Behind the scenes. A lot of buzz in the halls of the capitol this week as it was rumored that republican and democratic leaders finally met to begin working on identifying common ground on the “elephant in the room” otherwise known as the question, “how are we going to bridge the nearly $5 billion state budget shortfall looming as early as December 2020?” While no public announcements were made or proposals put forth, it is a good sign that leaders may have sat down together to begin sorting out their differences.

House Transportation Committee advances several bills. The House Transportation Committee advanced two Senate bills during voting actions this week placing them one step closer to the governor’s desk.

The first was changes to the state’s vehicle emission inspection program that would essentially change the types of testing required for older model cars in some rural counties. The bill would require the state to submit revisions to the emissions testing program to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The second bill was amendments to the state’s “Move Over Law” that requires motorists to move over in an emergency response area as it is practical and safe to do so. The bill would add that in addition to moving over you would also need to reduce your speed by 20 mph below the posted speed limit. The bill passed with some non-related amendments attached and now moves to the full House for approval.

Did you know? Many may not realize that in 1897 the state capitol building suffered from a major fire. As a result, the General Assembly met at Grace United Methodist Church on State Street in Harrisburg to conduct legislative session. In commemoration of its 200th anniversary, the current General Assembly held a ceremonial session at the church which remarkably is still standing today.