Conklin: Nearly $740,000 secured to preserve District 77 farms

(Jun 14, 2024)

STATE COLLEGE, June 14 – New funding of nearly $740,000 – including a state investment of $628,000 from the Department of Agriculture – will ensure preservation of farms in the 77 th Legislative District, state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, announced today. Conklin said the funding awarded under the state’s Farmland Preservation Program will allow the state to purchase development rights for two local farms to protect the land from future residential or commercial development. “These farms are critically important to our community, but their benefits extend far beyond the fences that border them,” Conklin said. “Under the talented stewardship of our local farmers, these lands strengthen our regional food supply and bolster the health of our local, regional and state economies. This new funding is going to help ensure they are around now and far into the future, where we can all continue to reap the benefits.” Conklin said the funding will be used to purchase development rights to the following farms: Carl R. Gates Farm, Ferguson Township, 193-acre crop and livestock farm. Thomas W., Cynthia B., and William H. Hall, and Janis H. Goodman Farm, Halfmoon Township, 88-acre crop and livestock farm. The funding includes $627,972 from the state, $100,000 from the county, and $11,956 from Ferguson Township. More about the funding is available here: Read more

 

Burns asks governor to open state police substation in Johnstown

(Jun 13, 2024)

EBENSBURG, June 13 – Seeking additional resources to battle one of the highest crime rates in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Frank Burns has asked Gov. Josh Shapiro to establish a state police substation in Johnstown. Burns, D-Cambria, outlined the pressing need in a letter to Shapiro, citing: A Johnstown law enforcement system “seriously strained” by a “massive influx of low-income, transient public housing residents,” coming largely from Philadelphia. The 1-in-24 chance one has of being the victim of a violent or property crime in Johnstown. The staffing shortage at the Johnstown Police Department, which as of last fall had 31 active-duty officers – 10 short of the 41 budgeted. ______________________________________________________________________ “As the City of Johnstown struggles under the weight of a devastating mix of poverty and crime, fueled by a huge transient public housing population coming largely from Philadelphia, I am asking for your help to bring things under control by establishing a State Police Substation in the city.” – Rep. Frank Burns, to Governor Josh Shapiro. ______________________________________________________________________ “Everyone who lives here and is a law abiding citizen can attest to how bad the situation has become. It is no coincidence – nor was it a big surprise to Read more

 

Conklin introduces bill to update Pennsylvania’s recreational vehicle law

(Jun 11, 2024)

HARRISBURG, June 11 – Pennsylvania’s recreational vehicle law would receive needed upgrades and stronger consumer protections under a bill introduced today by state Rep. Scott Conklin. Conklin, who is chairman of the House Commerce Committee, said H.B 2410 would update and clarify parts of the law governing the RV industry to help ensure reliable, efficient and cost-effective warranty service for consumers. “The RV industry is different enough from the automotive industry that Pennsylvania has separate laws governing RV manufacturers and dealers,” Conklin said. “But areas of the law – particularly as it relates to warranty services – need to be updated to better protect consumers and provide clearer guidance for dealers. “My bill would accomplish that by adding provisions that ensure more efficient warranty repairs, more consistent rate-setting and prices for warranty service and stronger consumer protections from rogue dealers who host pop-up-style RV events.” Conklin said his bill would: Help ensure warranty repairs are completed efficiently by clarifying that RV dealers may purchase available warranty parts from a supplier other than the manufacturer. Clarify the language regarding labor rates for warranty service, which is currently based on “reasonable compensation,” to mirror the automotive dealers’ formula for establishing Read more

 

Merski bill would ban misuse of artificial intelligence in campaigns

(Jun 11, 2024)

HARRISBURG, June 11 – State Rep. Bob Merski and colleagues have introduced legislation that would prohibit the misuse of generative artificial intelligence in campaigns. Merski, D-Erie, said he and several colleagues introduced H.B. 2353 to impose needed guardrails on the use of misleading digital content that jeopardizes the integrity of the electoral process. “The freedom to go into the voting booth and choose candidates who reflect our values and beliefs is at the very heart of our democracy,” Merski said. “But the proliferation of AI-generated ‘deepfakes’ impersonating public officials and political candidates to spread disinformation threatens to undermine the whole point of free and fair elections. “We have to act now to protect the sanctity of our elections by erecting sensible guardrails for how generative AI may be used in campaigns. Fourteen other states have already recognized the threat and passed legislation. It’s time for Pennsylvania to step up and do the same.” Merski said the bill would establish the Fraudulent Misrepresentation of a Candidate Prevention Act, which would create civil liability and potential court penalties for disseminating an AI-generated impersonation of a candidate within 90 days before an election that is designed to misrepresent their words, actions or beliefs. Addressing First Amendment concerns, Merski noted that Read more

