

Have some free time? Have you ever considered volunteering to assist at an event? Consider contacting a coordinator for an event near you to volunteer for the day.

Looking for more opportunities to shoot and hunt? Visit the PGC’s Youth Programs page.

Register for Field Day

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Local organizations and municipalities can now apply for grants available through the State Clean Diesel Grant Program, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).

The grants are provided to support projects that re-power or retrofit fleet vehicles to curb emissions, purchase and install idle-reduction technology or purchase clean alternative-fuel fleet vehicles.

Scarnati explained that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is now accepting applications for the grants, which are intended to improve air quality by reducing emissions from diesel-powered motor vehicles.

Eligible applicants include school districts, municipal authorities, political subdivisions, state agencies, nonprofit entities, corporations, and limited liability companies or partnerships incorporated or registered in Pennsylvania that operate diesel fleets.

“I encourage our local municipalities, school districts and organizations who are considering upgrading or purchasing clean-alternative vehicles to apply for these grants,” Scarnati said. “Reducing emissions through programs like this, helps to improve air quality within our communities and protect the environment.”

The grant program is funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State Clean Diesel Program. Since the program’s inception in 2008, the Pennsylvania DEP has awarded more than $1.9 million in grants.

Applications for this year’s grants will be accepted through June 10, 2014.

To apply for a grant or for more information, please visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword “Clean Diesel.”

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CONTACT: Kate Eckhart keckhart@pasen.gov (717) 787-7084

fire

Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25) is encouraging local volunteer fire companies to apply for state grants to help with training and equipment purchases to fight brush and forest fires.

Scarnati said volunteer fire companies serving rural areas and communities with fewer than 10,000 residents where forest and brush fires are common, are able to apply for grants of up to $7,500. Grants received for the 2014 program can be used for the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment, wildfire protective gear, mobile or portable radios, installation of dry hydrants, wildfire prevention and mitigation, or wildfire training. Funds may also be used for certain projects involving the conversion and maintenance of federal excess vehicles used for fire suppression.

“Volunteer fire companies play a crucial role in guarding our communities, which is why it is so important for us to help provide them with the resources they need to do that job effectively,” Scarnati said. “I am pleased that these grants will offer additional support, so that the brave men and women who volunteer to protect others have the necessary assistance and training to ensure their safety, and the safety of those they’re protecting.”

Scarnati noted that in 2013, funding of over $500,000 was awarded to 130 volunteer fire companies serving rural areas and communities where forest and brush fires are common. Since it began in 1982 the program has awarded more than $10.5 million, which is paid through federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Grants are awarded from the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Program, administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Applications must be electronically submitted through DCNR’s eGrant webpage by 4:00 p.m. on May 22, 2014. Applicants should visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us and click on “Apply for Grants.” Priority will be given to requests for projects that include the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective clothing.

More information regarding the grant program is available by contacting the Bureau’s Division of Forest Fire Protection at (717) 787-2925 or by visiting the DCNR website.

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CONTACT:
Kate Eckhart
keckhart@pasen.gov
717-787-7084