Conklin announces spotted lanternfly mitigation grant for Penn State

(Jul 01, 2021)

HARRISBURG, July 1 – Pennsylvania State University has been awarded $69,767 in state funds to mitigate the impacts of spotted lanternfly in the hardwood ornamentals industry, state Rep. Scott Conkin announced. Conkin, D-Centre, said the Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Block Grant program, part of the historic PA Farm Bill , supports projects to help grow and protect high-priority crops, including hardwoods. “Thirty-four counties in our state, including Centre, are battling this invasive pest,” Conklin said. “If it isn’t contained, the spotted lanternfly could potentially drain our state economy of at least $324 million each year, and it has quite the appetite for many of our economically vital plants, including maple, black walnut, birch, willow and other trees. This grant will be extremely helpful in supporting Penn State’s efforts to curb the insect’s spread.” The state Specialty Crop Block Grant program was created to enhance the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant program by establishing a state program for crops that are either not currently eligible for federal support, or that are designated as high-priority specialty crops. In addition to hardwoods, high priority crops include hemp, hops and honey; and barley, rye, and wheat for distilling, brewing and malting. Projects aim to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of specialty crops through research to Read more


Burns urges libraries to apply for state grant program

(Jun 30, 2021)

Money could be used for development, technical assistance Read more


Harkins, Merski announce nearly $103,000 in fire, EMS grants

(Jun 30, 2021)

ERIE, June 30 -- State Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced that fire and rescue crews in their districts will be receiving $102,670 in state grant funding for equipment, training and other needed resources. “Our fire and EMS companies really took a hit during the pandemic,” Harkins said. “In addition to dealing with new risks and logistical issues, departments lost critical fundraising income because of shutdowns and restrictions. This grant funding should ease the burden a bit for those who work so hard at the front lines.” Merski said: “Departments have been dealing with recruitment, retention and funding issues for years, but the past year added a whole new layer of challenges. This funding won’t solve the longstanding issues, but it will at least allow departments to upgrade aging equipment, perform building repairs and ensure crews have the ongoing training and other resources they need to stay safe on the job.” The lawmakers said the funding includes : Belle Valley Fire Department Inc. – fire company, $12,767. City of Erie Fire Department – fire company, $15,000. EmergyCare Inc. – EMS, $8,993. Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department – fire company, $11,698. Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department – EMS, $8,993. Perry Hi-Way Hose Co. – fire company, $15,000. Perry Hi-Way Hose Co. – EMS, $8,993. Read more


Longietti announces nearly $163,000 in fire, EMS grants

(Jun 29, 2021)

HERMITAGE, June 29 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced that 13 fire and EMS companies in the 7 th Legislative District were awarded $162,652 in state grants. “Over the past year, our first responders remained on the front lines, standing between our community and danger, despite a litany of new risks and challenges,” Longietti said. “Securing this funding will help them with essential needs such as training, building repairs and restoring unanticipated expenses created by the pandemic.” Longietti said the following fire companies will receive grants in these amounts: Clark Volunteer Fire Department – $12,767. Farrell Volunteer Fire Department Inc. – $11,876. Greenville Fire Department – $13,302. Greenville Fire Department (EMS) – $8,993. Greenville Volunteer Fire Company – $11,698. Sharon Fire Department – $15,000. Sharpsville Volunteer Fire Department – $13,837. Shenango Township Volunteer Fire Department – $12,411. South Pymatuning Township Volunteer Fire Association – $11,698. Transfer Volunteer Fire Department – $13,837. West Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department – $13,302. West Salem Fire Department – $12,233. Wheatland Volunteer Fire Department – $11,698. The grants are made possible by the Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Read more


Sainato announces nearly $109,000 in fire, EMS grants

(Jun 29, 2021)

NEW CASTLE, June 29 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced that eight fire and EMS companies in his district have been awarded $108,974 in state grants for training, equipment and other operating costs. “Frontline workers faced new risks and huge obstacles fundraising because of the pandemic,” said Sainato, who is Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “Securing this funding is going to help get critical resources into the hands of those who continue to protect us so vigilantly.” Sainato said these fire and EMS companies will receive the following amounts: Hickory Township Volunteer Fire Co. – $11,520. Mahoning Township Volunteer Fire Dept – $12,411. Neshannock Township Volunteer Fire Co. – $14,193. North Beaver Township Volunteer Fire Dept. – $12,054. Pulaski Township Volunteer Fire Co. – $12,233. Pulaski Township Volunteer Fire Co. (EMS) – $8,993. Shenango Township Vol. Fire Dept. – $25,159. Union Township Volunteer Firemans Association – $12,411. The grants come from the Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program, which is administered by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner. Eligible projects include Read more


Burns: Local fire companies receive $296,000 in state grants

(Jun 29, 2021)

