DEP building plant to treat acid mine damage in Cambria County

(Mar 10, 2017)

WJAC did this story on my release of information that the Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Abandoned Mines Reclamation will build a plant in Cresson to process and clean acid mine drainage Read more

 

Burns: DEP constructing plant to treat acid mine drainage in Cambria County

(Mar 09, 2017)

EBENSBURG, March 9 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, announced that the state Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Abandoned Mines Reclamation will build a plant in Cresson to process and clean acid mine drainage. "This plant will create between 40 and 50 construction jobs, plus several permanent plant operator positions upon its completion," said Burns, who has made economic development a top priority. “The plant will help restore 20 miles of streams, while also repurposing a coal refuse pile in Cresson Township, which takes advantage of otherwise useless land." The plant will process underground mine pools from three abandoned mines, Cresson No. 9, Gallitzin Shaft and Argyle Stone Bridge. The three mine pools drain into Trapp Run, Bradley Run and Sugar Run. When operational, the plant will be able to process more than 6 million gallons of acid water per day, and will discharge the cleaned water into Trapp Run, which feeds Clearfield Creek. DEP is accepting bids on the project through April 6 and construction is expected to take about 18 months to complete. Read more

 

Burns seeks high school senior applicants for scholarship

(Feb 28, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is seeking applicants from the 72 nd District for the Pennsylvania Legislative Appointment Initiative (LAI), which allows each state legislator to appoint a student from his district as a commonwealth scholar for admission to Valley Forge Military College. Any high school senior residing in the 72 nd District with a minimum high school GPA of 2.50 and a combined verbal and math SAT score of 1000 (or an ACT Score of 17) is eligible to apply. Interested students should contact Burns’ offices for an application. The deadline to apply this year is April 1. A student awarded the LAI Scholarship may receive the award for up to two years. The maximum amount awarded is $12,000 per year. “I encourage any eligible high school seniors to apply for the LAI through my office. The Valley Forge Military College uniquely prepares their cadets to be responsible citizens and leaders,” Burns said. “This is also a valuable opportunity to showcase our talented high school seniors throughout the district.” Interested students can check with their school guidance counselor for an application. Applications are also available in Burns’ district offices . Read more

 

Burns announces $1.9 million grant to support new aviation degree program at Saint Francis University

(Feb 23, 2017)

EBENSBURG, Feb. 23 – Slightly more than four months after he hosted a public hearing in Ebensburg on innovative job creation, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is announcing a $1.9 million state grant to develop a Business Aviation Management Degree Program at Saint Francis University. Burns said the funding, awarded to the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, will upgrade and enhance an existing airport facility; purchase a flight simulator for the degree; assist with the first five students' tuition and room and board; and market the new program . Burns, who brought the House Democratic Policy Committee to the Ebensburg Borough Municipal Building in October, said the testimony on employer needs and employee training using an innovative approach came to fruition with this grant. “Our testifiers – including Barry Surma, director of the St. Francis University Small Business Development Center, and RaNell Fenchak, director of the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport – made a convincing case for thinking outside the box and being attuned to employer needs with job training efforts,” Burns said. “This grant is one manifestation of a new way of thinking when it comes to economic development in Cambria County.” Other testifiers at the October hearing were Augie Didiano, president, Johnstown Building and Construction Trades Council; Don Arena, business agent, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 354; and Read more

 

Burns: Spending cuts, efficiencies better for state budget than sales, income tax hikes; cracking down on welfare fraud could yield new savings

(Feb 10, 2017)

EBENSBURG, Feb. 10 – A 2017-18 state budget proposal that achieves $2 billion in cuts and savings is conceptually preferable to one that relies on sales and income tax hikes, said state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, who has consistently opposed new taxes. Burns said he believes that Gov. Tom Wolf, who introduced his latest budget this week, has grasped a well-documented reality in the 72 nd Legislative District that also applies to wide swaths of Pennsylvania. “The working people of my district have made it known time and again – to me and anyone else who will listen – that they don’t want higher taxes, period,” Burns said. “The reality is, they are working and they are tired of carrying people who aren’t working. That’s why I refused to support the governor’s prior attempts to raise the sales and income taxes.” Two years ago, Burns was one of 13 House Democrats who broke party ranks to end a nine-month state budget impasse between Democrat Wolf and Republicans who control the state House and state Senate. That dispute centered on Wolf’s desire to raise the sales or income tax, or a combination thereof, to close a $1.2 billion shortfall. “The irony is, if the governor had promoted this $2 billion in cost savings and spending cuts two years ago, instead of holding out for higher taxes, we could have avoided a big fiasco – and the state would have had an $800 million surplus each of Read more

