Gebhard to Designate Part of State Route 322 in Honor of Ames

LEBANON – To honor a dedicated public servant, Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-48) is hosting a road designation ceremony for Lebanon County Commissioner Bill Ames on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 4:30 p.m. at the Mt. Gretna Brewery, 2701 Horseshoe Pike, Campbelltown.

A lifelong educator, Ames was a teacher in the Derry Township School District and retired after 30 years. He was also a dedicated public servant, first serving as South Londonderry Township supervisor and then as a Lebanon County commissioner for the last decade.

The sign designating a portion of State Route 322 in South Londonderry Township as the Commissioner William E. Ames Memorial Highway will be placed at the intersection of state routes 117 and 322.

Lebanon County Commissioner Bob Phillips and Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries will provide special remarks. 

CONTACT: Matthew Urban, 717-787-5708

Senate Passes Gebhard Bill to Allow for Energy-Efficient Lighting

HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-48), which would allow outdoor advertisers to use energy-efficient lighting, received unanimous Senate support.

Senate Bill 1093 would amend the Outdoor Advertising Control Act of 1971 to allow for energy-efficient lighting to be installed on outdoor advertising devices, such as billboards, while maintaining compliance with federal regulations.

The bill would only affect existing non-structural lighting fixtures and would not alter the rules for bracing, guy wires or other reinforcing devices. It would not authorize lighting in areas where it was previously prohibited.

“By modernizing the Commonwealth’s outdoor advertising rules, advertisers would be able to operate in a more efficient and environmentally friendly manner while still conforming to federal regulations,” Gebhard said. “It would give advertisers the same opportunity to use energy-efficient lighting that so many of us already enjoy.”

Having received support in the Senate, the bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

CONTACT: Matthew Urban, 717-787-5708

Senate Committees Pass Gebhard Bills to Increase Penalties for Hiring Unauthorized Workers and to Repurpose the Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion at Fort Indiantown Gap

HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Sens. Chris Gebhard (R-48) and Devlin Robinson (R-37) to improve enforcement of the construction industry’s use of the federal E-Verify system was voted out of the Senate Appropriations Committee today.

The E-Verify system, which is administered by the United States Department of Homeland Security, determines the eligibility of employees – both U.S. and foreign citizens – to work in America. The Public Works Employment Verification Act already requires all public construction contractors, and their subcontractors, to use the federal E-Verify system to verify the legal employment eligibility of new hires. However, despite these requirements, the practice of hiring unauthorized workers continues because the enforcement mechanisms are feeble.

“Hiring unauthorized workers and paying them lower wages has given those construction companies an unfair advantage resulting in lower bids. Companies that are doing the right thing and following the law are losing business as a result,” Gebhard said. “Our bill is about more effectively penalizing the bad actors to level the playing field.”

To improve compliance, Senate Bill 1147 would make the financial penalties more meaningful. Rather than the current penalty of $250 to $1,000, violators would face a fine of $2,500 to $25,000. Senate Bill 1147 streamlines enforcement and reduces the need for time-consuming audits by requiring construction contractors to be enrolled in E-Verify upfront and makes it a punishable offense if they are not.

“Companies with strong business ethics should have every opportunity to participate in public construction jobs,” Robinson said. “Enforcing the E-Verify system ensures contractor employees are eligible and authorized to work in the United States, resulting in better business practices. Senate Bill 1147 will create a fairer construction industry, and I am proud to sponsor it with Sen. Gebhard.”

Another bill Gebhard sponsored was passed unanimously by the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee today. Senate Bill 1141 would give the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) the authority to determine the best use of the former Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion and property at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County. The DMVA would be required to provide equivalent facility space to support Pennsylvania service members, veterans and their families, and Gold Star survivor families, which are families who have lost a loved one who was serving in the armed forces.

Both bills now move to the full Senate for consideration.

CONTACT:    Matthew Urban (Sen. Gebhard’s office), 717-787-5708

Senate Committee Passes Gebhard, Robinson Bill to Improve Fairness in Construction Industry

HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Sens. Chris Gebhard (R-48) and Devlin Robinson (R-37) to improve enforcement of the construction industry’s use of the federal E-Verify system was voted out of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee today.

The E-Verify system, which is administered by the United States Department of Homeland Security, determines the eligibility of employees – both U.S. and foreign citizens – to work in America.

Despite the Public Works Employment Verification Act already requiring all public construction contractors and their subcontractors to use the federal E-Verify system to verify the legal employment eligibility of new hires, enforcement is weak.

“Hiring unauthorized workers and paying them lower wages gives construction companies an unfair advantage as those reduced operating costs can translate to lower bids, costing companies that follow the law business as a result,” Gebhard said. “Our bill is about more effectively penalizing the bad actors to level the playing field.”

To improve compliance, Senate Bill 1147 would make the financial penalties more meaningful. Rather than the current penalty of $250 to $1,000, violators would face a fine of $2,500 to $25,000.

Senate Bill 1147 would streamline enforcement and reduce the need for time-consuming audits by requiring construction contractors to be enrolled in E-Verify upfront and make it a punishable offense if they are not.

“Companies with strong business ethics should have every opportunity to participate in public construction jobs,” Robinson said. “Enforcing the E-Verify system ensures contractor employees are eligible and authorized to work in the United States, resulting in better business practices. Senate Bill 1147 will create a fairer construction industry, and I am proud to sponsor it with Sen. Gebhard.”

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

CONTACT:    Matthew Urban (Sen. Gebhard’s office), 717-787-5708

                        Elizabeth Weitzel (Sen. Robinson’s office), 717-787-5839

Gebhard Bill to Support Fort Indiantown Gap Receives Committee Support

HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-48) to allow the state’s Armory Board to advise on more issues pertaining to Pennsylvania’s National Guard received unanimous support today from the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Currently, an armory in Pennsylvania is a building that is used for housing PA National Guard soldiers. However, there are many necessary buildings that serve a wide variety of needs that are not considered part of the armory since no one is physically quartered in them.

