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.
*Click here to find the latest information on coronavirus from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Interim State Budget Approved by Legislature
While our fiscal line of sight does not extend through June 2021, the Senate on Thursday did approve a financial bridge — a five-month, temporary, no-new-tax $25.8 billion budget that maintains current spending levels, while we continue to monitor revenue numbers and the impact the coronavirus has had on Pennsylvania. The fact is that Pennsylvania faces too many unknowns and a five-month budget gives us the ability to respond to new situations as they arise.
The plan funds education for kindergarten to 12th grade at the same level as 2019-20, and it also fully funds colleges and universities. The education section of the budget is extended beyond the five months to a full year. The budget also ensures core government services will continue without interruption. The budget now moves to Governor Wolf for his consideration.
Local Legislators, Commissioners Applaud Comcast Investment in Sullivan County
This week I joined with Rep. Tina Pickett and the Sullivan County Commissioners to announce that Comcast will begin a network expansion project this year to extend broadband service to nearly 1,200 addresses in central Sullivan County, which includes the boroughs of Eagles Mere and Laporte and the townships of Shrewsbury and Laporte.
In addition to Gigabit internet service, residential customers in the county will have access to all Xfinity services, including the award-winning Xfinity X1 video platform, Xfinity Home, Xfinity Voice and Xfinity Mobile, and businesses in these areas can get the full suite of Comcast Business products and services, including Ethernet network speeds up to 100 Gigabits-per-second. Comcast expects the first of these new services to be available by the end of this year and availability to the entire service area is expected to be complete in summer 2021.
To read more, click here.
In the News…
Bradford and Sullivan counties will join 16 other counties in the state in moving to the “green phase” of the Governor’s color-coded plan today, May 29. The green phase of reopening allows all businesses to conduct in-person operations as long as the businesses follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Facing an uncertain economic future and working to address the devastating impact of COVID-19, the Senate set a course for recovery by approving a $25.8 billion interim budget. The Senate also approved a plan to direct $2.6 billion in federal CARES funding to support individuals, small businesses, organizations and county governments that were most severely impacted by the virus.
Two bills I sponsored to improve land and water in Pennsylvania received votes this week in the House of Representatives and Senate. Senate Bill 915, a bill aimed at modernizing Pennsylvania’s 1956 Fertilizer Act, passed the Senate (49-1). The bill now moves to the House for consideration. Additionally, Senate Bill 1030, providing for the use of ‘alternate’ on-lot sewage systems to be used in the planning phase of development won approval in the House, (136-66). The bill now moves to the Governor for final action.
Following a call to action by Rep. Everett and I, Governor Wolf issued guidance Wednesday for limited outdoor dining at restaurants in Pennsylvania counties operating in the state’s yellow and green reopening phases. Starting June 5, bars, restaurants, and retail food service operations located in counties in the “yellow phase” can begin offering limited outdoor service. Restaurants doing business in the “green phase” can start limited indoor and outdoor dining on May 29.
In light of additional guidance from the Administration, DCNR announced this week that all 58 state park beaches will be open for swimming starting on June 6. State park pools, meanwhile, will be closed until June 12. However, most of the ones located in “yellow phase” or “green phase” counties will reopen a day later on June 13.
Policy Discussion on Energy Development, Manufacturing, & Reopening Pennsylvania’s Economy
On Thursday, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, in cooperation with Penn’s Northeast, the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce hosted a “Think About Energy Briefing” webinar. I joined state Sen. John Yudichak (I-14) and Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr to provide over 100 viewers with important and timely updates on the state budget plan, safely reopening Pennsylvania’s economy and positioning the state’s manufacturing and business community for success. To learn more about the “Think About Energy” Briefings, click here.
Helpline Established for PUA Claimants
The Department of Labor and Industry recently opened a phone line to help Pennsylvanians who have questions or concerns pertaining to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Claimants can call 855-284-8545 for assistance from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Claimants can also get help via email at UCPUA@pa.gov.
The helpline is for PUA claimants only. Individual who have questions about the state’s regular Unemployment Compensation program can call 888-313-7284 or email UChelp@pa.gov.
License to Carry Firearms Permits Extended to July 31
Individuals who have a license to carry firearms permit that expired on or after March 19 will now have their permits extended until July 31. The extension will give Pennsylvanians additional time to renew permits since many county courthouses and sheriff’s offices are closed or limiting services during COVID-19.
More information from the Pennsylvania State Police on carrying firearms is available here.
Jersey Shore Borough Residents May Receive No-Cost Home Repairs
Residents should apply now for wait list
Homeowners in Jersey Shore Borough may be eligible to receive up to $65,000 in home improvements from the HOME Existing Owner-Occupied Housing Program. SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) is encouraging county residents to apply now to get on the wait list. SEDA-COG manages the program on behalf of the borough.
Interested residents may call SEDA-COG’s Stacy Anderson at 800-326-9310. To learn more on eligibility and qualifications, click here.