Senator Yudichak Calls for Creation of Task Force to Investigate Threat of Lead Exposure in PA

Nanticoke, February 28, 2017— Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) and other lawmakers will soon re-introduce a resolution (SR 33) that creates a bipartisan task force to investigate the scope of Pennsylvania’s lead exposure problem and recommend changes to existing laws, regulations, and procedures that will reduce the risk of lead contamination in Pennsylvania’s schools, daycare centers, homes, and water-delivery infrastructure.  Senator Yudichak proposed creating a similar task force during the 2015-2016 legislative session.

The resolution also creates an advisory committee, reporting to the Joint State Government Commission, that will work closely with the Senate task force to complete its review and produce a report detailing its findings and recommendations to the Senate within 18-months. The advisory committee will include cabinet secretaries, pediatricians, representatives of water authorities and private companies, maintenance workers in school districts, and the Executive Director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.

“We cannot eliminate the threat posed by lead contamination until we know the true extent of the problem in Pennsylvania’s homes, schools, daycare centers, and water-delivery infrastructure,” said Senator Yudichak. “The task force will leverage the expertise of medical professionals, agency officials, and industry leaders who combat the dangers of lead contamination every day and are best suited to recommend policies and procedures to improve the quality of Pennsylvania’s drinking water. Pennsylvanians should never fear for theirs or their children’s health when they pour water from the faucet or drink from a water fountain.”

###

 

Senator Yudichak Announces 2017 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Outreach Schedule

West Pittston, February 22, 2017 − State Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) held an outreach event at the Garden Village Apartments in West Pittston today to help local seniors apply for the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

“All Pennsylvanians deserve property tax relief, but those senior citizens that struggle to keep pace with rising school property taxes deserve full and unfettered access to the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program that provides millions of dollars in property tax relief to northeastern Pennsylvania taxpayers,” said State Senator John Yudichak. “Over the next two months, our senate offices in Luzerne and Carbon Counties will be reaching out to senior citizens to ensure every dollar they have earned through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is secured for them.”

Senior citizens can receive up to $650 that is funded by state lottery and gaming revenues. In 2016, Senator Yudichak’s outreach efforts helped Luzerne and Carbon County senior citizens receive $500,000 in property tax and rent rebates. In the same year, 19,000 applicants from Luzerne County received more than $8.1 million in rebates through the program.

The Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits all Pennsylvanians age 65 and over, widows and widowers age 50 and over, and people with disabilities age 18 to 64. Homeowners with a maximum yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible for a rebate.

All applications for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program must be submitted to the Commonwealth by June 30, 2017. Anyone who needs assistance with filing the application can visit Senator Yudichak’s district office in Nanticoke, 164 South Market Street, or Jim Thorpe, 1201 North Street-Suite 3, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. Staff can assist applicants in the West Pittston office, 801 Wyoming Avenue-Suite 180, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.
A complete schedule of outreach events is attached to this release.

2017 Rebate Outreach Schedule

Please note: Events held at various apartment buildings are for residents only and are NOT open to the public.

February 23 –  Eagle Ridge Apartments, Edwardsville – 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
                              Senator Yudichak and Representative Aaron Kaufer will jointly host the event. (Residents only)

February 28 – Oplinger Towers, Nanticoke – 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
                              Senator Yudichak and Representative Gerald Mullery will jointly host the event. (Residents only)

March 1   Plains Manor, Plains – 9 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. (Residents only)

March 2–  Luzerne Towers, Luzerne – 9 a.m. – Noon
                     Senator Yudichak and Representative Aaron Kaufer will jointly host the event. (Residents only)

March 2 – Swoyersville Apartments, Swoyersville – 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
                      Senator Yudichak and Representative Aaron Kaufer will jointly host the event. (Residents only)

March 7 – Rose Tucker Sr. Center, Nanticoke – 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (Open to the public)

March 8 – Exeter Apartments, Exeter- 9 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. (Residents only)

March 9 – Infantino Towers, Pittston – 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (Residents only)

March 15 – Lee Park Senior Center, Hanover Township – 9 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. (Residents only)

March 15 – Lincoln Heights, Pittston – 10 a.m.- Noon (Residents only)

March 15 – St. John Apartments, Wilkes-Barre – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (Residents only)

March 16 – Charles T. Adams Senior Center, Wilkes-Barre – 9 a.m. – noon
                        Please call 570-825-3484 for an appointment (Open to the public)

For more information, please visit Senator Yudichak’s website: www.senatoryudichak.com

Any updates or changes to the outreach schedule due to weather or any other unforeseen circumstances will be posted to the website and announced to the media.  

