Government Affairs


Committee Updates:

June 5, 2015 –

The Chamber Government Affairs Committee has been very active! We were pleased to meet with Senator Camera Bartolotta on Friday, May
8th. The purpose of this meeting was to better acquaint ourselves and to discuss our Legislative Priorities, economic development and other
needs in Beaver County. We had a very substantive and helpful conversation that we look forward to continuing during her time in office.
Our committee is planning a trip to Harrisburg on June 17th to advocate Beaver County needs. A team of Chamber members and community
leaders is scheduled to meet with our entire local delegation; the Executive Director of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania;
Secretary of Planning and Policy John Hangar; Governor Wolf’s Chief of Staff Katie McGinty; Governor Wolf; Department of Community and
Economic Development Deputy Secretary Scott Dunkelberger; and Acting Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera. We look forward to sharing
what we learn and discuss in future updates. Have a great summer!

May 5, 2015 –

On Tuesday, April 21, 2015 the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce hosted U.S. Congressman Keith Rothfus for the annual Congressional Breakfast sponsored by Comcast.  Heritage Valley Health System Beaver, once again hosted the event, and Pacer Studios was on site to capture all of the interaction. View the recap and post event interview below.

May 1, 2015 –

Your Beaver County Chamber of Commerce has been active. Not only are our days filled with planning a plethora of diverse events and marketing Beaver County and its business community; we also facilitate meetings to further develop partnerships which will result in Beaver County growth.

One of our main agenda items over the past two years has been to focus on Workforce Development. The Chamber and its partners are doing this through a multilayered initiative called “Beaver County Energy & Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.” You can learn more about this partnership at www.energyampartnership.com and check back in the June “Business” section for an op-ed from one of our partners.

The Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee has also been busy this past month.

  • Friday, March 27 we attended an event hosted by Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Mike Turzai. It was a conference on growing Pennsylvania industries and business activity around and beyond the drilling of Marcellus Shale.  The conference was an opportunity to engage with elected officials and learn how Pennsylvania can safely advance the use of our Natural Gas resources to build a thriving, diverse economy that will provide us with a competitive advantage helping us weather the ups and downs of commodity prices and secure our economic future for generations to come.
  • April 6th was the date that the Beaver County Chamber signed their name to a letter that went to the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation. This letter expressed the concern for the expiration of funding for the Highway Trust Fund and urging them to work with their colleagues in Congress to develop a long-term plan to fund our nation’s transportation system. Transportation infrastructure is a critical factor in attracting and retaining business investment. In 2013, our state’s leaders passed a historic transportation funding package that invests an additional $2.4 billion annually into the state’s transportation network and will result in 50,000 new jobs and 12,000 jobs retained. Yet, without matching resources from the Highway Trust Fund, the benefits of this achievement will be greatly diminished. Passage of a long-term funding bill for the Highway Trust Fund will ensure that southwestern Pennsylvania remains a competitive and attractive place to do business. Our nation needs a bipartisan solution to this issue.
  • April 10th we attended an event at the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. Their guest speaker was Pennsylvania Secretary of the Budget, Randy Albright. The Secretary discussed Governor Wolf’s budget proposal and goals of the administration in this first budget.  Several tax proposals were included in the Governor’s proposal that were discussed, including: Personal Income Tax, Sales, CNI, Severance, and Combined Reporting.
  •  April 21st Congressman Keith Rothfus spoke at the Chamber’s 2015 Annual Congressional Breakfast about energy policies, small business growth, and what has been done so far in the first 100 days of a new Congress.

BCCC Congressional Breakfast April 21 2015

“The Chamber thanks those in attendance who took the time
to be educated and to be an advocate for the Beaver County Community.”

(L-R: Dr. Chris Reber, CCBC President & Chamber Government Affairs Committee Chairperson; John Thayer, NOVA Chemical’s, Inc. &
Chamber Board Chairperson; Erica Loftus, Chamber President; Congressman Keith Rothfus;
Frank Polito, Comcast – Main Sponsor; Norm Mitry, Heritage Valley Health System – Host Sponsor)

  •  The Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee is also finalizing details for its June 17th trip to Harrisburg. The purpose of this day trip is to meet with our elected and appointed state officials and discuss the Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Priorities, which include:

o   Enhanced Educational Opportunities

o   Business and Governmental Cooperation

o   Transportation and Economic Infrastructure

The day looks like it will be packed full with meetings. In addition to meeting with our State Senators and Representatives, we are slated to meet with the following: John Hanger, Secretary of Planning & Policy for Pennsylvania; Katie McGinty, Chief of Staff for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf; Governor Tom Wolf; Scott Dunkelberger, Deputy Secretary for Business Financing; and Acting Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera.

And to finish off this month’s update, strides continue to be made in building partnerships with local, regional and national organizations so that we can continue to “Prepare, Develop, and Promote the Community for Economic Growth.”

April 3, 2015 –

The Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee was delighted to host the February 10th State of the County breakfast, featuring our County Commissioners. Over 180 people attended and John Delano of KDKA-TV did a wonderful job of facilitating the discussion. Thank you to all who were in attendance for making this an informative and exciting annual event! We would also like to thank the sponsors – Main Sponsor: Habitat for Humanity of Beaver County; and our Supporting Sponsors: Beaver County Association of Realtors, Range Resources, and Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky Attorneys At Law.We were pleased to distribute our 2015 Legislative Priorities at this annual event and are currently disseminating the priorities to all of our elected officials and community leaders.

You are encouraged to view our 2015 Legislative Priorities, along with updates and other valuable information on the Chamber’s Government Affairs Page of the website, beavercountychamber.com/legislative.