 

Burns announces nearly $250,000 in local fire department, EMS grants

(Feb 08, 2017)

EBENSBURG, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, has announced the award of $248,975 in state grants to 19 fire and ambulance companies in the 72nd Legislative District. The grants are made possible by the Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program, and can be used toward repairing, building or renovating facilities. The money also can be applied toward purchase of new equipment, training and certification of staff, or it may go to repay debt related to equipment purchases or facility building and maintenance. “Our fire departments and EMS providers perform vital work in our communities,” Burns said. “It’s also hard and dangerous work, as I found out when suiting up for a Cambria County Fire School training session. As someone who’s stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them for a taste of what they go through, I am proud to announce this funding to aid their continued operations.” Burns noted that recipients still need to complete and return original signed copies of their grant agreements by May 31 in order to receive their money. He urged any department that needs help with this requirement to contact his nearest district office. The grant list – by department and entity – is as follows. Ashville Fire Company – Fire Company, $14,159. Cambria Township Volunteer Fire Company – Fire Company, $14,417. Carrolltown Fire Company – Fire Company, $12,101. Cresson Area Read more

 

Eligible entities should apply for state funding

(Feb 01, 2017)

I want to remind Cambria County entities wishing to maximize their potential to receive state funding that applications are being accepted today through May 31 for several important programs. Sometimes, after these grants are announced, I hear from municipal and agency officials in my district who say they never knew to apply, so I’ve made it one of my missions to let as many of them know as soon and often as possible. I once again strongly encourage anyone who thinks their organization might be eligible to either apply directly, or contact my offices for help . It does no good to complain after the fact. A list of the Act 13-funded programs with complete guidelines is available HERE . In another potential funding area, applications will be accepted March 1 through July 31 for the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Multimodel Transportation Program, which is separate from PennDOT’s program of the same name. You can find complete guidelines for this program HERE . Read more

 

House Speaker grants Burns’ request to form Blue Lives Matter Caucus

(Jan 30, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – At the request of state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai last week approved formation of a Blue Lives Matter Caucus, which quickly attracted 22 other members. As envisioned by its founder Burns, the new caucus is a “bipartisan, multi-issue group” dedicated to “all issues and concerns related to law enforcement.” Burns is the sponsor of H.B. 158, a Blue Lives Matter bill that would make assaulting a law enforcement officer a hate crime, but said the caucus will have a broad approach and appeal. “Law enforcement officers risk their lives daily so the people of this commonwealth can enjoy peace and security. They deserve the highest level of protection from targeted acts of violence the law can provide. They also deserve policies and programs that will help them perform their jobs more effectively,” Burns wrote in his request to Turzai, who swiftly gave his approval. Burns said he welcomes Democratic and Republican membership in the new caucus, is encouraged that House members of both parties have signed on, and hopes that the number continues climbing. “These are very difficult times to be a law enforcement officer, and one thing that unites the Blue Lives Matter Caucus is a firm commitment to doing all that we can to support those who protect us, in any way that we can,” Burns said. “I look forward to working with anyone who shares this belief, be they Read more

 

Burns appointed to five House committees for 2017-18

(Jan 24, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 24 – Eagerly looking to begin work, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, has received his House committee assignments for the 2017-18 legislative session of the General Assembly. The five committees on which Burns will serve are: Commerce, Consumer Affairs, Liquor Control, Tourism and Recreational Development, and Veterans’ Affairs and Emergency Preparedness. Burns’ assignments were announced by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “These committees perform a vital function in the legislative process, specifically, vetting proposed bills before they are approved and sent to the full House for votes,” Burns said. “I am pleased with my assignments and look forward to delving into the issues that come before us in these areas.” So constituents can better understand his areas of responsibility, Burns offered the following committee primer: Commerce – evaluates legislation involving the banking industry and financial services industries; reviews bills that control interest rates, and wage and employment issues; and has oversight of the Department of Banking, Department of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the Securities Commission and the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority. Consumer Affairs – reviews bills pertaining to issues such as vehicle lemon laws, consumer privacy and contract language; and has jurisdiction over the Public Utilities Read more

 

