In the second half of the 2019-20 Legislative Session, I will continue to challenge the federal storm water management mandate that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are implementing in Pennsylvania at great cost to local communities, including residents and businesses in Adams County.
Known as the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), the program is supposed to control stormwater runoff in Pennsylvania communities, preventing sediment from reaching and “polluting” the Chesapeake Bay, but the EPA and DEP have failed to sufficiently demonstrate how it will measure each municipality’s contribution to the problem and their success in addressing it.
I view the program as yet another onerous government money grab whereby residents are expected to pay up with little accountability on the part of those taking their money. That is why I am lauding efforts by Antrim Township and the Borough of Greencastle in Franklin County to fight back. They are required to reduce sediment by 245,000 and 142,000 pounds respectively by Dec. 31, 2023, but those numbers are based on models and not quantifiable results from actual stream testing. The municipalities are suspending work on MS4 and are calling on all other townships and boroughs in the county, county officials, and members of the General Assembly and Congress to join them in appealing this unfunded mandate.
I have also learned that some of the municipalities that are implementing the MS4 program are using it to engineer hidden tax increases. They are doing so by attributing a share of the costs of other programs to the MS4 program. This forces taxpayers to pay more to cover MS4 and frees up money in the municipality’s general fund to be spent on public parks or other pet projects that taxpayers might not otherwise approve.
In the second half of the 2019-20 Legislative Session I will also strive to continue working on other key legislative issues such as job creation, economic development, health care, public safety, criminal justice reform and more. The following are highlights of our major initiatives.
Good Jobs for PA
We kicked off 2019 with action on several bills aimed at improving career and technical education and job training opportunities for students and workers looking at a career change. Once again, our state budget invested more than ever in our schools and students. In addition to boosting funding for basic education, we also committed more resources toward career and technical education, special education and higher education.
Helpers and Heroes
In 2019, we passed a package of bills that recognized the challenges facing the fire and emergency medical services providers on whom we rely to protect our communities. We passed more than a dozen bills that encourage volunteerism, enhance access to training and provide more flexible funding options to emergency response organizations.
The House worked to improve the effectiveness of our criminal justice system to strike a balance between holding criminals accountable and protecting public safety. We passed legislation to reduce recidivism, provide certain offenders a second chance and encourage rehabilitation. The House also passed two bills that I co-sponsored to increase the penalties for assault of a prison staff member and preclude the parole board from prematurely releasing an inmate following a minimum sentence if the inmate was convicted of a violent offense while incarcerated.
We also acted on several bills to protect victims of crime, ensuring they are treated with dignity and respect in the criminal justice process. Some of those measures were specifically focused on child victims, including passage of the Hidden Predator Act, a two-bill package designed to address the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse. So far in 2020, we have passed a package of bills that take aim at human trafficking. Pennsylvania ranks 10th in the nation in human trafficking. Our legislation aims to deter this illegal and abhorrent activity and to protect victims, many of whom are women and children.
Recognizing that Pennsylvanians need and deserve ready access to health care, regardless of where they live, the House passed several bills to enhance access to care, especially in rural areas, as well as to remove barriers to treatment and better access to behavioral health and other needs.
I welcome your questions and feedback on these or any other legislative issue. Feel free to contact me at my district office at 717-334-3010, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through my website at www.RepMoul.com. Thank you!