Senate Bill 1047 would change this definition to encapsulate all buildings the military uses to be part of the armory, allowing for more efficient oversight.

It would also give the adjutant general (TAG) the option to designate someone to sit on the Armory Board in his place and allow the TAG to authorize rental of properties to government and non-profit agencies such as the Marine League, American Legion and Civil Air Patrol.

“My bill would help the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs manage and maintain properties like Fort Indiantown Gap and others around the commonwealth more effectively,” Sen. Gebhard said. “We have to maximize the resources we have in the most efficient way possible.”

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration. 

CONTACT: Matthew Urban, 717-787-5708

Gebhard Mourns Loss of Dedicated Public Servant Bill Ames

LEBANON – Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-48) released the following statement in response to the recent passing of Lebanon County Commissioner Bill Ames:

Lebanon County Commissioner Bill Ames and Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-48) are pictured earlier this year at an event hosted by the Campbelltown Volunteer Fire Company in Lebanon County.

“In the past few years, I’ve gotten to know Bill well enough to call him a friend and mentor. He was a dedicated public servant, initially as South Londonderry Township supervisor and then as a Lebanon County commissioner. Bill was also a volunteer for many charitable organizations in Lebanon County. In addition to his career as a public school teacher, Bill was a very successful businessman here in the Lebanon Valley as well.

“Above all, I know Bill was truly dedicated to helping his friends, neighbors and community. He will be truly missed. Please keep Commissioner Ames and his family in your thoughts and prayers during these trying times.”

 

CONTACT: Matthew Urban, 717-787-5708

Gebhard Announces More Than $7.4 Million in Grants for 48th District

HARRISBURG – Senator Chris Gebhard (R-48) announced that more than $7.4 million in six Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants were awarded to the district:

  • $2.5 million to construct the Hamilton Health Center in Steelton Borough, Dauphin County. The construction will include medical exam rooms, administrative offices and clinical spaces to support Hamilton Health’s primary care, mental health, substance abuse and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program services. 
  • $2.5 million will be used for the construction and renovation of the former Cocoa Mulch Plant building in Lebanon by Whole Plants Health. This refurbishment will add to the already existing facility’s grow and processing space.  Once completed, this project is expected to add over 100 new jobs in the city of Lebanon.
  • $1.1 million for the construction of Lebanon Valley College’s Nursing and Interdisciplinary Health Education Facility in Annville Township, Lebanon County. This program will help address the critical shortage of qualified nurses in the central Pennsylvania area.  The new Nursing building will contain multiple teaching spaces, including five simulation labs, two skills labs with associated exam spaces, three classrooms and a wet lab.  The faculty area will include private and open office spaces for more than 14 faculty and staff.  Meeting rooms, study areas and support spaces will complete the facility.
  • $600,000 for the construction of a new Fire and Police Safety Building for Swatara Township, Dauphin County. The project will construct two facilities at the Eisenhower Boulevard site, one facility for the Public Safety Department and a support structure for the Highway Department.  Funds will also be used to renovate the existing municipal building.
  • $419,032 for demolition, abatement and renovation associated with the Bio-Behavioral Research and Education Clinical Care Center at Penn State University-Harrisburg in Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County. The new interior spaces will include: patient reception/waiting areas, individual and group therapy rooms, classrooms, and an audiology chamber
  • $300,000 was awarded to Prairie Fire Farms Foundation to demolish and rebuild a 35-stall barn in East Hanover Township, Lebanon County. The overhaul includes new plumbing and electrical, 35 news stalls, equine rehabilitation area and other facilities to become completely ADA compliant.

“I am pleased that I was able to play a role in returning these tax dollars to our district where these projects will benefit all the citizens of the Commonwealth.”  “Each of these projects will have a tremendously positive impact in their communities.”  Senator Gebhard stated “[He] was particularly excited to see these funds will be used to improve access to medical care and health care education to more effectively prepare future health care providers. These grants are truly an investment in our own health.”

RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are state-funded and cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs.

 

CONTACT: Christian Brightbill, 717-787-5708

Gebhard Announces More Than $2.5 Million in Grants for 48th District

HARRISBURG – Five Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) grants have been awarded to the 48th District through the CFA’s Multimodal Transportation Fund Program and Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program totaling more than $2.5 million, according to Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-48).

“These grants bring hard-earned tax dollars back to the 48th District where they belong. The funding will be used for important projects to remove and replace old infrastructure and generally improve the quality of life in our area,” Sen. Gebhard said. “I look forward to seeing the benefit these improvements will have on our communities.”

The first grant, in the amount of $836,326, will be used to extend and connect Davies Drive in Springettsbury Township, York County, by removing a heavily deteriorated bridge that was used to cross a railroad.

The second grant, in the amount of $750,000, will be used to construct a roundabout on Canal Road in Freedom Square in Conewago Township, York County. Freedom Square is a planned mixed-use development that will offer diverse residential, commercial and retail uses.

The third grant, in the amount of $600,000, will be used to replace a bridge along Shirksville Road in Bethel Township, Lebanon County.

The fourth grant, in the amount of $218,000, will be used for improvements – including replacing the baseball field’s backstop and outfield fence, new dugouts, grooming and leveling the field and replacing the bleachers – at Terry Dolan Memorial Park in Newberry Township, York County.

The final grant, in the amount of $100,000, will be used for streetscape improvements along Cumberland Street in the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County.

All five projects were funded by the CFA, which is an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development that administers many of Pennsylvania’s economic development and community improvement programs. 

CONTACT: Matthew Urban, 717-787-5708