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Senator Gene Yaw

Dear Friends,

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.

Gene Yaw
State Senator

In a world of unlimited voices and choices, those who can bring people together and tell a good story have power.

Under the Dome

Notice to Municipal Governments:
Municipal Option to Prohibit Siting of Category 4 Casino

On October 30, 2017, Governor Wolf signed into law House Bill 271 which amends the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act (“Act”), 4 Pa.C.S. §§1101 et seq., and authorizes a number of gambling expansion opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.

One such opportunity is found in the creation of up to ten (10) Category 4 slot machine licenses which would likely, but not necessarily, be owned and operated by existing Pennsylvania licensed casino operators which already have other gaming properties in the Commonwealth. Under the expansion language, each Category 4 casino could operate between 300 and 750 slot machines and eventually up to 40 table games. No Category 4 location could be located within 25 linear miles of an existing Category 1, 2 or 3 casino facility.

Section1305.1 (A.1) of the Act is entitled “Municipal Option” and provides municipalities the option to prohibit, or opt-out of, the siting of a Category 4 facility within that municipality.1 As referenced, Title 4, Section 1103 defines a “Municipality” as “a city, borough, incorporated town or township.” If a municipality wishes to exercise this option and prohibit a Category 4 casino from being placed in the municipality, the governing body of the municipality must deliver a resolution exercising this power to the Board no later than December 31, 2017.

In order to facilitate this process, if a municipality desires to avail itself of the municipal option regarding Category 4 casinos, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board provides the following guidance:

  • First, the governing body of the municipality should officially adopt the Resolution at a public meeting consistent with the requirements of Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §701 et seq., after October 31, 2017.
  • Then, an official copy of the Resolution should be delivered no later than December 31, 2017 to:

Pamela Lewis, Board Secretary
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
303 Walnut Street
Commonwealth Tower, 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101

The Board also recommends that each municipal governing body consult their solicitor in the development of the resolution which, at minimum, should include the following information:

  • Reference to the power granted under Section 1305.1 and the municipality’s decision to exercise the power to opt-out;
  • The date that the governing body adopted the resolution; and
  • The inclusion of signatures or seal necessary to establish that the resolution was officially adopted.
Legislative ReCap

Senate Approves Bill Allowing Local Police to Use Radar

On November 14th, the Senate approved Senate Bill 251 that would allow Pennsylvania’s municipal police departments to use radar as a means of speed enforcement.

The bill sets the following conditions:

  • Municipalities must pass an ordinance allowing the use of RADAR/LIDAR.
  • Municipalities with RADAR/LIDAR must post signs indicating their use.
  • Points will not be assigned if the speed recorded is less than 10 miles over the speed limit.

Municipalities must test RADAR and LIDAR devices at least annually and they must be approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Pennsylvania Senate Unanimously Passes Initiative to Excuse Student Absence for Participation in Veterans Events or Funerals

The Senate unanimously passed legislation, Senate Bill 540, that would allow students who are performing at events and funerals honoring our veterans to be excused from school, and allow that time to be counted toward volunteering or community service requirements. The measure now goes before the House of Representatives for consideration.

Hellbender Wins Senate Support as State Amphibian

11/15/17 - Naming the Eastern Hellbender as the State Amphibian of PA

Six months after being introduced, legislation designating the Eastern Hellbender as “State Amphibian” was approved by the Senate.

Senate Bill 658 enhances the profile of North America’s largest salamander. Native to certain areas where water quality is pristine, the Eastern Hellbender serves as a natural indicator species due to its sensitivity to poor water quality and pollution.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Pennsylvania Student Leadership Council, consisting of high school students, invested many hours studying the Eastern Hellbender and the problems the amphibian is facing within the state. With assistance from Lycoming College in Williamsport, the students drafted Senate Bill 658 and met with elected officials to outline why they felt it should be the state amphibian.

Funding Announcements

State Funding Awarded for Local Projects

On November 14th, I joined Rep. Garth Everett to announce that the Borough of Montoursville will receive $402,500 in state funding for road surface improvements to Mill Street. The funding was awarded through the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s (CFA) Multimodal Transportation Fund Program.

The project will resurface the entire length of the existing roadway to provide a cartway width of 20 feet. The resurfaced road will allow the continued safe operation of commercial and passenger vehicles accessing the boat launch, sports fields, and the public water supply wells.

