PA Senate Hears Dairy Concerns

Challenges facing Pennsylvania's dairy industry were the focus of a hearing this week by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. Committee members heard from PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, as well as representatives of farmers, milk marketers and retailers. The two biggest issues facing the industry are falling milk prices and a decline in the consumption of liquid dairy products, specifically whole milk. One note of encouragement expressed during the hearing is that more people are purchasing cheeses, yogurts, and other products derived from dairy.

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PennDOT Hosts Freight Summit

PennDOT is hosting the state's first freight summit at Lehigh University in Bethlehem today. The impact of warehouses on freight movement across Pennsylvania and the wear and tear of trucks on the state's roads are among the issues the summit seeks to address. PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards says while trucks moved more than 867 million tons of goods on PA highways in 2011, that number is expected to increase to nearly 1.5 billion by 2040.

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PA Redistricting Bills Being Considered

State House members have moved a slew of potential redistricting overhaul bills onto the chamber floor. But there's still no consensus about which one to actually pass. A total of six bills to overhaul the way Congressional and Legislative districts are redrawn in Pennsylvania are under consideration in the House. GOP Leader Dave Reed says the most likely one to proceed won Senate approval last week, giving the legislature and Governor significant control over the redistricting process, and including a provision to elect appellate judges by district instead of statewide

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Pennsylvania House Passes Budget

A 32.7-billion dollar state budget for the next fiscal year has won overwhelming approval in the state House. Lawmakers passed a budget blueprint on time last year, but it took several months to agree on a way to pay for it. House leaders say it's a different story this year, with both components of the budget included in this plan. It increases spending by less than 2 percent over the current year and holds the line on taxes. The final House vote was 188 to 10.

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