In this Update:
Langerholc Legislation Becomes Law
This week marked the end of PennDOT’s P3 bridge tolling initiative with the enactment of my legislation, Senate Bill 382 now known as Act 84. We prevailed in the legislative process to reign in PennDOT’s power but we will continue the dialogue with the Governor on how to properly fund our roads and bridges.
Governor Signs Titan’s Law
This week, Governor Wolf signed Representative Rigby’s House Bill 940 into law as Act 60 of 2022, more commonly known as Titan’s Law. Act 60 extends penalties for criminals who injure or kill police animals while committing a felony.
In the Senate Judiciary Committee, I amended House Bill 940 to allow for injured police animals to receive emergency medical care and transport when injured in the line of duty. The amendment also contained good Samaritan civil immunity protections for those who in good faith assist an injured police animal.
Titan’s Law is in honor of former Johnstown Police Department K-9 Titan, who died in the line of duty in November 2020.
As the sponsor of similar legislation in the Senate, I am thrilled to see this legislation get signed by the Governor.
Ribbon Cutting for Bohemian Bean
This week, my staff attended the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Bohemian Bean in Ebensburg, Cambria County. Congratulations and best of luck!
The New State Budget: Clearing Hurdles to Jobs and Opportunity
The new 2022-23 state budget does not include any broad-based tax increases and is structured in a way to minimize the risk of tax increases in the years ahead.
In fact, the budget actually cuts the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate, which is now the highest in the nation. The new budget cuts the rate from 9.99% to 8.99% and creates a phased reduction to 4.99%, or sixth lowest, by 2031.
Not only will a lower rate attract new business, it also makes the state more attractive for businesses that already operate here and need to expand.
The budget also eliminates a disadvantage faced by Pennsylvania small businesses when competing with those in other states. Under federal tax law, a “like-kind” exchange under the Internal Revenue Code allows for tax deferral when property is exchanged for similar property. This long-standing federal provision allows employers to invest in the job-creating assets businesses need to remain competitive. Every state but Pennsylvania provides for a similar deferral on the state level.
The new spending plan also brings state tax law governing expense deductions in line with federal law, eliminating the unequal treatment of small businesses in Pennsylvania. The increase in limits makes it easier for employers to buy equipment and to invest, which promotes job growth.
Additional funding is also included for several tax credit programs that foster economic development in Pennsylvania communities, including Research and Development ($5 million increase), Film Tax Production ($30 million increase), Entertainment Economic Enhancement ($16 million increase) and Waterfront Development ($3.5 million increase).
These changes will make Pennsylvania more competitive with surrounding states and send a strong message to employers that our Commonwealth is open for business.
Deana’s Law Increases Penalties for Repeat DUIs
The Senate recently passed legislation that is now law to increase penalties for multiple DUI offenders.
Act 59 of 2022, Deana’s Law, would require consecutive sentencing, instead of concurrent, for fourth DUIs and above. It would also increase penalties for drivers with multiple DUI convictions involving high blood alcohol content levels.
The law is named after Deana Eckman, 45, who was killed in a 2019 crash involving a six-time DUI offender.
Funding Available for Projects that Promote PA Farm Products
Nonprofits can apply now for grants for projects that promote Pennsylvania farm products and grow export markets.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will award up to $303,000 in matching funds to nonprofits to reimburse up to 50% of costs for promotional and educational projects intended to increase consumer awareness and sales.
Eligible projects in 2022 can promote anything from wine to wool, hardwoods to honey, fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, poultry or dairy — any agricultural product produced in PA.
Complete guidelines for the Pennsylvania Agricultural Product Promotion, Education and Export Promotion Matching Grant Program are in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Grant applications must be submitted online through the Department of Community and Economic Development Electronic Single Application. Applications are due by Aug. 5.
Accessing Local and County Crime and Crash Data
When crimes and crashes are investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, the statistical data is available online through the Community Access to Information Dashboard (CAID).
CAID allows the public and the media to access and search data collected from traffic enforcement and crashes for both commercial and noncommercial vehicles, including Incident maps. There’s also data concerning various crimes, with mapping for counties and municipalities.
The dashboard allows the user to choose what data is displayed. Searches can be refined with custom date ranges, locations and categories. Queries can be made in the dashboard with statistical information from as far back as 2019. The dashboard contains no information that could be used to identify the individuals involved.
How to Conserve Energy and Manage Summer Power Bills
As hot weather settles in, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) offers tips on conserving energy and keeping summer power bills manageable.
You can find more tips here. For consumers struggling with paying utility bills, the PUC continues to encourage them to call their utilities to discuss the many different affordability options available.
Celebrating Parks and Recreational Opportunities
Parks and recreational opportunities are key components of healthy communities. I hope you get to enjoy the great outdoors this summer.
The new state budget includes $56 million in state funds to create a new State Parks and Forests Infrastructure Program and $100 million in federal funding for state parks and outdoor recreation.
If you do not wish to receive this email, click here to unsubscribe.