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5 4 th L e g i s l a t i v e D i s t r i c t


SummeR 2011 Dear Neighbor,
I would like to first say that it is an honor to serve as your state representative. This newsletter is just one way that I plan to report back to you about what is going on in our Capitol and in our area. The start of my first session has been full of learning, listening to our community, and beginning the process of changing Harrisburg. As we all know, our state is in desperate need of repair. The same old way of conducting business is not going to get us on a better track. We need reform and I unequivocally support those changes. All options are on the table because we need to make Pennsylvania competitive again. Although the budget process was difficult, I firmly believe that once the dust settles and life returns to normal in our schools, universities, and with other budget stakeholders, we will all realize that making those tough choices today was the right thing to do for tomorrow. I take pride in holding to my pledge to have at least one town hall or roundtable meeting per month. In fact, I have far exceeded that goal with 13 meetings through July. In addition, my staff and I are making every effort to attend local government and school board meetings to better understand how we can be the best advocates for your concerns. I will also be knocking on doors throughout the district this summer and fall, so don’t be surprised to see me at your door again. Lastly, in my travels throughout the district I am often asked, “Well, do you like it?” The simple truth is that I have been given an opportunity to help make our state a better place, and I look forward to it every day. Please don’t hesitate to contact me and I look forward to your input. Sincerely, Rep. Eli Evankovich 54th State Legislative District

2011-12 State Budget a Return to Fiscal Responsibility
Deciding how the state should spend your hardearned tax dollars is our most important duty as lawmakers. I voted in favor of the 2011-12 budget because it is a responsible budget. The $27.15 billion budget decreases spending by 4 percent from the previous fiscal year, which has only happened two other times in the last four decades. We approved the budget on time, which never happened during the eight years of the Rendell administration. I believe the priorities we used in developing our budget were simply the priorities Pennsylvania voters expressed last November. We are trying to run the state like we run our households. That means there is no reckless borrowing. Like you, we know our obligations and must pay for them. The most important thing to remember is that we are staying within our financial means.
General Fund Spending: $27.15 Billion
Corrections $1.87 billion 7%

Debt Service $1.04 billion 4%

All Other $2.69 billion 10% PreK-12 Education $9.34 billion 34%

Public Welfare $10.56 billion 39% Higher Education $ 1.65 billion 6%

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Legislative Door-to-Door Schedule

Many local folks are busy with their families, work, school and other activities. While our district offices have extended hours, your schedule may prevent you from taking advantage of them. For this reason, I travel door-to-door throughout our district to meet people. The reason for doing this is simple. If you can’t make it to our district office, I’ll bring our district office to you. If you would like me to visit your home, please contact our office at (724) 387-1281 to schedule a time for me to stop by. I will be walking in our district on the following dates: Wed., Sept. 14, Mon., Sept. 19, and Fri., Sept. 30 City of Lower Burrell and Upper Burrell Township Thurs., Oct. 6, Fri., Oct. 7 and Tues., Oct. 11 City of Murrysville, Export, Penn Township Wed., Oct. 12, Thurs., Oct. 14 and Thurs., Oct. 20 Cities of New Kensington and Arnold Fri., Oct. 21 and Sat., Oct. 22 Townships of Cadogan, Gilpin, and Bethel Fri., Oct. 28 and Thurs., Nov. 3 Townships of Allegheny and Parks

In June, the state House approved legislation to strengthen voter identification and ensure the “one man, one vote” doctrine set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court. The measure will next be considered by the state Senate. House Bill 934 would: • Require voters to present a photo identification card every time they go to the polls to cast a ballot. • Require PennDOT to issue non-driver identification cards, at no charge, to any voter who does not possess proof of identification. • Assure all voters are treated equally and fairly. • Prevent some voters from being singled out for idenfication while other voters are allowed to vote without identifying themselves. I voted in favor of the voter ID bill because it preserves the integrity of one of our basic democratic rights. The simple fact is that Pennsylvanians want their votes to count and this legislation makes sure that happens.

Voter ID Bill Approved by House

Since the beginning of January, the House has passed 136 substantive bills of which 89 have been signed into law by the governor. Many of these bills will translate into necessary reforms and regulations that will enhance our freedoms and protect the citizens of our Commonwealth. Below is a brief summary of some new Pennsyvlania laws, which I proudly supported: Welfare Reform package includes measures that require the Department of Public Welfare to use an electronic cross-reference system to provide a 19-point check on an applicant’s eligibility, create a standard fraud detection system and subject drug felons applying for benefits or already receiving them to random drug testing. PennWATCH Reform creates a public online database of all state government expenditures to promote greater openness and transparency of state government to Pennsylvania taxpayers. Unemployment Compensation Reform includes measures to improve and offer cost savings to the unemployment compensation system such as requiring those receiving benefits to actively search for work and creating a severance pay offset. Controlled Substance Legislation reforms Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act to also ban the sale and use of “bath salts” as well as synthetic marijuana and Salvia Divinorum. Liquor Code Reform permits bar, restaurant and hotel owners to extend the length of time per day for “happy hour” sales from two to four hours and allows hotels and catering companies to purchase an additional license that allows the establishment to sell meals and alcohol for consumption at off-site, otherwise unlicensed premises. Building Code Relief removes the requirement that sprinklers must be installed in all new home construction and amends the building code to prohibit the use of light-weight flooring in new home construction because of the risk that flooring poses to firefighters. Expanded Castle Doctrine clarifies state law allowing you to stand your ground, removing the duty to retreat. I liken it to allowing you to defend your home, even if it is just to let your family escape. Property Tax Reforms giving citizens greater control over property tax increases by requiring school districts to seek voter approval for tax hikes that outpace inflation. Fair Share Act restores fairness when assessing penalties in liability lawsuits. Defendants would only be held responsible for his or her proportionate share of total damages awarded to compensate a plaintiff.

