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2015 Year in Review
I deeply appreciated the opportunity to represent the interests of local communities in the Senate in 2015. My first year in office featured some notable successes, including having two bills signed into law and other critical measures advance in the legislative process. Much work remains in the remainder of this legislative session, but I am excited for what the New Year will bring.
A compilation of highlights from last year is available in my 2015 Year in Review here.
Lawmakers Announce Lobbyist Reform Package
One of the most persistent complaints about how state government conducts business is the enormous influence wielded by lobbyists and special interest groups. I recently joined a group of lawmakers in announcing a package of bills designed to reform Pennsylvania’s lobbying system to improve transparency and accountability.
Specifically, I plan to introduce legislation that would require anyone who must file a Statement of Financial Interest to disclose any immediate family member of theirs who is required to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Law, and vice versa. The proposal would simply make it a matter of public record when someone working within the General Assembly has a close family connection to someone who is working to influence the legislative process through lobbying.
Other bills in the package would strengthen reporting requirements for anything of value provided to a state official or employee, expand the number of organizations that must register as a lobbyist, prohibit lobbyists from also working on political campaigns and increase penalties for violations of Pennsylvania’s lobbyist reporting and disclosure laws.
Additional information about the lobbyist reform package is available here.
Veterans Organizations Encouraged To Apply For State Grants
The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is now accepting grant applications to provide financial assistance to organizations devoted to helping veterans across the state. Grants of up to $400,000 will be awarded to veterans’ service organizations and non-profit organizations who focus on meeting the needs of veterans in terms of housing, employment, job training, post-traumatic stress disorder and other emerging needs of veterans and their families. Grants of up to $150,000 will also be awarded to County Directors of Veterans Affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans’ Affairs for outreach initiatives, court initiatives and other unmet needs.
Applications for Veterans’ Trust Fund grants and additional information is available at www.vtf.state.pa.us. The deadline for grant submissions is 4 p.m. on February 5.
Your Input Can Help Find Ways to Cut State Spending
Like all families and businesses, I believe that state government needs to carefully control costs and make tough decisions about spending, before asking hardworking Pennsylvanians to pay more in taxes every year.
Governor Wolf is continuing to push for massive broad based tax increases, which I do not support. We need to look at ways to reduce government spending, cut unnecessary waste and make sure that state government is operating efficiently. That’s where I would like your input.
Please go to my SavePA webpage and send me your suggestions for ways to reduce government spending and save tax dollars. I welcome your input, will review and consider all your suggestions and may even highlight them on my SavePA webpage. I look forward to reviewing the ideas you share with me.
Farm Show Highlights Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Industry
The annual Farm Show in Harrisburg is not only an amazing showcase for every aspect of the state’s agriculture industry, but also a valuable platform for the next generation of Pennsylvania farmers to demonstrate their skills and accomplishments. I attended a number of events at this year’s 100th Farm Show and enjoyed speaking with local participants.
Some of the highlights of this year’s Farm Show are below:
More photos from this year’s Farm Show are available on my website at www.senatorbartolotta.com. Additionally, my recent visit to the Farm Show is featured in this month’s edition of my “Focus on the 46th” television cable program. Learn more about my visit and this event by watching my show 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