State Capitol Roundup
9/20/2013

House Labor and Industry Committee Continues to Examine Prevailing Wage

The House Labor and Industry Committee met in Johnstown this week to conduct the third in a series of hearings to discuss updates to Pennsylvania’s outdated Prevailing Wage Act.  Testifiers included township managers, supervisors, a county commissioner, a city manager and union officials.  Pennsylvania’s Prevailing Wage Act requires municipalities and school districts to pay the “prevailing minimum wage” to those individuals working on public construction projects without specifying how the wage is determined, often resulting in inflated public project costs for municipalities.  The act has not been updated since 1963.  An additional hearing on the issue is scheduled for Lycoming County on Sept. 26.

House Appropriations Committee Examines Agriculture, Tourism Industries

Members of the House Appropriations Committee held two public hearings in Gettysburg this week to focus on two of Pennsylvania’s leading industries – agriculture and tourism.  The first hearing examined the impact of tourism on the state’s economy.  Tourism is a $39 billion industry in Pennsylvania that generates $3.8 billion in tax revenue and supports more than 450,000 jobs.  The committee also addressed what state government can do to further leverage state tourism spending to support economic growth and development.  It is estimated that for every dollar the state spends on tourism promotion, it receives a $267 return on that investment.  The second hearing focused on agriculture, the state’s top industry.  With $5.7 billion in cash receipts annually from production agriculture, Pennsylvania farmers and agribusinesses are the leading economic driver in our state.  In addition to production agriculture, the industry also raises revenue and supplies jobs through support services such as food processing, marketing, transportation and farm equipment.  In total, production agriculture and agribusiness contributes nearly $57 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy.

September is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

This month is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and Saturday, Sept. 21, is World Alzheimer’s Day.  In Pennsylvania, as many as 400,000 people are likely affected by this devastating disease.  Currently, the Alzheimer’s Disease State Planning Committee, a group comprised of various stakeholders in the Alzheimer’s community, is holding meetings around the state to develop a long-range strategy to care for individuals suffering from the disease and to help provide support to affected families and caregivers.  The planning committee is currently seeking the public’s input as they develop a comprehensive state plan by February 2014 to address Alzheimer’s disease in the Commonwealth.  To participate in the survey, visit Rep. Kerry Benninghoff’s (R-Centre/Mifflin) website at www.KerryBenninghoff.com and click on “Alzheimer’s Disease State Planning Committee Survey” on the left-hand side.
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