New 2017-18 Session Now Underway with Swearing-In Day


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 The latest news from the State Capitol

New 2017-18 Session Now Underway with Swearing-In Day

On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives convened so that the oath of office could be administered to House members. The House is now comprised of 121 Republicans and 81 Democrats, including 23 first-term members.

Also on swearing-in day, the House unanimously selected Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) as speaker of the House for the second consecutive session. The day also included certification of election results, election of the House parliamentarian and adoption of rules that will govern the chamber.

This session, I will serve as a deputy policy chair for the House Majority Policy Committee. The Policy Committee explores a variety of issues facing our Commonwealth, including the opioid crisis, taxes and restructuring state government. This is a great opportunity to work with my colleagues and hear directly from experts across the state as we work to create policies that improve the lives of all Pennsylvanians.

To learn more about my goals for the new session, click here. You can also find out more as the session goes along at and my Facebook page at

Pictured with me are members of my district office staff, Leslie Cadden, Ann Houssock and Carol Sweeney, along with Speaker Mike Turzai.
Applications for 2017 Pennsylvania House Scholarships Now Available

High school seniors can now apply for a Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship to help cover the costs of higher education.

Each year, two students preparing for post-secondary education are awarded four-year scholarships through the program. It is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student.

Students must have attained a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school in order to be eligible for the scholarship. A student’s commitment to community, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities and financial need are also taken into consideration.

To apply, interested students should visit and click on House Scholarship Information. The application deadline is March 1.

The program is privately funded by individual and corporate donors. No tax money or other public funds are used.
Upcoming Events in Our Community

The Mobile Vet Center will be in the Ace Hardware-Brady and Cavany Store parking lot in Eaton Township on Monday, Jan. 9, 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.

Join me and Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon for “Lock ‘Em Up Day in Lackawanna County PA” on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 1:30 p.m. at the Lackawanna County Courthouse. This event is intended to educate the public about medication diversion and the importance of properly securing prescription drugs. A drug drop-box will be at the courthouse for the safe disposal of unwanted drugs. For more information, call my Tunkhannock district office at 570-836-4777.

The College of Health Sciences of Misericordia University will hold a special presentation addressing opioid abuse in Pennsylvania, featuring Dr. Karen Murphy, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, on Friday, Jan. 13, from 10-11:30 a.m. This discussion will take place in the Dudrick classroom, Room 216 in Insalaco Hall. All those sharing a concern for the individuals, families and communities devastated by opioids, and a commitment to addressing this epidemic, are encouraged to attend. 
Please note: All offices will be closed on Monday, Jan. 16, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The outreach hours originally scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16, with a caseworker from U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta’s office (R-Hazleton) at the Tunkhannock district office from 10 a.m. to noon have been rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon at the same location.

Assistance will be available for constituents who are having problems with federal agencies and programs, and constituents are encouraged to bring documents they have received from federal agencies related to their issues.
511PAConnect Seeks to Keep Stranded Motorists Safe, Informed

A new service called 511PAConnect has been launched to provide updates to motorists in the event of a long-term road closure due to accidents on the Pennsylvania Turnpike or other major state roadways.

The service will be activated when personnel from the PA Turnpike and PennDOT identify a potential long-term closure, with the system being used only for emergencies that will last for a sustained period. The system will only work in areas with cell phone service.

Motorists who receive the alert will have the option of registering for automatic text messages or phone call updates, along with follow-up notifications from turnpike and PennDOT staff monitoring the closure. Once the incident is resolved, motorists who registered for the alerts will automatically be unsubscribed and all personal data will be scrubbed from the system.

PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission offer a variety of tools to keep travelers informed during all levels of incidents -- including the 511PA smartphone app, a phone number, online sources and social media platforms -- but 511PAConnect is the first initiative of its kind to link directly to a targeted group of travelers who are being impacted by, or who are approaching, a large-scale emergency.
Share Your Farm Show Memories

If you’re participating in or attending this year’s 101st Farm Show, take your camera or phone along and snap some photos.

You can share your memories and photos on my Facebook page at And when you’re posting the photos, don’t forget to insert the hashtag #PAFS17.

More information about the Farm Show, which begins Saturday, is available at

Click Here to Watch
DEP Offers Funding for Stormwater Management Projects

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is offering grants up to $200,000 to local entities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for stormwater management projects that implement best management practices (BMP) to reduce the amount of nutrients and sediment pollution in local waterways.

The program is available to counties, cities, boroughs, townships, incorporated towns and municipal authorities. Stormwater projects must be located in Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming and York counties.

Some examples of eligible projects include: raingardens, bio-swales, urban nutrient management/tree planting, vegetated open channels/roofs and wet ponds and wetland preservation. The projects can be located on public or private property.

Applicants can be eligible for grants of up to $200,000, and no local matching funds are required. Funding for the projects is competitive and the department will apply a scoring system when awarding the grant money. The application must include a description of the project and timetable for the work. Grant applications are due by March 3, 2017.

Visit here for application instructions and eligibility. Other parties that wish to obtain funding for a stormwater project are encouraged to approach the eligible local entity where the project would be located and offer to assist with the project application and management.

The grant program is federally funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the department. Grant monies will be awarded on September 1, 2017.

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Office Locations
1108 Twin Stacks Drive, Dallas PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 East Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657| Phone: (570) 836-4777
314-C Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117