In an effort to keep you informed about state and local issues, I have developed this e-newsletter which I will be sending out to residents of the 23rd District. I think it is a fast, convenient and affordable way to get news out to area residents. I hope you find this e-newsletter useful and informative - and if you know of someone else who would like to receive it, please feel free to forward this email.
I invite you to visit my website www.senatorgeneyaw.com for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the "unsubscribe" button at the bottom of the page. If you would like to contact my office, please go to my web page and click on the "contact me button". Please do not "reply" directly to this e-mail.
BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE
As the month of June winds down, budget negotiations continue. Considerable progress has been made and the final details are being clarified. In the next e-newsletter, I will highlight the areas of interest in the final budget to my constituents.
EFFECTS OF AVIATION UNIT LOSS
On June 7th, the Senate Law & Justice Committee, in conjunction with the House Subcommittee on Crime and Corrections, held a public hearing at Penn College to discuss the impact of the loss of the state police aviation unit at the Williamsport Regional Airport and the effects of the State Police presence in the Marcellus Shale region.
After listening to the testimony, it became evident the loss of the aviation unit would be detrimental to the public safety of the residents in north central Pennsylvania. Mike Minnier, Loyalsock Fire Chief, relayed a recent incident where the helicopter was requested for a night search involving a missing teenage kayaker. He was told by PSP that a helicopter would not be available for at least an hour.
John Yingling, Lycoming County Director of Public Safety, talked about the vital role the aviation unit played following the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee. He said the consolidation/relocation of the PSP helicopter is not in the best interest of public safety.
Dave Frey and Denny Hoak, retired State Police pilots, felt this decision to move the unit to Hazelton was the worst decision ever made by the State Police. They believe the higher altitude at Hazelton would prevent flights in marginal weather. However, the lower elevation and terrain in Williamsport would make it more efficient for crews responding to calls.
Dan Barrett, the Bradford County District Attorney, and Joe Kovel, President of the PA State Troopers Association, each explained how the natural gas boom has led to a significant increase in incidents ranging from DUI arrests to vehicle crashes to traffic citations. Unfortunately, the workload has increased while resources have not kept pace with the demand.
With a 30-year career in law enforcement and volunteer fire services, Lycoming County Sheriff Mark Lusk provided a unique perspective of the benefits the PSP aviation unit has had in our area for over 40 years.
Greg Foresman, Williamsport Police Chief, and Richard Sutton, Muncy Police Chief and President of the Lycoming County Law Enforcement Association, both relayed personal experiences in their careers where the aviation unit played a critical role. Each raised concerns over the impact of response times of the unit coming from the Hazelton area.
Since the Administration of the State Police did not have anyone available to attend, I have taken the liberty of forwarding them the testimony and a DVD of the hearing.
GOOD CITIZENSHIP AWARDS
Each year, the Senate of Pennsylvania recognizes students from across the Commonwealth with its Good Citizenship Awards. These awards are presented to students who have demonstrated qualities of Good Citizenship through the display of character, leadership, scholarship, and acceptance of responsibility.
I am pleased to have been able to award 140 young people representing 23 schools within my district with these awards. Education is continually changing and adapting to meet the needs of its students and its districts. My staff remains flexible and diligent in keeping in contact with those schools willing to participate in this program to recognize the students who exemplify Good Citizenship. I would like to congratulate all the Good Citizenship recipients in the 23rd Senatorial District.
Senate Bill 943 - adds a $100 fee to all alcohol-related offenses in municipalities in which a higher education institute is located and which chooses to create an alcohol prevention unit. This legislation was overwhelmingly passed by the Senate and is currently awaiting consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.
Senate Bill 1433 - creates a trust fund with the settlement dollars for the purposes of funding consumer protection programs and Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Programs (HEMAP) for an extended period of years and requires no tax dollars. The legislation targets 90 percent of the settlement dollars to HEMAP, five percent to the Attorney General for housing consumer protection programs and five percent for legal assistance related to housing issues. The bill also provides a supplemental appropriation to immediately provide $6 million to HEMAP to address a backlog. This legislation unanimously passed the General Assembly and is awaiting Governor Corbett's signature.
Senate Bill 1546 - Merges the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) into DCED. This legislation was unanimously passed in the Senate and is currently awaiting consideration by the House Local Government Committee.
House Bill 1767 - strengthens and clarifies the process for determining when a home is abandoned and what a community owner may do with the abandoned home. Additionally, the legislation requires manufactured housing community owners, when closing a community to: inform residents, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and the home municipality within 60 days of any decision to close; give residents at least six months to leave the community; consider any offer to purchase the community by a resident association representing at least 25 percent of the manufactured home spaces; pay relocation expenses of up to $4,000 for single and $6,000 for multi-section manufactured homes; pay at least $2,500 or the home's appraised value, whichever is greater, when the homeowner is unable or unwilling to relocate the home; and allow tenants to terminate any leases without penalty after receiving the community's closure notice. This legislation overwhelmingly passed the House and is now awaiting action by the Senate.
