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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.
Op-Ed: Refund Due for Pitt’s Poor Work
By Sen. Gene Yaw
Late this summer, the University of Pittsburgh released the so-called findings of a “study” by the School of Public Health examining the health impacts of shale gas development in southwestern Pennsylvania. The study, funded by a $2.5 million state grant under contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Health in 2020, is inherently and deliberately misleading and disingenuous.
Pennsylvania taxpayers deserve a refund.
Read more HERE…
On the Issues…
I have received many emails concerning opposition to a pair of gun control measures passed recently by the House of Representatives. House Bill 714 would expand the background checks for handguns to all firearms, including long guns, through all sales whether retail, gun show or private. House Bill 1018 would establish a court order that could ban someone from gun ownership based on someone else’s suspicion of a mental health problem. I have serious concerns to the constitutionality of these bills, and will vote to oppose these measures if they are considered before the Senate.
I have also received many emails supporting our state libraries, as well as our community colleges. As Senate and House leaders continue to work on the remaining code language to complete the 2023-24 state budget, it is worth pointing out that in November we passed an education code bill, House Bill 301, with wide bipartisan support, by a vote of 45 to 5. The move by the House of Representatives to strip out the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) funding before sending the measure back to the Senate was extremely disappointing. Had the House passed the bill as was presented to them, the measure would likely already have been signed into law. It is important we continue to talk about our ongoing efforts to come to a consensus and complete the final pieces of the budget in a manner that addresses the needs of all Pennsylvanians while respecting taxpayers.
As passed by the Senate, House Bill 301 allocated funding for several critical priorities that were included in the 2023-24 state budget, including more than $70 million in state aid to public libraries; $100 million for K-12 mental health programs for schools and more than $261 million for community colleges.
Lastly, I have been asked to support House Bill 1415, currently in the House Rules Committee and House Bill 1416, which is under consideration in the Senate State Government Committee. These bills would provide supplemental annuities, or cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), to individuals who retired prior to July 2, 2001, for SERS and PSERS. Although I do not serve as a member of the Senate State Government Committee, please know that I will support the legislation should it be considered by the full Senate.
On the Horizon…
The 34th annual Mifflinburg Christkindl Market will be held on December 14-16! Crafts, food, entertainment, lantern parade and a live Nativity will all take place at the oldest outdoor Christmas market in the United States! Admission is FREE. More information on vendors and schedule of events HERE.
PA CareerLink Lycoming County will hold an open recruitment event this Thursday, December 14th from 9 a.m. to noon at their office, 329 Pine St., Williamsport. Walk-ins are welcome!
Visit Downtown Lewisburg on Friday, December 15th from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. for another Late Night Shopping Event. Unique gifts throughout the boutiques and shops!
Muncy American Legion Post 268 will hold their first annual laying of wreaths this Saturday, December 16th at noon at the Muncy Cemetery, 204 E. Penn St. Volunteers needed! Call 570-546-3386 for more information. More on Wreaths Across America – Central PA events HERE.
Muncy Valley Area Volunteer Fire Company’s Christmas Bazaar will be held this Saturday, December 16th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wagon rides, light display, nativity scene, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa, crafts and more for all ages!
The Towanda Fire Department will hold an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast with Santa this Sunday, December 17th from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 101 Elm St., Towanda. FREE for children under 5.
Christmas at the Capitol
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
The 2023 Pennsylvania State Capitol Christmas Tree, which was unveiled earlier this week, is a 20-foot Douglas fir from Crystal Springs Tree Farm in Carbon County.
The holidays are a great time to visit the Capitol and my office is happy to help schedule a tour!
Please call my Harrisburg office at 717-787-3280 or visit:
On the Road…
On Thursday, I attended the Lycoming County Board of Commissioners meeting where outgoing commissioners, Tony Mussare and Rick Mirabito, were honored on their upcoming retirements.
Thank you for your many years of dedicated service. Wishing you both all the best in your next chapters!
Congratulations to 2023 Sullivan County Citizen of the Year, Eloise Caseman!
On the cusp of her 91st birthday, Eloise stays busy and always goes the extra mile and beyond in contributing to her community. She says as long as she is able, she will continue to help.
