Senator Cris Dush E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Meeting with Intermediate Unit 9 School Superintendents
  • Rally Against Tolling Interstate Bridges Set for June 8
  • Senate Committee Acts to Protect Women’s Sport
  • Bills of Note Approved by Senate Committees
  • Water Main Replacement to Begin in Kane, McKean County
  • Tioga County Communities to Benefit from $1.5 million Federal Funding
  • Free Webinar on Energy-efficient Lighting Systems
  • Preparing for America’s Semiquincentennial
  • Scammers are Targeting Student Loan Borrowers
  • Celebrating Elcam, Inc.’s 50th Anniversary
  • Congratulating Cpl. Ted Race on His PA State Police Retirement
  • Sandy Township Purple Heart Memorial
  • June 6 is the Anniversary of D-Day

Meeting with Intermediate Unit 9 School Superintendents

Pictured left to right: Gary Buchsen (Port Allegany SD), Tony Flint (Oswayo Valley SD), Nate Jones (Northern Potter SD), Matt Splain (Otto-Eldred SD), Drew Kyle (Coudersport Area SD), Representative Marty Causer , Heather McMahon-Vargas (Ridgway Area SD), Karen Haberberger (Johnsonburg Area SD), Ronna Rebo (Cameron County SD), Harley Ramsey (Saint Mary’s Area SD), Senator Dush , Amy Jacob (IU9), Representative Mike Armanini, Brice Benson (Smethport Area SD), Anita Danielson (IU9), Ann Kearney (Kane Area SD), Kim Rees (Austin Area SD), Katy Pude (Bradford Area SD), Brock Benson (IU9)

Last week, on May 26, I had the opportunity to join state Reps. Martin Causer (R-67) and Mike Armanini (R-75) in a meeting with the school superintendents located within the Seneca Highlands Intermediate Unit 9 (IU9).

During the meeting, concerns were discussed regarding such things as broadband, school safety and cyber charter school reform. Each of these concerns certainly are priorities for which we need to review current funding mechanisms and ensure the additional funding from the federal government is utilized properly.

I want to thank the IU9 for extending the invitation to be a part of the discussion. It’s opportunities like this that allows us as legislators to be more effective voices for you in Harrisburg.

Rally Against Tolling Interstate Bridges Set for June 8

Lawmakers and representatives of local communities will take part in a June 8 Capitol rally against the Wolf administration’s plan to toll nine interstate bridges.

The bridge tolling initiative will cost the average commuter an additional $1,000 per year and was moved through the process without legislative input or approval. Commonwealth Court recently halted the plan, siding with a county and several municipalities that challenged the plan as unconstitutional. The administration has appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

The administration’s plan would add tolls to the following bridges:

The Senate approved Senate Bill 382 to halt the tolling and require more transparency in the Public-Private Partnership process, which produced the tolling plan. Gov. Tom Wolf has threatened to veto the measure. The rally will be held June 8 at 10 a.m. and streamed live at PASenateGOP.com and Facebook.com/PASenateGOP.

Senate Committee Acts to Protect Women’s Sports

Legislation to protect women’s sports in Pennsylvania was approved by the Senate Education Committee and sent to the full Senate for consideration.

Under House Bill 972, an athletic team or sport designated for females, women or girls may not be open to biological males. In addition, a student deprived of an athletic opportunity would be able to file a lawsuit against the offending college or high school.

More than a dozen states passed similar legislation after women’s sports organizations were pressured to allow biological males to compete on their teams.

Bills of Note Approved by Senate Committees

Other bills approved by Senate committees include:

Senate Bill 643, approved by the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, amends the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act to allow club licensees to retain more of their proceeds from small games of chance while maintaining charitable donation requirements.

Senate Bill 1147, approved by the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, increases penalties on construction companies that fail to use the federal E-Verify system to verify the legal employment eligibility of new hires.

Senate Bill 1183, approved by the Senate Transportation Committee, provides law enforcement new tools to crack down on the illegal operation of dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles on public roads.

Water Main Replacement to Begin in Kane, McKean County

Pennsylvania American Water recently announced it will soon begin replacing approximately 1,300 feet of aging water main along all or portions of Haines and Yarnell Streets in Kane, McKean County.

The pipeline project will help improve water quality, and service reliability and increase flow for household use and firefighting. The combined cost of the infrastructure improvements is $332,000, according to the company.

Weather permitting, Pennsylvania American Water says its contractor, Mealy Excavating & Construction, Inc., will begin in early June and be completed by late August. Work hours will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Customers will be notified prior to the start of construction. Work outside of these hours is not expected unless required to maintain project schedule.

Tioga County Communities to Benefit from $1.5 million Federal Funding

More than $8.4 million in federal Community Development Block Grant-CARES Act (CDBG-CV) funding was recently provided to several Pennsylvania communities to help update and improve existing water and/or sewer systems.

Of that total, Tioga County received $1,512,520 to remediate the poor quality of drinking water in the Village of Watrous and establish a permanent, safe, metered, and reliable distribution system. The project will address obtaining and providing safe water for the current customers of the Watrous Water Association.

