Solobay Helps Launch Southern Beltway Project
The much anticipated Southern Beltway project connecting Interstate 79 and Route 22 was kicked off earlier this week at a ceremony in Bulger, Washington County. The 13-mile section is viewed as a boon to job creation in the region and will help ease traffic congestion. The total project cost is $700 million.
State Sen. Tim Solobay said that the Southern Beltway project is a win for the whole region and that all local officials were “anxious to get the project moving.”
“There is no question that there is the great potential for growth and development as a result of the energy resources in our area combined with the new road network.”
Motorists who use the route will be able to access Greater Pittsburgh International Airport without relying on the Parkway West. The first section of the road, the Findlay Connector, was opened in 2006.
Legislation to Help Firefighters Deal with Light-Frame Construction Is Introduced
Recently, Sen. Tim Solobay introduced legislation (SB 1274) which requires the owner of a commercial, industrial or multi-unit building to mark the building with a warning sign if light-frame truss-type construction was used.
“It is important for firefighters to understand what they are dealing with when they respond to an emergency,” Solobay said. “Light-frame truss-type construction is prone to early collapse in a fire.”
Under Solobay’s legislation, the State Fire Commissioner is responsible for enforcing this requirement.
Light-frame truss-type construction uses primary structure elements formed by repetitive or light- gauge steel framing. Florida recently enacted similar legislation.
The legislation was sent to the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Bus Donation Will Benefit WACTC Students
Courtesy of Halliburton – after they were contacted by Sen. Tim Solobay – the Western Area Career and Technology Center (WACTC) will now have student transportation available for field trips and other visits away from the center.
“I was informed by officials at the school that they needed a bus for field trips and to take students to events away from school.”
WACTC serves nine area school districts providing specific industry training. The field trips are focused on individual training aspects.
“Students may need to be transported to a fire academy to learn hands-on about rescue procedures, and nurses will be able to get to their clinical work sites as a result of the donation to the center.” Solobay said. “Having transportation accessible is important to their comprehensive learning experience, and I am pleased that Halliburton was able to provide the bus.”
The field trips can be more regularly scheduled and begin earlier in the year because the bus is available, Solobay noted.
Halliburton is a provider of materials and services to the energy industry.
Nurses, Health Care Workers Honored by Solobay Resolutions
Sen. Tim Solobay's three resolutions honoring associated fields in medicine all won unanimous approval from the state Senate. They are:
Senate Resolution 374, Nurses' Week -- Pennsylvania has over 212,000 registered nurses, including 55,000 licensed practical nurses and 12,000 advanced practice registered nurses. Pennsylvania nurses provide a crucial role in our health care system. The Pennsylvania State Nurse Association was established in 1903 and includes 31 organizational affiliates. It is the largest professional nursing association in Pennsylvania. Click here to listen »
Senate Resolution 384, Hospital Week -- Hospitals provide an integral role in delivering health care service to all people of the Commonwealth. Hospitals provide many services to their communities and are a key element in Pennsylvania’s economy. Whether it’s acute inpatient care, outpatient, emergency, rehabilitation, psychiatric care, and more, our hospitals in Pennsylvania serve a vital mission. Click here to listen »
Senate Resolution 385, Nursing Home Week -- This resolution recognizes and celebrates those Pennsylvanians who both give - and receive care in our nursing homes. We are committed to improving the programs that assist our seniors, as well as those with disabilities. The theme of this year’s National Nursing Home Week is "Living in the Aloha Spirit." The Aloha Spirit includes attributes such as patience, kindness, respect, and compassion. Click here to listen »
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Solobay Praises Senate Passage of Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Proposal aims to help law enforcement
Sen. Tim Solobay today praised Senate passage of a bill that will create a prescription drug monitoring program to help law enforcement agencies crack down on prescription drug abuse and increase the quality of patient care.
Senate Bill 1180 targets what Solobay says is a growing problem in southwestern Pennsylvania.
“Prescription drugs have surpassed street drugs as a public health and crime problem in our region,” Solobay said. “It’s important that we give law enforcement the tools to stem the tide of abuse and protect public health and safety.”
Pennsylvania has seen an 89 percent increase in drug overdose deaths since 1999, Solobay said.
Under current law, Attorney General’s office houses a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) with dispensing data of Level II controlled substances.
Senate Bill 1180 will expand the monitoring to include all drugs up to Level V controlled substances. The new law will cover anabolic steroids, hydrocodone, codeine, and benzodiazepines such as Xanax.
The legislation also gives the Department of Health authority to monitor prescription distribution to prevent the practice of “doctor shopping.”
“This bill gives Pennsylvania the tools employed by other states to combat drug abuse,” Solobay said, noting that Pennsylvania is in the top third of states for prescription drug overdoses. “I believe it creates a balance between stemming a public health crisis and privacy concerns.”
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.
Growing Greener Grants, Other Grants Detailed
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is now accepting applications for the Growing Greener Grant Program for watershed protection and abandoned mine drainage projects and other programs. Local governments, non-profits, schools, municipal authorities and watershed associations are eligible to apply.
Sixteen million dollars is available through the Pennsylvania Growing Greener program for projects to improve water quality.
The federal Water Pollution Control Act will provide $3 million for projects to support restoration of 35 such watersheds across the state.
DEP also announced $2 million in federal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act funding for abandoned mine drainage projects. The federal program is funded by a fee on the active mining industry.
For more information and to download a grant application, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click the “Growing Greener” button.
“My Bike” Presents Adaptive Bikes to Washington County Children
Variety the Children’s Charity presented three adaptive bikes to Washington County children at an event on May 15.
The goal of the ‘My Bike” program is to raise awareness for the needs of children with disabilities, spread the word to identify eligible children and raise funds for additional bikes.
The program partnered with Washington Health System and state Senator Tim Solobay. The charity has presented more than 50 bikes to children in Washington County. All told, the program has distributed more than 500 bikes in various counties.
“My Bike” ensures that children, regardless of disability, can have access to a bike and engage in something that is fundamental to childhood.
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Solobay Visits Assembly at Fort Cherry Elementary
Sen. Tim Solobay recently visited with students at Fort Cherry Elementary School and participated in an assembly. He talked with Mrs. Laurie Crawford’s fourth graders about being a senator. He also discussed how government works and described the role of a state legislator and the interplay between local and state governments.
During his visit, Sen. Solobay also talked about the importance of student testing, the impacts of shale drilling, and asked the students what they would like to be when they grow up.
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