Schwank to stream spotted lanternfly hearing from Harrisburg

Meeting set to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Lawmakers from both chambers of the Pennsylvania Legislature are about to focus their attention on the spotted lanternfly.

The state Senate and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees will hold a joint informational meeting on the invasive insect in Harrisburg on Wednesday.

Berks County state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Democrat who serves as minority chair of the Senate's committee, said she requested the meeting, which will be streamed live on her website and Facebook page. It's set to start at 9 a.m.

Much of Schwank's district has been ground zero in the fight against the spotted lanternfly since September 2014, when the insect made its first U.S. appearance in Berks County.

Most municipalities in Berks, along with many others in surrounding counties, have since been placed under a state quarantine, which restricts the movement of certain articles in an effort to prevent the pest's spread beyond the area in which it's already located.

The spotted lanternfly, which is native to China, India, and Vietnam, threatens grape, tree fruit, plant nursery, hops, and logging industries.

Wednesday's meeting, Schwank said, will cover pertinent information and examine plans being developed by the state's Department of Agriculture to control the insect.

Republican Sen. David Argall, who represents Schuylkill County and part of Berks, also serves on the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

Rep. Mark Gillen, a Berks County Republican, is a member of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

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