Home Heartland Square Pennsylvania Quick hits: Pennsylvania news in brief for Thursday, Nov. 21

Quick hits: Pennsylvania news in brief for Thursday, Nov. 21

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Committee backs bill to increase fines for killing bald or golden eagles

The fine for killing a bald or golden eagle will increase from $200 to $2,000 if the Legislature approves a bill sponsored by Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Bethlehem.

Senate Bill 377 was approved by the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee and now goes to the full Senate. Fines collected will be used to replenish the population.

Bald and golden eagles were near extinction in the 20th century but their population has increased.

“While I am encouraged by the population’s rebound in recent decades, we must continue to safeguard this progress and deter the killing of these emblematic creatures in Pennsylvania,” Boscola said.

Senate considering bill to give tax credit to manufacturers that use methane

The Senate Finance Committee passed House Bill 1000, which gives tax credits to manufacturers that use methane to make urea, methanol and ammonia.

The legislation is part of a package of eight bills dubbed “Energize PA” that lawmakers say will attract businesses and jobs to underserved areas of the state. Manufacturers will have to make a $1 billion capital investment and create at least 1,000 full-time jobs to receive the tax credit.

The bill is similar to Act 52 of 2013 which created a tax credit that lawmakers said led to the construction of the Shell petrochemical plant Beaver County.

The House approved the bill in September and it is now before the full Senate.

Veteran lawmaker Barrar retiring from Legislature

Rep. Stephen Barrar says he is retiring after serving 24 years as a lawmaker.

“Over the years I have spent a lot of time away from my family,” Barrar, R-Chadds Ford, said in a statement. “I want to spend more time together, also I have been dealing with some serious health issues that have led to my decision to retire.”

Barrar serves as chairman of the Veteran Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and also sits on the Appropriations Committee.

School District launches ‘Aspiring to Educate’ teacher recruitment plan

The School District of Philadelphia is beginning a teacher recruitment program that is the only one of its kind in the nation. The program will be run by the state Department of Education and involve local organizations and colleges and universities.

The goal of the program, called Aspiring to Educate, is to create a more diverse group of teachers in Philadelphia. Ninety-six percent of Pennsylvania’s teachers are white, according to information from the Education Department.

Twenty aspiring teachers will be chosen in January to participate in the program. Education officials said the program will likely take place in other school districts in the future.