Jun. 07, 2019

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong#  The latest news from the State Capitol
Blue Church Road Bridge Project Update

In an effort to keep the public informed, here is the latest update on the Blue Church Road Bridge replacement project. The 84-year-old bridge in Upper Saucon Township has been closed since last summer after it was damaged by flooding.

According to PennDOT, the new bridge is currently working through the design process. The design team received the environmental clearances in May, and now will need to acquire property rights-of-way before beginning demolition work on the existing bridge and building a new one.

The best estimate at this time for a contract to be placed out for bid is late this year or early in 2020. However, if an amicable agreement cannot be reached with property owners for the right-of-way acquisition it will take significantly longer due to the legal process that will have to occur to obtain the property.

Once construction begins, the project should take four to six months to complete.

Please know my office continues to make the reopening of the Blue Church Road Bridge a top priority. I am in constant communication with PennDOT officials as this project moves forward.
Remembering D-Day and Honoring Our Veterans

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives paid tribute to World War II veterans this week and commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day with a resolution. One of those veterans took part in the invasion. Joseph “Zeb” Zebertavage served as an anti-aircraft gunner on the USS O’Brien.

The 10 veterans are pictured here with House members who have served in the United States Armed Forces. We thank them all for their service to our great nation!
Continuing Support for PA Military, Veterans

In recognition of the service and sacrifice of active duty military and veterans in the Commonwealth, the House is always working to enact policies that help and support these men and women and their families.

This week, we approved House Bill 630 to extend Pennsylvania’s current employment protections to Pennsylvania citizens who are members of another state’s National Guard and are called up to serve outside of the Commonwealth.

We also approved House Bill 1050 to ensure an in-state tuition rate for military families as soon as a student enrolls in a public college or university, regardless of whether his or her military parent is reassigned out of the state. Both bills are now pending consideration in the Senate.

Finally, lawmakers joined with representatives of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) to send off seven new vans that will help DAV volunteers transport veterans to their VA medical appointments.

For more information about state services and support for our military and veterans, visit the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website at www.dmva.pa.gov.
Economic Outlook

General Fund revenue collections for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during May were $2.62 billion, which was $14.9 million less than the official estimate. So far this fiscal year, General Fund collections total $31.8 billion, which is $813 million more than anticipated. Learn more here.
Bills Advance to Grow PA Agriculture

Recognizing the important contributions of the state’s agriculture industry, the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee this week approved a package of bills to support current and future farmers in the Commonwealth.

Among the bills approved by the committee are ones to create a Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account to ensure a quick state-level response to threats such as invasive species or disease; establish a Pennsylvania Agricultural Business Development Center to help farmers create a business plan, transition plan or succession plan; and empower the State Conservation Commission to provide technical assistance and financing options for implementing best management practices.

To ensure our youth have greater exposure to and understanding of the importance of farming, other bills would revive the PA Farm-to-School Program to support child nutrition and reestablish the former Agriculture and Rural Youth Development Program to fund youth organizations that promote development in agriculture, community leadership, vocational training and peer fellowship.

Other measures aim to boost enrollment in the veteran farmer Homegrown by Heroes program, provide specialty crop block grants, aid with meat inspection costs for small or new processors and protect agritourism business from lawsuits where no party is at fault for injuries or damages.

The bills now go to the full House for consideration.
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