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State/County - Bensalem Township

Battle Over Emergency Order Winds up in PA Supreme Court

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Now its in the courts hands. 

Governor Tom Wolf on Friday filed court papers with the state Supreme Court to challenge the state legislatures “unilateral” end run on his administrations emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic

Wolf said he anticipates a brief legal battle because only the Governor can end the order, not the General Assembly. 

The court filing says the state Constitution requires the General Assembly to present the resolution to Wolf for his approval or disapproval. Wolf is asking the court to rule that the resolution has no legal force if it is not presented to him.

The March 6 shutdown order has helped beat back the rise in COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth the filing said. 

The court filing says the legislative resolution seeks to get around “the Commonwealth’s carefully planned reopening process.”  Adding the resolution threatens the checks and balances system of the state. 

The Wolf administration asked the court to rule quickly on the issue because the conflict between the legislative and executive branches is causing confusion in the public mind. 

“The constitution is pretty clear on this, but just to make sure we are going to take it to the courts to make sure we are not missing something,” said Wolf after the court filing was made public. 

Generally Assembly Republicans disagree and point to the bi-partisan support of the resolution. 

“As evidenced by the bipartisan vote in the House and Senate, ending the declaration now is in the best interest of ensuring Pennsylvania can recover effectively and efficiently,” Cutler said. “If the governor chooses to openly violate the plain reading of the law, we will examine all legal actions available to us to act in the best interest of the residents of the Commonwealth,” said House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R), earlier this week.  

According to BerksMontNews.com  Senate Republican’s are seeking a court order forcing Wolf to file a proclamation ending the state of disaster emergency. 

Now the public waits. 

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Bucks Co Appoints New CEO of Library System

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Bucks County has a new library system director.

The Bucks County Free Library (BCFL) Board of Directors appointed Dana Barber as the library system’s new chief executive officer at their June 17, 2024 board meeting.

She assumed the role beginning on July 15.

Barber has served as director of the Margaret R Grundy Memorial Library in Bristol Borough for the past 10 years, with a focus on creating strategic partnerships to enhance library services.

She received the 2023 Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Library Association in recognition of her leadership skills.

“I’m looking forward to working with the dedicated team at BCFL to continue to enhance library services and foster meaningful relationships with patrons and partners,” Barber said.

Barber is excited by the new opportunity to share her vision for public library services as leader of the county system.

“Our libraries are vibrant community hubs providing access to high-quality information, essential support and education, and equitable spaces. They truly are for everyone!” she said.

Outgoing Chief Executive Officer, Martina Kominiarek, has served as the library’s CEO for more than 20 years.

“With Dana at the helm, I’m confident we’ll continue to thrive and innovate, serving our communities in even more dynamic and impactful ways,” she said.

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Rep Davis: We’re Addressing Constituent Complaints on Proposed Aqua Rate Increase

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State Rep Tina Davis said recently we have heard your concerns regarding the proposed AQUA rate increase and I have signed on to a letter to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission opposing AQUA’s request.

“Aqua made the request to the PUC, citing the need to improve the system’s infrastructure. While I agree that improvements are needed, customers’ bills currently include distribution system improvement charges, indicating that funds are already being allocated for the infrastructure updates.”

Also, the net income of Essential Utilities, AQUA’s parent company, grew 7% in 2023, therefore, it is apparent that the company is profitable and financially stable, Davis said

What can you do about this? Here is the link where you can file your concerns with the PUC regarding this proposal.

The PUC will also schedule public hearings on the proposed rate hike. Please follow my Facebook and X pages as we will update when the dates of the hearings are announced. she said.

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Prokopiak Measure to Increase Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program Becomes Law as Part of State Budget Package

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State Rep. Jim Prokopiak’s bill that will help Pennsylvania’s economy by expanding the state Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program was included in a Fiscal Code bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Josh Shapiro on July 11.

Prokopiak initially proposed expanding the Historic Preservation Tax Credit from $5 million to $20 million, starting in 2025 as H.B. 2358. The language of the legislation was added into the Fiscal Code bill, which is part of the state budget package. 

 “Investing in preserving our historic structures does two things,” Prokopiak said. “It not only helps to better tell the story of our commonwealth’s history, but it also is an economic driver as it helps turn these structures into income-producing properties.”

 Every $1 million invested into an historic rehabilitation project generates 6.4 direct jobs and 5.6 indirect jobs in Pennsylvania, which outperforms every other industry, according to Prokopiak.

 Of the 37 states that have a similar tax credit, Pennsylvania had the fourth-lowest cap of $5 million. The increased investment is necessary, as the need for funding is greater than the cap, Prokopiak said. For the 2022-23 fiscal year, 31 projects requesting a total of $12.7 million in tax credits were forwarded to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for approval of the projects’ rehabilitation plan. With the annual program cap set at $5 million, 22 of those projects were ultimately awarded credits, using 100% of the total amount available.

 Prokopiak represents the 140th Legislative District comprising Falls, Morrisville, Tullytown and part of Middletown in Bucks County.

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