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Sen. Yudichak Reports

Many Questions about Freeh Report Remain Unanswered

Budget Hearing
Sen. Yudichak questions PSU President Rodney Erickson at budget hearing

As a graduate of Penn State and a member of the Pennsylvania Senate, I am profoundly disappointed in the actions of the Penn State Board of Trustees. I remain concerned that – if the Board does not address the glaring deficiencies of the Freeh report – it will again miss an opportunity to appropriately address the victims of the Sandusky scandal and to make Penn State a stronger institution.

Over the last week of Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearings, I’ve had an opportunity to raise these concerns and pose important questions to Penn State University president Rodney Erickson and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis – both of whom serve on the Penn State Board of Trustees.

It is my belief that the Penn State Board of Trustees should have taken steps to discourage the NCAA from relying on the flawed Freeh report as the foundation for its sanctions against Penn State University. We’ve heard from the governor and many others that the Freeh report is incomplete at best, and at worst, fundamentally flawed. The Freeh report has cost the university in excess of $80 million to date and by some estimates that total will exceed $150 million – an extraordinary amount of money for an incomplete report that lacked subpoena power and had no access to key witnesses.

Penn State reaction
Sen. Yudichak raises concerns about Penn State spending on incomplete, flawed Freeh report

It is imperative that we continue a thoughtful discourse between legislators and trustees on the handling of the Sandusky scandal at Penn State to ensure that the University emerges stronger from these troubling times and most importantly, that no child will ever be subjected to these heinous crimes again. I also believe that it is the responsibility of Penn State University and the Board of Trustees to immediately address the serious shortcomings of the Freeh report and to seek an amendment to the consent decree with the NCAA to remove or reduce all sanctions against Penn State University

It is my hope that, in the coming months, the Senate considers important legislation that would reduce the size of the boards of governance at our state-related universities and also remove university presidents from being voting members of the boards of governance. The state Senate State Government Committee will hold a public hearing to discuss this legislation on Monday, March 18th at 10:30 in Hearing Room 1 NOB of the Capitol Building in Harrisburg.

I will continue to look for answers to the questions that all Penn State alums have about the Board of Trustees' handling of the Freeh report and will press for appropriate changes in board governance at all of our state-related universities.

Budget Must Include Increase for AG's Crime Prevention Programs

Senate Appropriations Committee Budget HearingIn the governor’s budget proposal announced last month, the Office of Attorney General was due to receive flat-funding but flat-funding is simply not enough to protect the public from the alarming increases in violent crime and drug trafficking in the Commonwealth.

Crime, drug trafficking and gang activity are problems not unique to big cities – they are a threat to areas all across the Commonwealth and if we do not adequately fund efforts to curb these dangerous activities, our children and our communities will be at risk for years to come.

We will continue to fight for the safety of our residents, and, with the help of Attorney General Kathleen Kane, push for additional funding so that we can extend the reach of proven crime prevention programs – like the Attorney General’s Drug Strike Force and Drug Task Force – to Northeast Pennsylvania.

The Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, Drug Strike Force and Drug Task Forces work with local and state police, Pennsylvania’s 67 county District Attorneys and federal law enforcement agencies to target drug trafficking throughout the Commonwealth. These partnerships are especially helpful for smaller, local police departments that do not have the staff or resources to deploy full investigations.

I have had several positive discussions with Attorney General Kane about adding additional agents to the Wilkes-Barre regional Attorney General’s office to help in the fight against drugs and gang activity in the area but funding remains an issue and it is my hope that before a final budget is passed in June, we are able to appropriately fund the Attorney General's office and their essential crime prevention and education programs.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Applications Still Being Accepted

Property Tax/Rent RebateI want to remind constituents that the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is still accepting applications for the 2012 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. If you received a rebate last year, you should receive an application in the mail. If you have not received an application, or did not apply last year and wish to apply this year, the applications can be obtained from any of my district offices and my staff would be happy to assist you in preparing your application.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and over; widows and widowers age 50 and over; and people with disabilities age 18 and over. Homeowners with a maximum yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible for a rebate. The maximum standard rebate is $650 and the deadline to apply is June 30th.

2013 Pennsylvania Trout Stocking Schedules Now Available

Trout Stocking ScheduleThe wait is over for local anglers – the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) recently released the 2013 Trout Stocking Schedules for all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

A searchable trout stocking database for all streams and lakes across the Commonwealth is available online. Anglers can search by county or by stock dates.

The search results will provide each body of water within a county that is scheduled for stocking, the section of water, the date, the species of trout, the meeting place and time, the hatchery stocking the section, the regulations that apply and even the latitude/longitude number.

The PFBC annually stocks approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 735 streams and 123 lakes. These figures include approximately 1.84 million rainbow; 836,000 brown; and 509,000 brook trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches. The PFBC also plans to stock about 8,500 trophy golden rainbow trout that weigh an average of 1.5 pounds and measure at least 14 inches long.

About 52 percent of the trout are stocked prior to opening day; 43 percent are stocked between opening day and June; and the rest are stocked from October through February of the following year.

The 2013 trout season will open at area lakes and streams on April 13.

Veterans Survey

If you are a veteran, please take a moment to fill out and return my veterans’ survey.

Your responses will help me better understand your views and address any concerns that you may have as a veteran.  The survey can be downloaded online.

Once you have completed the short survey, please return it to my district office, located at 164 S. Market St., Nanticoke, PA 18634. Please also feel free to email your responses to yudichak@pasenate.com

I look forward to hearing from you!

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For updates on this and other legislative initiatives, stay in touch with me on the Internet through my website or on Facebook and Twitter.

 
June 22, 2011 - Senate Democrats to Discuss Marcellus Shale Fee Amendment June 26, 2011 - Senate and House Democrats joined today to urge Republican leaders to “do the right thing” and pass a responsible severance fee on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.