Back To School Night – Opioid Dangers 101
I will be hosting two drug forums led by professionals and local experts to educate our communities about the opioid epidemic devastating families, neighborhoods, our State and Nation.
The first event will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Dallas High School Performing Arts Center Auditorium. A second event is set for Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Tunkhannock Area High School Auditorium from 6-7:30 p.m.
These panel discussions are open to the public. Please plan to attend.
Keeping Your Personal Info Safe
In light of recent news about a data breach at Equifax, a national credit-reporting agency, residents are encouraged to learn more about identity theft and how to protect their information from being used fraudulently.
It is unknown how many Pennsylvania consumers the breach has affected; however, the Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General is leading a national investigation into the data breach.
In the meantime, consumers are urged to be proactive in monitoring their credit reports and financial account statements, such as credit cards and utilities, and in reporting any suspicious activity to the attorney general office’s hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or email@example.com.
The Federal Trade Commission has also provided www.identitytheft.gov, an identity theft prevention website.
House Majority Policy Committee Discusses Jobs, Economic Growth
The House Majority Policy Committee traveled to Penn State Wilkes-Barre on Thursday to discuss how state government can attract good-paying jobs, help small businesses succeed, and educate a skilled workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The hearing featured representatives from higher education and the local economic development community, and was part of the Policy Committee’s latest initiative to grow and strengthen Pennsylvania’s middle class.
Pictured with me from left are Dr. Dale Jones, chancellor, Penn State Wilkes-Barre; Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, House Majority Policy Committee chairman; Susan Spry, vice president of Workforce and Community Development at Luzerne County Community College; Dr. Tom Botzman, president, Misericordia University; and Dr. David Coppola, president, Keystone College.
Preventing Fraudulent Use of Welfare Benefits
To help prevent the fraudulent use of public assistance benefits, the House passed legislation this week to further crack down on welfare fraud by requiring proper documentation of citizenship and residency when applying for local and state benefits.
Under House Bill 1095, individuals who apply for benefits directly must provide an acceptable form of identification, or an affidavit certifying their citizenship. The bill would not change any eligibility criteria for the receipt of public benefits. It merely would update Pennsylvania law to ensure compliance with federal law.
The bill would also prohibit individuals from possessing multiple ACCESS cards. Any person who violates this prohibition would be charged with a third-degree felony.
House Bill 1095 now goes to the state Senate.
Celebrate PA Manufacturers
Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week will be observed Sept. 30 through Oct. 6, and will recognize the vital role manufacturers play in our state’s economy and the variety of job opportunities and career paths open to the next generation of Pennsylvania’s workforce.
In total, manufacturing has an economic impact of $84 billion in Pennsylvania, and we are home to the eighth largest manufacturing industry in the United States.
Throughout the week, Pennsylvania manufacturers and partners will hold events to give students and their families an inside look at today’s modern manufacturing. The weeklong celebration will conclude with National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 6. More information about the industry and events are available here.
Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week and Manufacturing Day are part of a movement to build positive perceptions about manufacturing, draw attention to the variety of career opportunities available, and highlight the industry’s important contributions to our economy.
In helping to promote manufacturing, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has spearheaded a new law to allow career and technical students to demonstrate proficiency on exams developed by the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute in lieu of demonstrating proficiency on a Keystone Exam. Act 6 of 2017 gives them greater flexibility in meeting high school graduation requirements so they can be ready to enter the workforce.
September Named Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
A House resolution designating September 2017 as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month passed the House of Representatives this summer with unanimous, bipartisan support.
House Resolution 382 is intended to bring awareness to childhood cancer, to encourage young Pennsylvanians who are fighting cancer, and to honor young people who have lost their lives to childhood cancer. The resolution also expresses gratitude to the doctors and nurses who provide special care to patients and families affected by childhood cancer and encourages all residents in this Commonwealth to join the fight against childhood cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, childhood cancers make up less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed each year. An estimated 10,270 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in children under the age of 15 in the United States this year. Childhood cancer rates have been slightly increasing for the past few decades.
Because of major treatment advances in recent decades, more than 80 percent of children with cancer now survive five years or more. Overall, this is a significant increase since the mid-1970s, when the five-year survival rate was less than 60 percent. Still, survival rates vary depending on the type of cancer and other factors.
Informational Seminar with State Fire Commissioner Set for Oct. 26
I am pleased to announce that State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay will offer an informational seminar in our legislative district. As the last seminar took place at the Wyoming County E.M.A. building, this seminar will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Back Mountain Regional E.M.A. Building, 3593 State Route 118, Lehman Township.
