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Senate Sends Highway Worker Protection Bill to Governor’s Desk
Distracted and aggressive driving creates extreme hazards for highway workers and emergency responders in active construction zones. The Senate gave final approval this week to bipartisan legislation I sponsored to better protect highway workers by enacting tougher penalties for irresponsible driving behaviors in work zones, sending the bill to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.
The bill would establish a three-tier punishment system for driving violations in work zones. Fines of up to $1,000 would be levied for aggressive or distracted driving in a work zone, while the most egregious offenses that lead to the death or injury of a highway worker would result in fines of up to $10,000 and suspension of driving privileges for up to a year.
The frequency of incidents in work zones is troubling, and highway workers and their families live in constant fear that the irresponsible actions of a distracted or aggressive driver will ultimately lead to a tragedy. By strengthening the penalties for reckless drivers, we can help limit the dangers faced by the men and women who maintain our vital infrastructure.
Hearing Explores Concerns Regarding EPA’s Clean Power Plan
The federal Environmental Protection Agency recently unveiled the details of its new Clean Power Plan, which enacts severe new emission standards for existing power plants. The new regulations have raised serious concerns regarding the impact on energy prices for consumers and long-term viability of Pennsylvania’s coal industry. The Senate and House Coal Caucuses recently hosted a joint hearing with representatives of the coal industry to further explore the potential effects of the plan and its impact in terms of demand, power generation and jobs.
Testifiers indicated that average wholesale energy rates are expected to increase by 12 to 20 percent under the plan, and the cost of compliance would likely exceed $8 billion annually. The new standards are also expected to force the closure of numerous coal-fired power plants across the country and negatively impact thousands of Pennsylvania jobs in the coal industry.
Video and testimony from the hearing is available here.
Tour of Washington County Airport Highlights Aviation Industry
The aviation industry is a critical component of Pennsylvania’s economy, accounting for nearly $24 billion in total economic activity and supporting more than 300,000 jobs. I was pleased to join members of the Senate Aviation Caucus for a tour of the Washington County Airport this week to learn more about the importance of the state’s 117 general aviation airports.
The tour was preceded by a roundtable discussion of some of the most critical issues facing Pennsylvania’s general aviation airports. I appreciate members of the Senate Aviation Caucus who took the time to visit our area and participate in the tour and discussion, as well as the leaders and staff of the Washington County Airport and Redevelopment Authority for offering us an interesting and detailed glimpse of their operations.
Legislation Would Encourage Investment in Film Industry
The creation of Pennsylvania’s Film Production Tax Credit program in 2004 has helped attract a number of television and film projects over the past decade that have contributed significantly to the state’s economy. I recently joined several of my colleagues in introducing legislation that would improve the existing program and encourage the development of the industry.
Senate Bill 1050 would make several changes to the existing program, including increasing the annual cap on tax credits from $60 million to $75 million, allowing the reissuance of tax credits that were awarded but went unused, and further providing for qualified expenses.
More information about the bill is available here.
For more information on issues of importance to
southwestern Pennsylvania, please visit my website at
www.senatorbartolotta.com and connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/senatorbartolotta)
and Twitter (www.twitter.com/senbartolotta).
SouthPointe District Office
Greene County Office Building