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.
The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.
Pennsylvania Legislature OKs Abortion Bill; Governor to Veto Measure
The state Senate reconvened Monday to vote on a number of measures introduced during the 2017-18 legislative session. Senate Bill 3, approved by the House of Representatives this week, amends the Abortion Control Act to reduce the maximum gestational age for legal abortions from 24 to 20 weeks. As in current law, this limitation would not apply in situations where an abortion is necessary to prevent the death or impairment of a woman. Governor Wolf is expected to veto the measure.
Senate Votes to Reauthorize CHIP Program
The Senate Chamber approved legislation to reauthorize the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for another two years. The CHIP Program provides health coverage to nearly eight million children and families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but can't afford private coverage. About 90 percent of the $450 million that supports the state’s CHIP program comes from the federal government.
Senate Approves Bill Restoring “Standing” for Grandparents
Legislation expanding the legal standing for individuals seeking to gain custody of children in cases where no biological or adoptive parent has custody was approved by the Senate on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 844 addresses the devastating toll of the opioid crisis on families across the Commonwealth, which can be especially heart-wrenching when it involves the innocent children of addicts who, because of their addiction, are unable to care for them. Often, grandparents are called upon to care for those children — even though they currently have little to no legal standing under current state law.
In May, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania held a public hearing to discuss the rights of grandparents. To preview the hearing, click here.
Updating Length of Stay in Ambulatory Surgery Centers
The Senate unanimously approved legislation that will align the length of stay in licensed Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) with that of other states and federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines. Ambulatory Surgery Centers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are governed by rules and regulations written in the 1990s. While there have been advances in technology and innovations in the delivery of health care, Pennsylvania’s regulations have not been updated.
House Bill 1234 would align the time allotment to mirror CMS guidelines. Neighboring states of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Ohio, New Jersey and West Virginia along with the majority of States in the Union, parallel CMS length of stay parameters.
Unemployment Compensation (UC) Funding Legislation
The Senate approved House Bill 1915, legislation that would provide a multi-year funding “exit ramp” for the Unemployment Compensation (UC) program to end its reliance on the supplemental transfers to the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund (SIIF). The House of Representatives previously approved the bill that provides $115.2 million over four years.
The state Senate also sent or returned to the House of Representatives a number of bills that include legislation to allow a judge to order an electronic monitoring device on a defendant in a protection from abuse order; legislation to repeal the sunset provision, which gave the attorney general and county district attorneys the authority to use administrative subpoenas to identify from internet service providers the “IP address” of computers used to transmit known child pornography; as well as legislation to create a recreational vehicle (RV) specific law that governs RV dealers, manufacturers, and salespeople.
Senate Committee Advances POLST Order Bill
Legislation I sponsored to codify use of a standardized (Pennsylvania) Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form for individuals suffering from a serious illness or toward the end of life was unanimously approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
To read more, click here.
[L to R: Brenna Elliott, CAAP, Executive Administrator; Gary Davis, Executive Business Development Officer; myself and Erik Houser of my staff]
On Thursday, December 7th, I had the opportunity to visit the Bradford Recovery Center, located in Millerton, which specializes in several levels of care including drug and alcohol detox, inpatient residential and co-occurring mental health and addiction treatment. While at the facility, I had a firsthand look at the center and discussed their ‘Return to Duty Program,’ an innovative addiction and mental health treatment model designed to restore individuals to balanced, sober, productive and all-around healthy lives. It extends beyond strictly safety sensitive positions and works to help employees and members of employers and union organizations across the entire labor industry.
On Tuesday, December 12th, I had the opportunity to congratulate Jade Parker of my Senate District on her athletic accomplishment as a member of the Lady Lions Volleyball Team, which won the 2017 ESDAA Division 2 Girls’ Volleyball Championship. The ESDAA is comprised of 11 states and regulates interscholastic athletics among its member schools.
Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) Grant Program Opens
The Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) is accepting grant applications for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans. The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) will award up to $800,000 in VTF grants to non-profit organizations, veteran service organizations and county directors of veteran affairs across the state. Grant applications must be received no later than 3 p.m. EST on Friday, January 19, 2018.
Up to a total of $150,000 in grant funding is available for new, innovative or expanded programs or services provided by county directors of veterans’ affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. The areas of emphasis for applicants in this category are veterans’ outreach and veterans’ court programs.
Up to $650,000 in VTF funding is available to veteran service organizations and 501(c)(3) charitable organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans. Funding priorities for applicants in this category are transitional housing or community living initiatives and unique veteran health services that address issues like homelessness, post-traumatic stress and behavioral health needs.
United States Department of Veterans Affairs Announces Rollout and Application Process for New Veterans ID Card
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that the application process for the national Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is now available for Veterans — yet another action honoring their service.
Only those Veterans with honorable service will be able to apply for the ID card, which will provide proof of military service, and may be accepted by retailers in lieu of the standard DD-214 form to obtain promotional discounts and other services where offered to Veterans.
To request a VIC, Veterans must visit vets.gov, click on “Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card” on the bottom left of the page sign in or create an account. Veterans who apply for a card should receive it within 60 days and can check delivery status of their cards at vets.gov. A digital version of the VIC will be available online by mid-December.
REAL IDs will be available at the customer’s option in spring 2019
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reminds customers that there are proactive steps that they can take now to help prepare for when REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards are available to customers who want them in spring 2019.
A federally accepted form of identification (whether it's the forthcoming Pennsylvania REAL ID driver's license or ID card, a U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must be used as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building on and after October 1, 2020.
If a customer decides that they do want a REAL ID, federal regulations require that to be issued a REAL ID-compliant product, PennDOT must verify the following documents:
More information about REAL ID, including frequently asked questions, can be found at www.dmv.pa.gov.
Bradford, Lycoming, Susquehanna County Projects Awarded Growing Greener Funding
Bradford, Lycoming and Susquehanna counties have been awarded funding to clean up local waters through the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Growing Greener program.
According to DEP, Bradford County will receive $220,000 to be directed to the county’s sediment and nutrient reduction initiative. Additionally, the Sugar Creek Watershed Association, which encompasses 17 municipalities, will receive $68,000 as part of the Browns Creek stream corridor restoration project.
The Lycoming County Conservation District will receive $214,984 to implement and enhance agricultural and streambank best management practices across the county. In addition, the Susquehanna County Conservation District will receive $71,808 for countywide spring developments, $32,651 for priority watershed spring developments; $38,328 for the Meshoppen Watershed barnyards project; $170,000 for the Tunkhannock Creek Watershed barnyards project and $180,000 for the Wyalusing Watershed barnyards project.
To read more, click here.
State Investments Protecting Watersheds, Enhancing Local Park and Trail Recreation
Several state investments for local watersheds, as well as park and trail projects have been distributed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2), for 266 projects across Pennsylvania that will create new recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources and help revitalize local communities.
I’m happy the investments approved this week will aid to protect natural amenities and improve recreational activities for our citizens,” Sen. Yaw said. “It’s important that we continue to improve our land and water conservation practices, so that we can enjoy them for years to come.”
To read more, click here.
December 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, December 14, 2017|
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
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) 443-5772.72.