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|The latest news from the State Capitol
Celebrating an Eagle Scout
Last Saturday, I had the honor of presenting a House citation to Jionnyx Constanza at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor at the American Legion in Slatington. He is the son of Lucy Esquilin. For his Eagle Scout project, Jionnyx power washed, sanded and painted six wooden picnic tables and four metal benches for the Northern Lehigh Recreation Authority. Congratulations!
Shredding Event Scheduled for May 11
As a free service to the community, I am co-hosting a shredding event in the 183rd Legislative District with Northampton Borough tomorrow to give residents a chance to safeguard themselves against identity theft by having their personal documents securely destroyed.
The event will be held on Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Northampton Memorial Community Center, 1601 Laubach Ave., Northampton.
Acceptable items include all paper and manila folders. No more than four bags or boxes per household are permitted, and no businesses, please. Staples or paper clips do not need to be removed. For more information, please call one of my district offices at 610-502-2701 or 610-760-9805.
My Municipal Authorities Bill Signed into Law
Last week, my bill requiring municipal authorities to create additional financial protections when collecting money was signed into law.
Act 4 of 2019 makes municipal authorities remove any individual names from municipal accounts, creates a standardized procedure for the handling of an authority’s funds, and requires annual audits and fiscal reports to be presented to the authority board.
While legislation I authored has been incorporated into other laws, this is my first bill signed into law.
Government Done Right Requires Efficiency, Transparency, Fiscal Responsibility
As part of our “Government Done Right” initiative, House Republicans passed additional bills this week to increase transparency, save taxpayers money and improve the efficiency of government.
House Bill 880 would extend and accelerate the reduction of the debt ceiling for the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program by $500 million over five years. Lowering our debt reduces the financial burden of current and future taxpayers.
To ensure businesses get effective and efficient treatment when navigating the Commonwealth’s legal system, the House voted to create Commerce Courts. Under House Bill 332, these courts would have judges dedicated to hearing and deciding complex business-related cases, including acquisitions, mergers, dissolutions and liquidations, among other items.
The bills now go to the Senate for its consideration.
Expanding Education Opportunities
More students and their families would have access to additional educational options under legislation approved by the House this week to expand the successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program.
House Bill 800 would increase funding for the program by $100 million to $210 million, providing tens of thousands of additional Pennsylvania families the ability to choose a school that best fits their students’ needs.
In order to ensure that the scholarship program can continue to grow to meet demand, the legislation would also establish an automatic escalator, increasing the EITC scholarship cap by 10% whenever 90% of the tax credits are claimed in the prior year.
To allow more middle-class families access to this program, the bill would increase the maximum annual household income by $10,000 (to $95,000, before add-ons per child), while guaranteeing that once a student has received a scholarship, he or she will remain eligible through high school graduation regardless of changes to family income.
The EITC program provides tax credits to businesses that make contributions to approved scholarship organizations offering scholarships to children in kindergarten through grade 12, educational improvement organizations providing funding for innovative educational programs in public schools, and pre-kindergarten scholarship organizations offering scholarships to children enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs.
The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.
Improving CPR Education to Save Lives
This week the House passed Senate Bill 115 aimed at teaching students cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to help them save lives.
The bill would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to work with the Department of Health and other stakeholders to develop curriculum that could be used by schools across the state. The aim is to help reduce the more than 350,000 cardiac arrests that occur outside of a hospital each year by preparing students to save lives through CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED).
The bill now heads back to the Senate for its concurrence.
Celebrating Our Small Businesses
This week marks Small Business Week in Pennsylvania.
Small businesses are the backbone of the Commonwealth’s economy, employing over 2.5 million people. In fact, 99.6% of employers in the state are small businesses.
House Republicans have been working hard to help Pennsylvania’s small businesses thrive and grow by cutting the red tape that creates barriers to growth and cleaning up our outdated laws.
|2030 Center Street, Northampton, PA 18067 | Phone: 610-502-2701
|Slatington Borough Hall, 125 S. Walnut Street, First Floor, Slatington, PA 18080 | Phone: 610-760-9805
|402A Irvis Office, PO Box 202183. Harrisburg, PA 17120-2183 | (717) 772-5398
|Email Address: ZMako@pahousegop.com