|Supporting Small Businesses
With small businesses as the economic engines of our communities, Pennsylvania consumers are encouraged to shop small on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24.
According to the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center, there are nearly 1 million small businesses in Pennsylvania, which employ nearly half of the state’s workforce. Small firms make up 98.2 percent of the state’s employers.
Over the last legislative session, the House Republican Caucus has worked to enhance opportunities for small businesses and job creators in Pennsylvania by modernizing business laws, seeking to reduce burdensome and duplicative regulations, and fighting off harmful and unnecessary tax increases.
One of those measures, which is designed to help budding entrepreneurs, is the Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop. This website, which was based upon legislation initiated in the House, seeks to assist entrepreneurs and businesses at all stages of development. It was launched earlier in 2018.
House Majority Elects Leaders for New Term
With a strong majority going into the 2019-20 legislative session, the 110 members of the House Republican Caucus – including 91 returning legislators and 19 freshmen – elected their leadership team to begin Jan. 1. This is just the second time since 1924 that Republicans have maintained control of the House for more than four terms in a row.
Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) has again been nominated to serve as speaker of the House. He will face an official election to the position on swearing-in day on Jan. 1, 2019. Once official, this will be his third term in the oldest position in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
New to their respective leadership positions are House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), Majority Whip Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), Majority Policy Committee Chairman Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) and Majority Caucus Secretary Michael Reese (R-Westmoreland).
Retaining their respective leadership positions are Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York), Caucus Chairman Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery) and Caucus Administrator Kurt Masser (R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland).
Republicans hold a 110-93 majority in the state House, but two vacancies will exist on swearing-in day.
For nearly four centuries, Americans have come together in the spirit of thanksgiving. From the earliest traditions that began in Plymouth, Mass., to the first official national observance in 1863, families have gathered in November to celebrate bountiful harvests and all that has been given to them.
In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 22, state offices will be closed on Thursday, and my office(s) will also be closed on Friday, Nov. 23. PennDOT Driver License Centers will also be closed Nov. 22-23. If you are traveling, be sure to check 511pa.com for the latest traffic and weather information.
From my family to yours, may you all have a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.
Hunters Can Share Their Harvest
To help families, individuals and seniors who are in need, the Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program has encouraged hunters from across the Commonwealth to share their deer harvest and provide thousands of pounds of venison.
The program partners with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Department of Agriculture and many other sportsmen and charitable organizations. Since 1991, HSH has distributed more than 1.2 million pounds of donated venison.
Hunters can donate all or part of a harvested deer by taking it to a participating processor, which will then distribute the ground venison to food banks and pantries.
In an average hunting season, the HSH program’s goal is to channel about 100,000 pounds of processed venison through the state’s 20 regional food banks, which then redistribute to more than 5,000 local provider charities such as food pantries, missions, homeless shelters and churches, as well as individual families.
To find a list of local processors or for more information, visit ShareDeer.org.
Have You Taken the Broadband Speed Test?
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania and its research partners at Penn State University are continuing to invite Pennsylvania residents to help provide that much-needed information by taking the broadband speed test available here. Your participation will help map broadband access in Pennsylvania, providing a valuable tool as lawmakers work to resolve this issue.
The center hopes that more than 1 million consumers will take the test. Researchers will continue to compile results through 2018, and the test will still be available in 2019 to further offer data to the federal government.
If you have previously taken the speed test, thank you! Your results will help researchers better pinpoint what areas of the state are still in need of accessible broadband service.
The lack of rural broadband access is a major problem in both rural and suburban Pennsylvania, impacting our economy, educational opportunities, health care access and more.