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To ensure greater transparency of taxpayer expenses, I have introduced two pieces of legislation that would require collective bargaining agreements and contract offers to school district superintendents and principals to be posted online for public review prior to their finalization. Opening these processes to the public will ensure that negotiations are done fairly and in the best interest of taxpayers.
Senate Bill 168, which was approved by the Senate State Government Committee, would require any proposed collective bargaining agreement to be made available on the public employers’ publicly accessible internet website within 48 hours. Senate Bill 592, which was approved by the Senate Education Committee, would establish a similar waiting period for the hiring of School District Superintendents, Principals and assistant Superintendents and Principals.
Under SB 168, an agreement would have to be posted online two weeks prior and thirty days following the signing of the collective bargaining agreement. Under SB 592, the details of the proposed contract would be placed online after an offer has been made for two weeks prior to the board approving the contract.
Both measures are aimed at reducing government waste and increasing fairness to taxpayers. Taxpayers have a vested interest in the negotiations between public employers and their employees and deserve the right to review contract agreements, after all they ultimately pay the taxes required to pay for these contracts.
For more information on Senate Bill 168, please click here.
For more information on Senate Bill 592, please click here.
Opioid Town Hall Meeting
There will be a Opioid Awareness Town Hall Meeting Monday, May 22 from 6:00pm-8:00pm at the Uniontown Mall across from Dunham’s. This event, sponsored by the Fayette County Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc and the Uniontown Mall addresses some of the major questions surrounding the opioid crisis. That night there will be a Medication Take Back box available for anonymous disposal for any unused/unwanted medications. Come to Uniontown Mall for some information, assistance and community support!
Congratulations to Rostraver
Thanks to the effort of thousands, Rostraver Ice Garden was recognized as the winner of the Kraft Hockeyville USA 2017 title. The award carries with it a $150,000 prize for arena upgrades as well as an NHL pre-season game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the St. Louis Blues to be televised nationally. Congrats to Rostraver, and thanks to everyone who voted!
State Tax Amnesty Program
If you owe back taxes to the state, you can benefit from a new tax amnesty program running now through June 19. This 60-day program offers incentives to settle delinquent accounts, and is expected to generate $150 million in revenue for Pennsylvania. The program does not forgive taxes owed, but it waives penalties, collection fees, lien fees, and half of the interest owed. To be eligible, taxes must have been owed as of December 31, 2015.
This opportunity may not come again, so I encourage anyone who has been fallen behind to take advantage of this 60-day window.
Visit www.revenue.pa.gov for more info.
Legislation Introduced to Combat Blight
Seeking to and help communities remediate properties that have fallen into disrepair, I have introduced legislation, SB 667, that will provide local redevelopment authorities with more authority and resources to combat neighborhood blight. My legislation would grant redevelopment authorities the same powers currently allotted to land banks through the Pennsylvania Land Bank Act, enabling them to take an active role in rehabilitated blighted properties and neighborhoods.
Blighted, abandoned properties can be a danger to the public, increase crime rates and reduce property values. This legislation will give communities another tool to effectively address a growing problem in many areas of our state.
Under my proposal, land banks will continue to remain a successful and useful tool for municipalities in combatting blight. This bill simply provides another tool for municipalities with active redevelopment authorities to use in eliminating blight, rehabilitating properties and improving neighborhoods and communities while saving them money and avoiding costly and timely duplication of services. The Fayette County Redevelopment Authority came to me with very compelling data showing the increase costs some redevelopment authorities have incurred in order to setup land banks. This bill provides a common sense solutions to the problem they presented.
For more information, please visit my website.
Around the district
May 1 was Americanism Day in Uniontown, hosted by American Legion LaFayette Post 51. I was honored to be the 84th Grand Marshal for the parade that wasn't. Mother Nature had other plans today so for the first time ever, the parade was canceled. Enjoyed speaking at their pre-parade dinner and proudly accepted a plaque for being the Parade Marshal. Special thanks to the VFW Band for a great concert and thanks to Post Commander Doria for the honor.
Saturday night Tina and I joined other parents in celebrating the successes of the cadets of Connellsville Area High School JROTC. Great job by all the cadets and congratulations to the graduating senior and all award winners. Wonderful to see so many students learning self-confidence and self-reliance.
It was great to join the PA Coal Alliance in honoring the 2016 Bituminous Coal Queen Morgan Voithofer of Carmichaels Area High School who gave a wonderful address to the Senate on Tuesday. It's an exciting time for Coal in Pennsylvania!
Senate Box 203032
171 West Crawford Ave
118 West Main Street