Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year and a healthy, safe and prosperous 2016.
In this Edition of the E-Newsletter:
Governor Reduces, Signs State Budget Bill
While there is still work to be done to reach a compromise on a final 2015-16 state budget deal, the Senate and House of Representatives passed a $30.26 billion budget – House Bill 1460 – that included an additional $100 million for basic education, $30 million for special education and $30 million for Pre-K Counts and Head Start programs over 2014-15 budget levels.
However, Governor Wolf used his line-item veto powers before signing this legislation into law, reducing the enacted budget legislation to a $23.4 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16, including six months of funding for schools and funding at Fiscal Year 2014-15 levels for many other programs and services.
Notwithstanding the line-item vetoes by the Governor, this enacted legislation still allows funding, that has been held up during the budget impasse, to start flowing to school districts and vital human services organizations and agencies. It also ensures that federal dollars continue to be distributed while budget negotiations continue.
100th Pennsylvania Farm Show is Underway
The 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show is currently taking place in Harrisburg this week. The Farm Show started on January 9 and runs through tomorrow, Saturday, January 16. The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, featuring 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors.
According to a report issued by the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau, the 2015 show had an estimated economic impact of $95 million to the south-central Pennsylvania region, supporting more than 18,000 jobs over the course of the event.
The show’s hours for today are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the competitive exhibits and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the commercial exhibits and the food court and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the competitive exhibits and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the commercial exhibits and the food court. Admission is free and parking is $15 in Farm Show lots. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessible from nearby Interstate 81.
For more information about the 2016 show, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us.
State Championship Softball & Boys Volleyball Teams Visit PA Capitol
I was pleased to welcome the 2015 PIAA Class 4A State Champion Parkland High School softball team and the 2015 PIAA Class 3A State Champion Parkland High School boys volleyball team to the Senate Floor.
Beat Cabin Fever with Special B&B Deals
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (PABBI), recently announced the return of the seasonal “Cabin Fever” promotion available to travelers who are ready to beat the winter blues.
During the month of January, travelers are encouraged to book a night stay with a participating bed-and-breakfast (B&B) in order to receive the second consecutive night at a free or discounted rate throughout the month. A list of eligible properties is available at www.painns.com .
To kick off the promotion, the Tourism Office launched a Facebook sweepstakes to promote the many family-owned destinations that are members of PABBI. The “Cabin Fever’ sweepstakes grand prize winner will receive a two-night stay at the 1825 Inn Bed and Breakfast near Hershey, while two runners-up will be awarded a $100 gift certificate redeemable at any PABBI member property.
Entry to the sweepstakes is now available at www.facebook.com/visitPA though January 29. Winners will be announced via Facebook in February.
2016 Youth Wildlife Art Contest Accepting Entries
Pennsylvania’s young artists, in grades six through 12, are eligible to participate in the 2016 Youth Wildlife Art Contest presented by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The annual Youth Wildlife Art Contest focuses on Pennsylvania’s Endangered and Threatened Species. Submitted artwork may be horizontal or vertical on 12-inch by 9-inch heavy weight paper, which is no more than a quarter inch thick. Accepted mediums include oils, pastels, color pencils, water colors, acrylic, charcoal, graphite, black and white or color.
Artwork must be postmarked on or before January 29, 2016 and submitted along with the 2016 Youth Wildlife Art Contest entry form.
Lehigh Valley Homeless Veterans Task Force
The Lehigh Valley Homeless Veterans Task Force will be conducting a coordinated Stand Down and Veterans Resource Fair on Thursday, January 21 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Veterans Sanctuary (24 South 5th Street, Allentown, PA 18101). Veterans and their families will be able to learn about various community agencies and take advantage of available resources including: clothing, cold weather gear, VA medical services, utility assistance and food. For more information, call 610-770-9781.
There has also been a Homeless Veterans Resource Hotline established at 484-725-6644 that is a tremendous resource to connect homeless vets with community resources in our area.
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