Burns urges fire, EMS companies to get agreements in before deadline Read more


Merski: Budget full of missed opportunities

(Jun 26, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 26 – Saying that it fell “far short of what the moment requires,” state Rep. Bob Merski cast a “no” vote Friday for the Pennsylvania budget plan. Merski, D-Erie, cited multiple missed opportunities to fully fund education and provide meaningful assistance to small businesses and working families. “Although I was glad to see a $7 million increase to the Erie School District, it's merely 10% of what the governor proposed in his budget,” Merski said. “We had a chance to be bold and finally fully fund education, something we've been talking about for decades now. “We also had an opportunity to invest in our small businesses, including my bill to provide assistance to our local gyms, fitness centers and dance schools, but we left those small businesses hanging while they are still hurting and not fully recovered from the pandemic.” Merski acknowledged that there are some positive aspects to the new state spending plan. “While the shortfalls made it impossible for me to vote for the budget, there are some encouraging aspects to the plan,” Merski said. “Importantly, it holds the line on taxes so it will not add any new burdens on residents, and it will provide rent and utility assistance. "And while education funding fell far short of the full, fair funding we need, the Read more


Longietti/Nelson bill to help rehab patients heads to governor’s desk

(Jun 26, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 26 – A bill headed to the governor’s desk would give families of drug rehabilitation patients a chance at lifesaving intervention when those patients check themselves out against medical advice, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced. House Bill 944 , which Longietti introduced with state Rep. Eric Nelson, R-Westmoreland, would require inpatient rehabilitation facilities to notify a patient’s designated emergency contact – a measure considered best practice but not currently mandated under state law – when the patient leaves addiction treatment against the provider’s advice. “This legislation offers a chance for family members to learn of a loved one’s decision – often impulsive and made under pressure or impaired judgment – to leave treatment and return to the lure of addictive drugs,” Longietti said. “By requiring timely notification of the emergency contact, we are giving family members the chance they deserve, when seconds count, to try to get their loved one to safety. There are no guarantees, but by mandating notification, we are at least opening a window of opportunity.” In April, the House unanimously passed a version of the bill, which was then amended in the state Senate. The amended version clarifies that the provider meets it obligation under the proposed law by making at least one attempt to notify the emergency contact using the method designated by Read more


Harkins votes for new budget, citing strong investments in education

(Jun 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 25 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, issued the following statement after the House and Senate Friday evening passed the new Pennsylvania budget: “I voted to support the budget because it holds the line on taxes and makes critical investments in education, including an increase of $300 million in funding for basic education. From that funding, the budget plan will allocate $100 million to the state’s most grossly underfunded school districts, including the Erie City School District. That investment is long overdue, and it should go a long way in helping to level the playing field and help our students compete for good, family-sustaining jobs. “I am also encouraged by the budget’s investment of nearly $5 million to help support the startup, growth and operation of the new Erie Community College as it attracts students and jobs to the area and builds our workforce. “Finally, the budget allocates $450 million in rent and utility assistance and provides funding to bolster public transit – a vitally important resource for working families. “Despite these investments, the budget contains a number of missed opportunities. For years, residents have been carrying the burden of property taxes without seeing the benefits, and I believe the spending plan missed an important opportunity to provide that relief for taxpayers. Read more


Longietti votes for budget, citing sensible investments, funding to ‘level up’ underfunded school districts

(Jun 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 25 – State Rep. Mark Longietti voted to support Pennsylvania’s new budget plan, which passed the House and Senate this evening. Longietti, D-Mercer, said he believes the $40 billion plan strikes a good balance between funding existing programs and services, reserving “rainy day” funding for future emergencies, and investing to bolster educational resources for school districts where those resources have been lacking. “I’m encouraged that the plan we passed holds the line on taxes while also increasing basic education funding by $300 million,” said Longietti, who is Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee. “That increase includes $100 million to level the playing field for grossly underfunded schools, including those in the Farrell Area, Greenville Area, and Sharon City school districts. “It’s critical to ensure that students from lower-income communities receive the same opportunities to compete for good, family-sustaining jobs as those in wealthier districts. I believe the budget we passed today brings us one step closer to that.” Longietti said other education increases include $50 million for special education; $30 million for early childhood education, and $11 million for early intervention for 3- to 5-year-olds. “Additional support to give kids the right start in life makes a huge difference in determining future success, Read more


Conklin issues 2021-22 budget statement

(Jun 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 25 - State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, issued the following statement on the passage of the state’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget: “This budget will send much-needed education funding to our local schools, one of the key components of the Pennsylvania Rescue Plan that I have supported over the last few months. “We are investing $300 million in K-12 funding, with a third of that set aside for our most underfunded districts. This will help level the playing field and continue our work toward allowing every student – regardless of zip code, a chance to succeed. “The budget also provides an additional $350 million to help students rebound from the disruptions of the past year, due to the pandemic. "While this is good news for our schools, our children and our families, today's budget is, once again, a missed opportunity. This budget does not provide any asisstance to the local businesses impacted during the state COVID-19 shutdown, including restuarants, gyms, salons, and barber shops. It's baffling that, after more than a year of claiming to support small businesses during the pandemic, this budget contains nothing to help them on a path to recovery. We were sent billions of dollars to help our local businesses, and we should be using it, not letting it sit in savings. “And like last year, this year’s budget does not contain a minimum wage increase, Read more


