Feb. 17, 2017

The Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Detailed Look into Governor’s Budget to Begin Next Week
Members of the House Appropriations Committee will begin their detailed look into the governor’s $32.3 billion budget proposal as hearings begin on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

The opening day of hearings will include testimony from the Independent Fiscal Office, and the departments of Revenue and State. The remainder of the week will include looks into the proposed budgets of the pension systems, departments of Labor and Industry and Transportation, treasury, offices of Auditor and Attorney General and the State System of Higher Education.

The full schedule is available here, which will also include video of the archived hearings.
Committee Accepts Hunting, Fishing Reports 
The House Game and Fisheries Committee accepted the annual reports of the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) during meetings this week.

In the face of declining revenues, both groups advocated for legislation that would allow them to set their own license fees. Last session, similar legislation that originated in the Senate passed out of committee in the House but was never voted on the floor.

Among the PGC’s top issues presented to the committee were the recruitment of a new class of wildlife conservation officer cadets, the closing of two of Pennsylvania’s four pheasant farms due to insufficient funding and a decline of the ruffed grouse population.

The PFBC addressed the agency’s fiscal challenges, noting that license fees have not increased since 2005 and expenses are expected to exceed revenue during the current fiscal year.
Forum on PA’s Heroin and Opioid Epidemic Next Week 
On Wednesday, I will be co-hosting a public discussion with U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta on Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic. The forum will take place from 5-7 p.m. in the Ceddia Union Building at Shippensburg University.

Our panelists include health care professionals and law enforcement officials who will speak about the extent of the drug crisis in our communities and the efforts underway to resolve it. You are encouraged to attend this important event and learn how you can be part of the solution.
Review Scheduled for Four Perry County Bridge Projects 
The public is invited to view plans for the replacement of four Perry County bridges included in PennDOT’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Project. Interested parties can visit the Northeast Madison Township building from Feb. 23 through March 9 to review the plans. (Tuesday and Thursday by appointment, please call 717-789-9175.) The township building is located at 979 Quarry Road in Loysville.

The four bridges scheduled for replacement include: 
  • Route 17 (Blain Road) bridge, spanning Bixler Run in Northeast Madison Township.
  • Route 74 (Veterans Way) bridge, spanning Montour Creek in Tyrone Township.
  • Route 850 (Fort Robinson Road) bridge, near the intersection of Rock Hollow Road, spanning Bixler Run in Northeast Madison Township.
  • Route 850 (Fort Robinson Road) bridge, near the intersection of Shermans Valley Road, spanning Bixler Run in Northeast Madison Township.


Gypsy Moth Spraying Plan Announced

Perry and Cumberland counties are among the 12 counties that will be sprayed for gypsy moths as part of a statewide effort this spring. Spraying is expected to begin in late April or early May, and be completed by the end of May or early June.

Targeted sites are determined by surveys of egg masses and other indicators that show gypsy moth populations are increasing and have the potential to cause major defoliation.

Forestry bureau experts identify the gypsy moth as one of the most destructive forest pests in Pennsylvania. Feeding while in the caterpillar stage, the insect usually hatches and begins feeding from mid-to late April in southern Pennsylvania, and in early to mid-May in the northern part of the state. Learn more here.