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Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr
Prior to becoming Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, I was named the Chairman of the Communications and Technology Committee. This week’s Summer Spotlight focuses on the efforts I started during my short-tenure as Chairman of this committee. Given the 35th Senatorial District is made up of many rural communities, I saw this committee as an excellent way to dive into how to ensure that all of Pennsylvania has access to reliable high-speed broadband service.
In August 2017, in Hyndman, Bedford County, a CSX train carrying hazardous materials derailed sparking fires and endangering property and the safety of area residents. As emergency service crews and representatives of CSX worked around the clock to clean up the area, it became apparent that the complete lack of cell coverage, and by extension broadband coverage, was a real detriment to public safety. Not only was it difficult for emergency crews to speak to each other, but there was an inability for public officials to relay timely information to area residents about cleanup efforts and the status of returning to their homes.
As Chairman, I began to schedule meetings and gather information on how to address this issue not only locally, but all over Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, I had a roundtable in Johnstown with area technology businesses and stakeholders to look into how we can foster technological advancement in general, but with an understanding that everyone should be afforded the same access to information should be a baseline.
In June, I began seeking co-sponsors for the Unserved High-Speed Broadband Funding Pilot Program which would begin to dedicate meaningful resources to fixing the “dead zones” in Pennsylvania. This grant program would provide funding to companies with a demonstrated ability to develop and maintain broadband infrastructure to provide high-speed access to unserved areas. The money cannot be used to upgrade current service or to expand into areas served by competitors, but rather to give access to areas without any coverage.
This week, I introduced Senate Bill 835 and I am hoping it will be referred to a committee when we return to session in September. I will continue to advocate for reliable high-speed broadband service for all of areas of the Commonwealth.
Cambria County Sexual Assault Response Team
Earlier this week, I had the honor of speaking at the Cambria County Sexual Assault Response Team Conference. A lot of progress has been made in Harrisburg to establish meaningful and overdue laws that combat sexual assault and create a culture where we are standing up for victims in Pennsylvania.
My legislation, Senate Bill 1209 was signed into law as Act 164 at the end of last year. It took steps to correct the unacceptable backlog of untested rape kits in the Commonwealth.
In March, I introduced Senate Bill 399 which established Pennsylvania’s first ever Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights. When this was signed into law this summer as Act 29 of 2019, it put into place meaningful rights which pertain to victims of sexual assault so they know that we care about how they are treated. We want to make sure they have the fullest cooperation from those who are responsible to keep them safe and enact justice on their offender.
Other legislation that I introduced and was signed into law to protect victims includes amending the Crime Victim’s Act to allow victims to be in the courtroom for the entirety of their criminal trial. Additional legislation that I had passed shields rape victims from irrelevant cross-examination regarding past-victimization.
You can be assured that I will continue to work with SART and others to fight for victims so that their voice may be heard and justice can be served.
Cambria County Legislative Farm Tour
I have had a great time participating in Legislative Farm Tours throughout the 35th Senatorial District. The annual events include a tour of a local farm and discussion regarding issues that are a priority to the Farm Bureau. I always welcome the opportunity to meet with our local farmers. The final tour was in Cambria County on Monday at Tom and Mary Smithmyer’s family farm in Patton. The Smithmyer farm grows corn and soybeans, has a small beef herd and is engaged in agritourism for the public. They operate a large sunflower maze as well as sell pumpkins and other fall decorations.
Grand Opening of the New Collaboration Center
The Moshannon Valley Junior/Senior High School had their grand opening for the new Collaboration Center last evening. This fantastic media/technology library will be a great resource for students in 7th – 12th grades. Thank you, Dr. Zesiger for inviting our office.
Tour of Tower Tech and Creative Pultrusions, Inc.
My first stop this morning was to visit with Shane Weyant, President of Creative Pultrusions, Inc., to tour their most recent acquisition, Tower Tech, a manufacturer of cooling towers.
This is wonderful news for Creative Pultusions, Inc. and for Bedford County. Thank you Shane for taking time to meet with me and show me the great things that are happening in Alum Bank.
Rockland Manufacturing Tour
The next stop of the morning was at Rockland Manufacturing. For over 60 years, they have designed and manufactured construction equipment for dozers, loaders, excavators and graders. Thank you to Bo and Bill Pratt for the invitation to visit Rockland and tour your facility. Another great employer in Bedford County.
Champion of Caring
My last stop was to present Linda Fazenbaker with a Senate Citation as she was recently honored as a Champion of Caring by HCR ManorCare. Champion of Caring is HCR ManorCare’s national employee recognition program that honors those individuals who make a difference in the lives of their patients, residents, family members and fellow employees through the care they provide.
Mrs. Fazenbaker has served as a Certified Nursing Assistant at HCR ManorCare’s Donahoe Manor in Bedford for more than twenty-three years. She was one of four chosen for this award out of more than 70,000 individuals employed by HCR ManorCare across the country.
I want to congratulate Linda on this prestigious award and wish her continued success in the years to come.
Back to School
As the school year begins, please remember that PA laws require motorists to stop when a school bus has its red lights flashing and stop arm extended on all roadways with painted lines or grooved dividers, as well as all intersections. Drivers on the opposite side of a highway with a physical barrier do not have to stop. Click here for more information.
Innovation Challenge for Students
Attention students in grades 9-12, the PennDOT Innovations Challenge is now accepting applications. The Innovation Challenge encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.
This year’s Innovations Challenge asks students to look at cost-effective technologies and innovative solutions – aside from laws, programs and educational campaigns – that can be developed in the next five to 10 years to help PennDOT more efficiently, effectively and safely control litter along roadways.
Last year, PennDOT spent nearly $13 million cleaning up roadside litter across PA. In addition, nearly 5,000 volunteers spend countless hours participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program each year. These dollars and volunteer hours could have otherwise been spent on delivering a better transportation network and making PA a better state in which to live.
Regional Innovations Challenge winners will be selected and invited to compete in Harrisburg for the state championship. The PA Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and the Keep PA Beautiful (KPB) organization are providing a combined total award of $3,000 to be divided among the first, second and third place statewide winning teams.
For complete Innovations Challenge details, visit www.penndot.gov/innovation. The deadline for submissions is December 20, 2019.
New Satellite Offices
I am excited announce that we have held office hours for all of our new satellite offices! Please feel free to stop by during our office hours!
September 11, 2019 – Real ID Presentation and discussion about the upcoming implementation of Real ID on October 1, 2020. Birth Certificate Applications will be available at this time. See below for additional information.
October 24, 2019 – Veterans Breakfast – Veterans are invited to join Senator Langerholc, Jr. for breakfast and a guest speaker to celebrate the service and sacrifices of our local veterans. As details are finalized, we will be posting on our Facebook page and including in upcoming ENews.
Reminder to Follow Me on Social Media
My Facebook page provides not only legislative updates but those all-important PennDOT construction updates for our district. I post pictures of constituents that I meet and information on other local events happening in our neighborhoods and communities. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram – my handle is @SenLangerholc. If you haven’t already, check out my social media pages.
Visitors to Harrisburg
I would like to remind constituents, to please feel free to stop in my office, Room 187, when you are visiting the capitol. My staff and I welcome the opportunity to say hello to you. If you are visiting on a session day, I can also introduce you as my guest during session. Feel free to call 717-787-5400 if you know in advance that you will be visiting the capitol. If you are interested in a capitol tour, you can schedule your visit online: http://www.pacapitol.com/plan-a-visit/tours.cfm
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