Senator Judy Ward E-Newsletter

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March 29, 2019

Lawmakers Highlight Bill Offering Tax Credits for Beginning Farmers

Farming is the lifeblood of many communities in our area, and many of our local farms have been passed down for generations. Unfortunately, our current crop of farmers is growing older, and beginning farmers face severe financial challenges in replacing the folks who will soon be ready to retire.

I joined Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Elder Vogel and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman for a news conference this week in support of a bill that would encourage farmers to work with the next generation of leaders in agriculture. The bill would provide a personal income tax credit for property owners who lease or sell their property to beginning farmers.

You can check out video and additional information from the news conference here.

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I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the FFA legislative breakfast along with my colleague, Representative Jim Gregory, and welcome FFA students from Bellwood, Big Spring, Williamsburg and Spring Cove.

I also had a chance to meet with members of the McConnellsburg FFA in Harrisburg last week. It is great to see young people who are passionate about careers in agriculture.

Senate Committee Passes Amendments to Price Gouging Act

Pennsylvania’s Price Gouging Act provides a critical layer of protection for consumers by preventing unscrupulous business owners from taking advantage of state residents during a natural disaster or other emergency. The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee recently took action on a bill I introduced to address problems with the law in order to better protect both businesses and consumers.

My bill would protect consumers by providing stronger guidance for business owners about what kinds of prices would violate the law. It would also protect business owners by reducing the duration of pricing restrictions and limiting the scope of goods that apply.

In some cases, the length of pricing restrictions goes far beyond what is reasonable. For example, restrictions that are put in place following a March snowstorm could still be in place on the Fourth of July. Price restrictions in place due to the governor’s open-ended emergency declaration regarding the opioid epidemic is another example of how well-intentioned laws can create unintended consequences.

More information about my bill is available here.

Great news for Fulton County! My thanks goes out to the First Energy Foundation for supporting the new Dialysis Department at Fulton County Medical Center.

Nominations for Governor’s Awards for the Arts Due April 8

The Governor’s Awards for the Arts honors some of Pennsylvania’s most talented painters, sculptors, musicians, writers and other artists. Nominations for the 2019 awards are due April 8.

Information on how to submit a nomination is available here.

I had a very nice visit with students from the Carlisle Center for Careers and Technology. There are great things ahead for these bright young students!

State Government Committee Examines Voting Machine Issues

The Wolf Administration recently announced plans to decertify and replace all voting machines prior to the 2020 Presidential Election. County governments have expressed serious concerns about this possibility – especially the cost. It is estimated that the plan could cost taxpayers up to $150 million, and very little of that money is coming from the federal government.

This week, the Senate State Government Committee took a closer look at this issue, as well as legislation I am cosponsoring that would delay the replacement of voting machines until we can determine how the new machines will be paid for.

The hearing included input from a number of election experts, including the Department of State, county election directors and county commissioners. Video and written testimony from the hearing is available here.

I had a very special visitor in my office last week –PA Fair Queen Mikara Anderson from Three Springs, Huntingdon County. I enjoyed hearing her story and presenting her a Senate citation!

Senate Passes CPR Education Proposal

As a nurse, I have seen the life-saving value of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) firsthand. The Senate approved a bill this week that would help save lives through greater education and training in CPR.

The bill would strengthen academic guidelines in schools for CPR training in grades nine through 12, while adding hands-only CPR instruction to Pennsylvania’s education curriculum. The legislation would allow Pennsylvania to join the 38 other states that have enacted similar laws.

More information about the bill is available here.

I enjoyed attending the Precious Life banquet at the Jaffa Mosque in Altoona. I am pictured with my son, Bill, and Precious Life Executive Director Scott Manganella.

Senate Approves Measure to Prevent Child Heatstroke Deaths

Last year, 49 children died due to vehicular heatstroke from being left unattended in hot cars. The Senate approved legislation this week that would provide civil immunity for individuals who rescue children from hot cars.

Senate Bill 49 would extend current “Good Samaritan” laws to a person who breaks a window or forcibly enters a parked and locked vehicle to save an unattended child’s life. More information about the bill is available here.

I had the honor of attending Real Alternatives Service Providers Awards Ceremony. The counselors and volunteers of this organization help so many women and children through the free pregnancy and parenting support services. Thank you to Real Alternatives President and CEO Kevin Bagatta for inviting me. Speaker of the House Mike Turzai gave the keynote address.

Cumberland County Dairy Princess Kerstin Cohick and some of her Court made an appearance at their Farm Bureau’s Spring Meeting.

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