We look forward to our upcoming Congressional Breakfast with Congressman Keith Rothfus on Tuesday, April 21 beginning at 8 a.m. at Heritage Valley Health System – Beaver Campus Cafeteria. The RSVP deadline is April 14th to info@bcchamber.com. Space is limited so we encourage an early RSVP.

In addition to the Fall 2015 County Commissioner’s Debate that will be scheduled after the Spring Primary Election, the Committee members are also planning a trip to Harrisburg in June to meet with elected and key officials. Then in September a trip to Washington, D.C. is being facilitated that will coincide with the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce Legislative Reception.

We welcome additional Chamber members to join our Committee and help us advocate Beaver County priorities in our region, the Commonwealth and the nation.

 

March 6, 2015 –

The Government Affairs Committee of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce advocates accountable, responsive and efficient government at all levels – local, state and national – including responsible stewardship of public funds, so that the businesses and communities of Beaver County will prosper. Toward that end, the Government Affairs Committee adopted, on February 6, 2015 , the following legislative priorities for 2015:

Enhanced Educational Opportunities: The Beaver County Chamber of Commerce supports the continued development and enhancement of quality educational opportunities for students and employees within Beaver County. We value:

  • A focus on current and emerging high-priority workforce needs, including STEM education;
  • The development of pathways from K-12 through post-secondary education made possible by partnerships of school districts, colleges and universities, and businesses and industries;
  • Funding strategies to design, implement and grow programs that address new and emerging workforce needs; and,
  • Increased coordination among school districts to promote efficiency and a more enhanced curriculum, including College in High School programs that allow high school students to explore career options, earn college credit early, and matriculate into post-secondary programs leading to credential attainment.

Business and Governmental Cooperation:  The Beaver County Chamber of Commerce advocates maximizing the effectiveness of government and the acceleration of business growth, with emphasis on:

  • Regular meetings and open communication with federal, state and local officials who represent Beaver County and Western Pennsylvania, including the Beaver County Regional Council of Governments;
  • Exploring and supporting efficient consolidation and effective delivery of government services; and,
  • Streamlining the regulatory and permitting processes to accelerate the creation of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses.

Transportation and Economic Infrastructure: The Beaver County Chamber of Commerce supports public investment, legislation and policies that will create and improve the infrastructure necessary to grow the economy, with emphasis on:

  • Improved roads, bridges, waterways and transit systems;
  • Modern commercial office space for professional, executive and management functions;
  • Modern industrial and brownfield plants and facilities; and,
  • Light industrial facilities for businesses ancillary to the industrial sector.

Would you like to serve on the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee? Contact Erica Loftus or Dr. Chris Reber to learn more info@bcchamber.com.

February 10, 2015 –

 

State of the County021015

On Tuesday, February 10, 2015 the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce hosted the Annual State of the County Breakfast at the Fez in Hopewell, featuring Beaver County Commissioners Tony Amadio and Joe Spanik and facilitated by Jon Delano of KDKA – TV. Thank you to all who were in attendance for making this an informative and exciting, sell-out event! Thank you to our Main Sponsor: Habitat for Humanity of Beaver County; and our Supporting Sponsors: Beaver County Association of Realtors, Range Resources, and Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky Attorneys At Law.

Media Coverage from the Beaver County Times.

February 6, 2015 –

The Government Affairs Committee has been expanding membership in order to gain additional perspectives and advocates for our work. We are pleased to welcome Mike Sisk, Chair of the Beaver County Democratic Committee, and Lisa Reese, Vice-President of Publishing of the Beaver County Times, to our Committee. We invite other Chamber members to join us if interested. We meet monthly and are finishing updates to our 2015 Legislative Priorities, which will be distributed to Chamber members soon.
We are excited about our upcoming Annual State of the County breakfast, which will be held on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. at The Fez in Aliquippa. The program will feature County Commissioners Tony Amadio, Joe Spanik and Dennis Nichols and will be facilitated by Jon Delano of KDKA TV. Programs such as this provide valuable opportunities for all of us to learn about our government, perspectives on key issues, and to offer ideas and advocacy around important decisions.
The Government Affairs Committee plans to travel to Harrisburg and Washington, DC, this year to meet with legislators and discuss our priorities. We will also be organizing additional fora with local, state and federal representatives and candidates, and we will hold a Congressional Breakfast on April 21 at 8 a.m. at Heritage Valley Beaver Campus (see calendar for details).

January 2015 –

On November 20, 2014 the Chamber hosted it’s Annual Legislative Reception at the Wooden Angel. Thank you to Comcast (R) who was the Main Sponsor and those that attended.

 

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-Legislative Reception

(L-R: Dan Murphy, Commissioner Tony Amadio, Frank Polito, Commissioner Dennis Nichols, State Rep. Jim Marshall, James Kerin from the Office of State Senator Elder Vogel Jr., Jeremy Honhold from the Office of Congressman Keith Rothfus, Kathy Bingle) Photography by Graule Studios.

November 7, 2014 –

The Government Affairs committee of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce would like to introduce its new Chairperson, Dr. Chris Reber. Dr. Reber serves as President of the Community College of Beaver County.

Dr.Reber

On Friday, September 26th, we had the opportunity to host Congressman Keith Rothfus, republican incumbent candidate for the 12th Congressional District. Congressman Rothfus spent an hour with the committee answering questions and updating us on his time in Washington, D.C.

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-Keith Rothfus Government Affairs Committee visit

On Wednesday, October 15th, the Chamber facilitated its General Election Debate, hosted by Penn State Beaver. Jon Delano, KDKA, moderated the Congressional Debate between Congressman Keith Rothfus (R) and Candidate Erin McClelland (D). The State Senate Debate was to include Senator Timothy J. Solobay (D) and Candidate Camera Bartolotta (R) but was canceled because the Senate’s session was extended in Harrisburg. In an effort to be fair to both campaigns, Candidate Camera Bartolotta was allowed to share her two minute closing statement. Senator Solobay was offered to send a representative to speak on his behalf but respectfully declined this opportunity since he was unable to be there in person. Thank you to our Debate Main

Sponsor: TJM Drilling, Inc.; Thank you to our Supporting Sponsors: Heritage Valley Health System, NOVA Chemicals, and PGT Trucking.