 

Port Matilda Emergency Medical Services dedicates new ambulance in honor of Conklin

(May 20, 2024)

PORT MATILDA, May 20 – As Pennsylvania observes National EMS Week to recognize the lifesaving work of its frontline medical responders, Port Matilda Emergency Medical Services expressed its own appreciation for state Rep. Scott Conklin on Saturday by naming a new ambulance after the lawmaker. Conklin, D-Centre, expressed thanks during the ceremony – held to recognize his longtime support for EMS workers – but said the spotlight should remain on the first responders who continue to serve the community with vigilance despite work that can be risk-filled and challenging. “I am deeply humbled that the first responders at Port Matilda EMS have chosen to dedicate this ambulance in my name, but they are the true heroes,” Conklin said. “They are the ones who stand ready 24/7 to render lifesaving care, regardless of the dangers or challenges involved. “We can never do enough for our EMS workers and other first responders, and we can never thank them enough. But we can do everything in our power to support them and try to ensure that they have the resources they need to carry on their lifesaving work.” At the ceremony, Port Matilda EMS staff thanked Conklin and recognized his support and efforts to strengthen resources for first responders. Read more

 

House passes Conklin bill to boost funding for minority-owned businesses

(May 02, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – The House yesterday passed legislation introduced by state Rep. Scott Conklin that would help Pennsylvania’s minority-owned businesses secure the capital they need to grow and remain competitive. Conklin, who is majority chairman of the Pennsylvania House Commerce Committee, said he introduced H.B. 2202 – which would establish the Minority Business Development Program to provide low-interest loans and equity financing to ethnic-owned businesses – to get vital resources flowing to traditionally underserved business communities. “Minority-owned businesses have a critical role to play in Pennsylvania, but for too long, they have faced financing hurdles that have prevented them from growing and expanding,” Conklin said. “It’s time to level the playing field by connecting these businesses with the resources they need to thrive. Doing so creates jobs, adds healthy competition, grows our local and state economies, and empowers business owners to give back to their communities. It’s a win-win all around.” The fund established by Conklin’s bill would provide eligible businesses with means ranging from $3 million for one or more projects to a maximum of $5 million for up to three projects. Minority-owned businesses in counties of the First or Second Class would be eligible for a maximum of $10 million per applicant. The funds would be used as equity and Read more

 

Conklin issues statement on need to reform PIAA playoff system

(May 01, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 1 – Following his Pennsylvania Capitol news conference yesterday with school sports officials and student athletes, state Rep. Scott Conklin issued these remarks to shed further light on why Pennsylvania’s approach to school sports competitions should be reformed to model other states that recognize the difference between national all-star teams in private schools (non-boundary schools) and the teams in public schools (boundary schools): “In Pennsylvania, private schools are not restricted as to where they can recruit student athletes, whereas public schools may only recruit within the school district’s geographical location. “This allows private schools to create all-star teams that are providing an unfair advantage over public schools in playoffs. It’s not just about winning a championship. It’s about life opportunities – including scholarships and recruitment for college sports and professional sports – that our public school students are losing out on. “K-12 sports should be about teaching values and competitiveness, giving children a second option that keeps them in school, and allowing opportunities for a brighter future. “I am not against non-boundary schools. They provide many young athletes a chance for a better future, which is great. The change I am proposing would not reduce the opportunities for private school students, but would introduce Read more

 

Conklin, PA sports officials highlight need for PIAA competition reform

(Apr 30, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 30 – State Rep. Scott Conklin joined school sports officials and student athletes at the Pennsylvania Capitol today to urge support for his proposal that would better protect players in Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association competitions. Conklin – whose H.B. 1983 would allow the PIAA to establish alternative playoffs and championships for boundary and non-boundary schools – spoke about how the current system jeopardizes student safety by pitting public school teams against private, charter and parochial school teams that are often larger and better equipped. “By leaving public schools no option but to compete against larger, more powerful teams recruited by private schools, the PIAA’s current system is putting student athletes from public schools at a huge disadvantage before they even set foot on the field,” Conklin said. “It’s a system that sets kids up for failure, sends the wrong message and – worst of all – exposes them to the risk of serious injury. “We need to reform the playoff rules by allowing the PIAA to set up alternate playoff systems and championships for boundary and non-boundary schools. Having separate playoffs would not hurt the element of competition – it would merely ensure those contests are waged on a level playing field.” Hall of Fame Football Coach Jim Cantafio and Bald Eagle Athletic Director Doug Read more

