New Pipeline Safety Bills
Pennsylvania residents have repeatedly expressed concerns about the safety of our state’s vast network of pipelines. This has especially been the case in densely-populated suburban areas with pipelines, such as here in Chester and Delaware Counties.
Earlier this year, I reported to families in our area that I co-sponsored and voted in favor of three pipeline bills as a member of the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. More recently, two new pipeline safety bills have been introduced that I strongly support.
Firstly, I am one of three co-prime sponsors of a legislative proposal which substantially enhances pipeline oversight and requires advanced leak protection technologies to be used in our state. Senator John Rafferty and Senator Andy Dinniman are the other co-prime sponsors of this legislation, about which more information can be found HERE.
Secondly, I am co-sponsoring a bill introduced by Senator Dinniman that requires pipeline operators to make safety information available to schools that are located within 1,000 feet of a pipeline. More information about this legislative proposal can be found HERE.
As previously mentioned, I am a co-sponsor of three pipeline bills that I also had the opportunity to vote in favor of last spring:
Senate Bill 835 – Provides new regulations for land agents working on behalf of the pipeline industry. More information HERE.
Senate Bill 930 – Requires coordination between pipeline companies and county emergency management personnel to identify high impact areas for potential leaks and the development of emergency response procedures. More information HERE.
Senate Bill 931 – Requires emergency shutoff valves for pipelines in highly populated areas to protect the public from leaks. More information HERE.
I am also a co-sponsor of Senate Resolution 373, which requires a complete review of pipeline safety in Pennsylvania. Details about this proposal can be found HERE. These three bills and the resolution are now before the full Senate for consideration.
Pipelines that run through our communities transport highly flammable and toxic materials. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the General Assembly on bipartisan legislation that strengthens pipeline oversight and safety for local families.
Statewide Video Competition Highlights School Safety
Every Pennsylvanian shares an interest in protecting our schools – especially the young people who attend classes and participate in activities there on a daily basis. A new statewide video competition encourages middle and high school students to share their perspectives on school safety and identify ways to protect against potential threats to their well-being.
The second annual “Talk To Your State Senator” statewide video competition invites students to submit a video entry of no longer than three minutes to highlight ways to improve school safety. I encourage local students to participate in the discussion and speak out for safe schools.
The contest, which is sponsored by the Senate of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, is open to Pennsylvania students in grades 6 through 12. This includes students who attend public or private schools, as well as students who participate in homeschool programs.
A total of $10,000 in prizes will be awarded through the PA 529 college savings program administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury. Entries will be accepted through December 7, and winners will be announced in the spring of 2019.
Contest details are available online here. www.legis.state.pa.us/talk-to-your-state-senator/.
School Bus Safety
As Pennsylvania schools prepare to resume classes, please take the time to review Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law. Students, parents, teachers, administrators, transportation personnel and the motoring public all play important roles in keeping our children safe while on or around the school bus.
Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law
The penalties if convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law include:
For more information, visit: https://www.penndot.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/TrafficSafetyAndDriverTopics/Pages/School-Bus-Safety.aspx.
I would like to extend my warmest congratulations in wishing Nathalie Phillips a very happy 100th birthday!
Assistance for Veterans Available
My partnership with the Pennsylvania American Legion to assist veterans at my Brookhaven office, located at 4110 Edgmont Avenue is continuing this month. A representative from this organization will be at my office on Wednesday, September 26th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
I would like to encourage veterans and their families who have questions about benefits and programs to schedule an appointment for these assistance hours. Appointments can be made by contacting the office at (610) 447 – 3163. This service will be offered the fourth Wednesday of each month.
Major Investment in PA Road Improvements
Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently provided an update on the substantial road improvement work being done throughout the state. These improvements are part of the Resurface PA initiative.
From the Governor’s office:
“Under the Resurface PA initiative, PennDOT has mounted an aggressive campaign to accelerate repaving interstates and attacking potholes across the state’s 40,000 miles of PennDOT-maintained roads, the nation’s fifth largest such system. The program calls for an additional $7 million investment in seven interstate maintenance projects covering potholes and other repairs on 78 miles of roads this year. In addition, these additional investments are planned:
“Together, these commitments will make 17 interstate paving and preservation projects covering 255 miles happen at least two years sooner than scheduled, with projects beginning this year and next year. These accelerated projects, which will preserve the pavement surfaces for at least five to six years, build on the 85 interstate projects covering more than 775 miles that are underway or expected to begin or finish this year.
“A significant part of the work is being financed using savings from other projects since Governor Wolf took office.
“Under ‘Resurface PA’, work is set to begin at the end of the summer to transform a nine-mile stretch of interstate 95 in Delaware County, a section that was last resurfaced in 2007, into a smoother and safer travel experience for motorists.
“Through the end of July, PennDOT used 109,007 tons of patching material, compared to 101,326 tons during the same period in 2017. Department forces improved more than 1,800 miles of roads between January and the beginning of August, including pothole and other work. Also, the number of pothole concerns reported to PennDOT this year climbed to 15,154 through the end of July compared to 7,261 in 2017 and 4,135 in 2016. The investment in pothole repairs totaled $41 million through July and an additional $31 million in repairs is planned through October.
“In addition to the Resurface PA contracted paving projects that are in process or design, these projects are underway:
“Motorists can report potholes and other highway-maintenance concerns on state routes at www.customercare.penndot.gov or by calling PennDOT’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623).
“Motorists are asked to be as specific as possible when providing locations of maintenance concerns. Motorists should report the county, municipality, street name, and state route number, which can be found on small black and white signs posted along state highways. In addition, a description of any familiar landmarks would be helpful for PennDOT to locate the problem area. Maintenance concerns will be corrected as soon as possible. Emergency road repairs, such as road wash-outs, are handled on a top-priority basis.
“The 1-800-FIX-ROAD number should not be used to report traffic accidents, disabled vehicles or other emergencies. Motorists should continue to call 911 to report these types of emergencies.
“Join the conversation on social media with #PotholePatrol. Visit PennDOT on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennsylvaniadepartmentoftransportation and Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennsylvaniadot, or visit us on Twitter at @PennDOTNews.
Performance-Based Budgeting Kicks Off
Work has begun on transforming the Commonwealth’s incremental budgeting system as a result of legislation I supported.
Senate Bill 181, now Act 48 of 2017, directs the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) to work with state agencies to conduct systematic analysis of programs that are based on performance measurement and established benchmarks with the potential to reallocate funding from programs that do not work to those that generate positive outcomes. The IFO will use information gained from these reviews to develop performance-based budget plans for each agency.
Under Act 48, each Commonwealth agency is subject to a performance review every five years; a review process that has just begun for the Department of Criminal Justice, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission, the Department of Banking and Securities and the Department of General Services. In addition, the IFO will also conduct reviews of the Film Tax Credit, the New Jobs Tax Credit and the Historic Preservation Incentive Tax Credit.
In the next several months, the IFO will be assessing agency program performance and intends to present its performance-based budget plans to an independent board comprised of the Secretary of the Budget and the Majority and Minority Chairs of the Appropriations Committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The plans are expected to be presented in January 2019 and will focus on program performance in recent fiscal years.
How I Can Help
My offices provide many services to families in our area. Here are some of the ways we can help.
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