House Bill 1913 - permits taxing authorities, (counties, cities, boroughs, towns, townships and school districts) by resolution or ordinance, to abate real estate taxes imposed by them for the tax year 2011 if the real property upon which the tax was imposed was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee. This legislation was unanimously passed by the General Assembly and is currently awaiting Governor Corbett's signature.
House Bill 1916 - as amended by the Senate, authorizes $150 million in borrowing in the form of bonds for the rehabilitation of areas affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee and provides for the itemization of projects damaged during the flooding. This legislation was amended and unanimously passed the Senate on June 13th and is currently awaiting consideration by the House Rules Committee.
COUNTY FAIRS IN SUMMERTIME
Summertime is the onset of the County Fair season in Pennsylvania. You can take ferris wheel rides, eat hot sausage sandwiches, fresh cut french fries, or have a thick milkshake. You can also enjoy great entertainment and learn about Pennsylvania's number one industry - agriculture.
In each county, local 4-H Clubs put together a sample of educational displays on a variety of topics. You can watch horse and other animal shows and see displays of merchandise from a variety of vendors. Visiting a county fair is a great opportunity to enjoy some family time while learning in the process. Below is a listing of the fairs and their respective websites in the 23rd Senatorial District:
The Lycoming County Fair in Hughesville, July 13-21
Serving Bradford County, the Troy Fair, July 23-28
Serving Union County, the West End Fair in Laurelton, August 5-11 http://unioncountywestendfair.com/
Serving Susquehanna County, the Harford Fair, August 20-25 http://www.harfordfair.com/
The Sullivan County Fair at Forksville August 29-September 3 http://www.sullivancountyfair.com/
If you live in the 23rd Senatorial District and would like a complete fair guide with a listing of fairs across the Commonwealth, please call one of my district offices or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
COMCAST NEWSMAKERS TAPING
On June 12th, I sat down with Comcast Newsmakers to discuss The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Comcast Newsmakers is a five-minute interview program airing on Headline News that connects viewers to the important issues, events and organizations that are shaping their communities.
To view this discussion, please go to www.senatorgeneyaw.com.
MONTHLY TELEVISION SHOW
This month's "Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw" focuses on the new Energy Technology Education Center, located in Montgomery, Pennsylvania. The Energy Technology Education Center is a joint venture among Lycoming County, Penn College and natural gas industry partners to provide training opportunities for emergency and first-responders in the event of a natural gas-related incident.
The Energy Technology Education Center is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania. The Center, with its unique state of the art facility, will provide the essential skills that our emergency responders will need in a crisis situation.
During the training session, response crews assembled for a simulated lightning strike, potential methane leak and multiple injuries at a natural gas well field. Guided by real-time radio transmissions - with authenticity heightened by raging flames, active hoses and frighteningly realistic mock injuries - volunteer firefighters and other emergency personnel prioritized and conquered each of the challenges that greeted their deployment.
The program will air on:
Please check local listings for air times.
A "Conversation with Senator Gene Yaw" is intended to keep residents of the 23rd Senatorial District, which consists of Lycoming, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties, informed about state and local issues and to showcase the people, places and communities that make this area so unique.
Senator Yaw's report is also available online at www.senatorgeneyaw.com.
THE 23RD SENATORIAL DISTRICT IS WINE COUNTRY
Pennsylvania is the seventh largest wine-producing state in the United States with over 140 wineries located here and growing all the time. The 23rd Senatorial District of Pennsylvania is home to some of the best wineries in the Commonwealth which is evidenced by the many national and international awards won by our very own vineyards.
I encourage wine connoisseurs in our region and beyond to experience the uniqueness of what our own backyard has to offer. Pennsylvania has the state broken down into regions as each area offers its own unique qualities which come through in the wine. Our area is a part of the Upper Susquehanna Region and includes two terrific wine trails for you to experience.
The Endless Mountains Wine Trail includes the northern counties I represent, Bradford and Sullivan Counties. The featured wineries on this trail are Antler Ridge, Bird Song, Eagle Rock, Grovedale, Hidden Creek, Laddsburg Mountain, Lopez, Winterland and Pickering.
The Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail, near the southern reaches of the district, features Shade Mountain and Mount Nittany. The Upper Susquehanna Region also has wineries not associated with an official wine trail, but they are certainly worth visiting. Oregon Hill, Four Friends Winery and Bastress Mountain are examples of such wineries within the 23rd District.
With such an array of quality wines to satisfy the most distinguished palates, Pennsylvania deserves acknowledgment for becoming an important wine-producing region in the United States. For up-to-date information on events, all of our wine regions, trails and wineries, please visit www.pennsylvaniawine.com.
Susquehanna County - On June 29th from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 am, Arnie Kriner will be at the Hallstead-Great Bend Library, 135 Franklin Avenue, Hallstead.
1 Elizabeth Street