‘Frontier Girls Day’ resolution from Burns unanimously passes House

(Jan 23, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 23 – A resolution ( H.R. 29 ) designating Jan. 19, 2017 as “Frontier Girls Day” in Pennsylvania, authored by state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, unanimously passed the House today. Burns said Frontier Girls was founded 10 years ago to provide a scout-like program for girls, with a mission to raise women of honor to be the mothers and leaders of the future. They accomplish this through life skills, leadership, character building, teamwork and service to others, he added. Burns said Frontier Girls has 15 troops throughout Pennsylvania, second in number to Texas, including Troop 213 in Gallitzin, which has 13 girls from 4 to 17. “The Frontier Girls program seeks to restore a focus on good moral character, patriotism, community service, and a love of learning,” Burns said. “Their badge selections are character badges that address everything from joy and honesty to responsibility and modesty. These badges encourage girls to put these traits to use in their own lives, helping them to be good, well-mannered, self-directed, respectful, disciplined and honorable citizens.” Burns said the program offers six levels or participation, ranging from age 3 to adults. Girls can earn over 1,200 badges and awards at each of the levels, and the organization also awards scholarships each year. Read more

 

Round two: Burns reintroduces Blue Lives Matter bill for 2017-18

(Jan 23, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 23 – Amid high hopes that his proposal to make assaulting a law enforcement officer a hate crime will become law, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, has reintroduced his Blue Lives Matter bill for the current legislative session. House Bill 158 is a replica of H.B. 2261, which Burns introduced in July but which wasn’t advanced in the Republican-led legislature by the end of the year, necessitating its reintroduction to remain viable in 2017-18. “With assaults on police officers trending upward, in the commonwealth and across the nation, I would find it incredible if a majority of my colleagues don’t support this proposal,” Burns said. “This is about as bipartisan an issue as you can get: letting our police, corrections, probation and parole officers know how much we appreciate the jobs they bravely perform every day.” Burns, whose bill obtained swift backing from the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police last summer, said he is tired of publicly cataloging an ever-increasing number of assaults on law enforcement, such as the December death of a Pennsylvania state trooper shot and killed while responding to a domestic dispute. However, since the number of police deaths nationwide skyrocketed 56 percent last year and since local police departments fear a sharp decline in applicants, Burns said he feels compelled to use these examples to beat the drum for passage of a Blue Lives Matter bill. Burns’ Read more

 

Burns: Attacks on police should be hate crimes

(Jan 11, 2017)

More than 40,000 police officers are assaulted in the U.S. every year, according to this news story on my efforts to make these assaults hate crimes in Pennsylvania Read more

 

In trying times, law enforcement needs all the support it can get

(Jan 10, 2017)

As Pennsylvania state police Trooper Landon Weaver was buried Jan. 5, my thoughts went beyond the bravery of the 23-year-old shot and killed while responding to a domestic dispute, just six months after graduating from the academy that produces some of the best-trained police officers in our nation. As the widow of this young trooper delivered a tearful eulogy inside the Blair County Convention Center, just one county to our east, the extent of destruction became evident. The couple’s dreams – buying a house, starting a family – would never come to fruition. I thought of permanent emotional scars his family, friends and fellow troopers would forever bear, and wondered how – and if – they would ever fully recover. It became clear to me that a 32-year-old gunman, with a lengthy rap sheet and a reported penchant for Facebook posts such as, “The only good cop is a dead cop,” had destroyed more than one innocent life by gunning down Weaver in Huntingdon County, located just two counties over. There was no uproar from the citizenry when the gunman, whose name I won’t mention because he doesn’t deserve even that, was later found in an unoccupied mobile home and shot dead after making threats and refusing police orders. Quite frankly, in a cold-blooded and nonsensical murder like Weaver’s, it’s easy to understand why most people in central Pennsylvania feel little remorse at the gunman’s passing. Reading Read more

 

Burns elected chairman of Northwest Democratic Delegation

(Jan 05, 2017)