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-Debate

 

September 5, 2014 –

The Government Affairs committee of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce has had a busy summer. We had the opportunity to meet with Erin McClelland, democratic challenger for the 12th Congressional District, currently represented by Rep. Keith Rothfus. Ms. McClelland spent an hour with the committee outlining her background and reasons for running for Congress. The committee is poised to meet with Rep. Rothfus at the end of September to discuss his campaign as well.

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-Erin McClelland with Legislative Committee

On July 25, several members of the committee joined Gov. Tom Corbett at Guy’s Service Station in New Brighton, as he did a ceremonial signing of the new law to end the summer blend of gasoline bill, sponsored by Sen. Elder Vogel. The law repeals requirements for a different blend of gasoline to be used in the summer in Western Pennsylvania. That blend typically costs about 10 to 15 cents per gallon more for drivers. The law won’t be implemented until next year to allow for the state Department of Environmental Protection to alter the program. The new law covers Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

Finally, the government affairs committee, along with the board of directors, hosted U.S. Senator Pat Toomey for a roundtable discussion on August 4 at Heritage Valley Beaver. Senator Toomey gave us an overview of what is happening in Washington (not much with all of the gridlock) and took questions from the group. Discussion points included the Affordable Care Act, properly funding our highways and bridges, fixing our locks and dams and the need to bi-partisan leadership at our nation’s capital.

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-Senator Toomy meeting

We also encourage all members to join us on October 15 for the Chamber’s General Election Debate. The debate will be held on October 15, 2014 on the Penn State Beaver campus in the Student Union Building Auditorium. Jon Delano from KDKA TV will be the debate moderator. The doors will open to the public at 6:30pm and the debate will begin at 7:00pm. Candidates invited to attend are U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, who represents the 12th Congressional district (all of Beaver County) and his opponent, Erin McClelland; PA Senator Tim Solobay, who represents the 46th district in Pennsylvania (which includes Greene Twp., Hanover Twp., Independence Twp., Raccoon Twp., Frankfort Springs and Hookstown); and his opponent, Camera C. Bartolotta. And PA Rep. Jim Christiana, who represents the 15th district (Brighton Twp., Center Twp., Greene Twp., Hopewell Twp., Independence Twp., Patterson Twp., Potter Twp., Raccoon Twp., Vanport Twp. Beaver, Georgetown, Hookstown, Monaca, Patterson Heights, Shippingport, and South Heights) and his opponent, Paul Cain.

August 1, 2014 –

Gov. Tom Corbett, as of the writing of this article, had not signed the $29.1 billion budget sent to him by the General Assembly on June 30. Governor Corbett had 10 days to veto the budget or plan lapses into law without his signature. The 108-95 House vote and the 26-24 Senate tally followed nearly straight party lines and culminated hours of debate. Our local delegation voted as follows: Rep. Jim Christiana (R) – yes; Rep. Jim Marshall (R) – yes; Rep. Rob Matzie (D) – no; Rep.  Jaret Gibbons (D) – no; Sen. Elder Vogel (R)– yes; and Sen. Tim Solobay (D) – no.  The biggest sticking point with Governor Corbett was pension reform. Leaders of the House and Senate majorities couldn’t drum up enough support for the pension overhaul Governor Corbett wanted in conjunction with the budget, so it was referred to committee to be reconsidered in the fall. The plan would reduce future state and school employees’ pensions to save more than $10 billion over 30 years.

Additionally, the government affairs committee has planned a General Election Debate on Wednesday, October 15, 2014. Gubernatorial candidates Governor Tom Corbett and challenger Tom Wolf have been invited to attend as well as the candidates for the 12th Congressional district of Pennsylvania, U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus and challenger Erin McClelland. Jon Delano, from KDKA TV and radio, will serve as the moderator. The debate will be held at the Penn State-Beaver Auditorium in the Student Union Building. Doors will open to the public at 6:30pm and the debate will begin at 7:00pm. Please stay tuned for confirmation from all candidates for this exciting debate.

July 4, 2014 –

Chamber President Erica Loftus traveled to Harrisburg on June 10th to attend the annual Pennsylvania Chamber Day. Erica made the trek to our State’s Capitol to represent the Chamber, along with dozens of her counterparts from across the state. It was a productive day filled with updates beginning with Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai presenting an overview on the state budget, public pension reform, reducing the size of legislation and many other topics. Secretary of Labor & Industry Julia Hearthway shared some new resources available through Labor & Industry as well as some resources which will be available soon. There was also a session at the PA Chamber office and then a Q&A with Governor Corbett, all before lunch!  The Chamber leadership and the Government Affairs Committee is planning another trip to Harrisburg later this year as well as a day trip to Washington D.C.  Finally, the Chamber will host a 2014 General Election Gubernatorial and Congressional Debate on October 15th from 7:00-9:00PM at Penn State Beaver. All candidates have been invited to participate and we look forward to receiving their responses.

June 6, 2014 –

The Government Affairs Committee has had a very busy spring. In addition to holding our quarterly Legislative Roundtable with all of our elected officials, we also held the Congressional Breakfast with US Rep. Keith Rothfus on April 15. In addition, we began to work with PA Rep. Jaret Gibbons, 10th district, about reforming the Universal Construction Code (UCC) as it relates to renovating commercial properties in our downtown river town districts. This is one of the Chamber’s Legislative Priorities for 2014. The Government Affairs Committee is also planning two trips this year. The first trip will be on June 10 to Harrisburg to participate in Chamber Day at the Capitol. We will join other chambers from across the state to meet with the Governor, members of his cabinet, the PA Chamber and our local elected officials. Similarly, we will be participating in the Allegheny Conference’s Legislative Reception on September 16th in Washington, D.C. We will have the opportunity to meet with the US Chamber of Commerce as well as spend some time with our federal officials.

