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In this Email Update:
Efforts to keep SCI Frackville open
Have you signed my online petition to keep SCI Frackville open? Sign here!
On January 23, I convened a meeting of local, county and state officials for a meeting to discuss the proposed state prison closures. The department announced that two prisons are slated to close by June 30, 2017 and five prisons are under consideration, including SCI Frackville.
The meeting was critical to better understand the impact a potential closure would have on local families, taxpayers, the local communities and the county as a whole. Read more about the issue in the Republican Herald or watch highlights from the meeting courtesy of WFMZ-TV.
SCI Frackville employs many residents from Schuylkill and Berks counties, as well as several other surrounding counties.
We just don't think this makes sense. The charts below highlight our point –
Out of the five potential closures, SCI Frackville is the newest state prison.
When it comes to the cost-savings each facility would generate to the taxpayers, Frackville would generate the third least amount of cost-savings compared to all state prisons. Out of the five under consideration, it would generate the least amount of cost-savings.
This morning the Senate Majority Policy Committee, which I chair, is holding a joint public hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Democratic Policy Committee on the proposed state prison closures.
The hearing will begin at 9 a.m.
You can watch the hearing live here.
Senate committees determined on Friday
I’m excited to announce my committee assignments for the 2017-18 session—
In addition to chairing the Senate Majority Policy Committee, I will also serve as a member of the Senate Finance Committee in order to pursue the elimination of the school property tax.
There is no issue greater than school property tax elimination in Berks and Schuylkill counties. We will also vote on public pension reform this session. In addition to the Finance Committee, I will serve as Vice Chairman of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee.
Read more about my committee assignments here.
State assists Schuylkill County to fight blight
On Wednesday, I stood with Representative Neal Goodman and county and local officials to announce a $1.4 million state grant to be used for demolition in Schuylkill County.
We announced the funding in Girardville at a property literally crumbling behind us. This funding is a huge shot in the arm for the county, which applied for the grant with my full support, and will allow crews to demolish properties that pose a safety threat to the community.
This is very much a team effort with local, county, and state government leaders. It has to be if we want to be successful in eliminating blighted properties.
Read more about this announcement here.
Check out photos and video from the announcement on TamaquaArea.com.
Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States
On Friday, Beth and I got to witness history as we attended the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at our nation’s capital.
When I was asked for what my advice is for the new President, I said that he should help the private sector create — and keep — more quality jobs here in the USA. Reduce unnecessary regulations. Reform our welfare system to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse. In other words, really make America great again!
The Senate of Pennsylvania is scheduled to convene on Monday, January 23 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live on my website.