In addition to the Montoursville project, three other projects in Senator Yaw’s Senatorial District have been awarded Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program Funding through the CFA. They include:

  • Lewisburg Borough, Union County ($100,000) – for Phase I improvements to Hufnagle Park located in Lewisburg.
  • County of Lycoming ($180,000) – for the construction to the Basin Street / Susquehanna Riverwalk Connector located in the City of Williamsport.
  • Montrose Borough, Susquehanna County ($13,947) – for restorations to Memorial Park, located in the Borough of Montrose.

Weatherizing Your Home

SEDA-COG has been evaluating and solving home heating problems since 1976. Materials and labor are provided at no cost to those homeowners who qualify. SEDA-COG's Weatherization services are available in Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Perry, Snyder, and Union counties.

The process begins with an energy consumption profile of the home, an examination of monthly heating bills for a 12-month period, and an energy audit. SEDA-COG's diagnostic equipment measures air leaks and helps find ways for homeowners to save energy in either forced air or hot water distribution systems.

Eligibility: Qualified, low-income homeowners and tenants are eligible, determined by annual gross income and family size according to the following guidelines:

To learn more, click here.

Photo Gallery

Penn College Dedicates Resource for Student Veterans

On November 10th, I participated in a ceremony at the Pennsylvania College of Technology to dedicate its new Veterans & Military Resource Center.

Named the Major General Fred F. Marty, USA Retired, Veterans and Military Resource Center – and made possible through the generosity of Marty’s son, Patrick, and family – the facility will provide a site for veteran and active-duty students to gather, collaborate, study and discuss their military benefits with campus mentors.

‘Governing Magazine’ Holds Roundtable on Substance Use Treatment Disorders

On November 9th, Governing, in partnership with OPTUM, hosted a leadership roundtable convening Pennsylvania state and local leaders to address ways to close the funding gap to better manage substance use disorder (SUD) populations. I joined Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel & Department of Drug & Alcohol Treatment Programs Acting Secretary Jennifer Smith, among other state and local leaders for the discussion.

The roundtable discussion offered an opportunity for candid conversation and exchange of ideas around leveraging dollars efficiently and making an impact on the opioid crisis and other substance abuse challenges.

Lycoming College’s Center for Energy and the Future Discusses Marcellus Development

On November 8th, I joined Jonathan Williamson, associate professor of political science and chair of the department at Lycoming College to discuss “State policy related to Marcellus development,” as part of the College’s Center for Energy and the Future (CEF) Speaker Series. The talk focused on Marcellus Shale gas development — where we stand ten years into development, as well as what to expect during the next decade.

Joining Area Veterans in Bradford County

On November 10th, I joined Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, area veterans and state and local leaders to discuss heroin/opioid use & misuse at the American Legion Post 42 in Towanda. Opioid drug abuse has killed more Americans than the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars combined. Statistics show veterans are twice as likely as non-veterans to die from overdosing on painkillers.

BLaST IU #17 Representatives Visit the State Capitol

On November 14th, I met with Penny Johnson, Dr. Christina Steinbacher-Reed & Robin Holmes representing BLaST IU 17. BLaST Intermediate Unit 17 (serving Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga counties) assists regional schools with their charge to educate children, provide speech, hearing, and vision services as well as psychological services.

Funding Opportunities

Natural Gas Expansion Program Opens

The Department of Community and Economic Development is offering grant opportunities through the Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE).

PIPE provides grants to construct the last few miles of natural gas distribution lines to business parks, existing manufacturing, and industrial enterprises. Projects supported by PIPE grants serve to connect businesses, industrial sites, municipalities, and residents to natural gas to ensure they benefit from having access to Pennsylvania’s abundant, low-cost energy source.

To learn more, click here.

District Outreach Hours

November Satellite Hours and Locations

As a means to better serve area residents through increased outreach efforts, the below hours and locations have been added to provide better opportunities for area residents to meet directly with a member of my staff.

Thursday, November 30, 2017
Green Free Library
38 North Center Street
Canton, PA 17724

Satellite Office hours provide area residents with the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the senator’s staff to address state-related problems they may be encountering. A staff member will be able to offer assistance with driver license and vehicle registration applications, and help in filling out applications for various state programs, such as the senior citizen Property Tax/Rent Rebate and PACE prescription drug assistance programs.

Constituent services are always available at Senator Yaw’s Williamsport District Office, located at 175 Pine Street, Suite 105, from 9AM-5PM, or by calling (800) 443-5772.

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Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203023
362 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3023
FAX: 717-772-0575
TTY: 800-364-1581

Williamsport Office
175 Pine Street
Suite 105
Williamsport, PA 17701
FAX: 570-327-3703


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