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Sen. Yudichak Reports

Sen. YudichakPennsylvania Must Address $50 Billion Pension Crisis

Earlier this year, I supported legislation to enroll all elected officials in a 401k style retirement plan that will save the state nearly $700 million over the next 40 years. It is not the answer to addressing our unfounded pension crisis, but it is a piece of the puzzle to modernizing state government with a smaller, more efficient legislature.

There are appropriate ways to legislatively address our pension crisis – but unfortunately, the pension plans that the Governor has put forward would undermine the economic security of over 250,000 Pennsylvanians who depend on the state’s defined benefit pension system.

State troopers, correction officers, nurses, construction workers and all state employees deserve a fair and reasonable pension benefit. And without significant and responsible reform to our current pension system, we will be unable to afford the benefits that these men and women worked their entire lives to earn.

There are sensible pension reforms circulating in Harrisburg by Democrats and Republicans, but they are being held hostage by the administration and their special interest allies. A Senate Democratic plan would allow the state to address the 10 years of underfunding pensions by borrowing $9 billion to immediately reduce the unfunded liability. The interest on those bonds could easily be afforded with a reasonable severance tax on the natural gas industry and no additional burden to local property taxpayers.

Coupled with the reforms already implemented in 2010, an infusion of new funding would put our pension system back on the right track without having to scrap the entire system or shortchange those state workers who played by the rules.

Click here to read my full op-ed on Pennsylvania's pension crisis.

Testimony on PSU Board Reform Presented at BOT Committee Meeting

PSULast week at a meeting of the Penn State Board of Trustees Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning, my testimony regarding my proposal to reform the size and structure of the Board of Trustees was presented. I urged trustees to deliberate on legislation I introduced, the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees Reorganization Act. Senate Bill 1240 will continue and strengthen the storied 159 year old partnership between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Penn State University by enshrining in state law the necessary board governance reforms that will create a Board of Trustees that is more engaged, more efficient, more inclusive, more accountable and ultimately more effective stewards of the public mission of Penn State University.

My Senate Bill 1240, which has 36 co-sponsors, would reduce the board of trustees from the current 30 voting members to 23 voting members.

While several proposals surfaced for the first time before the full governance committee at the meeting, I appreciate that the committee took no action on moving a specific proposal to the full board without fully vetting all proposals.  I applaud the decision of the governance committee to gather more information on each proposal, and I hope it is an indication that the committee is trying to build consensus for a plan that will bring the Penn State community together around comprehensive board governance reform.

Click here to read a copy of my testimony that was presented at the meeting.

Kevin's Law is a Great Victory for Victim's Rights

Sen. Yudichak & Baker with Miller familyThe final passage of Kevin’s Law is certainly a great victory for victim’s rights; but it is still a somber day for the Miller family. The Miller family stood strong through unimaginable grief and fought relentlessly to enact Kevin’s Law and I am proud to stand with them to honor their son’s memory with this new law and lasting legacy.

Kevin’s Law was named in honor of 5-year old Kevin Miller, who was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident in Wilkes-Barre 18 months ago.

Caroline Miller loved her son and she refused to let a senseless tragedy take him away from her – and no one has been a better advocate and no one has been more determined in this fight for Kevin, and for Kevin’s Law. This meaningful new law will bring justice to those who hide behind loopholes in the law – and it will bring peace to the Miller family.

Kevin’s Law, amended into Senate Bill 1312, makes the penalty for fleeing the scene of a vehicular homicide the same as homicide by vehicle while drunk: a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison. Previously, drivers who fled the scene and were caught after they can no longer be tested for alcohol faced a mandatory minimum prison sentence of one year.

I would also like to thank Senator Lisa Baker and the entire Luzerne County delegation for making Kevin’s Law a priority and moving it through the legislative process.

Senate Bill 1312 was signed into law as Act 85 of 2014.

Sen. Yudichak's Community Corner

Sen. Yudichak and his father

I was honored to present my father, Joe Yudichak, with a lifetime achievement award from the Luzerne County Association of Township Officials! (Click here to read more about the event)

Osterhout Summer Reading Program

Had a great time with my family at the Osterhout Library Summer reading program!

PSP Lehighton

It was an honor to participate in the dedication ceremony of the great new facility for Pennsylvania State Police Troop N in Lehighton

Holy Redeemer golf team
Joined Sen. Lisa Baker to welcome the state champion Holy Redeemer golf team to the state Capitol!
Expo

Veterans Service FlyerVeterans Service Officer Set to Appear at Nanticoke, Exeter District Offices

I am pleased to announce that a a Department Service officer from the American Legion will appear at both my Nanticoke and Exeter offices in the coming weeks to provide free information and answer questions from area veterans about Veterans Administration benefits, compensation and pensions.

The service officer will be at my Nanticoke district office, located at 164 South Market Street, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Friday, August 22.

The service officer is also scheduled to appear at my Exeter district office, located at 1701 Wyoming Ave., on Friday September 26 from 10 am until 2 pm by appointment.

I am asking that interested veterans please call my Nanticoke office at 570-740-2434 to schedule an appointment with the service officer for either date..

2014 Carbon County Senior Expo Scheduled for September 11

Carbon County Senior ExpoMark your calendar -- the 2014 Carbon County Senior Expo is scheduled for Thursday, September 11 at Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall!

The yearly event, hosted by myself and state Rep. Doyle Heffley, is a great opportunity for local senior citizens to get information on the services and programs available to help.

Many times seniors are unaware of the many great programs and services available to them locally and our yearly Senior Citizens Expo certainly helps point many local senior citizens in the right direction.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will also feature free health screenings, dozens of exhibitors, free refreshments and great door prizes!

I had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of Carbon County senior citizens at last year's event and I'm looking forward to seeing all of you again this year!

For pictures from last year's Carbon County Senior Expo, click here.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Extended to December 31

Property Tax/Rent RebateThe Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has extended the deadline for the 2013 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program until December 31. If you have not yet applied and believe you are eligible, stop into any one of my district offices today 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.

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Offices to Serve You

DISTRICT OFFICE
164 South Market Street
Nanticoke, PA 18634
Phone: (570) 740-2434
Fax: (570) 740-2438
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

DISTRICT OFFICE
1201 North Street | Suite 3
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229
Phone: (570) 325-3274
Fax: (570) 325-3780
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

DISTRICT OFFICE
1701 Wyoming Avenue
Exeter, PA 18643
Phone: (570) 883-4690
Fax: (570) 883-4694
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

HARRISBURG OFFICE
Senate Box 203014
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3014
Phone: (717) 787-7105
Fax: (717) 783-4141
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.