Mar. 10, 2017

Concealed Carry Seminar Coming Saturday, April 22

 
I would like to invite you to my first Concealed Carry Seminar on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Farmington Volunteer Fire Department, 119 Elliotsville Road in Farmington. This is an opportunity to learn the facts about Pennsylvania’s concealed carry laws and the Castle Doctrine.

Our main speaker will be Kim Stolfer, president of Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Against Crime.

Also speaking at the event will be Attorney Ed Bilik, Esq., and representatives from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Game Commission

Seating is limited and advance registration is required. If you would like to attend, please register online at RepDowling.com, or call my district office at (724) 438-6100.
 


 

I enjoyed speaking to members of our business community at the Fayette Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon this week.
 
 
Is I-Gaming in the State’s Future?


 
This week, the House Gaming Oversight Committee and the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee discussed potential changes to the gaming industry, including an expansion as a way to raise much-needed state revenue.

Much of the hearing focused on the pros and cons of internet gaming and the impact it would have on brick-and-mortar facilities within the state, along with other measures contained within House Bill 392. That legislation also includes provisions designed to improve consumer protections, rein in the black market and off-shore gaming operators, and address a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court regarding the share of casino revenue directed to local governments.

Since casino gaming was authorized in 2004, the industry has generated more than $11 billion in tax revenue and created 18,000 jobs.
 
 
Asking State Employees for Money-Saving Solutions

 

A new effort to help save taxpayer money by asking state employees for their ideas was announced this week by the House Appropriations Committee.

The program, State Employees Achieving Savings (SEAS), will ask state employees, who can remain anonymous, about their strategies to better streamline services and be more efficient. Retired state employees are also being encouraged to participate.

State employees – from any department anywhere in the state – can click here to submit their ideas. The submissions will then be reviewed and possibly implemented.

The committee emphasized that no idea is too small for consideration.
 
 
Education, Human Services Focus of Budget Hearings


The House Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member, wrapped up its three-week series of budget hearings Thursday, with two full days of questions about the education and human services aspects of the governor’s proposal.

Monday’s hearing featured the Department of Education, including details about increased funding for basic and higher education, and whether additional state investments are being directed into the classrooms.

Questions about the opioid crisis, child care, food stamps, Medicaid and specific programs for those with developmental and physical disabilities were the focus of Tuesday’s hearing, with members asking details about waiting list for services, program eligibility, and federal and state matching funds.

During its appearance, the state police answered questions about the governor’s proposed $25 per person fee for coverage in municipalities without their own police protection.

The final hearing involved the Office of the Budget and included questions about the governor’s overall $32.4 billion spending plan and the estimates on a number of cost-saving initiatives.

The Appropriations Committee will take the testimony gathered from these hearings into negotiations for the 2017-18 budget. All of the hearings and written testimony are available here.
 
 
Many Museums Offering Free Admission This Sunday

 
To help the Commonwealth celebrate its 336th birthday on Charter Day, the Joseph Priestly House in Northumberland is one of several historic sites offering free admission on Sunday, March 12.

Pennsylvania was created when England’s King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn in 1681. Once each year, the Pennsylvania State Archives displays the original document, for a limited time, at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. For the remainder of the year the charter is safeguarded in a special vault within the archives.

Charter Day celebrates the founding of the Commonwealth and gives visitors to The State Museum of Pennsylvania a rare opportunity to see the original Charter of Pennsylvania written in 1681. The document is on display through March 17.

For a complete list of the participating museums and historic sites in this year’s celebration, click here.
 


 

I enjoyed visiting with the students at Head Start in Masontown this week. As part of Read Across America, their teachers invited me to come into the classroom to read a book. The kids (mostly age 4) were well behaved and asked great questions.
 
 
Spring Ahead: Turn Clocks Ahead One Hour This Weekend
 
 

Daylight saving time will begin on Sunday, March 12, at 2 a.m., and residents are reminded to turn their clocks ahead one hour Saturday night.

This is also a good time to check and/or change batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, which should also be replaced every 10 years. Daylight saving time will end on Nov. 5.
 
 
My Audio Podcast

 
I am recording audio Legislative Report podcasts on a periodic basis. You can listen to them by clicking on the Audio Podcast link above the headline in this email, and all future ones.

All podcasts are on my website as well at RepDowling.com. Just click on the audio section in the left column.


 
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