 

Merski: Nearly $100,000 secured for Wesleyville Borough police vehicles, in-car computers

(Apr 29, 2024)

ERIE, April 29 – New funding of $96,200 from the Department of Community and Economic Development will help fund new police vehicles and in-car computers for the Wesleyville Borough Police Department, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, announced today. Merski said the funding will help ensure officers have state-of-the-art technology to protect and assist them. “Our police deserve state-of-the-art vehicles equipped with technology that can make their jobs safer, easier and more effective,” Merski said. “In addition to the latest safety technology, having vehicles equipped with in-car computers will allow officers to complete tasks like filling out paperwork, recording witness statements and uploading crime scene photos right on site, which will speed their work and strengthen investigations. “I’m grateful to DCED for the funding, because Wesleyville’s finest deserve the finest resources we can provide.” Read more

 

Conklin: More than $530,000 secured for school safety and mental health resources

(Apr 26, 2024)

STATE COLLEGE, April 26 – Stronger security measures and expanded mental health resources are coming to schools in the 77 th Legislative District, thanks to new grant funding of nearly $537,000, state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, announced today. Conklin said the funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will ensure schools have the resources needed to maintain a safe and secure environment. “Learning is never a one-size-fits-all proposition, but one thing is universally true – all students need a safe and supportive environment to learn and thrive,” Conklin said. “This new funding will ensure our schools have the resources they need to provide that environment, so students and staff are free to focus on academic success.” State College Area School District – 231,714. Bald Eagle Area School District – $154,131. Centre Learning Community Charter School – $70,000. Young Scholars of Central PA Charter School – $70,000. Central Intermediate Unit 10 - $10,825. More information about the funding is available here: https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/PCCD-details.aspx?newsid=105 . Read more

 

Conklin: More than $17 million awarded to strengthen Centre County broadband

(Apr 19, 2024)

STATE COLLEGE, April 19 – Faster, more reliable broadband is coming to underserved areas of Centre County thanks to new funding of nearly $17.6 million from the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, announced today. Conklin, who is majority chairman of the House Commerce Committee, said the funding – which includes $16.1 million to Verizon Pennsylvania LLC and $1.5 million to Windstream Pennsylvania LLC – will bring residents and small business owners in underserved areas the connections they need. “Internet provides essential connections to the world, but for too long, residents lacking speedy, reliable access have faced a disadvantage when it comes to key online resources for job opportunities, training and education, shopping, telemedicine and more,” Conklin said. “Small businesses in underserved areas also lose a major competitive edge. “We have worked hard to get the necessary broadband infrastructure in place, and with this new infusion of funding, we can finally make those critical high-speed connections a reality for the residents and businesses who need them.” Conklin said that matching funding will bring the total project to nearly $40 million. The funding – which is part of a statewide package awarded under the Broadband Infrastructure Program – will also benefit underserved communities in Blair, Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $80,000 awarded to fight veteran hunger, food insecurity

(Apr 12, 2024)

ERIE, April 12 – Erie will have new resources to help area veterans fight hunger and food insecurity, thanks to two state grants totaling nearly $80,000, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding awarded under the Veterans’ Trust Fund – administered by the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs – includes $39,049 to Metro-Erie Meals on Wheels, Inc., to provide food services for veterans and $39,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania to support the MilitaryShare program. “Erie veterans put everything on the line to keep us safe and secure,” Merski said. “Now, some of them are facing hardship that threatens their own health and safety, and they need our help. One way we can give back is by working to make sure they don’t have to worry about keeping nutritious food on the table for themselves and their families. Securing this funding helps ensure that these heroes who fought for us don’t have to fight hunger or food insecurity.” Harkins said, “The sacrifices our veterans made were never small ones. They risked their lives and gave up precious time with loved ones to protect and defend our nation. Some faced trauma and still live with the after-effects. I am deeply grateful for their courage and selflessness, and also thankful for the funding that will help make their lives a bit Read more