Burns backs no-tax bipartisan budget deal

(Jun 25, 2021)

Rep. Frank Burns voted to pass a no-tax bipartisan budget that invests in education while saving money for the future. Read more


Burns: House approves two bridge-naming proposals

(Jun 25, 2021)

WWII veteran, first responder immortalized Read more


Conklin announces hemp production grant for Penn State

(Jun 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 25 – State Rep. Scott Conklin has announced a $126,730 grant to Pennsylvania State University to support its hemp production efforts. Conkin, D-Centre, said the Pennsylvania Special Crop Block Grant, part of the historic PA Farm Bill , would fund the university’s project, which is focused on optimizing genotype selection and hemp production management practices. “Thanks to the PA Farm Bill, this grant will be beneficial to support this high-priority specialty crop and further support our strong agriculture sector,” Conklin said. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program assists with the growth, certification of seed and marketing of eligible crops, including hemp, hardwoods, honey and hops; and barley, rye and wheat for distilling, brewing and malting purposes only. More information on the grant program can be found at this link: . Read more


Burns: $10 billion excess should fund property tax relief

(Jun 24, 2021)

State flush with cash, hardworking taxpayers deserve break Read more


Conklin: House Bill 1300 is nothing but ‘smoke and mirrors’

(Jun 21, 2021)

STATE COLLEGE, June 21 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, issued the following statement on H.B. 1300 : “This bill is disguised as an effort to protect voter integrity and security but, in reality, it is designed to drive down voter turnout and make it harder and more complicated for Pennsylvanians to cast their vote. “Our past two elections in the commonwealth were fairly run, free and transparent. So, why are Republicans pushing for election audits for each county following an election? Why do they want each voter to have a special ID in order to cast their ballot, severely limit drop boxes and put an end to voting by mail? It’s because they want to silence your voice and your right to vote freely and fairly. That should make you very angry and, rest assured, I will fight this bill. “This is an attempted power grab, plain and simple, by the Republican party. This bill would also add unnecessary barriers to your right to vote, put more governmental bureaucracy upon counties and needlessly delay election results. “I’m truly disappointed that, once again, the leadership in the House is playing politics with a bill that will never be signed into law. We should be focused on how best to use the billions of surplus dollars to provide property tax relief and quality education for our residents. Instead, we are wasting valuable time posturing for corporate donors. It’s time to dispense with the rhetoric and focus on Read more


Burns named co-leader of House Steel Caucus

(Jun 21, 2021)

Looks forward to working with GOP counterpart Read more


Merski kicks off 2021 ‘flag takeback’ program

(Jun 14, 2021)

ERIE, June 14 – As the nation celebrates Flag Day, state Rep. Bob Merski announced that he is kicking off his annual flag takeback program, providing Erie residents an easy way to retire their worn, torn or faded American flags. Merski, D-Erie, is sponsoring the program in partnership with Summit Township to help residents prepare for the July 4 holiday. “If you’re preparing to fly your flag this Fourth and find that the colors are faded or the cloth is a bit worn or tattered, you can bring it to our office, and we will retire it for you,” Merski said. “You can rest assured that we will dispose of it properly, with the respect and dignity Old Glory deserves.” Merski said residents can drop off flags at the following office locations: District office - 3901 Liberty St., 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summit office - 1230 Townhall Road W., 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday. The program will run through July 16. Read more


Burns seeking nominations for annual Charlie Vizzini Volunteerism Award

(Jun 14, 2021)

Award celebrates individual’s outstanding service to their communities Read more


Longietti hosting June workshops on Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

(Jun 11, 2021)

HERMITAGE, June 11 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, is hosting two free workshops this month to help residents learn more about the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program and assist them with the application process. “The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program has been around for 50 years and remains one of the most valuable programs the state offers,” Longietti said. “My two workshops this month will help residents learn more about the program, find answers to questions and even get help applying. “This week, the Department of Revenue announced that it was extending the application deadline to Dec. 31, but I encourage anyone interested – particularly those who may be newly eligible for the program – to get a jump on things by attending one of my sessions.” Both workshops will be held from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Dates and locations are: Thursday, June 17 at the Pymatuning Township Building, 256 Edgewood Drive Ext., Transfer, PA 16154. Wednesday, June 23 at the Greenville Municipal Building (Council Chamber Room), 125 Main St., Greenville PA 16125. Longietti said residents who would like help applying for a rebate must bring identification, proof of 2020 income and a statement of 2020 rent paid (or a receipt of 2020 taxes paid, if homeowners.) Walk-ins are welcome, and there is no need to pre-register. Anyone with questions Read more