Congratulations, Eloise! Thank you for your dedicated service to Sullivan County.
Changes to Little Pine State Park Shooting Range
Beginning in 2024, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resource (DCNR) is making several changes to the shooting range in response to safety issues, repeated violations of range regulations and postings, and conflicts with other park user groups.
DCNR is taking a zero-tolerance stance on violations committed at the shooting range.
- Any violations committed against the Permit Conditions, including Range Rules and Prohibited Acts, or range postings will result in the revocation of the permit without a refund, prosecution, or both.
- Anyone utilizing the range without and issued Little Pine State Park Shooting Range permit will be prosecuted.
Beginning January 1, 2024:
- There will be no honor system. Range users are required to submit a new range application.
- All range applications shall be completed in-person at the park during regular office hours.
- You may not use the shooting range without an authorized permit issued at the state park office; please plan accordingly.
Future changes will include installing additional fencing and implementing recorded access control and additional security measures.
More information on these changes, applications, and park hours of operation HERE.
REMINDER: Check for Unclaimed Property
Each year, the PA Treasury receives millions of dollars’ worth of unclaimed property and serves as custodian of the property until its rightful owner comes forward to claim it. The value of unclaimed property is available for claim by its rightful owner in perpetuity.
Boroughs, townships, and residents can search the registry by visiting www.patreasury.gov or by calling the Treasury’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property toll-free at 1-800-222-2046.
My office is also available for assistance in claiming your property!
Smart Saving Upgrades Pennsylvania’s Financial Standing
Because of sound financial management and strong budgetary reserves, one of the nation’s leading credit rating agencies – Fitch Ratings – upgraded the state’s bond rating from AA- to AA. The state hasn’t held the improved rating since 2014.
The upgrade is expected to lead to lower debt service costs, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. This is one of the reasons Senate Republicans have led the efforts to build the state’s Rainy Day Fund to historic highs and resist new recurring spending the state cannot afford.
Earlier this fall, Moody’s Investor Services and S&P Global Ratings both upgraded Pennsylvania’s long-term financial outlook from “stable” to “positive.”
Senate Approves Bill Enabling Better Service in Long-Term Care Facilities
The Senate approved a bill to enhance the availability and quality of service at long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 668 would address the workforce shortage in nursing homes that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and has grown in recent years as health care professionals left the field due to burnout. It would enable certified nurse aids (CNAs) to train to become certified medication aides (CMAs) and deliver common, minimally invasive prescribed medications to residents of nursing facilities. Currently, only registered nurses and licensed practical nurses can administer medications to nursing home residents.
CNAs would be able to complete a certified medication administration program established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. CNAs who complete the program would be registered as CMAs and would be authorized to administer certain prescribed medications in health care facilities.
Tuition and Loan Assistance for First Responders
Because of legislation passed by Senate Republicans, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency established a Tuition and Loan Assistance Program for active volunteer fire and emergency medical service providers.
After a year of service, volunteers are eligible for up to $1,000 of financial assistance per academic year. Volunteers must commit to five years of service following college graduation.
The legislation is designed to combat Pennsylvania’s crisis in attracting volunteer first responders, which has led to many fire and emergency medical service companies reducing services.
Comment Period Open on Plan to Expand PA Internet Access
A strong internet connection powers our economy and supports education, health care and more. Many Pennsylvania communities lack access to high-speed internet.
Development of Pennsylvania’s Digital Equity Plan was funded by federal dollars and aims to make high-speed internet available to more Pennsylvanians. You can review the plan and, until Jan. 8, 2024, take advantage of the public comment period to offer feedback.
The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) offers three ways to comment:
Deadline for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31
The deadline to apply for the state’s 2022 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31. Applications and no-cost assistance are available from my district office.
Eligible participants can receive a maximum standard rebate of $650, but supplemental rebates can boost rebates to $975. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities.
Claimants who already applied for their rebates may check the status of claims online or by calling 1-888-222-9190.
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival that celebrates the ancient miracle of the oil burning a candle for eight nights, runs from Dec. 7-15. In honor of the holiday, people of the Jewish faith light a candle on their menorahs each evening for eight nights.
As our friends celebrate the rededication of the Holy Temple, we wish them Chag sameach!