May 2014 –

On Tuesday, April 15th, the Chamber held its Annual Congressional Breakfast with Congressman Keith Rothfus.

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-Congressional Breakfast

 

(L-R: Scott Monit, PGT Trucking/BCCC Gov’t Affairs Chairperson; State Rep. Jim Marshall; Norm Mitry, CEO Heritage Valley Health System; Congressman Keith Rothfus; Frank Polito, Comcast (R); County Commissioner Dennis Nichols; Erica Loftus, BCCC President)

April 16, 2014 –

Understanding “How to Reform Water Infrastructure” from Rep. Bill Shuster

April 4, 2014 –

 

The Government Affairs Committee of the Chamber held its quarterly Legislative Roundtable discussion with our elected officials on Friday, March 14 at the Community College of Beaver County. Beaver County Commissioners Joe Spanik and Tony Amadio attended as well as PA Representatives Jaret Gibbons, Jim Marshall and Jim Christiana. Also attending were representatives from PA Senators Elder Vogel and Tim Solobay, U.S. Representative Keith Rothfus, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey and Governor Corbett. This meeting is held quarterly with the Chamber in order to ensure that the business community and our elected officials are on the same page about public issues and goals for Beaver County.

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-Qrtly Leg Meeting

Representative Christiana provided an overview on Governor Corbett’s proposed budget for Pennsylvania and also discussed his comments to the PA Secretary of Education about School District Central Service Consolidation. He believes that our school districts throughout the state should begin to consolidate central services such as business managers, superintendents, etc. The Chamber has been advocating for school district consolidation for a few years now and feels this would be a good first step to help school districts begin to save money using economies of scale. This will also help aid in business development.

We also discussed the dire need to repair the locks and dams in our region. They are vital to our local and regional economy. Our federal representatives assured the group that this is on their radar and they have been investigating how to allocate resources to address this dire situation. The Port of Pittsburgh is also working closely with our federal legislators to address this issue.

Finally, the group also discussed the need to repair the way the Universal Construction Code is used in our local municipalities. This is not a one-size-fits-all issue. New construction can easily address the code because they are starting from scratch. But businesses trying to remodel existing spaces in old buildings face so many hurdles and obstacles that it inhibits their ability to open a business in a cost-effective manner. The Chamber, along with Rep. Gibbons, is forming a task force to work with our local communities, to make it easier for small business owners in our downtown communities. They are the lifeblood of our economy.

Good things are happening in Beaver County and the Chamber is here to ensure that the business community is at the table when decisions are being made legislatively.

March 7, 2014 –

The Beaver County Chamber held their annual “State of the County” on Tuesday, February 11 at the Fez in Hopewell to a sold-out crowd.  Beaver County Commissioners Tony Amadio, Joe Spanik and Dennis Nichols spent about an hour and a half answering questions posed by the Chamber and the crowd.  Subjects ranged from the proposed realignment of Route 18 in Potter Township to an update on the proposed cracker plant to Beaver County Comprehensive Plan.

Beaver County Chamber Board Member and Government Affairs Chair Scott Monit from PGT Trucking said, “the overall tone of the meeting was positive and full of good news for Beaver County.  Beaver County is on the cusp of tremendous growth, not only with the Marcellus Shale industry, but with the construction of new hotels, restaurants, retail and commercial business investments moving into the area.”

Law firm of Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky of Beaver sponsored the event and attorney Harry Kunselman kicked off the event by speaking to the crowd about his firm and their law specialties.

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-State of the County

The Government Affairs Committee of the Chamber will focus on the following legislative priorities for 2014:

  • Enhanced Educational Opportunities: We support the enhancement of quality educational opportunities for students and workers within Beaver County.  First, we believe a focus on STEM education and building segways for K – 12 and higher education to partner with business and industry will build the workforce that our region will need for the future.  Second, we support consolidation of the 15 districts which will permit larger districts to offer a more enhanced curriculum.

 

  • Local Government Advocacy:  Beaver County Chamber of Commerce encourages effective and efficient government by promoting intergovernmental cooperation,  acting as a liaison between business and local, county and state governments, and maintaining an active relationship with the Beaver County     Regional Council of Governments.  The Chamber supports local municipalities who want to serve their constituents better by consolidating local boundaries or sharing municipal services.

 

  • Business-friendly Regulatory Reform:  The Chamber supports a business friendly regulatory environment in Beaver County that allows for a stream-lined permitting process for new and growing businesses.  We encourage local  municipalities and state and federal agencies to re-evaluate ordinances, codes, and laws that adversely impact
    economic development in Beaver County.

 

  • Transportation Infrastructure: Actively support a state and federal transportation investment strategy that provides adequate funding for roads, bridges, waterways and transit systems as well as timely implementation of repairs related to rebuilding these modes of transport.

December 6, 2013 –

Pennsylvania Legislature Passes a Transportation Bill

Both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Senate approved a comprehensive transportation bill fund roads, bridges and mass transit in late November for $2.3 billion.  Both political houses have been working on this effort since the beginning of the year along with Governor Corbett.   The bill passed the Senate, 43-7, in a bipartisan vote and the House in a 113-85 vote.  Thank you to Senator Elder Vogel, Senator Timothy J. Solobay and Representative Jim Marshall, who both voted yes for a comprehensive Transportation Bill for Pennsylvania this year.

