State Transportation Commission, PennDOT Invite Public Comments

From PennDOT

The State Transportation Commission (STC), PennDOT and our planning partners are excited to announce the beginning of the Twelve Year Transportation Program Planning Process. The STC recently released the 2019 Transportation Performance Report. It contains info about how PA’s transportation system performed over the last two years. We encourage you to read and share the report and then – Tell Us What You Think! 

The Open Public Comment Period for the 2021 Twelve Year Program Update is March 11 – April 26, 2019. The comments received during the Open Public Comment Period help guide statewide transportation planning and programming. 

You are an important stakeholder in transportation planning and we welcome your voice in this process.

Take the Transportation Survey: March 11 – April 26
Register for the Online Public Meeting: March 20 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m
.
*Registration is not required to attend the Online Public Meeting. 

For more information, visit www.TalkPATransportation.com 
Phone: (717) 783-2262 
Email: 
[email protected] 

Details Emerge on New Federal Overtime Proposal

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Numerous media outlets last week reported details on a new overtime eligibility rule expected to be proposed in the near future by the U.S. Department of Labor. 

The proposal would update the so-called “white collar exemption” rules, which dictate when an employee is exempt from overtime rules requiring time-and-a-half pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week.  Currently, an employee may fall under the white collar exemption if he or she earns less than $455 per week.  The proposed rule reportedly increases the “salary test” threshold to $679 per week.  The rule is also expected to stipulate that nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments, including commissions, may satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary test, provided such bonuses are paid annually or more frequently.

This proposal follows a 2016 rule proposed by the Obama Administration to increase the salary threshold to $913 per week and require regular increases thereafter.  This proposal was widely opposed by the employer community, which cited significant costs and the prospect of being forced to shift employees from earning a salary to ‘clock in, clock out’ hourly-based wages which reduce flexibility and may actually lead to less take home pay.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce led a lawsuit opposing this rule, which was ultimately struck down by a federal court.

Member News – March 13, 2019

  • Currently, and running through April 4, the United Way of Columbia and Montour County is again offering free basic tax help to low and moderate-income residents in the community. This program will be held Tuesdays and Wednesday from 2-6 p.m. and Thursdays from 4-8 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church, located at 130 W. 3rd St., Bloomsburg (use the rear entrance). No appointments are necessary, only drop-offs and walk-ins will be accepted. For questions, call the United Way at 570-784-3134 or email, and see the flyer for additional information.

 

  • Commonwealth Health – Berwick Hospital Center will present a free six-week educational series titled “Six Weeks to Better Health” beginning today, March 13 and running each of the next five Wednesdays after that from 12-1 p.m. at the Hospital’s Conference Room 1 and 2, located at 701 East 16th St., Berwick. The final session in the series will be held from 5-6 p.m. on April 17. Titles of each session are: Living with High Blood Pressure; Why Do I need a Colonoscopy?; Living with Joint Disease; Solutions for Leg Pain and Swelling; Dealing with the Symptoms of Menopause; and Advanced Directives and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). For more information, see the flyer, and to RSVP, call 570-759-5337. 

 

  • The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, through its special FARMERS CARE project, made its annual donation of food, household items and monetary donations to the Ronald McDonald House of Danville recently.

    Students from local Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapters made the delivery of donated good and funds to the Ronald McDonald House of Danville recently.

    FARMERS CARE demonstrates how Pennsylvania’s farmers care about their communities by collecting donations to support those in need. The total amount of food, households products and monetary contributions that have been donated to RMHD over the past 21 years is in excess of $378,000, including over $21,000 this year alone. Members of the PFB from the following counties conducted the 2019 drive for RMHD: Montour, Northumberland, Union, Snyder, Columbia, Lycoming, Bradford, Sullivan, Clinton, Tioga, Potter and McKean. 

 

  • For The Cause is inviting area nonprofits, their boards and their prospective donors to a free 90-minutes conversations on smarter giving and fundraising strategies on Wednesday, March 27, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Teen Center, located at 1130 Sixth Ave., Berwick. They’ll discuss how to recognize donors, maximizing gift impact potential, minimizing taxes, and more. Seating is limited, so please RSVP by March 22 by email. For more information, see the flyer.

 

  • Bloomsburg University’s Professional U program will host a Marketing, Management and Communications Career Connections Expo on Thursday, March 28, from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Kehr Union Ballroom on the BU campus. Any employer looking to recruit business or communications students would benefit from participating. Employers interested in participating should call 570-389-3791 or email

 

  • Employees of all Chamber members are invited and welcome to attend Bloomsburg University Professional U’s Don’t be Fooled by the Fork networking dinner on Monday, April 1, at 6 p.m. at Monty’s on the BU Upper Campus. This dinner is an opportunity for BU students to practice professional networking and dining etiquette in a social setting among alumni and professional volunteers. Chamber members are welcome to join this event as role models and table hosts, and impart your wisdom to current students as they learn how to conduct themselves in a professional dining situation. There is no charge to attend this event and the meal is complimentary, however donations are appreciated in the form of a plate sponsorship ($40) or table sponsorship ($280). Register and make any voluntary donations online by March 22.

Main Street Act Supports Employee Ownership

From PA Center for Employee Ownership (PaCEO)

Note: The Columbia Montour Chamber, in partnership with the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber, the Bucknell SBDC, and PA CareerLink Columbia/Montour Counties, will present a free breakfast seminar on Tuesday, April 30, from 8-9 a.m. about the benefits of and converting to employee ownership. 

In August of last year, President Donald Trump signed into law the first major piece of federal legislation to support employee ownership in over 20 years.

The Main Street Act was passed (interestingly) as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Could it be that employee ownership is a form of financial and economic defense for employees and communities? We’re going to go with “Yes”!

The PaCEO worked closely with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and her staff, and was a co-sponsor of the bill.

The act directs the U.S. SBA (Small Business Administration) to provide loans and technical support to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and other forms of employee ownership. It directs the SBA to ease current restrictions that have made SBA loans problematic for employee ownership. Some of the highlights include:

  • Allowing for the financing of transaction costs
  • Allowing selling shareholders to stay with the company and receive shares
  • Removal of cumbersome and restrictive regulations
  • Improved ESOP lending
  • Assistance to co-ops
  • Promotion of ESOPs

Read more about this important piece of legislation and how it is intended to further promote employee ownership of businesses. 

Also, here is a link to a column urging the passage of this bill from earlier last year before the legislation was signed into law. 

For more information about employee ownership, contact Rosalie Evans via email at the Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership.

.

Welcome Skatetown Hysteria

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Skatetown Hysteria, to help us fulfill our mission.

Skatetown Hysteria is a family-fun center located in Bloomsburg at 2845 Skatetown Rd., just off Route 11 and just behind the Press Enterprise building. It features roller skating, laser tag, a ballocity ball pit, ultimate inflatable, bumper cards, a video arcade and full snack bar. It features various specials, and is a top destination for birthday parties and also has a fundraising program to assist organizations with fundraising needs. It is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5:30-8:30 p.m., Fridays from 6-10 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sundays from 12-6 p.m. For more information, visit its website or Facebook page, call 570-784-3580 or email.