May. 03, 2019


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News You Can Use

 The latest news from the State Capitol

This email includes:
  • Great News for Pennsylvania Taxpayers
  • Government Done Right – Pennsylvania Needs An Upgrade
  • Emphasis on School Safety
  • Prevent Lyme: Check For ticks
  • Coming to Luzerne County
  • Bringing State Government to You
  • April is Autism Acceptance Month
  • Happy Birthday Muriel and Fran
  • Supporting Our Libraries
  • Lake Jean Update
  • Protecting Our Children
Great News for Pennsylvania Taxpayers

There is great economic news to report related to the state budget!

State revenue collections are more than $828 million ahead of estimates with two months to go in the current fiscal year. But that does not mean we should be spending it all.

House and Senate Republicans came together earlier this week to stress our intention to devote much of the additional funding to building up the state’s reserves for the next “rainy day” to help ensure we can weather the next economic slowdown.

The Commonwealth’s revenue growth is the result of pro-growth policies and our commitment to standing up for taxpayers – and standing against excessive taxes and spending proposed by the governor over the last several years.

We will continue that commitment through this year’s budget negotiations. A final 2019-20 state budget is due by June 30.

Please click here for more details.
Government Done Right – Pennsylvania Needs an Upgrade

House Republicans are devoting the month of May to giving our state government a long-overdue upgrade.

Having “government done right” means upgrading to a more effective and efficient government while providing core services. It means repealing out-of-date laws, reexamining the effectiveness of some state boards and commissions, and putting a stop to the red tape and overregulation that has tied the hands of job creators and hampered economic progress.

We kicked off the effort this week by passing House Bill 762 to require state agencies to designate a regulatory compliance officer to facilitate better understanding of new and existing regulations and boost compliance rates among affected businesses.

We also passed House Bill 509, which would boost transparency in the permitting process by requiring agencies to post information online and create an accessible tracking system for applicants to check the status of their applications.

Finally, we started a spring cleaning of sorts to get rid of some our most outdated, irrelevant laws. These include measures that regulate when things can or cannot happen on Sundays, such as movie times, baseball and football games and even playing music. Other laws we are working to repeal include antiquated sections of our Public School Code and the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children, which closed in 2009.

You can read more about what we are doing to improve Pennsylvania’s government by clicking here.  
Emphasis on School Safety

Lake-Lehman, Northwest Area and Tunkhannock school districts have been awarded school safety grants through a program established within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency by Act 44 of 2018.

Eligible uses for the grants include hiring security officers, buying security-related equipment, completing safety/security assessments, and creating other programs to help protect students.

Last October, every school district in the state that applied was awarded a $25,000 grant to improve school safety. These new grants were awarded on a competitive basis to schools seeking additional funding.
Prevent Lyme: Check for Ticks

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Pennsylvania, and individuals who spend time outdoors should check themselves for ticks and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-related ailments.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the first line of defense against Lyme is to take precautions in the outdoors by using insect repellent with DEET, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, checking for – and promptly and properly removing – any ticks, and showering shortly after exposure.

If bitten, an individual should monitor the area for the next month. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, a bull’s eye rash may appear, and other symptoms that can be mistaken for viral infections, such as influenza or infectious mononucleosis.

Pennsylvania has led the nation in confirmed cases of Lyme disease for three straight years.

Last year, a $500,000 grant was provided to East Stroudsburg University (ESU) to allow all Pennsylvania residents to have ticks (found on them or a family member) tested for free by the university. The Tick Lab is located within the Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute at ESU. Click here to access the Tick Lab website with all the details.  
Coming to Luzerne County

During the month of May, state dog wardens are conducting dog license and rabies vaccination checks in 12 counties including Luzerne. This program aims to raise awareness of the importance of up-to-date dog licenses, and rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats to the health and safety of Pennsylvania communities.

Pennsylvania law requires all dogs three months and older to be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. The fee is $6.50 for each spayed or neutered dog and $8.50 for other dogs. Older adults and persons with disabilities may purchase a license for $4.50 for spayed or neutered dogs, and $6.50 for others. Dog licenses are available through county treasurers’ offices.

All dogs and non-feral cats three months of age and older must also be vaccinated against rabies. Booster vaccinations must be administered periodically to maintain lifelong immunity.

Violators may be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation, plus court costs.

Dog wardens drive vehicles and wear uniforms labeled with “Pennsylvania Dog Law Enforcement Warden” in a keystone with a state seal. They wear a badge and state identification.

Wardens will request proof of licensure and proof of rabies vaccination. They will leave written notice for someone who is not home or does not answer the door. Dog wardens will not enter a home or building without the owner’s permission.
Bringing State Government to You

This Wednesday, May 8, a member of my district office staff will be available to answer your state government questions from 10 a.m. to noon at the Windham Township Municipal Building, 149 Palen St., Mehoopany.

We’re here to serve you!
Recognizing Autism Acceptance Month

Click here to view video.

This week, the House approved my legislation recognizing the month of April 2019 as “Autism Acceptance Month” in Pennsylvania.

Please click on the video to hear my floor remarks in support of the resolution.
Happy Birthday Muriel and Fran

Congratulations to Muriel Siegel and Fran Turner, both of whom recently celebrated their 100th birthday.

Carol Warholak Sweeney, my Tunkhannock district office manager, is shown presenting a citation to Muriel, while Leslie Cadden, also from my Tunkhannock office, presents one to Fran at the Triton Hose Company.
Supporting Our Libraries

Congratulations to the Dalton Community Library on another successful fundraiser.

Pictured with me (from left) are library President Gerry Wren, Treasurer Gus Vlassis and Director Shu Qiu.
Lake Jean Update

At the recent Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Board of Commissioners meeting, Lake Jean was removed from the Catch-and-Release Lakes Program. The lake was drained in 2015 to replace the control tower on the dam. After repairs and refilling in spring 2016, re-stocking efforts for select warm-water and cool-water fish species began.

Biologists evaluated Lake Jean in spring of last year to determine if fish populations had developed enough to warrant removal of the temporary catch-and-release regulations. Except for Black Crappie, total catch-per-hour and quality-size catch-per-hour values exceeded pre-drawdown levels.
Protecting Our Children

I recently had the honor of speaking at the Luzerne County Child Advocacy Center's Gala. The center is committed to the protection of all children who are victims of abuse. As majority chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee, I strongly support their efforts.

Our District

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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