Oct. 18, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Protecting Against Flu

The state Department of Health is urging residents to get a flu vaccine before the end of the month to protect against this potentially deadly illness. Last year, the Commonwealth reported 122,000 cases of flu and 258 deaths.

While vaccination is considered the best method of prevention, residents are also encouraged to practice healthy habits like covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, frequently washing your hands during flu season and remembering to disinfect commonly touched objects such as door knobs, light switches, countertops, cell phones and computers.

Residents who become sick with flu will experience symptoms such as fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.
Anyone suffering from flu should stay home and rest to avoid spreading the illness and aid in their own recovery. Additional information about staying healthy during flu season is available at www.health.pa.gov.
New Law Will Require Use of E-Verify System

A new state law will require employers in the construction industry to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure their employees are authorized to work in the United States.

The law is aimed at going after dishonest employers whose unfair business practices hurt workers by driving down wages, create an unlevel playing field for other employers and deprive government of revenue that could be used to fund programs like unemployment compensation.

Under the law, failure to use E-Verify when hiring new employees will result in action against a company’s licenses required to do business (i.e. corporate charters, as well as any other business license). The law is modeled after Arizona’s statute, which has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

It will take effect in one year.
Dining Out?

A new app from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is helping individuals and families make their dining out decisions.

EatSafePA provides access to thousands of restaurant and retail food establishment inspection reports, including violations and inspector comments. Users can either enable their location services or manually search by restaurant, business name, city or ZIP code.

Pennsylvania restaurants and other retail food facilities are inspected when they initially open or change ownership, after a remodel, and once annually thereafter via an unannounced inspection. Inspections are also prompted by public complaints.

EatSafePA is available for free in the App Store and Google Play Store.

For more information about food safety, click here.
Hunters, Anglers Beware

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and Pennsylvania Game Commission are warning anglers and hunters to avoid online scams when purchasing their licenses. The warning follows several recent reports of customers paying for licenses through third-party websites not affiliated with either agency and then never receiving a license.

Both agencies sell licenses and permits through The Outdoor Shop, a secure online portal. Using a third-party website may result in hunters and anglers losing money and potentially putting their personal information at risk.

When you purchase your fishing license from the PFBC through The Outdoor Shop, a printable electronic version of the license is issued immediately. Hunting licenses purchased through The Outdoor Shop are confirmed at the time of sale through an official email from the Game Commission and licenses are mailed to the buyer within two weeks of purchase.

Anyone who encounters a website offering the sale of a Pennsylvania fishing or hunting license that does not link to The Outdoor Shop to complete the transaction should call the PFBC Fishing License Help Line at 877-707-4085 or the Game Commission’s license division at 717-787-2084. Victims of a fishing or hunting license scam should notify the Pennsylvania attorney general by completing a Scams Complaint Form here.
Commerce Committee Goes to the ‘Burgh

The House Commerce Committee, of which I am chairman, visited Pittsburgh this week. Pittsburgh is reinventing itself and becoming a hub of technology.

The committee toured several new and innovative businesses, and spoke to business owners about their struggles with finding the talent they need to fulfill the tech jobs in their companies.

Our stops included:
  • Headquarters for Dick’s sporting goods, where we met with the Pittsburgh Tech Council and heard about their struggles with attracting workers in the technology field.
  • Mill 19, an old steel mill being converted into workspace that will house a corporate research and development center for a global technology company.
  • Amazon, where we heard about the growth of Amazon in Pittsburgh area.
  • Carnegie Robotics, a manufacturer of robots for the defense, agriculture, mining and other business sectors.
  • Aurora, an autonomous vehicle manufacturer.
  • Carnegie Mellon University, where we heard from certain professors as well at the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance. PITA’s mission is to connect Pennsylvania companies with world-class universities (CMU and Lehigh University) to promote economic development through technology.
Congratulations to Mike Minnich on 60 years at the Shermans Dale Community Volunteer Fire Co. He has served as fire chief for 45 of those years.

I presented a citation at the fire company banquet to mark the milestone.
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