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Hello! Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 23rd Senate District and look forward to working with you toward building a better future for Pennsylvania!
This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Click here to find the latest information on coronavirus from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
State Supreme Court rules new district maps are legal.
Last week, I sponsored a resolution urging the Biden Administration to support policies and take measures to ensure America’s (and Pennsylvania’s) long-term energy affordability, security, leadership and progress, including taking actions that result in the continued operation of existing oil and natural gas pipelines, the construction of new pipelines, and the end to restrictions on developing our domestic oil and natural resources.
Joint PA Senate hearing to discuss economic impacts of RGGI.
Department of Labor & Industry invites unemployment compensation claimants to register for free credit-monitoring services.
Route 199 Reconstruction Project Continues in Sayre and Athens, Bradford County.
2022 PFBC adult trout stocking schedule now available.
Pennsylvania and Virginia Face Fight of their Lives
Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23)
If Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration gets its way in Commonwealth Court, Pennsylvania will join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in a matter of weeks.
Wolf’s potential victory – a hollow quest to lower carbon emissions in Pennsylvania – will cost residents $2 billion over the next five years. How? According to the Department of Environmental Protection’s own budget projections, energy producers will spend an estimated $410 million each year buying credits at RGGI’s quarterly auctions meant to offset the emissions their facilities generate. This futile carbon tax means utilities will increase customers’ rates to recoup their losses.
So now, on top of record-breaking inflation, skyrocketing gas prices and supply chain nightmares, Pennsylvanians will pay up to 25% more to keep the lights on and stay warm during winter. And that clean air RGGI promises to deliver? It won’t exist either, since nothing can prevent carbon dioxide and other air pollutants emitted from power plants in Ohio or West Virginia from drifting across state lines. READ MORE
Energy Outlook with Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill
This week, I joined PA Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill for her latest Podcast to discuss energy in our state and across the globe, and why it is important. LISTEN IN
Penn State Extension County Day Held
The Lewisburg YMCA at the Miller Center was host to the Penn State Extension County Day for Union and Snyder counties last week. I enjoyed discussing a number of my legislative priorities for this session, including Senate Bill 832, which directs additional federal dollars to clean up our waterways.
Senate Concludes Hearings on State Budget
The Senate Appropriations Committee this week concluded four weeks of public hearings on the proposed 2022-23 state budget.
Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion budget that would increase spending by $4.5 billion. Based on projections, this will create a $1.3 billion deficit in the following fiscal year and produce a $13 billion deficit by FY 2026-27.
Among the key points from the series of hearings, which began Feb. 22:
- The Independent Fiscal Office warned that revenue projections Gov. Wolf used to balance the budget could be revised downward due to national and international events.
- State Treasurer Stacy Garrity sees the potential for sizable deficits in future years that would require tax hikes, new taxes or spending cuts to erase the deficits.
- A significant portion of department and agency employees continue to work from home with the possibility of doing so permanently. Committee members sought assurances work would still be done efficiently and citizen data would be secure.
The Senate will use findings from the hearings to craft an alternative spending plan to the governor’s, with the aim of enacting a final 2022-23 state budget by the June 30 constitutional deadline.
You can find video and recaps of every budget hearing at PASenateGOP.com.
New Report on PA COVID-19 Hospitalization and Mortality
The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council has released a new report on COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality over the first 16 months of the health emergency.
From March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, there were 120,329 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania hospitals. Pennsylvania residents were hospitalized at a rate of 91.5 hospitalizations per 10,000 residents. More than half of these admissions occurred from November 2020 through February 2021. There were peaks in admissions in April 2020 (8,391), December 2020 (24,506) and April 2021 (10,641).
While in the hospital, 10.2% of the patients required mechanical ventilation and 12.3% of patients died, while 14.9% were readmitted within 30 days. The average length of stay was 8.1 days. Older residents consistently had higher hospitalization and in-hospital mortality rates. You can read the findings at www.phc4.org.
Honoring the Female Faces of the Front Lines for Women’s History Month: Tell Us Your Story
March is Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is Providing Healing, Promoting Hope, a tribute to the work of caregivers and female front-line workers throughout the pandemic.
In the spirit of this achievement, the Pennsylvania Senate wants to hear the stories of “Female Faces of the Front Lines.” If you are a female medical provider, caregiver, EMS or emergency worker or you know someone who is, we want to hear from you.
Just follow the directions at the link and we’ll share your inspiring story on social media.
Assistance for Home Septic Repairs, Sewer Hook-ups
Low-interest loans are available to eligible Pennsylvania homeowners who need to repair or replace their on-lot septic system or connect to a public sewer.
The assistance can help homeowners avoid or respond to municipal citations and improve the environmental health of their property. Loan terms are up to 20 years (up to 15 years for manufactured homes). There is no prepayment penalty if the loan is paid off early. The maximum loan amount is $25,000.
The program is administered by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. You can find more information and terms here.
Disabled Veteran Real Estate Tax Exemption
Pennsylvania veterans with a financial need who served during a period of war and are 100% disabled could benefit from a state real estate tax exemption program.
Veteran must prove financial need according to the criteria established by the State Veterans Commission if their annual income exceeds $95,279, effective Jan. 1, 2021. Applicants with an annual income of $95,279 or less are given a rebuttable presumption to have a need for the exemption. You can find details about eligibility here.
Contact your local County Veterans Affairs Director to apply for this program.
Don’t be Unlucky This Saint Patrick’s Day
Kimberly A. Smith | Safety Press Officer
PA Department of Transportation
Engineering District 3-0
Each year, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with city parades, funny leprechaun hats, and plenty of green beer. Unfortunately, it often ends with risky drunk drivers taking to the streets when the parties end. Drunk driving accounts for nearly one-third of vehicle-related fatalities in the United States.
According to preliminary PennDOT data, during the 2021 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period beginning at 6:00 PM on Friday, March 12 running through 6:00 AM on Thursday, March 18, there were 213 crashes involving an impaired driver, resulting in nine fatalities.
This St. Patrick’s Day, please remember that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If you plan to go out and enjoy the evening with alcohol, make sure you refrain from driving. Review these facts and share the word about the dangers of drunk driving so you can continue merry making for all the St. Paddy’s Days to come.
For more information on impaired driving, visit www.penndot.pa.gov/safety.