###

Senator Yudichak Statement on State Permit Approvals for Mariner East 2 Pipeline Project

Nanticoke, February 14, 2017 – Following yesterday’s approval of water quality and erosion and sediment control permits issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project, State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) today issued the following the statement:

“I want to commend the work performed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to ensure a thorough and transparent review of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.  Issuance of these permits reflects years of cooperation with stakeholders, careful attention to environmental impacts and public safety, and continued dedication to Pennsylvania’s energy economy and job creation.”

# # #

Senator Yudichak Issues Statement on Governor Wolf Budget Proposal

Harrisburg, February 7, 2017 — Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) issued the following statement after Governor Tom Wolf’s 2017-2018 Budget Address today:

“Pennsylvania must grapple with a structural deficit that is $3 billion and Governor Wolf has proposed a budget that comprehends the governing reality that Republicans overwhelmingly control the legislature.

The governor’s budget proposal begins the conversation. Governor Wolf has not called for broad based taxes and state spending will only increase 1.8% compared with the last fiscal year. The budget estimates $2 billion in savings from consolidating state programs, merging government departments, and curtailing spending.

Creating jobs and opportunities for working Pennsylvanians must be Harrisburg’s top priority and I am very concerned that this budget proposal lacks sufficient investments to advance Pennsylvania’s economic development strategy.

The proposed changes to the Growing Greener program raise concerns about its long-term funding outlook. Growing Greener has been an effective environmental program that blends conservation efforts with economic development – best exemplified by groups like the Earth Conservancy in Luzerne County who have used Growing Greener funds to transform mine-scarred land into greenspace as well as viable areas for development that will produce thousands of new jobs.

As the budget conversation stands today, working families and communities of northeastern Pennsylvania are going to be hurt if the partisan paralysis continues in Harrisburg and responsible solutions are not advanced to invest in jobs, cut property taxes and unleash a robust economy that creates opportunities for all Pennsylvanians.”

####

Senator Yudichak and Community Leaders Commemorate Opening of Luzerne County SHINE Center at Lee Park Elementary School

Hanover Township, February 2, 2017 — Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) and other community leaders including Wilkes University President Dr. Patrick F. Leahy and Hanover Area Superintendent Andrew Kuhl commemorated the opening of the newest Luzerne County SHINE center, Lee Park Elementary School in Hanover Township, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon.

Luzerne County SHINE was founded in 2014 to provide science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (“STEAM”) education through a comprehensive after-school program that also provides children with healthy and balanced meals. After one year, Luzerne County SHINE operates eight centers across the county and serves more than 300 children. The program was modeled on a similar initiative in Carbon County and Senator Yudichak along with Congressman Lou Barletta (R-11th District) lobbied to start-up SHINE in Luzerne County after a string of turbulent years of violent crime and high unemployment in the region.

“When we invest time and resources to educate the next generation, it pays enormous dividends for the future well-being and vitality of the community,” said Senator Yudichak. “Programs like SHINE are small but vital steps to combat the region’s entrenched problems.” Senator Yudichak praised Dr. Leahy, his staff, and all the administrators and teachers who make SHINE a reality for hundreds of children.

“Serving as the educational host for Luzerne County SHINE affirms our role as a private university with a public purpose,” said Dr. Leahy. “SHINE reflects the highest ideals of Wilkes University and the highest aspirations of our community. The enthusiasm and excitement about learning that SHINE sparks in our children will have benefits for years to come.”

Superintendent Kuhl has been a tireless supporter of SHINE since its inception and he strongly advocated for a center to be opened within the Hanover Area School District. “I knew that if we hosted a center within the district that it would generate more interest in the program and yield better results for our children and families,” he said. Luzerne County SHINE estimates that more than 60 children will participate in the program through the center at Lee Park Elementary School as well as the home-visit program in the district.

“It is tremendously gratifying to see SHINE continuing to reach more and more children with each passing day.  SHINE can play a vital role in children’s lives, because while it does occupy their time after school, it also occupies their minds, encourages them to learn in creative ways, and keeps them surrounded by good influences,” said Congressman Barletta. “SHINE opens up a world of possibilities, and the chance of a brighter future. By reaching even more children in Luzerne County, we are building on what has already been a rousing success.”

State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski also attended today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “As a former teacher, I know the value of programs like Luzerne County SHINE,” he said. “This program is only a year-old, but Wilkes University, Carol Nicholas, and her staff have already established it as an integral part of our commitment to educate and prepare the next generation.”

“I have been in public service for nearly two decades and without a doubt, Luzerne County SHINE is one of my proudest accomplishments and I am eager to see where it will go next,” said Senator Yudichak.

####