The legislation mainly raises revenue through removing a cap on the oil company franchise tax paid by fuel distributors, a move expected to be passed along to consumers, at least in part. The oil franchise tax, which now is assessed on just part of the wholesale price of gasoline, would be extended to the full wholesale price.

The cap would be lifted gradually over five years.

Other parts of the bill:

  • Permit PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission to establish 70 mph speed limits on highways that meet sufficient engineering and traffic criteria.
  • Increase passenger car vehicle registration fees from $36 to $37 in 2015-16 and from $37 to $38 in 2017-18, with inflationary increases every two years thereafter.
  • Increase driver’s license fees from $21 to $22 in 2015-16 and from $22 to $23 in 2017-18 with inflationary increases every two years thereafter.
  • Increase seven existing surcharges on certain moving traffic violations by 50 percent.

November 25, 2013 –

The Beaver County Chamber of Commerce was invited to Governor Corbett’s press conference on the transportation bill  yesterday in Pittsburgh, underneath the Liberty Bridge.

(Photo: Scott Monit, PGT Trucking and BCCC Legislative Chair; State Senator Timothy Solobay; PA Governor Corbett; Erica Loftus, BCCC President)

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November 21, 2013 –

Annual Legislative Reception Photo, Sponsored by Comcast ®

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November 18, 2013 –

Chamber President and Legislative Chairperson stood on the steps of the Capitol in Harrisburg, along with business and labor, for Governor Tom Corbett’s Press Conference urging the House to pass an adequate transportation bill this session.

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November 1, 2013 –

It has been an interesting month legislatively in Beaver County. In late September, the Potter Township board of supervisors unanimously approved the Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone (KOEZ) for a portion of the proposed Shell cracker plant site, which will provide Shell with a 22-year property tax abatement providing that Shell creates 400 permanent full-time jobs and invests at least $1 billion in the area.

Statewide, we are still awaiting the Legislature to pass either the Transportation or Liquor Privatization bills. As of this writing, neither has been brought to a vote. Penn DOT has weight restricted 1,000 bridges across the state, including several in Beaver County. Although very few are over major traffic arteries, if the restrictions increase, it will undoubtedly cause traffic congestion putting trucks and buses on more rural roads and ultimately driving costs up for everyone.

Nationwide, we are recovering from the Government shutdown. The Chamber sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, who represents Beaver County, encouraging him to work to find a solution to crisis. Rep. Rothfus has been a solid ally for the Chamber and we value our relationship with him and his staff.

The Legislative Committee of the Chamber interfaces with all of our elected officials (local, state, federal) on a regular basis and works with them on issues that affect business in Beaver County. We ncourage all of our members to voice their opinions on any issues you would like to be raised and attend a committee meeting if you are able. We want to make sure we represent our membership to the best of our ability. The mission of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Committee is to identify and understand legislative issues as they affect the business community, to educate our membership and the community on these issues and to advocate for our membership.

October 4, 2013 -The Chamber Represents You In Washington, D.C.

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Caption for above photo:

A few weeks ago, Erica Loftus, President of the Chamber and Scott Monit from PGT Trucking traveled to Washington, D.C. for the day to meet with Congressman Keith Rothfus and his staff who represents Beaver County as well as to attend the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Reception at the Capitol. They also met with Senator Bob Casey; Congressman Bill Shuster, who represents the 9th district of PA (Mon Valley, Indiana and Altoona) as well as serves as the Chair of the House Transportation Committee; Congressman Mike Doyle, who represents the 14th district of PA (downtown Pittsburgh out to Coraopolis) and spent time with the leadership of the Pittsburgh Chamber and the Allegheny Conference. Everyone seemed to be very interested in what is happening in Beaver County and the potential cracker plant. Beaver County is poised to raise our profile if this indeed happens and the Beaver County Chamber is working hard to ensure that all of the key connections are in place to help our 500 plus members prosper well into the future.

September 6, 2013 –

This fall, our politicians go back to work after their summer recess. For the state officials, they have still have some large tasks ahead of them. They failed to pass some pretty large bills at the beginning of summer and now businesses are going to start to feel the effects. Recently, Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch weight restricted 1,000 bridges. This will cause companies who ship materials to reroute trucks, delaying deliveries, clogging up roads, and using more fuel. Prices for goods will rise and be paid for by the end user. PA House Leadership, by not passing a Transportation Bill in June, ultimately will cause us to pay more for goods and services if they do not create a solution. Plus the construction industry missed an entire construction season and lost a lot of jobs in the process.

Additionally, public transportation is going to be affected. Many people who work in Pittsburgh take public transportation. If these services are interrupted because the funding is no longer there, people will start to look for other jobs elsewhere closer to home. And the companies, who can no longer recruit employees because they are located in cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, will ultimately move where better public transportation services are available.  We encourage all of our members (and the general public) to contact your state representative and tell them you want a Transportation Bill passed this fall that is large enough to fix our failing bridges, roads and public transportation programs.

August 2, 2013 –

This summer has been a roller coaster legislatively. Governor Corbett outlined a heavy agenda for the Pennsylvania State Budget this year with everything from no tax increases to funding transportation to privatizing the state liquor system. The Beaver County Commissioners accepted bids to sell Friendship Ridge. And Washington D.C. continues to be Washington D.C.  Seven members of the Chamber’s Legislative Committee traveled to Harrisburg in mid-June to meet our local legislators on their home turf. We spent time with Senators Solobay and Vogel as well as Representatives Christiana, Gibbons, Marshall, and Matzie. A special thank you to Senator Vogel and his staff for setting up our meeting as well as arranging for a photo/meeting with Lt. Governor Jim Cawley.

We also met with the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, senior staff members from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch to discuss the Transportation Bill.