EBENSBURG, Jan. 5 – Coinciding with the start of his fifth term , state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, has ascended to a House Democratic leadership role with his election as chairman of the Northwest Delegation. Burns, who previously served as the delegation’s vice chairman, immediately takes over for the outgoing chairman, state Rep. Mark Longietti of Mercer County, who remains a delegation member. “It’s quite an honor to be selected by my delegation peers for this position, as we continue speaking in a strong, unified voice on matters of mutual interest to the region we collectively represent,” Burns said. “Additionally, I believe we can present a united front on legislative issues and initiatives in some new and exciting ways. The old saying goes, ‘There is strength in numbers’ and I hope we as the Northwest Delegation can personify that.” Burns said he looks forward to devising strategy and promoting ideas with the rest of the Northwest leadership team: vice chairman Rep. Ryan Bizzarro of Erie County, secretary Rep. Scott Conklin of Centre County and treasurer Rep. Pat Harkins of Erie County. Other delegation members are: Reps. Bryan Barbin of Cambria County; Flo Fabrizio of Erie County; Michael K. Hanna Sr. of Clinton and Centre counties; Joseph A. Petrarca of Westmoreland, Armstrong and Indiana counties; and Christopher Sainato of Lawrence County. Read more

 

Burns begins fifth term as state representative, pledges to continue fiscally conservative ways

(Jan 03, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – At a ceremony at the state Capitol today, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, was sworn in to represent the 72nd Legislative District for a new two-year term in which he promised to hold fast to conservative fiscal principles. As the House chamber marked the beginning of the 201st legislative session, Burns said he plans to remain a stalwart against higher sales and income taxes, while supporting efforts to end fraud, waste and abuse in state spending. He also plans to focus highly on economic development, including full redevelopment of the former SCI-Cresson prison property. "I believe my constituents wholeheartedly support my public policy stances,” Burns said. “The people in the 72 nd Legislative District know that my priorities are their priorities – and they’ve given me a mandate to continue those battles in the upcoming legislative session." One of a handful of House Democrats who broke ranks to help end a nine-month budget stalemate in the last legislative session, Burns said he’s encouraged to hear that early proposals for the 2017-18 state spending plan do not seek hikes in the state sales or income tax. “While I philosophically hope budget negotiators can make do with cuts and efficiencies, I will reserve final judgment until I see exactly where these cuts and efficiencies are coming from,” Burns said, noting, “Stay tuned, because I have some of my own ideas on that.” Read more

 

Burns: Double length of time officials should wait to lobby after leaving office

(Jan 03, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – Addressing an unsavory perception, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is seeking co-sponsors for a bill that would double to two years the length of time former officials or employees must wait before lobbying the government entity they left. Burns said current law mandates a mere one-year wait, which does little to combat the public belief that many government officials cash in on contacts made in their former jobs. “While the current law is a progressive step, the General Assembly should go further,” Burns said. “To protect the integrity and transparency of the commonwealth’s governmental bodies, my legislation would amend the law to require former officials or employees to wait two years. This cooling-off period would help stall government officials from cashing in on their former jobs.” Burns said many of his constituents in the 72 nd Legislative District are aligned with the belief that government officials are too self-serving, a trend he hopes to reverse by passage of the legislation he plans to introduce soon. “A proposal like this won’t get universal support, but I am confident it will be embraced by members on both sides of the aisle,” Burns said. “We need to do something to put the ‘public’ back in ‘public service.’” Read more

 

Corbett-era legacy: Third gasoline tax hike in four years coming Jan. 1

(Dec 19, 2016)

With Pennsylvania’s gasoline tax of 51.4 cents per gallon already the highest in the nation – and another 8-cents-per-gallon hike set for Jan. 1 – it’s time to remind you that this is why I voted AGAINST the transportation bill that became Act 89 of 2013. In an attempt to stave off this latest increase, earlier this year I co-sponsored gasoline tax reduction legislation that would have abolished all future tax hikes based on the Act 89 formula. This is the third time in four years that you’re feeling pain at the pump from the Corbett-era tax hike. Contrary to what some wanted you to believe, I knew then that the “oil company franchise tax” wouldn’t be absorbed by the industry, but would instead be passed on to you at the pump. We all want better roads and bridges, but taxing you to raise $500 million a year for public transit – more than 90 percent of which goes to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh -- wasn’t and isn’t the best way to go. Those who use cars and trucks to get to and from work also shouldn’t be subsidizing “multi-modal” projects like bike paths to the tune of $144 million per year, which is another legacy of Act 89. I tried to keep this from happening – but unfortunately I was in the legislative minority on this issue. Read more

 

Burns mounting effort to ban lighters that look like toys

(Dec 19, 2016)

