Hello! Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 23rd Senate District and look forward to working with you toward building a better future for Pennsylvania!
This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
'Have a safe 4th of July'
As most of us enjoy a long weekend of celebrations and cookouts with family and friends, let us be proud not only because we are Americans, but also because of what America stands for, the many freedoms we enjoy and those freedoms that have made this country the greatest in the world
May God bless everyone and have a wonderful and safe Independence Day.
Pennsylvania Senate Passes $31.99 Billion Budget Bill
On June 30th, the Pennsylvania Senate gave approval to a $31.99 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2017-18 that restores various cuts and programs previously eliminated.
With a 43-7 vote Friday, the Senate sent the budget bill back to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
The operating budget approved meets the core responsibilities of government and still funds the priorities shared by both parties. This measure maintains a quality education system, promotes job growth and addresses some of the most serious challenges facing our communities including the growing heroin and opioid epidemic.
The spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 is nearly $650 million less than Governor Wolf’s original budget request and will result in the first decrease in spending on the state’s criminal justice system in years.
The spending plan also allocates $7 million to combat heroin and opioid addiction, including funds to expand access to life-saving naloxone and to support additional drug courts.
To read more, click here.
To preview the FY 2017-18 General Fund Budget, click here.
Governor Signs Bill Strengthening PA Animal Abuse Laws
Senator Yaw and Senator Rich Alloway join Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania State Director at the Humane Society; Joan Smith-Reese, Executive Director at the Animal Care Sanctuary in Bradford County and Rachel Rossiter, Director of Canine Care at the Animal Care Sanctuary for the ceremonial bill signing of Libre’s Law.
Governor Tom Wolf signs Libre’s Law
Libre, pictured with his owner, Janine Guido of Carlisle
On June 28th, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill 1238, a sweeping overhaul of Pennsylvania’s animal abuse laws that I supported. House Bill 1238 is the most significant re-write of Pennsylvania’s animal abuse laws in decades.
The comprehensive package includes Libre’s Law, which has tougher penalties for extreme abuse and neglect of animals. The law requires those convicted of serious animal abuse to surrender their pets. Animals should not be returned to the people who have harmed them. Other provisions of the new law add protections for horses, ban all-day tethering of dogs during inclement weather and provide limited civil immunity for veterinarians and humane society police officers who report suspected animal cruelty.
School Safety Measure Passes Senate
This week, the Senate approved Senate Bill 383, legislation that would give school boards the option of allowing licensed and trained staff to carry firearms on school property.
Time is a critical element when a violent incident occurs in a school. Many schools in rural areas rely on State Police coverage, which means response times can vary.
SB 383 would allow school personnel to have access to firearms in school safety zones if school districts establish proper guidelines and they are licensed to carry a concealed firearm and have met certain training requirements in the use and handling of firearms in a program approved by the State Police.
The bill was amended to require individuals to pass a psychological examination before they would be entrusted with possessing a firearm in school. The amendment also improved transparency by requiring school boards to notify the local hospital and students’ families when they give personnel permission to access firearms in school. It also requires school boards to file a comprehensive firearm safety plan with the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the school.
Bill to Block Merger of DDAP Introduced
I recently sponsored legislation seeking to block the consolidation of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) into the Department of Health and Human Services.
With the 51 reported overdoses in the Williamsport region this week, it’s clear that someone needs to be in charge of Pennsylvania’s growing drug problem.
Now is not the time to bury DDAP on the third level of an administrative behemoth.
A June 8th announcement by the Drug Enforcement Administration Philadelphia Field Division announced that 4,642 drug-related overdose deaths were reported by coroners and medical examiners in Pennsylvania for 2016, a 37% increase and a record high. Approximately 13 people died of a drug-related overdose each day. The DEA will be releasing its Analysis of Drug-Related Overdose Deaths in Pennsylvania 2016 report in early July.
Senate Passes Bill Targeting Drug Dealers
District attorneys would be able to hold drug dealers more accountable for the damages they cause under legislation approved by the Senate this week.
Senate Bill 662 would strengthen penalties for the delivery or distribution of an illicit drug that results in serious bodily injury to the user, such as a permanent disfigurement or the loss or impairment of a body part or organ.
Pennsylvania currently lacks a statute pertaining to serious bodily injury resulting from an overdose. For that reason, district attorneys often refer these cases to federal prosecutors who can seek tougher penalties under federal law.
The legislation was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
File Natural Gas Complaints with the Attorney General
As I noted earlier this week, I met with Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently and discussed the current Chesapeake / Anadarko litigation suit.
Oral argument on both Chesapeake’s and Anadarko’s Preliminary Objections will be held at 10:00 a.m. on July 20, 2017.
The Attorney General is encouraging anyone with concerns about their royalties to file a complaint with his office’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, click here.
District Outreach Events
As a means to better serve the residents of the 23rd Senatorial District through increased outreach efforts, the added hours and locations below will provide better opportunities for area residents to meet directly with a member of my staff.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Constituent services are always available at my Williamsport District Office , located at 175 Pine Street, Suite 105, from 9 AM - 5 PM, or by calling (800) 443-5772.
Welcoming Samia Campbell to the Senate
Recently, I welcomed Williamsport Junior/Senior High School student Samia Campbell to the State Senate. Samia had the opportunity to come to Harrisburg and learn more about state government, specifically the workings of the senate and the environmental resources committee
Samia is a member of the WAHS National Honor Society, National Art Honors Society, Girl’s Tennis team, Key Club and a member of the WAHS Strolling Strings where she plays the violin.
It was great welcoming Samia to the State Capitol.