In this Update:
Join Me at an Upcoming Open House
If you have questions or need help with state government programs or services, or want to learn about the variety of ways my district office staff and I can serve you, please join me at one of my upcoming open houses in Luzerne County.
My next open house will be on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 2-3 p.m. at the Wright Township Municipal Building, 321 S. Mountain Blvd, Mountain Top. The office is open Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Attendees will be able to ask me and our staff questions about state government programs, services and issues. They also will learn how my staff and I can expedite issues or problems attendees may be experiencing with state government agencies.
Our final open house will take place Friday, Oct. 13, from 1-3 p.m. at the Butler Township Municipal Building, 83 Corporate Drive, Drums. The office’s operating hours are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Residents who need help with any state government-related issue, but cannot attend the open houses, are encouraged to visit the offices during operating hours or call 570-387-4267.
I hosted the first of three open houses in Luzerne County on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the Salem Township Municipal Building, 38 Bombay Lane, Berwick. I had the pleasure of meeting with many constituents including those pictured here to discuss state-related issues. Thank you to everyone who joined us at this event. The office’s operating hours are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Senior Health and Wellness Event Oct. 19
Senior citizens, their caretakers and family members are invited to join me for a Senior Health and Wellness Event on Thursday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Susquehanna Valley Mall, 1 Susquehanna Valley Mall Drive, Selinsgrove.
Local STEM Program Gives Students Hands-On Learning Experience
I visited Line Mountain Junior-Senior High School last week to tour the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program and meet with teachers and students. This new lab enables students to have a hands-on learning experience in specialties like robotics, plastics and polymers, practical construction, and other practical, skills-based fields. The students are already making use of the lab equipment to create anything from small items, like engraved keychains and Christmas ornaments, to large metalworking projects, like benches. Thank you to Line Mountain School District for your dedication to your students and for providing them with education opportunities in a variety of disciplines.
Senate Favors Harsher Penalties for Drug Dealers
The Senate voted to enact harsher penalties for drug dealers who sell products that lead to the poisoning death of a victim, including drugs laced with fentanyl.
Senate Bill 235 would establish a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a minimum $15,000 fine for anyone convicted of selling or distributing drugs that result in a death. Under current guidelines, drug dealers who poison victims with fentanyl can be back out on the streets in two years or less.
The bill would not apply to drug users who share drugs with family members or friends, or those who seek medical help for individuals who overdose.
Bill to Provide New Career Paths for Individuals in Recovery Passes Senate
Individuals in recovery for substance use disorder would be able to maintain meaningful employment and chart a new path under a pilot program approved by the Senate.
Senate Bill 69 would create a Recovery to Work pilot program to connect individuals in recovery with high-priority occupations through local workforce development boards. The boards would work with the treatment and recovery community as well as local employers and training providers to find job training and employment opportunities.
The pilot program would be led by the Department of Labor and Industry with the assistance of the departments of Health, Community and Economic Development, and Drug and Alcohol Programs, as well as the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Senate Votes to Improve Bridge Maintenance and Safety
This week, the Senate passed legislation to make state funding available for local bridge projects.
Currently, state Motor License Fund dollars are made available for the construction and repair of county bridges. While the funds are used to repair county-owned bridges, spending guidance fails to note how the funds could be used for bridges owned by municipalities within the counties. As a result, municipal bridges suffer and go without repair while remaining funds go unused due to ambiguous guidance.
Senate Bill 799 would give counties the flexibility they need to fund local bridge projects.
Bill Offering Free Credit Monitoring to Data Breach Victims Receives Senate Support
The Senate approved legislation to strengthen notification requirements for data breaches and provide affected citizens with free credit monitoring.
Senate Bill 824 would provide citizens affected by a data breach a free credit report and a year of credit monitoring while they recover. The bill also strengthens state notification requirements and requires Attorney General notification if a data breach occurs in the commonwealth.
The measure would cover instances in which an individual’s first and last name or first initial and last name have been accessed in combination with any of the following information: Social Security number, bank account number, driver’s license or state ID number.
Recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Every October, we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, but early detection can drastically increase the survival rate. Take action by scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.
My colleagues and I will continue to work to support people facing breast cancer. We passed comprehensive breast cancer screening legislation earlier this year that eliminated out-of-pocket costs for necessary BRCA testing and screening for high-risk Pennsylvanians.
This week, we also supported a resolution highlighting metastatic breast cancer – stage four when cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Despite advancements in medical science, metastatic breast cancer remains incurable.
Stocking PA’s Waters with Trout
Pennsylvania’s waterways are being restocked with approximately 117,500 hatchery-raised adult Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout in 119 stream sections and lakes. The effort, which began this week, will continue through mid-December.
The stockings will replenish popular fishing spots across the state and provide ice fishing opportunities. Review the trout stocking schedules here. They are subject to change because of water temperature fluctuations and hatchery logistics.
Trout that are stocked during fall and winter can be fished for immediately. Anglers ages 16 and older must have a valid Pennsylvania fishing license and trout permit. You can buy 2023 fishing licenses and permits online or at a retail license issuing agent.
Tour State Game Lands on Oct. 8 and 15
Across the commonwealth, you can tour state game lands the next two Sundays: Oct. 8 and 15. The drive-through tours, offered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, are free and held rain or shine for vehicles licensed to travel on public roads.
The tours offer the opportunity to learn about the historical aspects of the game lands and the habitat improvements being made on them.
Find specific locations and times for the tours here.
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