Sep. 13, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
 
Senate Committee Hearing on Stormwater


The state Senate committee exploring newly implemented federal stormwater requirements, known as MS4, recently convened in Antrim Township in order to hear from officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as well as local municipal officials and a Greencastle business owner who is facing a $14,000 annual stormwater fee. Thank you to Sen. Judy Ward (R-Blair/Cumberland/Franklin/Fulton/Huntingdon) for inviting the committee to our community.

The federal MS4 requirements call for municipalities to reduce sediment flowing into area streams by 10%. The purpose of the mandate is to prevent fertilizers and sediment from entering the Chesapeake Bay. For my constituents who live in Greencastle, Antrim Township and portions of Hamilton Township, you are likely already aware of the additional burdens that MS4 places on municipalities and landowners. Additional municipalities in Franklin County will be added to the mandate as it is further implemented.

I had two takeaways from the hearing. First, DEP may be requiring more than the federal mandate. The federal mandate has broad objectives, allowing each state to determine how best to meet them. DEP’s MS4 requirements focus on spending, education and projects, with no tracking as to the effectiveness of each component. Basically, there is no way to determine if we are getting much bang for our buck.

Secondly, because each municipality must come up with its own MS4 plan, we have hundreds of municipalities each reinventing the wheel. Significant portions of the stormwater fees are being eaten up with professional consultation fees, such as engineering and legal fees. With more guidance, education and standardization from DEP, municipalities could implement plans locally without the need for costly consultants to design individual plans. Such effort on the part of DEP could greatly reduce the cost of implementation, thereby reducing the stormwater fees landowners are being forced to bear.
 
 
Committee Highlights Tick-Borne Diseases, Tick Testing

Working to address the ongoing threat of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in the Commonwealth, the House Health Committee held a public hearing in East Stroudsburg Monday.

The committee heard from health and wildlife professionals, local officials, advocates for tick-borne disease treatment and awareness, and officials with East Stroudsburg University’s (ESU) Tick Research Lab.

Testimony focused heavily on the importance of early diagnosis and treatment in helping people successfully recover from Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Three bills designed to help combat the disease were also highlighted, including one that would require nurses to remove a tick when it is found on a child during the school day and to notify parents; one that would require continuing education for physicians; and one to require health insurers to cover recommended treatments that may include short-term or long-term courses of antibiotics.

Members participating in the hearing also learned more about ESU’s tick lab, which provides a FREE base test on ticks submitted for Lyme disease as well as three additional tests based on the species of tick. Pennsylvanians can send a tick sample to the lab and receive the test results. These samples can be mailed to 562 Independence Road, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301.

For more information about tick-borne diseases or how to submit a tick for testing, visit www.ticklab.org.
 
 
Online Absentee Ballot Applications Launch Monday

Starting with this year’s General Election, voters who need to vote by absentee ballot may apply for the ballot online.

The mobile-friendly, online application site, available at votesPA.com/ApplyAbsentee, will go live on Monday, Sept. 16, the first day that registered voters may apply for absentee ballots for the Nov. 5 election.

When an applicant completes the online form, the information is forwarded directly to the appropriate county elections office for processing. The applicant will then be provided with a ballot that must be completed and either mailed or hand-delivered to the appropriate county election office by the deadline, which is 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election, or Nov. 1 this year.

The online application system will be accessible for all domestic Pennsylvania voters this year and to military and overseas voters by 2020.

Absentee ballots may be cast by individuals with illnesses or disabilities, individuals who will be away from their municipality on business on Election Day, and Pennsylvania students attending out-of-state colleges or universities, among others. For more information, click here.
 
 
PA Elk Cam LIVE!

The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s 2019 Elk Cam is now streaming live from Elk County. The best time to view elk is at dusk and dawn. Viewers may also see white-tailed deer, turkeys and other wildlife.

The Game Commission reminds viewers they could hear gunfire from nearby target shooting and lawful hunting. Contact the agency’s Northcentral Region at 570-398-4744 if you suspect any wrongdoing in conjunction with the livestream. This project is the product of coordinated efforts by the Game Commission, HDOnTAP and the North Central PA Regional Planning and Development Commission.

If you’re planning to visit Elk County in the coming weeks, please consider attending one of the Game Commission’s free weekend events to learn more about the elk and other Pennsylvania wildlife. Free guided hikes are also being offered on weekends through Columbus Day. Click here for a list of all event details.
 
 
PennDOT Accepting Applications for Transportation Improvement Projects

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is now accepting applications to fund improvement projects that will enhance Pennsylvania roadways, bridges, transit facilities, park and ride facilities, sidewalks and more under the Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF).

The deadline to apply is Nov. 8.

Eligible applicants include municipalities, councils of governments, business or nonprofit organizations, economic development organizations, public transportation agencies, public airports, airport authorities, and ports and rail entities. Projects that will be considered should coordinate local land use with transportation assets to enhance existing communities.

Last year, 49 projects were awarded $43 million in grant funding in 23 counties.

For more information about the program and previous years’ applications and awards, visit www.penndot.gov and click on Multimodal Program under the “Projects & Programs” menu.
 
 
PennDOT’s Schedule for Sept. 16
to 20
  • Bridge repair on Pa. 16 (Buchanan Trail West) in Mercersburg borough
  • Bridge repair on Back Road in Metal Township
  • Bridge repair on Roxbury Road in Southampton Township
  • Shoulder work on U.S. 11 (Molly Pitcher Highway) in Antrim Township
  • Skin patching on Path Valley Road in Metal Township
  • Base repair on Fort Loudon Road in Montgomery Township
  • Base repair on Sollenberger Road in Hamilton Township
  • Crack sealing on Slabtown and Manheim roads in Quincy Township
  • Crack sealing on New Franklin Road in Guilford Townsihp
  • Crack sealing on Timmons Road in Fannett and Lurgan townships
  • Crack sealing on Main Street in Fort Loudon
 
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Office Locations
1402 E. Main Street, Waynesboro, PA 17268 | Phone: (717) 749-7384
1270 Crottlestown Road, Chambersburg, PA 17202 I Phone: (717) 263-1053
10655 Antrim Church Road, Greencastle, PA 17225 I Phone: (717) 895-3902 
Room 150-B, East Wing, PO Box 202090, Harrisburg PA 17120-2090 | Phone: (717) 783-5218
Email: pschemel@pahousegop.com
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