Aug. 16, 2019

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 The latest news from the State Capitol

 
Making PA Schools Safer

Recognizing the importance of ensuring our children feel safe at school, the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in support of investing an additional $60 million in the School Safety and Security Block Grant program. Now in its second year, the program provides flexible funding that schools may use for a variety of security-related initiatives, including hiring school police officers, school resource officers, counselors and/or mental health counselors; alternative education and diversion programs; violence prevention initiatives; school safety and emergency preparedness plans; or physical upgrades to school buildings and equipment to improve safety. Based on revisions to the grant funding guidelines, each school entity that submits an application for funding to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will receive a base grant of between $30,000 and $45,000, based on the school’s average daily attendance. As part of the Public School Code bill that accompanied passage of this year’s budget, lawmakers also are requiring each public school district to create at least one multi-disciplinary threat assessment team to identify students in distress before their behavior escalates to a level that raises concern about safety.
 
 
In the District

As a part of this year’s Harveys Lake Fest, a breakfast was held at the Harveys Lake American Legion. Proceeds from the breakfast benefitted St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Congressman Dan Meuser and Harveys Lake Council President Clarence Hogan joined me for a photo at the event.

During the festival, I joined Councilman Danny Blaine, Harveys Lake Fest Chairman Mike Rush, Police Chief Charles Musial, Mayor Carole Sampson and Protective Association President Frank Lutinski in burying a time capsule on the premises of the Harveys Lake Police Station.

I was thrilled to attend the first annual “Books, Brew and BBQ” event at Irem Country Club in Dallas. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Back Mountain Memorial Library Renovation Fund. Pictured with me (from left) are: Karen Shuster, vice president of the Back Mountain Memorial Library Board of Directors; Maureen Leahigh, member of the Back Mountain Memorial Library Board of Directors; and Carol Sweeney, my Tunkhannock district office manager.

Congressman Fred Keller, Sen. Lisa Baker and I recently visited Brown Hill Farms in Tunkhannock to discuss struggles facing the agriculture industry. We also had the opportunity to take a tour of their operations and learn about their agritourism, hemp and youth farming education endeavors.
 
 
Bringing State Government to You

On Tuesday, Aug. 20, a member of my staff will hold satellite office hours from 9-11 a.m. at the Benton Township Community Center, located at 16043 Route 407, Fleetville.

Also on Tuesday, Aug. 20, a representative from the VFW will be at my Dallas district office, located at 105 Lieutenant Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to assist veterans.

On Wednesday, Aug. 21, a representative from the Center for Independent Living will be available for appointments at my Tunkhannock district office. Please call my Tunkhannock office at 570-836-4777 to make an appointment.

On Thursday, Aug. 22, my staff will be available from 10 a.m. to noon at the Falls Senior Center, located at 2813 Sullivan’s Trail, Falls.

Also on Thursday, Aug. 22, a consultant from PA Career Link will be at my Dallas district office from 1-4 p.m., to offer assistance to disabled veterans. Please call my Dallas office at 570-675-6000 for more information.

*Please note: Veterans outreach hours provided by the Scranton Veteran’s Center at my Dallas district office on Friday, Aug. 23, were recently publicized in error. There are no outreach hours scheduled on that date.
 
 
Safe2Say Something Reporting System Gets Results

An anonymous reporting system designed to give students, teachers, parents and community members the ability to anonymously report potential threats and other problems has collected nearly 23,500 tips in its first six months of operation, according to a report from the Office of Attorney General. The Safe2Say Something program, created by a 2018 law, launched in mid-January to give students a way to share information without fear of repercussions or blame from their peers. Among the most common issues reported included bullying/cyber bullying; cutting/self-harm; suicide/suicide ideation; depression/anxiety; and drug use/distribution/possession. To report a possible dangerous or violent situation, individuals can call the state tip line at 844-723-2729. Tips can also be reported to www.safe2saypa.org or through the Safe2Say app on iPhone and Android devices.
 
 
Free PA Park Ranger Activity Book Available Online

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have partnered to create a free children’s activity book focused on the role of the park ranger. It is available to download at PAParksandForests.org. Look for the “Ranger Booklet” button on the homepage. A free state parks coloring book and other publications are also available there.
 
 
Slow Down for School Buses, Pedestrians

In a few weeks, students will head back to class. Motorists, parents and children are encouraged to refresh their memories about how to share the road safely with school buses and other school transportation vehicles. Pennsylvania law requires motorists stop at least 10 feet away from school buses when their red lights are flashing and their stop arm is extended. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety. Penalties for failure to obey school bus safety laws can result in a $250 fine, five points on a driving record and a 60-day license suspension. Parents are reminded to ensure that their children are at the bus stop early to avoid rushing. Students should stay where the bus driver can see them while boarding or exiting the bus. Click here for more information and tips on school bus safety.
 
 
Get the Facts About Concussions

With many student athletes gearing up for fall sports practice, students, parents and coaches are reminded about ways to prevent, recognize and manage concussions. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or from a fall or blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Concussions can have serious short-term and long-term impacts, especially on young people whose brains are still developing. To protect students, the 2011 Safety in Youth Sports Act was passed to require all school entities to develop return-to-play policies for student athletes with concussions, as well as to require related training for coaches. Visit the Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov and search for “Traumatic Brain Injury” for approved curricula for coaches and other school personnel, along with frequently asked questions about the law and many other state-related resources. Most importantly, if you think your child has a concussion, seek medical attention, discuss the injury with the coach and don’t allow the athlete to return to play without permission from a health care professional.
 

Our District

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RepBoback.com
Office Locations
105 Lieutenant Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas, PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 West Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657| Phone: (570) 836-4777
41-B East Wing, Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117
Email: kboback@pahousegop.com
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