In this Update:
Senate Bill 777 would exempt the five newest model year vehicles from the outdated emissions test and remove the gas cap testing requirement for subject vehicles without a gas cap.
Pennsylvania’s vehicle emissions testing program needs its own inspection, since more fuel-efficient vehicles and electric vehicles are on the Commonwealth’s roadways. It is time to end this outdated and unnecessary test. For years, Cambria County has demonstrated that its National Ambient Air Quality exceeds standards. I will continue to fight to get Cambria County removed from this onerous requirement.
The Senate Transportation Committee held a public hearing on Sept. 27 to collect testimony on “Vehicle Emissions and Electrification.” The Department of Environmental Protection testified the air quality has clearly improved across the Commonwealth.
As the usage of fuel-efficient cars has become more widespread, a vehicle emissions test has proven to be less effective at reducing air pollution. Between 2010-19, there were over 21 million newer vehicles that passed the emissions test 99.65% of the time. Newer vehicles are consistently passing emissions tests due to newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles on the market.
As it is clear that more reforms are needed for the vehicle emissions program, I will be introducing legislation in the near future to further reform this outdated program.
Veterans Appreciation Breakfast
Attention Veterans of the Cambria, Clearfield and Bedford Counties: Join me on November 4th for a Veterans Appreciation Breakfast being held at Anthony’s Restaurant on Scalp Avenue in Johnstown. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. Advanced registration is required.
Register today at: https://www.senatorlangerholc.com/veterans-breakfast/
Addressing Teacher Shortage by Improving Certification Process
The Senate unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Senator Bartolotta and myself in response to the teacher shortage that would simplify the process for out-of-state teachers to obtain certification in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 224 would allow an out-of-state candidate who has completed any state-approved educator preparation program (including field placement/student teaching) from an accredited institution of higher education to be eligible for a comparable in-state instructional certification.
The bill would also require the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to recognize and accept out-of-state candidates’ qualifying scores on equivalent content tests toward PDE’s testing and certification requirements. It would also grant Pennsylvania certification to any candidate who holds a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards – the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.
According to PDE, the number of newly issued in-state instructional teaching certificates has dropped by 66% since 2010.
Senate Bill 224 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Protecting Individuals Right to Bear Arms
This week the Senate Local Government Committee voted to advance Senate Bill 448 sponsored by myself. This legislation provides for Pennsylvania State Preemption over firearms and ammunition regulations. It is unreasonable to require residents of Pennsylvania and citizens passing through from other states to be aware of every firearm ordinance as they pass through each local jurisdiction. I am hopeful that the full Senate considers this legislation in the near future, which will protect our constitutional right to bear arms.
Ribbon Cutting for the CaptiveAire Facility Expansion
I was pleased to have my staff attend the ribbon cutting for the CaptiveAire Facility Expansion at the Bedford Business Park. This expansion will create approximately 50-75 new jobs which is great news for Bedford County! Congratulations to CaptiveAire Corporate on your expansion and thank you for your continued investment in Bedford County. Thanks to Bette Slayton and the Bedford County Development Association for your efforts to make this expansion a reality.
Bedford County Drug Take-Back Day
The next Bedford County Drug Take-Back Day will be held on Saturday, October 30th at the Bedford Police Department from 10am – 2pm! For more information visit here.
6th Annual PA Farm Show National Anthem Competition
Are you interested in singing the National Anthem as part of the 106th PA Farm Show? The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will select a different individual to perform the National Anthem at the beginning of each day of the 106th Pennsylvania Farm Show. We want to see the most creative video submissions to be broadcast at the open of each day, highlighting your talent as well as your corner of Pennsylvania.
Things to remember:
LIHEAP Application Period Now Open
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) application period opens today October 18, 2021. If you’re in a low-income family that needs help with your heating bills, apply today. You could qualify for cash grants, apply today: LIHEAP (pa.gov)
Calling for the Protection of Banking Privacy
State Treasurer Stacy Garrity joined a coalition of 23 state treasurers, auditors and financial officers calling on President Joe Biden and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to dismiss proposals that would require private banks and credit unions to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) account flows valued at more than $600.
This proposal, which is part of the Biden Administration’s $3.5 trillion American Families Plan revenue proposal, would allow for the unnecessary monitoring of private banking activity of more than 100 million Americans. It would be one of the largest infringements of data privacy in our nation’s history and cause exceptional administrative burdens for our community banks and credit unions.
The Pennsylvania Bankers Association, the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers, and the CrossState Credit Union Association all oppose this proposal.
Senate Passes Bill to Allow for First-time Homebuyers Savings Accounts
This week, the Senate passed a bill to allow individuals to open a first-time homebuyer savings account with a financial institution.
Senate Bill 157 would allow individuals to open an account of up to $150,000 with a financial institution of their choice for the sole purpose of purchasing a first home. Funds from a first-time homebuyer savings account may only be used to pay or reimburse the eligible costs for the purchase of a single-family home in Pennsylvania.
Since 2009, the number of first-time homebuyers has significantly decreased. According to the National Association of Realtors, the share of first-time homebuyers in the national home sale market has fallen from 45% to just more than 32%.
Individuals taking advantage of a first-time homebuyers savings account will be able to deduct up to $5,000 on their individual taxes, or up to $10,000 for a joint account. The tax deduction can be for no longer than 10 years and may not exceed $50,000 within a ten-year period. Unused funds would be counted against an individual’s taxable income.
The bill passed to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT)
Attention students and/or parents of students who participate in the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT): DHS has created a new hotline to aid those who have not received their cards or are having issues with it. The P-EBT program helps eligible families cover the cost of breakfast and lunch for their children through the National School Lunch Program.
Upcoming College and Career Fair
Attention Bedford County Students: On October 25, the Bedford County School Counselors Association will host a college and career fair at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort. For more information or to register, please email email@example.com.
Ways to Reduce Your Energy Usage and Costs
Since October is National Energy Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to become more energy efficient. In addition to the environmental benefits, it will also benefit your wallet.
Click here for ways you can reduce your energy usage and associated costs.
Another way to save on energy costs is by switching your electric supplier. In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your home or business’s electricity. This means you can choose a supplier that offers the lowest price or provides a specific service you want, such as renewable energy.
Click here to shop for your electric supplier at PA Power Switch, the official electric shopping website of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Tips for Crime Prevention Month
October is Crime Prevention Month, a good time to recognize that avoiding being a victim involves informed citizens in addition to efforts of local law enforcement.
Here are some crime prevention tips from the National Crime Prevention Council.
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