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.
July 26, 2019
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
IN THE NEWS!
State Unemployment Rate Remains at Record Low
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate remain unchanged in June, staying at the record low of 3.8 percent set in April, according to information released by the state Department of Labor & Industry.
The national rate, at 3.7 percent, was up one-tenth of a percentage point from May. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate declined by four-tenths of a percentage point from June 2018 while the national rate was down three-tenths over the same period.
Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – was down 2,000 to 6,469,000. Employment rose by 1,000 to a record high, while unemployment declined 2,000 to its lowest level since April 2000.
USDA Announces Details of Support Package for Farmers
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
In an announcement yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue discussed details of a $16 billion package aimed at supporting American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals.
In May, President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP), and Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.
For more information, click here.
JUST IN: DEP Offering Grants to Small Businesses and Farmers
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the availability of $1 million in grant funding to Pennsylvania small businesses and farmers for energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and natural resource protection projects through the Small Business Advantage grant program. Applications will be considered on a first come, first served basis, and will be accepted until fiscal year 2019-20 funds are exhausted or April 12, 2020, whichever occurs first.
The complete grant application package, which includes step-by-step instructions and instructional videos for completing the online application, is available by visiting the DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office website.
DEA Database: Tracking Opioids Across the 23rd Senate District
For the first time, a database maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration that tracks the path of every single pain pill sold in the United States — by manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies in every town and city — has been made public by The Washington Post.
The Post sifted through nearly 380 million transactions from 2006 through 2012 that are detailed in the DEA’s database and analyzed shipments of oxycodone and hydrocodone pills, which account for three-quarters of the total opioid pill shipments to pharmacies. The Post made this data available at the county and state levels in order to help the public understand the impact of years of prescription pill shipments on their communities.
Highlights of opioid distribution in the 23rd District –
From 2006 to 2012 there were 14,952,980 prescription pain pills, enough for 34 pills per person per year, supplied to Bradford County.
From 2006 to 2012 there were 26,779,220 prescription pain pills, enough for 32 pills per person per year, supplied to Lycoming County.
From 2006 to 2012 there were 661,660 prescription pain pills, enough for 14 pills per person per year, supplied to Sullivan County.
From 2006 to 2012 there were 6,869,280 prescription pain pills, enough for 22 pills per person per year, supplied to Susquehanna County.
From 2006 to 2012 there were 6,000,865 prescription pain pills, enough for 19 pills per person per year, supplied to Union County.
State Senate Environmental Committee Hears Concerns Following June 21 PES Explosion
The state Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, which I chair, met this week on the University of Pennsylvania Campus to discuss environmental issues associated with the June 21st explosion at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refining complex. State and environmental representatives participated in the event.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, PES owns the largest oil refining complex on the East Coast and operates two domestic refineries – Girard Point and Point Breeze – in South Philadelphia. The refinery processes approximately 335,000 barrels of crude oil per day (42 U.S. gallons per barrel).
Assistance Available for Military Families
Eligible PA service members can find help with air conditioner repairs, flooded homes and other problems caused by heat waves and heavy rain, as well as non-weather-related challenges, through PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ Military Family Relief Assistance Program.
Find out how to apply for, or donate to the program, click here.
Highlighting New PA “Stolen Valor” Law
Among the PA Senate bills enacted this session was Act 62, which ensures that “Stolen Valor” fines collected from individuals impersonating a military veteran go into the PA Veterans’ Trust Fund to support organizations helping veterans. This allows us to defend the integrity of military service while aiding veterans in need.
To read more, click here.
PennDOT Seeks Public Input on Highway Safety through Online Survey
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking motorists’ input on traffic safety and driving behaviors through its annual online Highway Safety Survey.
PennDOT will use the feedback from this annual survey to better understand the attitude and actions of the public concerning a variety of driving behaviors.
The survey is available on PennDOT’s website, www.PennDOT.gov/Safety, through August 12 and should take about five minutes to complete. All responses, including the “comments” fields, are anonymous.
Explore PA Trails
You can find information on more than 12,000 miles of PA trails at Explore Pennsylvania Trails. Locate short loop hikes, multi-day options, rail-trails and more. Search by location or use, such as biking, hiking, ATV, cross-country skiing etc.
To read more, click here.