Your Chamber has worked hard this year to support our legislators, both on a local and state level. We publically supported the Beaver County Commissioners in their effort to seek viable options to keep Friendship Ridge open (including a possible sale). We also publically supported the passage of Senate Bill 1 (the Transportation Bill) along with many of the state’s other chambers of commerce. We continue to urge our legislators to work together and do what is right not only for Beaver County, but for Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the

state of politics in Pennsylvania and the United States is not good. Gridlock is everywhere. If one side says the wall is black, the other immediately responds that it is white. Meanwhile, the constituents are caught in the middle and just want a nice shade of gray. Compromise

is desperately needed. So what can you do? Call your local elected officials and tell them what you want. All of them have local offices, including U.S. Representative Keith Rothfus. All are nice, reasonable people who will listen to you. Voice your opinion. Get involved.

Join the Legislative Committee (you only have to be a Chamber member). You will be surprised how well it works. Remember, politicians do not get elected by themselves. We have a say in the matter.

 

 

June 12, 2013 – Chamber Legislative Committee Travels to Harrisburg

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June 7, 2013

This summer will be a busy time for the legislative committee of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce. The committee will be travelling to Harrisburg on June 12 (right in the middle of the state budget final push) to meet with our local legislators. We will also be meeting with Governor Corbett, Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch, staff from the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Education to relay our legislative priorities and discuss business in Beaver County. We also spend time locally with the politicians and staff to keep them updated on the chamber’s legislative priorities and work to assist the legislators where we can. On a local level, we are plugged in with the Beaver County Regional Council of Governments and work very closely with the Beaver County Commissioners. Our goal is to make doing business in Beaver County easy and seamless.

We are working on streamlining permitting and inspection processes with our local communities so that most of the red tape disappears for new and existing businesses when they are ready to build, renovate or move locations.

We encourage all chamber members to voice their opinions and let us know how we can help you with a legislative issue. We are here to act on your behalf and are happy to address any issues or concerns for you with the proper legislators. Finally, we encourage all chamber members to get involved and attend our legislative events. It is a great way to meet our elected officials in a laid-back group setting. All are accessible, nice people who truly want to help out.

The next major legislative event will be on August 1st at the Chamber office in Beaver with Senator Elder Vogel. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

May 15, 2013 –

As a part of the Chamber’s Power Lunch Series, the Chamber welcomed the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway. She spoke to our Chamber members on May 15, 2013 about the 2013 – 2014 Budget along with answering questions from the attendees.

 

Beaver County Chamer of Commerce Power Lunch-PA Budget

May 3, 2013 –

The legislative committee continues to work on our member’s behalf politically. We have been working behind the scenes to construct a one-stop shop for businesses who need help with permits and code-enforcement issues. Although this is not ready to launch, we have made significant strides so far this year. We are working in conjunction with the Beaver County Regional Council of Governments (COG), to help streamline the sometimes difficult process of renovating a commercial office space or building. This COG consists of 35 of the 53 municipalities in Beaver County. Stay tuned for more information in future columns.

On April 2, we hosted our annual Congressional Breakfast with newly elected U.S. Representative Keith Rothfus. Over the course of an hour and a half, Rep. Rothfus spoke to the crowd of almost 100 attendees about his work in Washington and answered questions from the audience about his voting record so far and his views on several current issues. Thank you to Comcast for sponsoring this event and to Heritage Valley Health System for hosting.

Another issue we are working on is integrating the business community with the education community in Beaver County. We have heard from our members and legislators that this formula will help our students be better prepared for their careers. By working together, schools will be able to craft appropriate curriculum to help students properly prepare for their future based on their interest and the market reality. We are working on meeting with the Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit in the near future to see how to navigate this path. Again, stay tuned.

Finally, we are preparing for our annual “Legislative Committee Call on Harrisburg” where we travel to our state capitol to meet with our state officials on their turf. We will also meet with the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce to discuss mutual interests and will hopefully have an opportunity to spend a few moments with Governor Corbett to put in a good word for Beaver County.

April 5, 2013 –

The Legislative Committee met with all of the elected officials who represent Beaver County on March 8th.  At this meeting we discussed the Chamber’s Legislative Priorities for 2013.  This is an opportunity for everyone sitting around the table to have the same version of the truth and discuss policy matters together as a collective group representing Beaver County.  We discussed the merits of consolidating municipal services where it makes sense (police/fire/etc.) or combining municipalities as is the case of Patterson Township and Fallston.  We talked about how we can work with the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) to ease the burden on new businesses locating into old buildings that need immense and costly repairs.  This measure could include new legislation in Harrisburg.  We also discussed school consolidation and creating new and better educational opportunities for all residents of Beaver County and training our workforce for the jobs available.  We also reviewed the idea of how to  integrate business leaders and school officials to create curriculum that addresses the current needs of the business world instead of preparing our students for jobs that may not exist in a few years.

On a separate note, the Legislative Committee has put together a breakfast on April 2nd with our sitting Congressman Keith Rothfus.  (Picture to follow)

March 8, 2013 –

March 1, 2013 –

The Beaver County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee continues to work with our local, county, state and federal legislators on business-related issues.  As we announced last month, we have created our legislative priorities for 2013 based on what we hear from our membership.  Two items in particular we are going to focus on are making the Uniform Construction Code friendlier to small businesses who are renovating existing spaces.  We hear all too often about the nightmares associated with renovating old spaces in our downtown areas in the county and how difficult it is to make these spaces compliant based on the current codes.  We are going to work with our local, county and state representatives to see if we can amend some of the existing laws to make this process easier and more fluid for our member businesses.  The other issue we are going to really focus on is municipal and school consolidation.  With federal and state budgets and grants shrinking every year, we really need to focus on smart consolidation where possible.  Some of our towns have already consolidated police and fire.  We are sure there are others out there considering doing the same.  The Center-Monaca school merger has gone well and actually thrived academically and athletically.  Our goal as a chamber is to maximize the success of our member businesses.  But we also have lives with friends and children as well and the two cannot help but intersect.  Therefore, we also want to make this county the best place to live and work with business and personal opportunities for everyone.

