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.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving
May the good things of life be yours in abundance not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the coming year. This week, as Thanksgiving celebrations bring families and friends together, don’t miss out on the numerous opportunities available in our region. From outdoor adventures, to visiting local food, craft beer venues and wineries, happiness is to be had this weekend across the 23rd District:
From my family to yours, I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
Slate Run Store Named “Business of the Year”
L to R: Lycoming County Commissioner Rick Mirabito; Commissioner Scott Metzger; Commissioner Tony Mussare; Jerry Walls; Debbie Finkbiner; Tom Finkbiner; Tom Kozlowski; Kim Kozlowski; Senator Yaw; Erik Houser of Rep. Joe Hamm’s Office; Kate Brock, PA Wilds Executive Director, Community Education Center of Elk & Cameron Counties; Lakeshia Knarr, PA Wilds Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Director.
Congratulations to Wolfe’s General Store in Slate Run, which received The PA Wilds 2021 Business of the Year Award! I was honored to attend the recent Lycoming County Commissioners meeting to recognize Tom and Debbie Finkbiner, who owned and operated the store on Pine Creek for 45 years, and Kim and Tom Kozlowski, the new owners who will continue to operate both the general store and the famous Slate Run Tackle Shop. I’m looking forward to getting up there again soon!
JUST IN: State Investments Made Across Region
Several good projects were awarded funding last week as part of the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s (CFA) Multimodal and Flood Mitigation (Act 13 natural gas) financial distributions. I was happy to lend my support for all of the projects during the initial application phase. With the help of my colleagues in the House, we are able to bring these projects to reality.
Supporting PA’s Conservation Districts
L to R: Senator Yaw and Carrie Richmond of the Sullivan County Conservation District.
I recently was presented with the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD) “Legislator Leadership Award” for efforts to further the activities and accomplishments of the state’s conservation districts. This year, I was proud to advocate for legislation, which would dedicate additional financial resources to protect Pennsylvania’s waterways. Pennsylvania has been blessed with over 85,000 miles of rivers and streams, a density of surface water unmatched in the continental United States. Unfortunately, a legacy of intensive land use has left almost one-third of those waters unsafe for either humans or aquatic life. READ MORE
The Sullivan County Conservation District nominated me for the award, for which I am extremely honored and grateful.
Discussing Remediation Efforts at the Former Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, of which I chair, hosted a hearing Wednesday to discuss the ongoing remediation of the former Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery.
This is the second hearing we have held since the fire shuttered the 1,300-acre crude oil facility in June 2019. The new owners of the property, Hilco Redevelopment Partners, plan to overhaul the complex into a commercial site that will bring 10,000 permanent jobs to South Philadelphia. READ MORE
Update on Recent Federal, State and Private Funding Announcements
Federal Infrastructure Bill to Provide Billions for Pennsylvania… Pennsylvania will receive $1 billion for bridge replacement and repairs, $2.8 billion for public transportation, $171 million for electric vehicle infrastructure and networking and at least $100 million for broadband deployment as part of the recently passed federal infrastructure plan. Additionally, there will be funding for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access, $26 million for cybersecurity and various programs for flooding pre-mitigation and community resilience. Details on exactly how funding may come down to Pennsylvania counties is still undetermined.
Lycoming County Commissioners Announce American Rescue Plan Funding Opportunity…Lycoming County will be accepting pre-application funding requests from municipalities, public authorities, non-profits, and businesses that are located within Lycoming County to help determine how to allocate monies from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The County was awarded $22 million in ARPA to address the impacts of COVID-19, which will be transferred to the County in two installments. The County Commissioners anticipate opening two grant rounds over the 2022 calendar year to allocate those funds. The Commissioners are encouraging all eligible entities to complete and submit a pre-application form located at www.lyco.org/ARPA. The initial pre-application window will be from November 16th, 2021 until December 31st, 2021 for the following categories:
Grant Funding Available for Substance Use Treatment Providers… The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) announced the availability of $10 million in grant funding for stabilization payments to substance use disorder treatment providers to assist with pandemic-related expenses. Eligible applicants can find the guidance document on the DDAP website. All applications must be submitted through the online application by 12:00 PM on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. The number of grantees and funding amounts are dependent on the number of applications received.
PPL Electric Utilities offers multiple programs to help customers struggling to pay their electric bills this winter… With colder temperatures set to increase energy usage, and inflation impacting the cost of energy supply sources, PPL Electric Utilities wants to remind customers of multiple assistance programs for those struggling to pay their energy bills. For more information on these customer-assistance programs, including how to apply, visit pplelectric.com/billhelp.
Court Ruling Could End School Mask Mandate Dec. 4
A Commonwealth Court ruling has paved the way for Governor Wolf’s school mask mandate to potentially end Dec. 4. If the Wolf Administration and the courts take no further action, the mandate will no longer be in place after that date.
Commonwealth Court Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon’s ruling comes a week after her court threw out the statewide mask mandate. The mandate stayed in effect because the administration appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court. Governor Wolf has said the order will be lifted Jan. 17.
The court ruled Nov. 10 that the administration improperly used a law from 1955 to override parents and local school boards and impose a statewide masking mandate on students.
Update on the Legislative Reapportionment Commission
The Legislative Reapportionment Commission held its latest public hearing this week in Harrisburg.
The commission took input from an expert panel about citizen mapping efforts. You can watch the hearing and view testimony here. It has held nine public hearings, receiving input from a total of 29 experts and 51 citizen witnesses, in addition to 490 written submissions by citizens.
As dictated by the Pennsylvania Constitution, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission redraws the lines of Senate and House of Representative districts every 10 years to reflect changes in the U.S. Census.
Senate Committee Receives Input on Congressional Redistricting
The effort of redrawing the boundaries of Pennsylvania Congressional districts continued with the third public hearing on the issues by the Senate State Government Committee.
The panel discussed maps created by citizens and took testimony regarding the process behind it. You can access hearing video and testimony here.
As with state legislative districts, congressional boundaries are redrawn following each census to reflect population changes. Because Pennsylvania’s population has been outpaced by growing states, it will drop from 18 to 17 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 2022 elections.
Unlike state Senate and House reapportionment, congressional redistricting is done through the legislative process, beginning at the committee level.
Webinar for First-Time Environmental Grant Applicants
Organizations, municipalities, businesses and farmers can register now for a free webinar on applying for state environmental grants.
The webinar is geared toward first-time applicants and based on survey feedback, and will cover the essentials of applying. It will also look at seven grant programs and answer questions.
Hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection, the webinar will be held Thursday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You can find more information and register here.
November is American Diabetes Month
More than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians, or 11.1% of adults, have diagnosed diabetes. An additional 303,000 have diabetes but don’t know it.
More than 34% of the adult Pennsylvania population have prediabetes with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Complications from diabetes include heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness and death. American Diabetes Month is an opportunity to learn about the risks, how to manage diabetes, and more.