Monday, November 2, 2015
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, Susquehanna 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.
Yaw Supports Budget Veto Override Effort
Responding to growing pleas from schools and community groups to release overdue state funding, Senate Republicans led an effort Wednesday to override Governor Wolf’s veto of an emergency budget passed last month by the General Assembly.
The emergency budget would have provided badly needed funding while negotiations continue on a final budget agreement. The override required a two-thirds majority, or 33 votes. While all 30 Republican Senators voted for the measure, the emergency funding veto override vote received no Democrat support.
I am angry at the fact that school kids and those needing critical social services are being used as pawns in a scheme to raise more taxes. I don’t understand why anyone would vote against authorizing a temporary stream of funding until a budget deal is completed.
Hours before the vote, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told members of the Senate Democrat Policy Committee that the lack of state funding is having a devastating financial impact on schools throughout Pennsylvania. School districts have already borrowed nearly a half-billion dollars – plus interest payments of $15 million – because of the budget impasse, and that number may double by Thanksgiving.
Wednesday’s vote marks the fifth time since June 30th that the legislature has attempted to have a fiscally responsible budget enacted and keep
money flowing to schools and organizations.
Tele-Town Hall Meeting Held
Last week, as many of you know, I was joined by over 5,000 residents from Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties for my Telephone Town Hall meeting. During this hour-long discussion with local residents, issues concerning the current budget situation and proposals before the General Assembly were raised by participants and discussed.
The most vital “take-away” from this event was that my constituents support the direction that the Republican members of the General Assembly have been taking with respect to our actions to enact a budget for the current state fiscal year. Overwhelmingly, they were opposed to the Governor’s veto of the recent emergency funding proposal, and they were opposed to the Governor’s most recent tax package.
For your information, following is the summary of the polling questions that I asked during the event. Feedback on these issues, and other important issues, is invaluable to me and I look forward to hearing continued feedback in the future.
Tomorrow is General Election Day. Polls are open from 7am-8pm. Remember to cast your vote for your preferred candidates and ballot proposals. Check out who is running one more time at the Pennsylvania Department of State’s homepage, then find your correct polling location here.
Special Committee on Attorney General Kane Established
In addition to myself, the six member committee will also include Senators John Gordner (R-27) who will serve as Chair, Lisa Baker (R-20), Art Haywood (D-4), Judy Schwank (D-11), and Sean Wiley (D-49). Senator Scarnati will serve as ex-officio member of the committee.
The function of the Attorney General’s office is two-fold, first to represent the government interest in legal proceedings, and second to represent the public interest in legal proceedings. Considering the importance of the position of Attorney General in state government and the functions of the office headed by the Attorney General, General Kane’s ability to perform the duties of the office without a law license needs to be reviewed.
To read more,
Measure Strengthening Right-to-Know Law Sent to House
Legislation that will significantly strengthen Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law was unanimously approved by the Senate. Senate Bill 411 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The bill clarifies and improves the Open Records Law based on experiences and court decisions since the law went into effect in 2008. The bill makes over 30 changes to the law, including limiting inmate records requests, which make up more than 40 percent of the workload of the Office of Open Records; handling commercial requestors; and clarifying that volunteer fire companies are not government agencies and should not be treated as such under the law.
An amendment added to the bill requires state-related universities to create accessible online databases to include budget, revenue and expense-related
Senate Passes Bill to End Intimidation by Union Members
The Senate approved legislation that would prohibit harassment, stalking or making threats by parties involved in a labor dispute. House Bill 874 returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
The measure does not impact unions engaged in lawful disputes or protests, but addresses issues in previous labor disputes in which violent protests by the union workers ensued, including intimidation and harassment in the form of physical abuse of on-site contractors and property damage.
The measure was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which I serve
as a member, in June. It is supported by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of
Police Association, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and the Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Association.
Senate Acts to Prohibit the Sale of Electronic Cigarettes to Minors
The Senate also passed Senate Bill 751 to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.
A national study, “Monitoring the Future,” found recent e-cigarette use among teens exceeded traditional cigarette smoking in 2014 for the first time. E-cigarette use among 8th and 10th graders was double that of traditional cigarette smoking. E-cigarettes are frequently available in different flavors such as cotton candy, bubble gum, and chocolate which may appeal to children and teens. Today, there are nearly 500 brands of e-cigarettes on the market and they come in over 7,700 different flavors.
The measure is supported by the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
Senate Approves Bill Assisting First Responder Fundraising Efforts
House Bill 138, also approved by the Senate last week, would allow first responders — after getting local approval — to fundraise on local roadways, with programs such as those in which firefighters collect donations in a boot. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
The measure was approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Ferrell Elementary Visits the State Capitol
Students and teachers from Ferrell Elementary School, East Lycoming School District, visited the State Capitol Building last week. State Representative Garth Everett was on hand to greet the students prior to their tour.
PSATS Holds Discussion on Heroin Epidemic
On Wednesday, October 28th, I joined Dave Sanko, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) for a
‘Special Report’ on the heroin epidemic impacting Commonwealth residents. We were also joined by Doylestown Township Chair Barbara Lyons and PA State
Police Trooper Adam Reed. Watch for "Heroin Hits Home" in November on
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