Senator Ward, J E-Newsletter

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April 12, 2019

Senate Committee Votes to Help Farmers with Barn Wedding Venues

One of the ways that local farms are dealing with the financial pressures of the industry is by hosting weddings, social events and other agritainment events for members of the community. Unfortunately, these venues face the prospect of having to meet costly and onerous building code standards in order to host these events.

In some cases, farmers face the prospect of paying tens of thousands of dollars in order to host these events due to requirements for sprinkler systems and other safety features. These costs make it very impractical for farmers to consider hosting these kinds of events.

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee took an important step toward solving this problem by passing a bill I authored that would set commonsense safety standards for these venues. Under my bill, repurposed agricultural buildings would be required to take a number of precautions – including the availability of functioning smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and signage indicating all exits in case of a fire – but they would not be forced to meet other, more costly requirements that would make hosting weddings and similar events completely impractical.

More information about my bill is available here.

Pharmacy Legislative Day in the Capitol brought pharmacists from all over the state – including our region – to Harrisburg to shed more light on the challenges they face in keeping hometown pharmacies open. It was a privilege to join them in this fight and offer remarks during their rally!

Legislation Would Exempt Milk Trucks from Winter Travel Bans

One of the biggest concerns that local dairy farmers have shared with me is the impact of commercial travel bans during winter weather events. The dairy industry has transportation needs that are unique due to the limited amount of time before the product goes bad; many producers and processors have had to dispose of milk simply because they could not transport it in a timely manner due to the travel restrictions.

I recently joined with my colleague Senator Gene Yaw to propose legislation that would exempt milk haulers from bans imposed during a declaration of disaster emergency. The bill is supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

More information about our proposal is available here.

Lieutenant Governor Recreational Marijuana Legalization Listening Tour 

For those of you interested in expressing your opinion to the Lt. Governor concerning the legalization of recreational marijuana, he is visiting Blair County on Sunday April 14th at the AFSCME Chapter 89 building, 161 Patchway Road, Duncansville, from 2 to 3:30 pm and he will be in Fulton County on Wednesday, April 17 from 6-7:30 p.m at the McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Hall, 112 East Maple Street McConnellsburg, PA 17233

If you cannot attend you can submit your feedback at

I encourage everyone to voice their opinion!

I appreciated the chance to visit with members of the Huntingdon and Fulton 4-H during Capital Days in Harrisburg. 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential by working and learning in partnership with caring adults.

Lawmakers Approve New Protections of Crime Victim Rights

Too often in the criminal justice system, the rights of crime victims do not receive the consideration they deserve. I was proud to support a package of bills this week to protect the rights of crime victims and ensure they have every opportunity to participate in the judicial process.

The package of bills includes measures to give crime victims more rights to attend criminal trials; expand the rights of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism to provide testimony; provide hearsay exceptions for statements made by young witnesses of cases of sexual assault; shield rape victims against irrelevant cross examinations; and provide for a bill of rights for sexual assault survivors.

The bills were approved in recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. More information about the package of reforms is available here.

I was so honored to receive an award from the Associated Builders and Contractors for my A+ record in supporting issues important to these businesses.

It was a pleasure to speak with the Mercersburg Rotary club in Franklin County. What a great group of folks! Here I am pictured with Debbie Taylor and President David Moore.

Resolution Honors Osteopathic Medicine Week in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a national leader in the field of osteopathic medicine. The Senate approved a resolution I sponsored with my colleague Senator Dan Laughlin this week that designates the week of April 14-20 as National Osteopathic Medicine Week in Pennsylvania to honor of all the things osteopathic physicians do to improve the health of our communities.

Video of my remarks about this resolution are available below.  

4/9/19 - National Osteopathic Medicine Week

A.B. Ross Event Helps 4-H Students Learn More About Agriculture

It was a pleasure to host more than 60 students who participate in 4-H in Fulton, Franklin, Huntingdon, Blair, Cumberland and Adams counties for a full-day workshop in Mercersburg. The event helped students gain firsthand knowledge of all of the ways they can help keep their livestock, water and air healthy and clean.

The focus of this year’s A.B. Ross Student Leadership Program was manure management and the important role it plays in a sustainable agriculture program.

My thanks goes out to all of the guest speakers, hosts and students for helping to make this year’s event a great success!

It was a pleasure to meet with Pennsylvania Homecare Association representatives from back home to discuss legislative issues and thank them for their hard work in standing up for senior citizens.

At the Tuscarora Chamber dinner, I had the honor of presenting the Business of the Year Award to Romeo’s Restaurant in Mercersburg. Congratulations to all of the award recipients who were honored!

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