Happy New Year! Although we are already well into the winter months, it is never too late to enact good energy habits to keep your home warm and your bills in check. Drafts can sneak into homes through cracks in windows, doors, fireplaces and even dryer vents. Sealing up cracks and insulating unheated rooms like attics will keep the home feeling warmer. Also, sealing the home with plastic storm windows, weather stripping and V-seal are all ways to keep out the cold — and keep your heating bills down. Get in the habit of turning down the thermostat when you leave the house for longer periods of the day, and lower the water heater thermostat to 115 degrees. Also, open the drapes or blinds on sunny days to allow the natural light to heat the home, and keep them closed on cloudy days to keep out the draft. Of course, turn off all electrical appliances and lights when a room is not in use. For many more helpful tips, check it out this guide from the U.S. Department of Energy.
For all the latest news on what’s going on in Harrisburg and in Northeast Philadelphia, check out my website, www.senatorstack.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.
SENATOR MIKE STACK
Local Microdistillery to be More Competitive, Thanks to New State Law
Pennsylvania is in good spirits. Craft breweries are becoming popular destinations for beer drinkers to visit, sample and purchase products, and Pennsylvania is home to some very well-recognized, award-winning and growing microbreweries.
Pennsylvania’s two microdistilleries—one of which is located right here in Northeast Philadelphia — will now be given the same opportunities to succeed.
Philadelphia Distilling LLC, located on McNulty Road, is the first craft distillery in Pennsylvania since prohibition and the first microdistillery in the state. It is the proud maker of award-winning products such as Blue Coat Gin and Penn 1681 Vodka, both of which have won numerous accolades worldwide.
Act 113 of 2010, which was just signed into law, will give the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) authorization to issue limited distillery licenses to small distilleries like Philadelphia Distilling LLC. The licenses would give Philadelphia Distilling permission to allow for tastings and sales by the glass and by the bottle on site and to sell its products at two satellite facilities with the PLCB’s approval.
Expanding the liquor regulations to allow tastings and outside sales of its products will help generate business, increase visits, maintain jobs and help this local company grow its brand and create more jobs.
During these difficult economic times, we need to do all we can to support the small local companies that are trying to grow their business in our Commonwealth. This new law will help a small industry grow and thrive.
Talk with PSU President Focuses on Financial Fallout of Sex Abuse Scandal
Last month, I met with Penn State University’s new President Rodney Erickson. We discussed the financial implications of potential liability lawsuits from the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the university.
I am very concerned about how these potential lawsuits would be handled and how the university will pay for its representation. As the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, I felt it was necessary to hold a serious discussion with President Erickson.
The president assured me that no taxpayer funds, student tuition or donor dollars will be used, and he explained that the university’s liability policies are segregated from its general fund.
Penn State will receive $214 million in funds from the 2011-12 state budget. The university’s budget for this Fiscal Year is $4.1 billion.
I made it very clear to the president that the investigations at Penn State and any actions taken by the university must be conducted in a responsible way. I have asked President Erickson to stay in contact with me as the investigations move forward. I will continue to monitor the situation to make sure that Penn State’s subsequent actions remain open and transparent.
New Safety Law Helps Young Drivers
Pennsylvania just enacted a new law that will help junior drivers receive more comprehensive training, eases young driver distractions through limiting the number of passengers they may carry, and improves general highway safety through improvements to passenger restraint laws.
Act 81 of 2011 increases supervised, behind-the-wheel skill building for learner’s permit holders less than 18 years of age from 50 hours to 65 hours. Ten of the added hours must consist of nighttime driving, while the other five additional hours must be driven in poor weather conditions.
The new law increases restrictions on the number and age of passengers a junior license holder may transport. For the first six months after receiving a junior driver’s license, a driver is not permitted to have more than one passenger under age 18 who is not an immediate family member in the vehicle — unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. After that time, if the junior driver has not been convicted of a driving violation or responsible for a reportable crash, the driver may have up to three passengers under age 18 who are not immediate family members without a parent or legal guardian present.
Drivers and occupants in a vehicle who are under the age of 18 must wear a seat belt, and children under the age of 8 must be securely fastened in a child restraint system. Failure to comply with the new law’s seat belt provisions is a primary offense, which means a driver can be pulled over and cited solely for that violation.
Offices of State
Senator Mike Stack
Office Hours: Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.