|Tour of MarkWest Energy Plant
The MarkWest Energy Company, which has operations in many parts of this region, hosted a tour of its Houston, Pennsylvania plant this week. MarkWest is a natural gas gathering, processing and transportation company, and is one of the area’s largest employers.
I toured the plant along with Reps. Justin Walsh, Jason Ortitay and Hal English.
District Office Closed Friday, March 31, at Noon
My staff and I will be participating in the annual Fayette Chamber of Commerce event, the Fayette Chamber Challenge, on Friday, March 31.
The district office will be open that day at 9 a.m., but will close at noon. After that time, you can leave a phone message at (724) 438-6100.
Is PA Ready for Self-Driving Cars?
With highly automated vehicle technology currently being tested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania could be at the forefront of this type of transportation, even though state law never anticipated this type of advancement.
That’s why members of the House and Senate Transportation committees learned more about highly automated vehicles, known as driverless or self-driving cars, during a joint hearing on Tuesday. The goal involves striking the right balance between encouraging innovation and ensuring public safety.
The hearing featured testimony from National Conference of State Legislatures, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania State Police, Carnegie Mellon University, Uber, General Motors, the Global Automakers, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania.
Experts in the field have said that driverless cars can lead to greater safety, mobility, innovation and economic development. Several of the cars were also on display after the hearing.
Discount Vehicle Registration to Expand to More Retirees
More retirees on fixed incomes would be able to apply for discount vehicle registrations under legislation that passed the House on Tuesday.
Currently, PennDOT offers a vehicle registration at a discounted rate of $10 to retirees who receive Social Security or other pension income that does not exceed $19,200 annually. Only one vehicle per person may be registered at the discounted rate.
House Bill 188 would increase the income limit to $23,500, the same threshold set for the state’s PACENET prescription drug assistance program. The income limit for the program was last increased in 1998. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Additional information about the existing program is available at dmv.pa.gov.
Restitution Package Seeks to Help Crime Victims
To make it easier for crime victims to receive the restitution owed to them, the House passed four bills designed to make sure criminals pay their legal obligations.
The bills would make it easier for counties to collect restitution; authorize wage attachment; require that any bail money be applied to restitution; and require that correctional facilities make minimum deductions from the wages and personal accounts of inmates.
In addition to meeting restitution, the bills also contain provisions that would require criminals to also address any owed court costs, fines and other obligations.
The bills now head to the state Senate.
Celebrating Women’s History
To celebrate the contributions of women throughout the Commonwealth’s history, House Resolution 88 recognizes March as National Women’s History Month in Pennsylvania.
This year’s theme is Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business, which recognizes women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force and demonstrated that women can succeed in leadership roles in whatever jobs and careers they pursue.
House Resolution 88 passed the House unanimously on March 20.
For more information, click here.