Mar. 06, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
 
Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expands


Although our local counties have not yet been identified as having the dangerous insect known as the Spotted Lanternfly, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has expanded the current 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.

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.
 
 
 
Hearings on Governor’s $36 Billion Budget Proposal Conclude

The House Appropriations Committee concluded its in-depth review of the governor’s budget proposal this 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 two 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 week. 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.
  
 
Spring Ahead: Turn Clocks Ahead One Hour This Weekend

Daylight saving time will begin on Sunday, March 8, at 2 a.m. Be sure to turn your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night before going to bed.

This is also a good time to check and/or change batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. The alarms should also be replaced every 10 years.
 
 
The Perry County Association of Township Officials met Saturday and provided me with an opportunity to update the group about legislation affecting townships. Thanks to them for extending an invitation to me.

The Perry County Chamber of Commerce held its Legislative Breakfast on Friday. We had a good discussion about important issues in the General Assembly.
 
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Perry County Office, 18 West Main Street, PO Box 9. New Bloomfield PA 17068 | Tel: 717-582-8119
Cumberland County Office, 81 Walnut Bottom Road, P.O. Box 705, Shippensburg, PA 17257 | Tel: 717-477-0905
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Email: mkeller@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
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