Aug. 30, 2019

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Learning More About Ride Sharing

On Tuesday, I joined some of my House colleagues in a tour of UBER Advanced Technology Group. The company now employs more than 1,000 people in Pittsburgh.

Capitalizing on Technology for Education
Recognizing the impact missing school can have on a student’s education, the General Assembly recently adopted two new laws to make better use of technology to limit, or even eliminate, these impacts.

Act 18 of 2019 creates the Keystone Telepresence Education Grant Program to provide funding to intermediate units for the purchase of equipment and related services to support homebound students. Telepresence technology may include a robotic device that resembles an iPad mounted on a mobile Segway unit that allows real-time communication between students who are homebound and their classrooms. The technology is valuable for children with extended absences due to chronic illness, such as cancer, or recovery from surgery or injuries.

Act 64 of 2019 allows school districts, intermediate units, area vocational-technical schools and charter schools to establish a “flexible instructional day” program to use when school is closed due to weather, damage to the school building, disease epidemic or other temporary circumstances. Under the law, no more than five flexible instructional days may be used during a school year.

Act 64 takes effect this Saturday, Aug. 31, while Act 18 will take effect Sept. 26.

Protecting PA Wildlife
The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) recently announced formation of the Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program, a new partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) that will take a more active stance against diseases that impact wildlife in the Commonwealth.

These illnesses include chronic wasting disease (CWD), which poses a serious threat to Pennsylvania’s economy and the sport of deer hunting by negatively impacting the deer population; and West Nile Virus, the mosquito-borne disease that threatens human health and has endangered Pennsylvania’s state bird, the ruffed grouse.

With regard to CWD, the goal of the partnership is to more quickly process deer samples submitted for testing by hunters. It currently takes weeks to months to obtain test results.

The program will have 12 employees, one of which will work at PGC headquarters in Harrisburg. The others will be based in Chester County at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center.

Traveling Over Labor Day? Check Traffic Conditions on
Travelers can log onto to check current traffic impacts from construction, traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 770 traffic cameras. The service is free and available 24 hours a day.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

Travelers are always reminded to buckle up, put their phones away and stay sober when behind the wheel.

PennDOT Driver License Centers Closed for Holiday Weekend
All driver license and photo centers, including the full-service center in Harrisburg, will be closed Saturday, Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 2, in observance of Labor Day. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website,

State Police Seeks Horse Donations
The Pennsylvania State Police is asking the community for donations of horses to support its mounted patrol unit. The department maintains a stable at the academy in Hershey and relies on donations to fill a complement of 28 horses. The animals are deployed statewide for searches, crowd control, security and patrol of remote areas. They also participate in parades, demonstrations and other community events.

Donated horses must be geldings between the ages of 5 and 15 years old and stand between 16 hands (5 foot 4 inches at the shoulder) and 18 hands tall. Draft and draft-crosses are the preferred breed. Thoroughbreds and other “hot bloods” are less desirable.

Animals must have quiet, sound dispositions and be free of serious stable vices. Horses will be accepted on a 120-day trial basis to determine their suitability. A veterinary examination will also be performed.

Upon retirement, state police horses are first offered back to their original owners. The department finds them suitable homes if the original owners are unwilling or unable to accept the animals.

To arrange a donation or for more information, contact Cpl. Carrie Neidigh at 717-533-3463 or
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