Sep. 27, 2019


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News You Can Use

 The latest news from the State Capitol

Supporting PA’s Helpers and Heroes

Working to support the Commonwealth’s fire and ambulance services, the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee this week approved several bills designed to address staffing and funding challenges facing these vital public safety organizations.

The committee approved bills to expand and increase the maximum loan amounts available through the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program, as well as to reauthorize the Fire and EMS Grant Program administered by the Office of State Fire Commissioner. (House Bills 1448, 1816 and 1834)

Two other measures aim to address stress management and post-traumatic stress injuries for first responders. (House Bills 432 and 1459)

House Bill 1839 would authorize counties to offer a property tax credit for volunteer first responders as an incentive to get more people involved in the emergency services.

To help rural EMS providers, House Bill 1869 would allow the Department of Health to grant waivers for staffing requirements on a Basic Life Support (BLS) service ambulance in sixth- through eighth-class counties.

Finally, House Bill 1838 would increase funding for the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund and require 30% of the funds to be used to provide training to underserved rural areas and 10% of the funds to be used for medical equipment for ambulances. The bills are awaiting action in the full House.
House Marks Safe2Say Something Week in PA

This week, the House approved a resolution designating the week of Sept. 23-29, 2019, as Safe2Say Something Week in the Commonwealth.

The Safe2Say Something program was established last year to offer an anonymous resource for students, teachers and community members to report behavior perceived to be threatening to an individual or a school entity.

Since January 2019, more than 23,490 reports have been filed to the state attorney general’s office. In addition to potential threats, the program received reports of issues such as bullying, anxiety, depression and suicide.

For more information or to submit a report, call 1-844-Saf2Say or click here
Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day

This past Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day, held on the fourth Tuesday in September every year to celebrate democracy and encourage voter registration.

Every election, too many Americans find that they are unable to vote because they have missed a registration deadline or haven't correctly updated their registration since a move or name change.

National Voter Registration Day aims to change that by increasing awareness of voter registration opportunities.

Below, find voter resources to make sure you are eligible to vote on Election Day 2019!  
Thank You, Township Supervisors!

I would like to thank the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors for inviting members of my office at the annual Wyoming County Association of Township Supervisors Convention last week at Triton Hose Company in Tunkhannock.

These folks volunteer their time to serve our local communities so the places we call home can be better places for us all. My office is always open to help individuals with state-related matters.

I would like to also thank my staff for attending the event and reaffirming that commitment to serve those who serve us. In attendance were (from left): Tunkhannock District Office Manager Carol Sweeney and District Outreach Specialists Julie Williams and Leslie Cadden.
Home Water and Septic Inspection Workshop

Much of the water supply we rely upon comes from wells and natural springs. Consequently, many residents also rely on septic systems to treat and filter out their wastewater.

In the coming weeks, representatives from the Penn State Cooperative Extension in Pike County and the Master Well Owner Network will lead a workshop on how residents can maintain their private water supplies to better protect their health, property and our shared groundwater and surface water resources.
The event is free to the public, but pre-registration is required. You can click here to register for afternoon or evening sessions. The dates and times for these sessions are shown below.
  • Monday, Sept. 30, at 1:30 p.m. – Dallas Emergency Services Building, 3593 State Route 118, Dallas, Pennsylvania 18612
  • Monday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m. – Dallas Emergency Services Building, 3593 State Route 118, Dallas, Pennsylvania 18612
  • Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 1:30 p.m. – Wyoming County Emergency Management Building, 3880 Route 6, Suite 1, Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania 18657
  • Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m. – Wyoming County Emergency Management Building, 3880 Route 6, Suite 1, Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania 18657
No Public Assistance Funds for Tobacco

The House recently approved legislation that would prohibit the purchase of tobacco products using public assistance funds on electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards.

Such benefits are intended to help Pennsylvanians who cannot afford life’s essentials, not unnecessary items such as tobacco.

House Bill 847 would forbid the use of EBT cards, issued by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to administer public assistance benefits, to purchase tobacco or tobacco-related products. Personal funds on EBT cards, such as child support that is in arrears, would be exempt.

The Human Services Code already prohibits the purchase of liquor and alcohol with EBT cards. The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
Rail Safety Week

It’s a terrible thing, but a person or vehicle is struck by a train in our country once every three hours. Here in Pennsylvania, we rely upon railroads for all sorts of things, from travel and leisure to necessary shipping and freight transit. The week of Sept. 22-28 is recognized as “Rail Safety Week,” and its theme this year is “See tracks, think train.”

