Lawmakers Approve Legislation to Give Inspector General More Independence
The Office of Inspector General is responsible for identifying and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in state agencies. Both the House and Senate approved legislation this week that would formally create the post by law and ensure the office can operate independently.
The office was first created by Executive Order in 1987, but currently reports only to the Governor and exists only so long as the Governor wishes it to continue. The proposal, which Rep. Mindy Fee and I introduced earlier this year, provides for the office’s appointment, term, power and duties and ensures the office can function without undue influence from any party.
The bill creates a bipartisan process to select and confirm the Inspector General. Under the legislation, the Inspector General would be nominated by the Governor and confirmed by two-thirds of the Senate. The Inspector General would serve a term of six years and could serve no more than two terms.
While the legislation drew support from both sides of the aisle, Governor Wolf’s initial reception to the bill was cool. His spokesman went so far as to call the bill “a waste of time.” I think a vast majority of Pennsylvanians would disagree, and I am hopeful that the Governor will see the value in having an independent watchdog to ensure every taxpayer dollars is protected.
More information about the bill is available here.
Lancaster County Farmers’ Breakfast Scheduled for November 10
Agriculture has played a critical role in our region’s economy and heritage for many generations. Representative Mindy Fee and I will co-host a Farmers’ Breakfast to discuss issues of interest to the Lancaster County agriculture on Thursday, November 10 at 9 a.m. at Enck’s Banquet and Conference Center, 1461 Lancaster Road in Manheim.
Penn State Extension District Director David Swartz and Lancaster County Conservation District Manager Christopher Thompson will be guest speakers at the event. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and share their perspectives.
The event is free, but participants must RSVP by Tuesday, November 1. For more information, call Rep. Fee’s office at 664-4979 or register online at www.RepFee.com.
Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Opens November 1
Heating bills are a serious concern for many low-income families throughout the state. Pennsylvanians who have a heating emergency or are struggling to pay utility bills can apply for assistance through the state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning on November 1.
LIHEAP provides grants to help low-income families pay heating bills. Crisis grants are also available for heating emergencies such as a broken furnace, utility termination or fuel shortage. Eligibility and grant amounts are based on income and the number of people living in a household.
Applications for LIHEAP can be completed online on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services (COMPASS) website at www.compass.state.pa.us. Additional information about the program is available online at http://www.dhs.pa.gov/.
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