Galeton, located three miles west of Watrous, also experiences water shortages during drought seasons, and they are in the process of obtaining an additional water source which will address their drought conditions.

Galeton has also agreed to supply adequate water for the Watrous community through the establishment of a transmission line from their water treatment facility to the Watrous Water Association, with a reliable secure water source established in Galeton. The water will be treated and sent to Watrous via an eight-inch PVC transmission line.

Free Webinar on Energy-efficient Lighting Systems

Preparing for America’s Semiquincentennial

Planning for America’s 250th birthday in 2026 would be aided by legislation approved by the Senate to help fund Pennsylvania’s celebratory efforts.

Senate Bill 1186 would allocate a portion of the fee from the sale of the special USA semiquincentennial registration plate to the Pennsylvania Commission for the U.S. Semiquincentennial.
  
America250 is the largest celebration in our nation’s history. Congress established the nonpartisan U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, which has been working with state affiliates to engage public and private entities across the country to make America250 a momentous event.

Scammers are Targeting Student Loan Borrowers

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency warns that recent reports about potential broad-based federal loan forgiveness and other changes to student loan programs are creating opportunities for scammers to target student loan borrowers.

One of the recent scams attempts to convince borrowers that there are new student loan rules in place that require immediate action. Scammers typically promise unrealistic amounts of loan forgiveness, offer short cuts to loan forgiveness, or try to get a borrower’s Federal Student Aid ID or other personal information and then rush them into paying immediately.  

Scammers will often use the U.S. Department of Education’s name and seal to give it legitimacy.

Here are some tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Don’t pay upfront fees for free programs or services.
  • Don’t feel pressured to decide quickly.
  • Never share personal information.
  • Don’t cut off communication with your loan provider/servicer.
  • Keep track of your loans.

More from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency

Celebrating Elcam, Inc.’s 50th Anniversary

On Friday, May 20th my staff attended Elcam, Inc.’s 50th Anniversary. 

Elcam’s story begins in 1972 as St. Marys Work Activities Center. They started in a house on Stackpole Street and quickly grew and moved to The Lewis Building on the Million Dollar Highway. George Von Hacht was the first executive director and Peter Largey was hired to develop services and programs. Michael Keller was hired to manage production and marketing.

The St. Marys Work Activities Center was the first company in the region to offer 100% inspection services to a local powdered metal parts manufacturer. The additional vocational services prompted their name to be changed to Elcam Vocational Rehabilitation Center.

In 1974, they moved to the vacant Spruce Street Elementary School and began packaging services to GTE Sylvania for their light bulbs. In 1975, Peter Largey was promoted to executive director and Michael Keller became operations director, positions they would hold for the rest of their careers. 

Elcam has grown today to offer light duty programs, the A Step Ahead Child Center, and The Elcam Community Center.  Elcam now has locations in St. Marys and DuBois.

As Peter pointed out employees, he would tell how many years of service they had with Elcam and at least 9 of them had 20-40 years of service.

Congratulating Cpl. Ted Race on His PA State Police Retirement

Congratulations to Cpl. Ted Race on retiring from the Pennsylvania State Police after 30 years of service. 

Cpl. Race graduated from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy on July 16, 1992, and began his career with Troop C at the Mt. Jewett Station. 

On Feb. 2, 2013, Cpl. Race was promoted to the rank of corporal and assigned to Troop F in Emporium, and then on July 20 he transferred to Troop C Marienville. During his career he has also served in Kane, Ridgway and finally in DuBois. 

Cpl. Race has received numerous awards for DUI enforcement and on April 1, 2011, he became a Drug Recognition Expert. He has been named “Trooper of the Month” several times throughout his career, and was awarded the Significant Operation Service Award for his participation in the capture of Bucky Phillips on Sept. 8, 2006, during a manhunt that followed Phillips’ shooting of several New York State Troopers. 

Cpl. Race had a very distinguished career with the Pennsylvania State Police, and listening to stories told by other troopers, the respect and trust those troopers hold for Cpl. Race is clear.  Several stated that when he was at a scene, you knew the troopers would be protected. 

He was very calm and strategic leader. His knowledge will be missed. Best wishes on your new endeavors. 

Sandy Township Purple Heart Memorial

On Saturday, May 28th, I was blessed to join state Reps. Mike Armanini (R-75) and Brian Smith (R-66) at the dedication of the Sandy Township Purple Heart Memorial at the Sandy Township Recreation Area in Clearefield County.

The Purple Heart is a recognition of the blood sacrificed by the men and women who have been wounded in combat in service to the United States.

The Memorial, which itself is purple, stands as a fitting place of remembrance to which we can take our children and talk about the sacrifices these brave men and women have made to protect them.

June 6 is the Anniversary of D-Day 

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.” — Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, on the eve of the D-Day invasion, June 6, 1944

More than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France.

More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 soldiers to begin the slow, hard march across Europe, to defeat occupying German troops. We must never forget the brave, young men who confronted a danger few can imagine in the name of liberty.

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