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, Tioga 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.
In Case You Missed It…
Senator Yaw to unveil legislation regulating video skill games in the Commonwealth.
DEP to open Growing Greener Grant Program Friday, April 21.
Yaw urges USDA to allow inclusion of 2% and whole milk in schools.
Additional Farmland Preserved in Union County.
Out and About
Erick Coolidge, Tioga County Commissioner, received an honorary FFA membership during the program.
I was pleased to recently join the Grand Canyon Future Farmers of America (FFA) for their annual awards banquet to recognize their many accomplishments throughout the year. The FFA Grand Canyon Chapter currently has 114 students enrolled and is overseen by Wellsboro High School teacher Melanie Berndston. Their mission is to prepare students for success in careers or post-secondary education as well as a lifetime of informed choices in the global systems of agriculture, food, fiber, and natural resources.
Pictured with Guthrie President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Edmund Sabanegh Jr., M.D., M.B.A. during the 2023 Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) Leadership Summit in Harrisburg.
Congratulations to The Guthrie Clinic / Robert Packer Hospital caregiver teams on being recognized by the Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) this week. I was happy to join Guthrie staff and administrators during the event.
Guthrie received the “Optimal Operations Award” for implementing a new team-based approach to nursing to reduce staff turnover and vacancies, improve patient and staff satisfaction, and improve quality. Their second award is the “In Safe Hands Award” for implementing new procedures to reduce hospital-acquired infections.
HAP’s annual Achievement Awards program recognizes hospitals and health systems that are employing innovative approaches to strengthening the safety and quality of care, enhancing operations and patients’ experience, and partnering with their communities to address public health needs. This year, 12 projects were selected from 82 entries.
As stewards of the land, Pennsylvania farmers know that protecting the environment and natural resources is vital to the success and future of our farms and communities. Farmers all across Pennsylvania have been leaders in implementing practices to improve water quality, but we know there is more to be done.
During a meeting of the Lycoming County PA Farm Bureau, I had a chance to discuss a few of the investments we are making to assist farmers in this difficult farm economy – one of which is the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP), which I sponsored and was signed into law last session.
ACAP will provide support to expand on-farm conservation practices throughout Pennsylvania, using a formula that benefits all parts of the state while directing additional resources to areas with the greatest opportunity for improvement. It’s modeled after our Dirt and Gravel Road Program.
Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center to Host Community Town Hall & Enrollment Event in Williamsport, PA
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Veterans, Family Members, Community Stakeholders and the public are invited to attend a Community Town Hall and open forum discussion with Medical Center Director Russell Lloyd.
If you’re a Veteran who has never applied or were at one time ineligible, this is a great opportunity to start the process to determine eligibility for VA Healthcare benefits that you may be entitled to.
Questions and media inquiries, please contact
John Baloga at (570) 824-3521 Ext. 24756
Senate Concludes State Budget Hearings
The Senate Appropriations Committee last week finished three weeks of public hearings about the proposed 2023-24 state budget.
Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed a $45.8 billion budget that would increase spending by $1.3 billion and all but deplete the state’s Rainy Day Fund in five years.
Among the key points from last week’s hearings:
Workforce issues, the state’s tax structure and the need to help businesses grow and stay in Pennsylvania drove the conversation during the Department of Community and Economic Development hearing.
The Department of Corrections/Pennsylvania Parole Board hearing covered the state’s recidivism rate and declining inmate population. The costs associated with the 750 vacancies in the Department of Corrections – which results in increased use of overtime – and efforts to protect inmates from human trafficking were also discussed.
Questions about how the Department of Human Services is handling reduced federal emergency funding were raised during the hearing. The conversation also covered the Shapiro Administration’s request for state taxpayers to backfill millions of dollars cut by the Biden Administration.
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 2023-24 state budget.
You can find video and recaps of every budget hearing at PASenateGOP.com.
Monthly Appropriations Update Shows Lagging Tax Collections
Each month, the Senate Appropriations Committee prepares an update about the state’s financial health. The most recent report shows that sales and use tax (SUT) collections were $25 million, or 2.3%, below estimate for the month. Perhaps more importantly, March’s SUT collections were below March 2022’s collections.
SUT is the second-largest source of revenue for the General Fund and is mostly due on a “pay-as-you-go” basis throughout the year. Closely monitoring these collections for continued weakness could help signify any potential slowing of the economy.
The full update, including the monthly revenue report, is available here.
Farmers, Help PA Claim Federal Funding
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is collecting responses for the 2022 Census of Agriculture, which impacts funding priorities for numerous programs. Any farmers who have not returned their questionnaires are encouraged to respond by mail or online here.
In addition to directing the use of tax dollars, the census data also informs decisions about policy, farm and conservation programs, infrastructure and rural development, research, education and more.
Safely Dispose of Unused Prescriptions on April 22
Conveniently remove opioids and other unused medicines from your home on Saturday, April 22, as part of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
More than 13 tons of prescription drugs were disposed of across Pennsylvania in the Prescription Drug Take Back Day held last October.
Find a location to safely dispose of unused drugs here.
State Grant Deadline is May 1 for PA College Students
The deadline for students and families to submit their applications for the 2023-24 Pennsylvania State Grant program is May 1. This deadline applies to all renewal applicants and first-time applicants who plan to enroll in a degree program or other college or university (excluding community colleges).
To apply for a Pennsylvania State Grant, applicants must first complete the 2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applicants can access the FAFSA online at www.PHEAA.org/FAFSA or www.fafsa.gov. Completing the FAFSA online saves time and reduces application and processing errors.
Students and families with questions about the FAFSA or the State Grant Program can call 800-692-7392 for personal assistance.
National Work Zone Awareness Week
National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 17-21. The campaign aims to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries in workers and motorists in work zones.
Each year when the weather improves, Pennsylvanians and travelers through the state can anticipate seeing many work zones. While PennDOT and its industry partners are busy improving the 40,000 miles of roadway and 25,000 bridges in its care, we urge motorists to keep safety in mind.
Sadly, 90 PennDOT employees have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1970.
If you encounter our work zones, please keep the following tips in mind for your safety and the safety of highway workers.
For more information on traffic safety, please visit www.penndot.pa.gov.