EBENSBURG, Dec. 19 – Hoping to follow at least 18 other states , state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, wants Pennsylvania to ban cigarette lighters that look like toys, feature a flashing light or make musical sounds, mostly so children aren’t enticed to start fires or be injured. Burns said these novelty lighters – already illegal in neighboring New York and New Jersey – are readily available at hardware and convenience stores and gasoline stations, and in the wrong hands are easily mistaken for toys. “While an adult may readily know to reserve these lighters for cigarettes, pipes or cigars, a toddler or youngster might not make that important distinction,” Burns said. “Too often, these confusing lighters contribute to unintentional fires and injuries to children and families. Sometimes, even adults are mistaken.” Burns cited these examples as stimulus for the bill he plans to introduce in January for the new, two-year legislative session: In Maine, a 6-year-old picked up a miniature baseball bat, thinking it might be a flashlight, and burned part of his face as the flame shot out. In Arkansas, two children under 2 died after setting fire to their apartment with a motorcycle-shaped lighter. In South Carolina, a woman shot herself in the hand while attempting to light a cigarette with what she thought was a pistol-shaped novelty lighter. Burns, who is currently seeking co-sponsors for his bill, said the upcoming Read more

 

‘Blue Lives’ do indeed matter

(Dec 15, 2016)

By state Rep. Frank Burns Shortly after I announced my intention last summer to introduce a Blue Lives Matter bill making it a hate crime to assault law enforcement personnel, I was approached by a colleague on the House floor and asked, politely, to change the name. The implied message from this emissary, I knew, was that some folks in the legislature didn’t like what I was proposing and were subtly trying to get me to back off. After all, during my eight years in the House, I had never once tried to dissuade a fellow legislator from pursuing his or her chosen course, nor had I ever had it happen to me. I refused to budge – and am proud to say that ever since the July introduction of H.B. 2261, the response throughout the 72 nd Legislative District has been overwhelmingly positive. My constituents, like most Pennsylvanians, are aghast at the near-daily news report of police officers being targeted for attack and, in some cases, cold-blooded assassination. These days, there doesn’t even appear to be such a thing as a routine traffic stop. While that’s a sad commentary on where we are as a nation, it doesn’t change the fact that working in law enforcement appears more dangerous than ever. Some people have wrongly attempted to frame my effort as a racial issue. When I’ve been asked about this during interviews, I kindly issue a reminder that my bill would cover all police officers, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, religious Read more

 

WTAJ -- Lawmaker offers incentive for volunteer EMS

(Dec 15, 2016)

According to a source in this WTAJ news story on my proposal to award state scholarships to volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel, "Frank Burns gets it. He understands the urgent need to recruit more volunteer firefighters." Read more

 

DEP building plant to treat acid mine damage in Cambria County
Mar 10, 2017

Burns: DEP constructing plant to treat acid mine drainage in Cambria County
Mar 09, 2017

Burns seeks high school senior applicants for scholarship
Feb 28, 2017

Burns announces $1.9 million grant to support new aviation degree program at Saint Francis University
Feb 23, 2017

Burns: Spending cuts, efficiencies better for state budget than sales, income tax hikes; cracking down on welfare fraud could yield new savings
Feb 10, 2017

Burns announces nearly $250,000 in local fire department, EMS grants
Feb 08, 2017

Eligible entities should apply for state funding
Feb 01, 2017

House Speaker grants Burns’ request to form Blue Lives Matter Caucus
Jan 30, 2017

Burns appointed to five House committees for 2017-18
Jan 24, 2017

‘Frontier Girls Day’ resolution from Burns unanimously passes House
Jan 23, 2017

Round two: Burns reintroduces Blue Lives Matter bill for 2017-18
Jan 23, 2017

Burns: Attacks on police should be hate crimes
Jan 11, 2017

In trying times, law enforcement needs all the support it can get
Jan 10, 2017

Burns elected chairman of Northwest Democratic Delegation
Jan 05, 2017

Burns begins fifth term as state representative, pledges to continue fiscally conservative ways
Jan 03, 2017

Burns: Double length of time officials should wait to lobby after leaving office
Jan 03, 2017

Corbett-era legacy: Third gasoline tax hike in four years coming Jan. 1
Dec 19, 2016

Burns mounting effort to ban lighters that look like toys
Dec 19, 2016

‘Blue Lives’ do indeed matter
Dec 15, 2016

WTAJ -- Lawmaker offers incentive for volunteer EMS
Dec 15, 2016