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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.
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Region Receives More Than $27.8 Million in Marcellus Shale Impact Fees; $1.8 Million in State Funds for Area Housing Assistance
The Marcellus Shale Impact Fee will deliver more than $27.8 million to county and local governments this year.
The Impact Fee not only funds critical projects here locally but also a wide variety of important environmental projects in communities throughout the state. The natural gas industry has been a great partner in creating new jobs and opportunities in our communities, and this week’s announcement is another reminder of the importance of this industry in Pennsylvania.
More than $146 million was distributed statewide in the most recent round of funding based on natural gas production in 2020. The impact fee has generated more than $2 billion in tax revenue to support county and local governments. Since 2011, local counties have received a total of $155 million while local municipal governments have received a total of $252.2 million.
Programs that help address housing issues across the 23rd Senatorial District will also receive $1,835,000 in state funds.
I am pleased these grants are being made to support our local communities and the effort these groups are making to help those who struggle with housing insecurity.
Support from these funds allows our community partners to implement innovative programs that combat housing instability and affordability.
The grants are administered by the PA Housing and Finance Agency through its PA Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE), which provides assistance with the creation, rehabilitation and support of affordable housing throughout the Commonwealth. The state’s Impact Tax provides $5 million annually to the Marcellus Shale Fund specifically to support PHARE and address the need for affordable housing in the counties, where producing unconventional gas wells are located.
Senate Approves Bill Requiring Legislative Approval of RGGI Deal
In a bipartisan vote, the Senate approved legislation requiring legislative approval before Gov. Tom Wolf can have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Under the measure, the Pennsylvania Carbon Dioxide Cap and Trade Authorization Act, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would be required to provide a public comment period of at least 180 days and hold a minimum of four public hearings in locations that would be directly affected economically by the proposal.
Following the public comment period, DEP would be mandated to submit a report to the House and Senate Environmental Resources & Energy committees detailing the specific economic and environmental impacts that joining RGGI and imposing a carbon tax would have on affected communities, the PJM Interconnection region and ratepayers. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Sen. Yaw Welcomes Rev. Glen Bayly to Capitol for Senate Invocation
[From L to R: Sen. Gene Yaw, Darlene Bayly and Rev. Glen Bayly]
HARRISBURG – Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) welcomed the Rev. Glen Bayly and his wife Darlene of Union County to the state Capitol on Tuesday. Rev. Bayly, a campus minister and retired Pastor of the Mifflinburg Alliance Church, delivered the invocation before the state Senate Session.
Senate Special Committee Releases Report on Election Reforms
The bipartisan Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform released a report this week detailing its findings and recommendations to strengthen Pennsylvania’s election system.
The committee was created to review all aspects of the November 2020 election. The panel held a series of hearings in March and April to review election security and best practices in other states, state and local perspectives on the administration of elections, and the management of elections in Allegheny and Philadelphia counties.
In addition, the committee created a webpage to encourage Pennsylvanians to share their experiences in the 2020 General Election. The survey generated more than 20,000 responses.
The testimony and feedback received by the committee led to a series of recommendations to boost election security, improve voter access and support counties in the efficient administration of elections. You can read the report here.
Bill to Improve Safety in Daycare Facilities Approved by Senate
The Senate approved a bill to improve safety in state-regulated daycare facilities and sent the bill to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The legislation designates the locations where smoke detectors must be installed and requires that they are interconnected so that if one is triggered, they all go off.
The measure was introduced in response to a tragic fire that claimed the lives of five young children in Erie on August 11, 2019. Only one smoke detector was found in the building and it was located in the attic.
Senate Votes to Permit “Mixed Drinks to Go” Permanently and Enacts Other Steps to Help Hospitality Sector Employers
In the ongoing effort to help employers in the hospitality sector get back on their feet following COVID-19 restrictions, the Senate voted to permanently allow “mixed drinks to go” from restaurants and hotels, extend sales for outdoor dining and expand the number of locations where ready-to-drink mixed drinks can be sold.
The measure makes permanent the sale of mixed drinks to-go by restaurant or hotel licensees for off-premises consumption. Originally, mixed drinks to-go was a temporary measure allowed during the COVID-19 disaster declaration. It also allows larger outdoor dining spaces, off-premises catering permits without restrictions, and more.
It also allows a different type of product called Ready-to-Drink cocktails to be sold by restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and beer distributors for off-premises consumption. Restrictions are set on alcohol-by-volume content and container size.
Legislation Preserving Nursing Home Visits During a Pandemic Approved by General Assembly
Legislation to allow family members to safely visit long-term care facilities as essential caregivers for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens was approved by the Senate and sent to the governor for enactment.
During the pandemic, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities were closed to visits from friends and family. The prolonged separation negatively impacted the overall health and well-being of facility residents.
The measure would allow a designated essential family caregiver to be named for each resident of a licensed long-term care facility. Protocols would be put in place to screen the essential caregivers and require additional steps to gain access to the facilities.
Happy Father’s Day
To all fathers: I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day this Sunday. This is the day when we celebrate your essential role in family and community. May your day be filled with love and gratitude.
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