 

Harkins: Lawrence Park Township awarded $80,000 to develop financial management plan

(Mar 14, 2024)

“Having a five-year financial management plan in place can be extremely helpful for township officials when it comes to community planning,” Harkins said. “It’s a road map that can guide decision making and help them develop strategies, identify priorities, pinpoint new opportunities and assess possible risks." Read more

 

Burns brings $1.2 million back to Jackson Township for natural gas pipeline

(Nov 21, 2023)

EBENSBURG, Nov. 21 – Working with the Jackson Township supervisors, state Rep. Frank Burns announced today that Jackson Township is receiving more than $1.2 million in state funding to extend a natural gas pipeline into the Jackson Township Business Park. The natural gas pipeline will be extended from Benshoff Hill Road to the business park on Laurel Ridge Road so that Waste Management can connect to it for its Laurel Highlands Hauling Co. and CNG Fueling Station. “The extension of this pipeline not only will enable Waste Management to convert its truck fleet to compressed natural gas, but it will create 120 full-time jobs,” Burns said. “Getting natural gas to the Jackson Township Business Park is critical to attracting additional businesses and jobs to the area.” Jackson Township supervisors Bruce Baker, John Wallet and Fred Meier said the funding is vital to the business park project, which is beginning to take shape with the installation of water, sewer and highway improvements to Route 22. “ This grant for natural gas to the park is vital to us securing our first tenant,” the township supervisors said in a joint statement. “This tenant will create approximately 120 family sustaining jobs and be a draw for additional tenants. They will use natural gas to fuel their fleet of trucks. The gas line extension will also serve approximately 62 homes along the way. The business Read more

 

Merski: $38 million in funding secured for Erie City Water Authority projects

(Oct 18, 2023)

ERIE, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Robert Merski, D-Erie announced that the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority has approved funding totaling $38 million – including $14 million in nonrepayable funding and $24 million in low-interest loans – to allow the Erie Water Authority to perform major projects including replacement of corroded, outdated lead piping for customers and construction of a new pumping station. “Erie County has seen substantial investments and a massive overhaul of its infrastructure over the last several years,” Merski said. “These improvements directly impact the quality of life for our residents and are a result of community leaders working in unison to deliver tangible results that will be felt for generations. “Good government initiatives are rooted in keeping more money in people’s pockets. Without this loan, user rates for those within the service area would have increased by a staggering 74%. That would have been unacceptable, and I am thrilled we were able to work toward a solution to ensure residents receive the high-quality water service they deserve.” The $18 million in funding for replacement of service connections includes approximately $14 million that does not need to be repaid, plus approximately $4 million in repayable loan funding. The funding will support replacement of nearly 2,500 service connections consisting of iron pipe attached Read more

 

Burns: Johnstown awarded $100k to bolster emergency services

(Sep 15, 2023)

“Securing this funding is going to help ensure that Johnstown’s frontline heroes have the resources they need – from updated equipment to hazard-free facilities – to stay safe as they continue their lifesaving work," Burns said. Read more

 

Patton Township recognizes Conklin for crucial support in sinkhole crisis; successfully disperses funds to impacted residents

(Sep 15, 2023)

STATE COLLEGE, Sept. 15 – This week marked a milestone for Patton Township as it honored state Rep. Scott Conklin and his executive director, Nicholas Himebaugh, on Wednesday for their advocacy and support in helping residents displaced by the massive sinkhole that engulfed a Georgetown Park townhome complex last Christmas. Conklin, D-Centre, was instrumental in securing $180,000 in state funds for immediate relief, which the township has successfully dispersed to help severely impacted residents with emergency shelter needs and the costs of engineering assessments, inspections and renovations. “My team and I are humbled and deeply moved by the proclamation and standing ovation we received,” Conklin said. “I extend my gratitude to Supervisor Robb, the entire board and the township staff for their dedicated work in this collaboration. My executive director, Nicholas Himebaugh, has been pivotal in ensuring these funds were secured and effectively delivered.” “Working alongside Representative Conklin to serve the Patton Township community has been profoundly rewarding,” Himebaugh said. “His unwavering commitment to the residents of the 77th District showcases his passion for serving as their voice in the People’s House.” Conklin noted that last year, 3.3 million Americans were displaced because of natural disasters – a figure that increases substantially when accounting for “unnatural' Read more