The purpose of Rail Safety Week is to raise awareness and educate the public about making smart decisions near railroad tracks. I invite all of my constituents to take a moment to learn more about how to conduct themselves safely near railroad tracks by reading about four common rail safety myths here.
Resource Assessment and Protection Program (REAP) Now Accepting Applications

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the availability of $13 million in Pennsylvania tax credits for on-farm conservation efforts.

The nationally recognized Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP) is a Pennsylvania tax credit program for agricultural producers who implement best management practices or purchase equipment that reduces the amount of nutrient and sediment runoff and improves the quality of Pennsylvania’s waters. This is the 12th year Pennsylvania farmers have been able to take advantage of REAP tax credits.

This year, lawmakers increased funding funding to $13 million, up from $10 million. In addition, farmers may now receive up to $250,000 in any seven-year period, and spouses filling jointly can use REAP Tax Credits.

REAP applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The basic eligibility requirements are that producers must comply with the PA Clean Streams Law and the Pennsylvania Nutrient and Odor Management Law.

The 2019-20 REAP application packet, as well as other information about REAP, is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website.
Ribbon Cutting and Dedication for Jim Hill Baseball Field

I had the pleasure this week of attending the ribbon cutting for the Hunlock Township Recreational Park, dedicated to coach Jim Hill in honor of his years of service as a coach and mentor.

I was joined by Hunlock Township Manager Kimberly Piestrak and township supervisors Richard Davis and Stephen Pall.
Take the Stage’s Grand Opening

On Saturday, I attended the grand opening of Take the Stage Performing Arts and Conservatory.

I am seen here with Amanda Kornak, Artistic Director and Caitlyn Mayer, Executive Director. The Conservatory is located at 2101 Memorial Highway in Dallas. Congratulations and best of luck!   
Baby Safety Month

This week, I took to the House floor to speak about the designation of September as Baby Safety Month. I invite you to listen to my full remarks here.
Bills to Keep Firearms Out of the Hands of Criminals, Mentally Ill Earn Committee Approval

Working to balance public safety and Second Amendment rights, the House Judiciary Committee this week advanced several bills aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and those with mental health issues.

House Bill 1835 would reduce the time period in which a person is required to relinquish a firearm after discharge from an involuntary mental health commitment for inpatient care and treatment from 60 days to 48 hours, and would require the Pennsylvania State Police to send all records relevant to a determination of whether a person is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a mental health commitment to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The bill would also create a voluntary self-exclusion program, in which an individual could ask to be put on a list that would prohibit him or her from purchasing or receiving a firearm for one, three or five years.

The committee also approved several bills that would address the application of mandatory minimum sentences for certain gun-related crimes and would prohibit persons convicted of attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit certain offenses from owning or possessing a firearm. The measures now go to the full House for consideration.
PennDOT wants to hear from you!

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has published a customer satisfaction survey and invites resident to share their feedback on its performance during this summer construction/ maintenance season.

The survey is being conducted so the department can identify its strengths and improvement opportunities. Make your voice heard by clicking here.

All responses are anonymous unless you choose to provide your contact information.
PA Small Water Program and PA H2O Now Accepting Applications

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) recently announced the re-opening of two grant programs: the Pennsylvania Small Water Program and PA H2O.

PA Small Water provides funding for activities to assist with the construction, improvement, expansion or rehabilitation or repair of water supply systems, sanitary sewer systems, storm sewer systems or flood control projects.

Eligible projects are those which have a total project cost of not less than $30,000 and not more than $500,000.

Applications for this program can be found here, and will be accepted through Dec. 13.

PA H2O provides funding for single-year and multi-year grants for the construction of drinking water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer projects; the construction or renovation of flood control projects and the repair or rehabilitation of high-hazard unsafe dams.

Applications for this program can be found here and will also be accepted through Dec. 13.
Next Week’s Outreach and Satellite Hours

On Wednesday, Oct. 2, the American Legion will hold office hours at my Tunkhannock district office, located at 133 W. Tioga St., Suite 4, in Tunkhannock from 10 a.m. to 2 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. Appointments can be made by calling Boback’s Tunkhannock office at 570-836-4777.

Additionally, members of my staff will be available at the following locations next week.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 2, 9-11 a.m. - Dalton Borough Building, 105 W. Main St., Dalton.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 2, noon to 2 p.m. - Factoryville Borough Building, 161 College Ave., Factoryville.

Our District

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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