Going forward, we will be holding our first quarterly Legislative Roundtable of the year in March.  This meeting includes our county commissioners, state representatives and senator as well as our U.S. representative.  From time to time, staff from our U.S. Senator’s offices also attend.  Event wise, don’t forget to sign up for U. S. Representative Keith Rothfus’ breakfast meeting on April 2nd at Heritage Valley Beaver.  This meeting will start promptly at 8:00am.  Rep. Rothfus will give an update on what is happening in Washington, D.C. and take questions from our audience.  The cost for this event is $27 Members/ $40 Non Members.

February 1, 2013

With a new year brings new goals.  The Legislative Committee has reconvened in January and has begun to outline the Chamber’s Legislative Goals for 2013.  One goal that will remain will be school and municipal consolidation.  Our area is seeing firsthand the ever increasing difficulty facing our smaller municipalities and school districts.  Consolidating services and schools for areas with declining population just makes sense.  Center and Monaca made it work for schools.  The Beaver Police are now patrolling several municipalities who can no longer afford their own police departments.  Now is the time to begin this conversation.  The Chamber is happy to facilitate any school or municipality that is interested in beginning to look at this process.  Please contact Erica Loftus, president of the Chamber, if you would like more information about this process.

We have several upcoming legislative events that are not only important, but also very interesting and we encourage our members to attend.  First is our Annual State of the County Breakfast, being held on Feb. 12th at the Fez in Hopewell.  Come to hear all three of our county commissioners talk about what is going on in Beaver County.  There is also a Q and A session if you have questions for them as well.  Next is our Annual Chamber Gala, being held on March 22nd at the Club at Shadow Lakes.  This is a great informal way to meet our local legislators and get to know them.  Finally, we will be holding our Annual Congressional Breakfast with Rep. Keith Rothfus in April.  We do not have a confirmed date as of yet, but it will be announced soon.  The event will be held at Heritage Valley Beaver in their cafeteria.  Come and hear our newly elected congressman speak about what is happing in Washington, his views on how he is going to represent our area, and some other key insights on politics in general.  There is also a Q and A session for this event.

Please contact the Chamber office at 724-775-3944 to register for any of these events or for more information.

Finally, congratulations to all of the elected officials who represent our area.  Reprentatives Christiana, Gibbons, Marshall and Matzie and Senators Vogel and Solobay all won re-election in November and were sworn in on Jan. 1st in Harrisburg.  And our newly elected United States Congressman Keith Rothfus, who was elected in November, was sworn in on January 3rd.  We look forward to working with you all.

 

December 7, 2012

The Legislative Committee would like to congratulate all of our elected officials who were elected a few weeks ago.  Congratulations to Pennsylvania Representatives Rob Matzie, Jaret Gibbons, Jim Marshall, and Jim Christiana.  Congratulations to PA Senator Elder Vogel and U.S. Rep Keith Rothfus.  We look forward to continuing working with all of you going forward.  The chamber held its annual Legislative Reception on November 15th at the Wooden Angel in Bridgewater.  The Legislative Reception is a great opportunity to spend some time with all of our elected officials in an informal setting.

The Legislative Committee has worked hard this year to build relationships with our elected officials.  We have attended meetings in Harrisburg and locally with Governor Corbett, held a roundtable discussion with Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley at CCBC, attended numerous community events surrounding the potential ethane cracker, outlined a legislative agenda of items we would like to see accomplished (most of them were thanks to the help of our state representatives) and hosted a sold-out political debate in October at Penn State Beaver.

As we move into 2013, we would invite any chamber member to join our committee.  We meet monthly amongst ourselves and meet with our elected officials quarterly.  Please contact the Chamber office for more information.

 

November 2, 2012

The legislative committee has been very busy working for our members.  We continue to meet monthly as a committee and quarterly with all of our elected officials (local, state, and federal).  On October 4, Chamber Board Leadership had the opportunity to meet with Lt. Governor Jim Cawleyat the Community College of Beaver County for an hour and a half roundtable discussion on the chamber, our membership, our legislative priorities and the economic opportunities we are facing as a community.  Joining the meeting were Sen. Elder Vogel, Rep. Jim Marshall and Rep. Jim Christiana, fresh from their session in Harrisburg.

On October 10, we held a debate at Penn State Beaver for the candidates for PA State Senator, PA State Representative and U.S. House of Representatives.  Each debate lasted about 20 minutes and focused on specific issues for each race.  Debaters included U.S. Rep. Mark Critz(D) and his challenger Keith Rothfus (R).  PA State Senator Elder Vogel (R) and his opponent Kim Villella (D); PA Rep. Jim Christiana (R) and his opponent Bob Williams (D); PA Rep. Rob Matzie (D) and his opponent Kathy Coder (R); and PA Rep. Jaret Gibbons (D) and his opponent Michael See (R).  PA Rep. Jim Marshall (R) was also in attendance, but did not debate as there is no opposing candidate in his district.

Finally, all members are invited to attend the Chamber’s Annual Legislative Reception on Nov. 15 at the Wooden Angel Restaurant in Beaver.  Please contact the Chamber for more information on this event.

