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Sen. Yudichak Reports

Senate Passes $2.5 Billion Transportation Funding Plan

Road ConstructionBy a 45-5 vote, the Senate last week passed a transportation funding plan that would raise $2.5 billion annually to repair our crumbling roads and bridges.

With the highest unemployment in the state for more than three years straight, our region is in dire need of jobs and this transportation plan will immediately put thousands of Pennsylvanians back to work.

Our roads and bridges are currently among the worst in the nation and if we continue on the path of inaction, we will severely jeopardize the safety of the millions of people that travel our roadways every day. Senate Bill 1 will not only address the many public safety concerns about our aging transportation infrastructure, but it will also encourage further economic development, attract businesses and put Pennsylvanians back to work.

We need to enact a viable, long-term transportation funding plan that will ensure the safety of our roadways and bring jobs back to Pennsylvania and Senate Bill 1 is a good starting point.

Recent Events Stress Community Cooperation in Fight Against Gangs

Operation Gang UpOver the past few weeks, I participated in two great events that stressed the need for communication between citizens, school districts and law enforcement in our fight to end gang influence and violence in our schools and in our neighborhoods.

At Dallas High School, I addressed dozens of teachers and school administrators about the dangers of gangs and keeping schools safe at a training event. I served as a co-host of the event with the Luzerne Intermediate Unit, The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development and the Pennsylvania State Police.

Given the right tools, teachers can be a critical line of defense against gang recruitment in our schools and this gang awareness information session gave teachers and administrators tips on how they could recognize and handle suspected gang activity.

The training program was funded in part through a $50,000 state grant that was secured last year through our Operation Gang Up initiative.

I was also honored to participate in the eighth annual Indicators Report Forum which was held at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. This event, hosted by the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development, stressed the need to improve the regionalization of services. One example of the great benefits of regionalization is Operation Gang Up, which is a bi-partisan, regional community initiative that is focused on driving gangs out of our schools, our neighborhoods and away from our children.

Safe communities and safe schools are the foundation of a good education and if we cannot deliver on public safety, it is very hard to deliver a good education to our children.

At times, especially now in NEPA with unemployment rates and violent crime rates seemingly at all time highs, it is easy to feel like the challenges we face are insurmountable. However, despite the odds and the challenges, the Safe Schools Committee and initiatives like Operation Gang Up are bright shining examples of how the community can rise to the occasion and meet whatever challenges come our way.

Click here to watch video of some of my remarks from the Indicators Forum

Sen. Yudichak's Community Corner

Feeding Pennsylvania group picture
Joined U.S. Senator Bob Casey and leaders of food banks from across the Commonwealth at the H & J Weinberg Food Bank to kick off the Feeding Pennsylvania initiative.
Voter Hall of Fame
Proud to induct 27 Carbon County residents into the Pennsylvania Voter Hall of Fame for their outstanding commitment to making their votes count. (Read more).









Huber Breaker
Recently joined Ray Clarke and the Huber Breaker Society to dedicate the new Huber Breaker-Anthracite Coal Region Miners Memorial to pay tribute to all of the hard-working NEPA miners.
Guest Chaplain
Sen. Lisa Baker and myself recently hosted Rev. Daniel Gunn from St. Stephen's Episcopal Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre as the guest chaplain of the Pennsylvania Senate.









Three 14th District Educational Facilities Receive Hybrid Learning Grants

classroomIt was recently announced that Pittston Area School District, Wyoming Area School District and the Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18 Alternative Learning Center -- all located in the 14th Senatorial district -- were the recipients of federal funding to accelerate the implementation of hybrid learning programs.

Technology and innovation are crucial to the future successes of our school children and these grants will certainly help these two school districts and LIU better meet the evolving needs of their students.

Pittston Area, Wyoming Area and the Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18 each received a $17,500 grant. The grants were part of $633,000 in federal funds awarded to 50 school buildings in 34 school entities throughout Pennsylvania.

Hybrid learning is a new approach to providing cost-effective, personalized learning to K-12 students. It employs frequent digital assessments to measure student performance and uses results to group students for differentiated instruction. Hybrid learning presents learning in small groups and regularly rotates stondents among different education stations, including direct instruction with a teacher, independent learning on a computer and group collaboration with peers.

DEP Now Accepting Applications Natural Gas Vehicle Program

Natural Gas Vehicle ProgramThe Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for the Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant (AFIG) Natural Gas Vehicle program. An estimated $10 million in grants will be available for the purchase or conversion of medium- to light-weight natural gas vehicles (under 14,000 pounds), as well as the conversion or purchase of electric, propane or other alternative fuel vehicles of any size.

Those eligible to apply include school districts, municipal authorities, political subdivisions, incorporated non-profit entities, corporations, and limited liability companies or partnerships located in Pennsylvania. Eligible vehicles include dedicated bi-fuel and dual-fuel LNG or CNG vehicles weighing less than 14,000 pounds as well as dedicated liquid propane gas, hydrogen, hythane (any combination of CNG and hydrogen) biofuel (B100 or straight vegetable oil) and electric vehicles of any weight.

Applicants interested in purchasing or converting one or two alternative fuel vehicles are encouraged to partner with other eligible applicants to aggregate their vehicles into a single application to satisfy the five vehicle minimum. Grants will cover no more than 50 percent of the incremental purchase or retrofit cost.

For more information or to apply for a grant, click here.

Applications will also be accepted for innovation in alternative fuel transportation, including non-road vehicles, such as natural gas-powered trains or marine vessels.

Applications are being accepted online only, using DCNR's eGrant system. The deadline to submit an application is July 26, 2013 at 4 p.m.

Community Safety Day

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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.