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.
November 14, 2018
“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”
This Week: State Senate Elects 2019-2020 Leadership Team
On Wednesday, November 14th, Senate Republicans and Democrats held leadership elections for the FY 2019-2020 Legislative Session.
Senate Republicans have maintained their decades-long majority at the Capitol following the state’s mid-term election. The Senate Chamber’s make-up, now 29 (R) –21 (D), will also see some new faces.
Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Tioga), has been re-elected to continue to serve in his role as President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate. The President Pro Tempore is a senior officer and is authorized to perform certain duties in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor, including ruling on points of order.
Meanwhile, Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre) was again nominated to serve as Senate Majority Leader, the second highest ranking position in Senate leadership. Sen. John Gordner (R-Northumberland) will continue to serve as a member of Senate leadership as Majority Whip, a role that consists of assisting the floor leader, ensuring member attendance, counting votes and generally communicate the majority position. Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) will again serve as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. The committee, one of the most powerful of the Senate’s standing committees, reviews all legislation for its fiscal impact and plays a crucial role in developing the state budget.
Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Berks) was again elected to serve as Majority Caucus Chairman. As chairman he presides over Republican caucus meetings to discuss bills and amendments and to develop caucus strategy. Sen. Rich Alloway (R-Franklin) will continue serving as Majority Caucus Secretary and is responsible for overseeing and careful review of all executive nominations submitted to the Senate for confirmation. Sen. Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill) will serve as Majority Policy Chairman.
On the Democratic side of the aisle, Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), will continue serving as Senate Minority Leader and Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Delaware) will serve as Minority Whip. Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Montgomery) will again serve as Minority Appropriations Chairman.
Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) will serve as Minority Caucus Chairman; Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) will serve as Minority Caucus Secretary; Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh) Minority Policy Committee Chairman; and Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna) will serve as Caucus Administrator.
The Legislature will begin its next Session on Jan. 1, 2019 when members are officially sworn into office.
$50K grant awarded for Bradford County Veteran’s Memorial Park
Grant funds will help complete near decade-long work on memorial project
On Sunday, November 11th, I was happy to announce $50,000 in funding to support the completion of the Bradford County Veteran’s Memorial Park in Towanda.
The grant will help fund the expansion and improvement of the existing memorial, including the construction of a rotunda housing a unique bronze statue known as “The Quintessential Soldier.” The supporting legs of the rotunda will also honor each of the five branches of the military.
To read more, click here.
Celebrating Our Veterans
On Monday, November 12th, students at Donald E. Schick Elementary in Loyalsock Township provided a hero’s welcome and Veterans Day Program for area service members and their families. I was honored to participate in the event. The program titled “Honoring Our Brave Veterans”, recognized veterans with patriotic songs, readings and a reception at the conclusion of the program.
Pictured with Gerald McLaughlin, Superintendent of Loyalsock Township School District and Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force
Pictured with Jackson Bennett, 2nd Grader at Schick Elementary and his grandfather, Lyn Bennett
Students at Schick Elementary welcome veterans and their family members during the program Monday.
JUST IN: Bridge on Route 154 in Sullivan County is Open
A bridge on Route 154 in Elkland Township, Sullivan County, opened to traffic today. The bridge, which spans Elk Creek at Lincoln Falls, was damaged by a vehicle crash and has been closed for repairs.
The bridge was scheduled to open by the end of October, but the opening was delayed due to a delay in acquiring materials to complete the project.
A contractor has installed barrier and attenuators so the bridge could be opened. Guide rail will be installed at a later date under flagging.
PennDOT driver license, photo centers closed for Thanksgiving holiday
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced that all driver license and photo centers, including its full-service center in Harrisburg, will be closed Thursday, November 22nd, and Friday, November 23rd, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov.
Getting together with family and friends this Thanksgiving? Don’t let your good times end in tragedy.
Article submitted by Kimberly A. Smith | Safety Press Officer
Drunk-driving-related crashes spike during the Thanksgiving holiday season. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period (6 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday), making it the deadliest holiday on our roadways.
It’s a deadly holiday for crashes in Pennsylvania also. In 2017, there were 396 impaired driving crashes that resulted in 10 fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday.
This time of year, there is also potential for inclement weather. Check the forecasts before heading out, do not drive aggressively, always wear your seat belt, avoid distractions and never drive impaired. Have a safe Thanksgiving!
Fallen leaves camouflage frosty roadways
Fallen leaves and frosty roadways are creating dangerous camouflage, especially at dawn and dusk, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Adding fog to the slippery conditions makes travel hazardous.
PennDOT recommends drivers slow down, use low beams, wear sunglasses, keep a clutter-free visor and dashboard, and clean the windshield.
Remember to be prepared for increased movement of wildlife as winter approaches.Deer are naturally nocturnal and fall is breeding season. Motorists can call 1-800-FIX-ROAD to report safety hazards on state roadways, including a deer carcass.
Pennsylvania’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program accepting applications
Pennsylvania’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is accepting applications through April 12, 2019 for help paying heating bills or a heating emergency, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
Cash grants are one-time payments sent directly to the utility company or fuel provider. Eligible individuals may also apply for crisis grants when a home is without fuel, in imminent danger of being without fuel, or to restore home-heating services.
Applications for LIHEAP are being accepted through COMPASS, Pennsylvania’s portal to apply for assistance with health care, food and nutrition, home- and community-based service referrals. For additional information consult the brochure, “LIHEAP May Be Able to Help You” or call 866-857-7095 to get started. Applicants may prefer to visit or mail the completed form to the nearest county assistance office.