Hearings on Governor’s $36 Billion Budget Proposal Conclude
3/14/2020
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#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
 
 
Hearings on Governor’s $36 Billion Budget Proposal Conclude

The House Appropriations Committee concluded its in-depth review of the governor’s budget proposal last week with a focus on education and human services, the two biggest state agencies in terms of funding.

As was the case in the prior weeks of hearings, members drilled down on the estimated $1 billion in overspending in various areas of the current year’s budget, working to identify areas of mismanagement by the administration as well as items that could or should have been anticipated during the budget negotiation process.

With the hearings concluded, lawmakers can now move forward with developing a state budget that funds the core functions of government while also being respectful of the taxpayers who foot the bill. Additional information about the 2020-21 state budget proposal, as well as archived video of the budget hearings, may be found here.  
 
 
Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement Program in Effect

As of Wednesday, March 4, drivers speeding through certain active work zones in the state could find themselves being cited for the offense through the new Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program.

Designed to slow traffic and improve safety for both highway workers and travelers, the program is being operated by a partnership of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) and Pennsylvania State Police.

The AWZSE program uses vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits using electronic speed timing devices. Work zones will be marked with signage in advance of the enforcement area, and the systems are operational only in active work zones where workers are present. Locations are posted on the project website, WorkZoneCameras.PennDOT.gov.

A 60-day pre-enforcement period, which has been in place since January, ended earlier this month. Now, registered owners who are found to be speeding will receive a warning letter for a first offense, a violation notice and $75 fine for a second offense, and a violation notice and $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. These violations are civil penalties only; no points will be assessed to driver’s licenses.

In 2018, there were 1,804 work zone crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 23 fatalities, and 43% of work zone crashes resulted in fatalities and/or injuries. Since 1970, PennDOT has lost 89 workers in the line of duty. The PA Turnpike has lost 45 workers since 1945.
  
 
Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expands

A dozen counties have been added to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. This brings the total quarantine zone to 26 counties, more than a third of the state’s 67 counties.

The counties added this week are not completely infested, but rather have a few municipalities with a known infestation which led to a quarantine being placed on the entire county out of an abundance of caution. Allegheny, Beaver, Blair, Columbia, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Juniata, Luzerne, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry and York have been added to the quarantine for 2020.

Dauphin County was previously placed in the quarantine zone and remains in that status.

Businesses that operate in or travel through quarantined counties are required to obtain a Spotted Lanternfly permit; fines associated with noncompliance can be up to $300 for a criminal citation or up to $20,000 for a civil penalty. Homeowners with questions about treatment are encouraged to contact their local Penn State Extension office or learn about management, including approved sprays, online.  Pennsylvanians who live inside the quarantine zone should also review and sign the Compliance Checklist for residents.

For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, click here.
 
         
Upcoming Events

District Office Open House
Please join me at my district office open house from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19. My district office is located at 250 W. Chocolate Ave., Suite 2, Hershey. I hope to see you there!

Health Expo
My fourth annual Health Expo is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Friday, April 3, at the Hummelstown Chemical Fire Co. No. 1, 249 E. Main St., Hummelstown.

More than 50 representatives from state and local agencies and the health care industry will be on hand to speak with attendees about programs and services. A variety of free health screenings will be offered.

Admission is free. No advanced registration is required.   
 
 
I recently attended the Federated Women’s Club of Hershey and the Hershey Lions Club Pork & Sauerkraut community dinner at Grace United Methodist Church in Hummelstown. The food was fantastic and what a great group of people. It was nice talking with Sarah Ruppel, president of the Federated Womens Club of Hershey, Bart Calier, president of the Hershey Lions Club, and Louise & Claude Swartzbaugh. Proceeds from this dinner benefit the community. Over thirty-years of pork and sauerkraut dinners have helped raise over $100,000 for scholarships for high school students.

I was happy to run into Gus Hronis, his daughter, Maria, and his brother, Jimmy, who attended Seven Sorrows’ Father/Daughter Dance. I can’t tell you how it warms my heart to see great events like this taking place in the district. I’m sure special memories that will last a lifetime were made at that dance.
 
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repmehaffie.com
Office Locations
250 W. Chocolate Avenue, Suite 2 | Hershey, PA 17033 | Phone: (717) 534-1323
159-B East Wing | PO Box 202106 | Harrisburg, PA 17120-2106 | Phone: (717) 787-2684
Email  Address: TMehaffie@pahousegop.com