Jun. 27, 2018

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

        SPECIAL EDITION: Making Our Schools Safer

Grant Program to Help Schools Fund Safety Improvements

As part of the 2018-19 state budget package, a $60 million block grant program will allow schools to apply for grants to be used for a variety of safety and security enhancements.

The program is designed so that schools have maximum flexibility to use the funding to meet their own specific needs.

Those needs could include hiring school police officers, school resource officers, counselors and/or mental health counselors; alternative education and diversion programs; violence prevention initiatives; school safety and emergency preparedness plans; or physical upgrades to school buildings and equipment to improve safety.

Hotline Created to Encourage Threat Reporting
To help prevent violent incidents, an individual will soon be able to submit an anonymous report via a phone, computer or smartphone app through the new Safe2Say program.

Under Act 44 of 2018, the new tip line would allow students, teachers and community residents to anonymously report any unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools.

The tip line, administered by the Office of Attorney General, will be staffed by trained professionals who can appropriately respond to the situation and provide the reporter peace of mind that their concern will be addressed.

It is modeled after the Safe2Tell program in Colorado, which has received more than 30,000 reports since its inception in 2004, including reports of a planned school attack, suicidal threats and child abuse.

New Law to Enhance School Safety
As a way to give school officials more guidance in creating safer schools, Act 44 of 2018 also calls for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to offer a uniform approach to evaluating current security measures in every school building in Pennsylvania.

It will also require schools to provide employees with mandatory training on school safety and security, and mandate school security drills to be held in each school annually.

A final component of the new law will allow public school entities, such as school boards, to go into private, executive session for school safety discussions. This will allow school officials to freely debate and develop security plans that address the needs of their schools without disclosing their plans to would-be attackers.


I was pleased to join with Sen. Lisa Baker and Jessica Myers from the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office to present a Governor’s Civic Engagement Award to standout students at Blue Ridge High School. I was most impressed with this group of future leaders!

$16 Million in Natural Gas Impact Fees Benefit the 111th District
More than $16,058,972 in impact fees from the natural gas industry will be disbursed to the district’s counties. Susquehanna County will receive the vast majority of funds and Wayne County, because of the prohibition on natural gas drilling, will receive a much smaller amount.

Under Act 13 of 2012, impact fees are generated by the extraction of natural gas with a portion of those fees being directed back to the communities that host natural gas development.

Impact fee revenues for 2017 resulted in Susquehanna County and its eligible municipalities receiving over $16 million while Wayne County received $45,162.

Fees are collected from the natural gas development companies with 60 percent returned to benefit counties and local municipalities that host the activity. The remaining 40 percent of fees collected goes into a Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund administered by the state to be used for emergency response planning, training and other activities; water, storm water, and sewer system construction and repair; infrastructure maintenance and repair; as well as statewide environmental initiatives.

For more information, click here.

Pocono Raceway Always Delivers

There is nothing like the thrill of Pocono Raceway on race day! Pocono always delivers on family fun, high-speed action and patriotism. Adding to that, NASCAR fans are one of a kind!

I am pictured here with Tricky the Fox.

Don’t Forget: Veterans Assistance Offered in Montrose, Honesdale
In order to help area veterans and their family members navigate the VA system and answer any questions they may have about benefits and services available to them, my district offices in Montrose and Honesdale are offering appointments with a veterans outreach specialist.

Some of the services available to veterans and their dependents include assistance with compensation, pension, death benefits, education and health care, as well as any issues pertaining to veterans benefits.

The Montrose office, located at 16501 Route 706, Suite 2, offers veterans assistance hours on the first Tuesday of each month. To schedule an appointment, call the office at (570) 278-3374.

The Honesdale office, located at 32 Commercial St., Suite 300, offers veterans assistance hours on the fourth Friday of each month. To schedule an appointment at that office, call (570) 253-5533.

               Celebrating Pride and Patriotism Day

Waymart's Pride and Patriotism Day always has a strong turnout. Gold medalist Mike Minor was recognized and New Era Energy presented a check to the community. This parade is a summer highlight and the region’s pride was certainly on display!

Independence Day Reminders
More than 240 years ago next week in Philadelphia, the 13 American colonies signed the Declaration of Independence to break free from British rule. To read more about the origins of American independence and our forefathers, click here.

If you are traveling, check out 511pa.com, which is free and available 24 hours a day. The site, along with its Twitter handle @511pa, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 770 traffic cameras.

PennDOT will also close its driver license service centers on Wednesday, July 4. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, dmv.pa.gov.

Have a safe and happy July Fourth!
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Office Locations
16501 State Route 706, Suite 2, Montrose, PA 18801 | Phone: 570-278-3374 
32 Commercial Street, Suite 300, Honesdale, PA 18431 | 570-253-5533
414 Irvis Office, PO Box 202111, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2111
Email Address: JFritz@pahousegop.com