Legislative Wrap-up

Rep. Eli Evankovich hosted a Bipartisan Legislative Forum at PSU-New Kensington. He and other lawmakers fielded questions of local and national concern.

Rep. Eli Evankovich with Gov. Tom Corbett and Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) following the signing of the Fair Share Act.

House Bill 1416 would require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to provide yearly financial reports for certain restricted accounts. In addition, DEP must publish and maintain the information on its website. The measure was passed in the House in June and was sent to the state Senate for consideration. Another piece of legislation I am working on would bring substantial change to our public pension systems. The measure would establish a defined-contribution 401k style retirement plan for new members and employees of the General Assembly after Nov. 30, 2012. These individuals will not be permitted to join the existing State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) defined-benefit plan. I believe the legislative branch must step up and address taxpayer concerns by serving as an example for the rest of the public sector. I am currently seeking cosponsors for my legislation and intend to introduce it in the near future. I also plan to soon introduce legislation that will open doors for new jobs for Pennsylvania’s unemployed workers. Known as the “Return to Work” program, this measure pairs qualified displaced workers with interested businesses seeking to hire for available positions. This program would allow a person on unemployment to continue to receive unemployment benefits after he or she secures a job and a full-time paycheck from a participating business. Those benefits would be gradually reduced over time until the employer is responsible for 100 percent of the worker’s wages. I am currently seeking co-sponsors for this important bill.

my Legislation

Upon gaining the majority in the House for the 2011-12 session, with my support, House Republican leaders enacted several important rules changes to send a clear message that the time is now to clean up the legislative process and end the excesses in order to restore trust and accountability to state government. Stricter reporting requirements for per diem payments were implemented, including: 1) A requirement to substantiate overnight stays. 2) Taxpayer-funded leases for state vehicles were phased out. 3) For the first time ever, House members are required to contribute toward the cost of their health care premium. House leaders also voted to specifically limit the work of the House Appropriations Committee to strictly consider the fiscal aspects of any bill which has already received second consideration on the House floor.

Reforms in the House

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We consider education to be a major priority and it was funded at a higher level than the governor originally proposed. The 2011-12 budget includes $9.34 billion for basic education, which is the single largest appropriation of state funding for our public schools in Pennsylvania history. But there is still a lot of pain at the local level in some areas because of the loss of the federal bailout funds. I think most school districts have come up with reasonable plans to compensate for that loss. Here’s a look at the state allocations for school districts in the 54th Legislative Districts and how it compares to funding levels from the 2010-11 fiscal year:
District Armstrong Penn-Trafford Leechburg New Ken-Arnold Kiski Area Burrell Franklin Regional Total State Aid $30.25 million $14.64 million $4.31 million $11.86 million $16,05 million $6.01 million $7.44 million Change from Last Year $1.16 million increase $206,316 increase $91,121 increase $80,195 increase $20,660 decrease $42,334 decrease $51,387 decrease Loss of Bailout $3.32 million $1.63 million $479,133 $1.3 million $1.83 million $671,180 $797,730

Rep. Eli Evankovich congratulates three new teachers recently hired by Burrell School District. Pictured left to right: Lauren Myers, Karen Berzonsky, Patricia Kelly.

During the budget process there was much debate about a $700 million “surplus” to fund education and other programs. Please understand that the Commonwealth faces billions of dollars in looming liabilities. The prudent thing to do is to plan for them now. Those future obligations include $29.4 billion in pension liabilities, $12.9 billion in outstanding debt, $4 billion owed to the federal government to cover unemployment compensation costs, and a possible $716 million court judgment involving the MCare fund. We need to start thinking about those obligations today. For the first time in eight years, I believe we are starting to regain control over state spending. This budget is a responsible, sustainable financial blueprint that will help to make Pennsylvania more competitive for our children.

Hosted by

SEnior Expo

Rep. eli evankovich

Thursday, oct. 27 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Clarion Hotel, new Kensington
Sponsored by Alle-Kiski Medical Center



Rep. Eli Evankovich helps to cut the ribbon during the grand opening celebration for Rose’s, a retail shop located in the Hillcrest Shopping Center in Lower Burrell.

Rep. Eli Evankovich is given an explanation of one of the innovative products that Alcoa has developed for airplanes by Dr. Ralph Sawtell, division manager, Alloys Technology and Materials Research.

Rep. Eli Evankovich takes part in Dr. Seuss Night at Bon Air Elementary School in Lower Burrell.

Rep. Eli Evankovich reads to Ms. Kelly Tiberio’s kindergarten class at Martin Elementary School in New Kensington.

My district offices are here to help you. Services my staff and I provide include: • • • • • • • Driver’s license and vehicle registration applications and renewals. PACE and PACENET applications for senior citizens. Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications. Free state maps, state park information, and PA Vacation Guides. Copies of legislation. Tours of the state Capitol. Referrals to agencies to resolve state-related matters.
DISTRICT OFFICeS: 2400 Leechburg Road New Kensington, PA 15068 Office: 724.335.2790 Fax: 724.335.2649 5648 William Penn Highway Export, PA 15632 Office: 724.387.1281 Fax: 724.387.1295 HARRISBuRG OFFICe: PO Box 202054 Harrisburg, PA 17120-2054 Office: 717.260.6129 Fax: 717.772.9869

If you need help with any of the above, or with any other state-related matter, please do not hesitate to call one of my district offices. You also may contact me through my website,, or on Facebook at