 

Burns: Johnstown awarded $150k for comprehensive recovery plan

(Sep 13, 2023)

"Raising taxes on workers in the city is not a sound strategy for economic recovery,” Burns said. “Securing this new funding will help ensure that as Johnstown continues on the path to economic recovery, it will be guided by the smartest strategies and that any final plan will be based on input from our own residents, businesses and workers." Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Erie public schools to share $2M in federal funding to launch student health initiative

(Sep 01, 2023)

ERIE, Sept. 1 – State Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today that Erie public schools will share $2 million in federal funding to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model – a comprehensive framework to improve student learning and health. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding will be awarded to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Erie’s public schools through 2028 to create a template that other schools throughout the state can adopt. “As an educator, I know that the children who enter our doors every day are a product of their families and their communities,” Merski said. “This federal funding to the state Department of Health and Erie’s public schools will help us to integrate and collaborate to improve that mind-body connection. “We know that a child who is physically healthy and emotionally and socially well-adjusted performs better in school. Using a ‘whole child’ approach has been shown to increase student achievement and lower maladaptive behaviors such as truancy, tardiness and discipline issues.” Harkins said, “Investments in student health like the universal free school breakfast program are critical, but proper nutrition is only part of the equation. With this new funding and guidance from the Department of Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $150K secured to construct, maintain Erie snowmobile trails

(Aug 29, 2023)

ERIE, Aug. 29 – Three grants totaling $150,000 will fund the purchase of equipment to construct and maintain more than 300 miles of snowmobile trails in Erie and surrounding counties, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources include: $115,000 to Tri-County Snowblazers Inc. for equipment to maintain and construct approximately 90 miles of snowmobile trails in Erie, Warren and Crawford counties. $24,000 to Wales Sno-Drifters Inc. for equipment to maintain and construct approximately 50 miles of snowmobile trails in Erie County. $11,000 to McKean Area Snowmobile Club Inc. for equipment to maintain and construct approximately 162 miles of snowmobile trails in Erie, Crawford and Warren counties. “An extended season for winter sports like snowmobiling is one of our area’s unique attractions. But maintaining safe trails is costly,” Merski said. “The new funding will help ensure that our area organizations have the equipment they need to keep the trails groomed and maintained on a regular basis.” Harkins said, “Trail quality and safety play a huge part in what kind of experience folks have and whether they want to return for repeat adventures. Our region is fortunate to have clubs whose members are Read more

 

Conklin: Nearly $740,000 secured to preserve District 77 farms
Jun 14, 2024

Burns asks governor to open state police substation in Johnstown
Jun 13, 2024

Conklin introduces bill to update Pennsylvania’s recreational vehicle law
Jun 11, 2024

Merski bill would ban misuse of artificial intelligence in campaigns
Jun 11, 2024

Port Matilda Emergency Medical Services dedicates new ambulance in honor of Conklin
May 20, 2024

House passes Conklin bill to boost funding for minority-owned businesses
May 02, 2024

Conklin issues statement on need to reform PIAA playoff system
May 01, 2024

Conklin, PA sports officials highlight need for PIAA competition reform
Apr 30, 2024

Merski: Nearly $100,000 secured for Wesleyville Borough police vehicles, in-car computers
Apr 29, 2024

Conklin: More than $530,000 secured for school safety and mental health resources
Apr 26, 2024

Conklin: More than $17 million awarded to strengthen Centre County broadband
Apr 19, 2024

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $80,000 awarded to fight veteran hunger, food insecurity
Apr 12, 2024

Harkins: Lawrence Park Township awarded $80,000 to develop financial management plan
Mar 14, 2024

Burns brings $1.2 million back to Jackson Township for natural gas pipeline
Nov 21, 2023

Merski: $38 million in funding secured for Erie City Water Authority projects
Oct 18, 2023

Burns: Johnstown awarded $100k to bolster emergency services
Sep 15, 2023

Patton Township recognizes Conklin for crucial support in sinkhole crisis; successfully disperses funds to impacted residents
Sep 15, 2023

Burns: Johnstown awarded $150k for comprehensive recovery plan
Sep 13, 2023

Merski, Harkins: Erie public schools to share $2M in federal funding to launch student health initiative
Sep 01, 2023

Harkins, Merski: $150K secured to construct, maintain Erie snowmobile trails
Aug 29, 2023