Feb. 24, 2017

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 The latest news from the State Capitol


Applications Now Available for Valley Forge Military College Legislative Scholarship

A single $12,000 annual scholarship to Valley Forge Military College is available for a student residing in the 117th District.

Students seeking participation in the Valley Forge Military College Legislative Appointment Initiative for the 2016-17 school year must have a minimum SAT score of 1,000 or a 17 on the ACT and an overall grade point average of 2.5. Extracurricular activities, community service and leadership will also be considered.

Prospective applicants should contact the Dallas district office at (570) 675-6000, or the Tunkhannock district office at (570) 836-4777 for an application. Candidates who have questions about the program, the college or the completion of the application should contact Dylan Hileman at the Valley Forge Military College by calling (610) 989-1402. The deadline for students to apply to my office is Friday, March 17.

The scholarship is funded by the college and no state allocations are made to the program. Any student is eligible for the scholarship, not just those with previous affiliation with the Armed Forces. Applicants are cautioned not to submit their application through the college’s website if they are seeking consideration for this scholarship.
 
 
Budget Hearings Commence
My colleagues and I on the House Appropriations Committee were briefed Tuesday on the state’s financial status during the first week of budget hearings.

The Independent Fiscal Office, a non-partisan state agency, confirmed an anticipated shortfall of at least $2.5 billion by July 1, 2018, reflective of sluggish economic growth, rising health care and pension costs, and an aging workforce. That shortfall can be reduced by substantive changes in public policy.

Next week’s hearings will include appearances by the majority of state departments, along with the judiciary, Public Utility Commission, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and the PA Liquor Control Board.

To view the schedule or archived video of the hearings, click here.
 
 
House Committee Examines EMS Councils, Community College Training Bills

 
Members of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee held two meetings this week to discuss further efforts to efficiently deliver emergency medical services, improve fire and EMS training, and meet veterans’ needs.

Tuesday’s meeting involved a discussion of the consolidation plan for the Regional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Council System, which is overseen by Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Bureau of EMS.

On Wednesday, the committee was updated on the Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission and discussed the fire/emergency medical services training available through community colleges.

To watch those hearings, click here. 
 
 
Natural Gas Royalty Legislation Reintroduced

I am continuing the effort to bring fairness to our landowners who hold natural gas leases through legislation designed to guarantee a minimum one-eighth (12.5 percent) royalty on unconventional gas well drilling.

I am joined by several of my colleagues, Reps. Matt Baker, Tina Pickett, Garth Everett and Jonathan Fritz in sponsoring House Bill 557.

The problem being addressed in this legislation is the deduction of “post-production” costs by drilling companies that drain the royalties of leaseholders unfairly. This was not the legislative intent of the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act (Act 60 of 1979), which clearly states that leaseholders shall not receive less than the 12.5 percent royalty, regardless of costs.

A 2010 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling stated that the General Assembly is the proper venue in which to address this issue.

We need to ensure that the deduction of costs does not cause the leaseholders to lose their guaranteed one-eighth minimum royalty payment.
 
 
Keep PA Beautiful!

 
As part of the 2017 Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania, registration is now open to organizations that wish to organize a wide range of beautification projects.

Registered cleanup events can get free trash bags, gloves and safety vests from PennDOT district offices, while supplies last. Events can be litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, beautification projects, special collections and educational events.

In addition, the Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association are sponsoring “Let’s Pick It Up PA – Everyday” from April 18 through May 8. During this time, trash collected at registered events can be taken to participating landfills for free or reduced-cost disposal with prior approval.

The 2017 Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania runs from March 1 to May 31. Last year’s campaign included 6,118 events in all 67 counties with 158,821 volunteers.

To register an event, click here
   
 
Be Informed of New State Traffic Laws

With this week being observed as Highway Safety Law Awareness Week, PennDOT reminds motorists of several new highway laws.

The Child Passenger Safety law update, which went into effect in August 2016, states that children are required to be buckled into a rear-facing car seat until they are age 2 or meet the maximum weight or height requirements set by the manufacturer of the seat.

“Daniel's Law,” now in effect, increases the penalty for texting while driving resulting in serious bodily injury or death.

To improve pedestrian safety, a driver of a vehicle emerging from or entering an alley, building, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian approaching on any sidewalk extending across the alley, building entrance, road, or driveway. Failure to do so could lead to a fine and three points on the driver's license. It is illegal to overtake or pass a vehicle yielding to a pedestrian within a crosswalk.

Under a new law passed by the General Assembly last year, drivers convicted of a first-time offense with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent or higher after August will be mandated to use ignition interlock for at least a year.
 
 
Satellite Hours Are Back!

 
On Wednesday, March 1, a member of my staff will be at the Dalton Borough Building, located at 105 West Main St., Dalton, from 10 a.m. to noon to provide assistance with Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms, PennDOT paperwork and more.

On Wednesday, March 1, the American Legion will hold office hours at the Tunkhannock district office, located at 133 West Tioga St., Suite 4, in Tunkhannock from 10 a.m. to noon.

A claims consultant from the American Legion will provide the assistance. Area veterans may seek assistance and information pertaining to specific benefits and programs. Additional meetings will be held on the first Wednesday of every month.

A caseworker for U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Hazleton) will be at the Tunkhannock district office on Monday, Feb. 27, from 10 a.m. to noon. Assistance will be available for constituents who are having problems with federal agencies and programs, and constituents are encouraged to bring documents they have received from federal agencies related to their issues.
 
 
Turnpike Commission Offering Summer Jobs

 
For this summer, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is accepting applications for toll, maintenance, clerical and engineering positions.

Toll collectors must be available to work any of the three shifts over a 24-hour period, including weekends and holidays. Employees will work a 40-hour week and will not receive benefits. The pay is $11.50 per hour for toll collectors and $11 per hour for other positions.

All eligible candidates must be at least 18 years of age and completed a secondary education program such as high school or GED at the time of hiring. The program is limited to 16 weeks per employee and runs between May 1 and Sept. 30.

All applications MUST be submitted online at paturnpike.com/employment. Copies of online applications should be sent to my Harrisburg office by Wednesday, March 22.
 
 
Lackawanna County Concealed Carry Seminar Set for April 11

Registration is now available for my first concealed carry seminar of 2017, which will be held on Tuesday, April 11, from 6-8 p.m. at the Dalton Fire Hall. The seminar is free and open to residents of the 117th Legislative District who are interested in learning more about our state’s concealed carry laws.

For more information and to register, visit Rep.Boback.com or call my Tunkhannock district office at 570-836-4777.
 

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Office Locations
1108 Twin Stacks Drive, Dallas PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 West Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657| Phone: (570) 836-4777
314-C Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117
Email: kboback@pahousegop.com
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