October 5, 2012

The BCCC Legislative Committee held its quarterly roundtable with elected officials on September 5. These meetings provide the opportunity for the local, state and federal legislators to meet with the chamber to find out what is happening with our members and to discuss any issues our members have. It also provides the opportunity for the legislators to let the chamber know about any issues/concerns they have. Finally, it provides for all parties to be on the same page and have one version of the truth.
The September 5 meeting primarily covered Act 13. Act 13 provides for:
1) New well fees to be assessed and collected on unconventional wells
2) A formula for distribution of these fees
3) Substantial revisions to environmental protections for both surface and subsurface activities and
4) Restrictions on the authority of local governments to impose burdens on oil and gas activities beyond those required by the state or those imposed upon other commercial and industrial activities. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court threw out restrictions on local governments’ ability to zone and regulate natural gas drilling in July.
The court said that the limits on local zoning – part Act 13, which rewrote Pennsylvania’s natural gas drilling laws – violate municipalities’ substantive due process, according to the ruling. Commonwealth Court has determined Act 13’s restrictions unconstitutionally bar local governments from their right to separate industrial activity from residential neighborhoods. The case is now being appealed to the PA Supreme Court.
Finally, the Chamber is encouraging the public to attend the general election debate on October 10 at Penn State – Beaver in the Student Union Building. The doors open at 6:30PM and the debate begins at 7:00PM. There is no charge to attend.
Scheduled to debate are U.S. Congressional candidates Mark Critz and Keith Rothfus; State SEnate candidates Elder Vogel, Jr. and Kim Villella; State House candidates Rep. Robert Matzie and Kathy Coder for the 16th District; Rep. Jim Christiana and Bob Williams for the 15th District; and Rep. Jaret Gibbons and Michael See for the 10th District.

September 7 , 2012-

The Chamber Legislative Committee continuously tries to get in front of our legislators to better represent our members.

GovernorCorbettHorseheadPressConf073112

(From left to right) Scott Monit, PGT Trucking and Legislative Committee Chairperson; Erica Wachtel, BCCC President; Representative Jim Marshall; Governor Tom Corbett

August 3, 2012- 

The Legislative Committee continues to be very active with our legislators. Over the past month, we have traveled to Harrisburg twice. The first trip was in support of the Ethane Cracker bill recently passed into legislation. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Elder Vogel in the PA Senate and Rep. Jim Christiana in the PA House. Both sides worked together to get this passed. The Chamber hand delivered a letter of support to the governor’s office for this bill.

Our second trip was to attend a breakfast with Gov. Corbett where he gave an outline of the recently passed state budget. He explained why this budget passage on time was important for the state and why he must sometimes make unpopular decisions regarding the finances of our state in order to be fiscally responsible.

The Legislative Committee is currently working with the governor’s office to set-up a meet and greet with the governor in the fall. We will detail more information as it becomes available. Finally, we will conduct our second quarterly roundtable with our local politicians sometime near the end of August. This forum allows all levels of our local government to interact with the chamber to work on issues important to you, our members.

July, 2012- 

The Chamber’s Legislative Chairperson, Scott Monit, went to Harrisburgh on Thursday, July 12. Scott was the Chamber’s representation at a breakfast with PA Governor Corbett about the recently passed PA Budget. Please check out our Business Section of the “Beaver County Times” on Friday, August 3rd for our most recent Legislative Update from Scott.

july 12 scott monit with gov at budget breakfast

June 2012

The legislative committee has had a busy few months. We have been to Harrisburg to visit our elected officials, we have set our legislative priorities for 2012 and we have begun to hold quarterly meetings with all of our elected officials. In early May, the legislative committee traveled to Harrisburg for the day to meet with Representatives Christiana, Gibbons, Marshall and Matzie as well as Senator Vogel. We discussed amending Unemployment Compensation and Permits/Code Enforcement for
New Businesses. We also met with the PA Chamber of Commerce to learn more about their top legislative priorities for 2012.

We have outline three legislative priorities for 2012. First, we support reforming Unemployment Compensation including length and amending requirements for small business to pay their share up front every year. Second, making building code enforcement easier to navigate. The current system does not favor businesses and harms them from opening/improving their facilities at times. Third, we support school consolidation and improved educational opportunities. Beaver County has 15 school districts. By consolidating these into larger districts and partnering with business, the schools will be able to offer more focused training for our children to succeed when they leave high school. Lastly, we met with the county commissioners, state representatives, state senator and U.S. congressman on May 29th to begin a quarterly dialogue to review our legislative priorities and make sure we are
all on the same page.

May 2 2012 Harrisburg Trip with leg comm

Additionally, the committee met with the county commissioners, state representatives, state senator and U.S. Congressman on May 29th and September 5th to begin quarterly dialogues to discuss the legislative priorities and how we can work together to make our local, state, and federal government more business friendly.

May 2012 –

The Chamber’s monthly Power Lunch was held on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. Dan Meuser, Revenue Secretary for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, spoke to the various Chamber members and community leaders in attendance.

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-Power Lunch Revenue Secretary

From left to right: BCCC President Erica Wachtel, Dan Meuser from Governor Corbett’s Office and Dr. Joe D. Forrester from the Community College of Beaver County (host).

April 2012 –

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-Altmire breakfast 2012

From Left to right: BCCC President Erica Wachtel; PGT Trucking & BCCC Legislative Chair Scott Monit; Congressman Jason Altmire; Norm Mitry of Heritage Valley Health System; Frank Polito of Comcast.

February 12, 2012 –

The Chamber’s State of the County Breakfast Forum was on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at The Fez. From left to right:Erica Wachtel, BCCC President; Scott Monit, BCCC Legislative Committee Chair, BCCC Board Member and PGT Trucking; Commissioner Joe Spanik; Tony Amadio, Board of
Commissioners Chairman; Commissioner Dennis Nichols and John Thayer, Event Sponsor Representative from NOVA Chemicals Inc. and BCCC Board Member.

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce-State of the County

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce
798 Turnpike Street
Beaver, PA 15009
724/775-3944