Commissioner Solobay will cover topics including grants, the state fire academy and his office. He will also answer any questions that the departments may have.
If you are interested in attending, please call my Tunkhannock District Office at 570-836-4777. Reservations are required by Friday, Oct. 20.
Protect Yourself from the Flu
The state Department of Health is encouraging all Pennsylvanians over 6 months of age to get a flu vaccine.
Infants and children, seniors, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions are especially susceptible to developing flu-related complications.
Other steps people can take to protect against the flu include:
o Washing your hands often with soap and warm water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
o Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throwing any used tissues in the trash.
o Keeping your hands away from your face, and not touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
o Disinfecting frequently used surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes or countertops.
o Avoiding contact with individuals who may have the flu. When sick, stay home until at least 24 hours after your fever goes away on its own without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
Talk to your doctor about obtaining a flu vaccine or click here for information about the flu.
Satellite, Outreach Hours Offered Next Week
A member of my staff will be available at the following locations next week to provide assistance with Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms, PennDOT paperwork, state-related issues and more.
• Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to noon at Mehoopany Township Municipal Building, located at 237 Schoolhouse Road, Mehoopany, and then at the Meshoppen Borough Building, located the intersection of Canal Street and Route 267 in Meshoppen from 1-3 p.m.
• Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Dalton Borough Building, located at 105 West Main St., Dalton, from 10 a.m. to noon.
The Mobile Vet Center will be in the Ace Hardware-Brady and Cavany Store parking lot in Eaton Township on Monday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some of the services available for veterans and their dependents include individual, group, family and bereavement counseling; medical referrals; assistance in applying for Veterans Affairs benefits; employment counseling; guidance and referrals; and alcohol and drug assessments.
On Wednesday, Oct. 4, the American Legion will hold office hours at the Tunkhannock district office, located at 133 West Tioga St., Suite 4, in Tunkhannock from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
A claims consultant from the American Legion will provide the assistance. Area veterans may seek assistance and information pertaining to specific benefits and programs. Additional meetings will be held on the first Wednesday of every month.
For more information and to register, visit www.RepBoback.com or call my Tunkhannock district office at 570-836-4777.
Out and About
I attended the dedication of the Back Mountain Community Partnership (BMCP) Shared Storage Garage at Lehman Township on Saturday, Sept. 23. The Back Mountain Community Partnership (BMCP) consists of seven member municipalities in Luzerne County Dallas Borough, Dallas Township, Franklin Township, Harveys Lake Borough, Jackson Township, Kingston Township and Lehman Township. The shared storage garage was built with funds from a Local Share Account (LSA) grant and contributions from the BMCP member municipalities. The garage will be used to store shared public works equipment that has been purchased by the BMCP.
Pictured with me (from left) are Tim Carroll, Dallas Borough mayor; Jim Reino, Kingston Township; Liz Martin, Dallas Township; Tom Yoniski, Sen. Lisa Baker’s office; Bill Hilburt, Harveys Lake Borough; David Sutton, Lehman Township; Alvin Cragle, Lehman Township; Ryan Doughton, Douglas F. Trombower and Associates; Doug Ide, Lehman Township; and Ray Iwanowski, Lehman Township.
It was my pleasure to attend the Mehoopany Baptist Church Women’s Social.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a ribbon-cutting and open house for Patriot’s Cove in Noxen.
I had the opportunity to attend the Dallas High School Economics Club Car and Truck Show. Pictured with me are Adam Borton, Francesca Treslar, Jack Ziemba, Daniel Meuser and David Chopyak.
Pictured with me are members of the Economics Club and club advisors Dennis Garvey and Tom Gilroy.
Scenes From the Wyoming County Chamber Fallfest Mixer
Concealed Carry Seminar Set for Oct. 12
Reps. Aaron Kaufer, Tarah Toohil and I are co-hosting a Concealed Carry Seminar on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 6-8 p.m. at the Luzerne Volunteer Fire Department, located at 66 Tener St., Luzerne.
The seminar will feature Luzerne County officials, including District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis and Sheriff Brian M. Szumski. They will include information about how recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions affect the Second Amendment rights of citizens.
Due to space limitations, those planning to attend are required to RSVP in advance. There is no fee to attend. To register, visit www.RepBoback.com or call my offices at (570) 675-6000 or (570) 836-4777.