Senator Argall E-Newsletter

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  • Resource Page for COVID-19 Prevention and Treatments
  • Governor Wolf Threatens Local Communities for RGGI?
  • Senate to Consider Banning Private Funding for Elections after “Zuckerbucks” Controversy
  • What New State Senate and House District Do You Live In?
  • Parks and Recreation Grants Awarded to Ten Local Projects

Resource Page for COVID-19 Prevention and Treatments

COVID Prevention Options

There are now multiple COVID-19 prevention and treatment options authorized by the FDA for emergency use in patients at high risk of developing severe COVID-19. While they’re not substitutes for vaccines, they might be right for some people.

The state Department of Health website has information regarding the distribution of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatments, covering:

You can find locations for prevention medicines and treatment at Therapeutics Distribution | HHS Protect Public Data Hub and information also can be found on local distributions of the oral antiviral medications Paxlovid and Molnupiravir. The supply of oral antiviral medications is extremely limited until national production increases. Consult with your healthcare provider on the appropriateness and availability of these treatments.

Governor Wolf Threatens Local Communities for RGGI?

No Energy Tax

A recent article by the Pennsylvania Capital Star explains how Governor Wolf may have withheld millions of dollars’ worth of funding for local projects in order to get Democratic lawmakers to support his plan to have Pennsylvania join RGGI. 

The Governor’s RGGI plan allows him to unilaterally place a tax on energy. According to the article: “opponents argue its (RGGI’s) environmental impacts are slim, and say that the initiative could increase utility prices, while shutting down coal-fired power plants… That last point is the most critical for Wolf and Democrats.  That’s because labor unions — such as the powerful building trades — whose workers build, repair, and operate the plants, also oppose the initiative.”

The State Senate and House are attempting to overturn the Governor’s RGGI plan, but since this requires a 2/3 vote in each chamber, this will require the support of Democratic legislators, who, according to the article, have been threatened with the loss of large grants in their districts by the Governor.

Read the full story here.

Senate to Consider Banning Private Funding for Elections after “Zuckerbucks” Controversy

After a recent controversy, the Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, will be considering a bill in the near future that would ban the private funding of elections.

A nonprofit funded by Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg provided over $22 million in funding to election operations in Pennsylvania, with the vast majority of that funding going to Philadelphia and other southeastern counties.  Emails from the Governor’s office show that counties with higher percentages of Democratic voters were alerted to this funding opportunity before many rural counties.

We need to ensure that future elections are not tainted with questions about undue influence from private donors.  Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) and Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) introduced a bill that would ban private donations to election operations going forward.  Read an op-ed they wrote about their proposal here.

What New State Senate and House District Do You Live In?

LRC Feedback

This decade’s newly proposed state Senate and House maps propose BIG changes to the representation of Berks and Schuylkill County.  These proposed maps could see major changes before they are ultimately approved by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission.  Visit this link to share your thoughts on the proposals with the commission.

Proposed State Senate Map

In the State Senate, the 29th district would continue to encompass all of Schuylkill County, but would no longer include Berks County.  These portions of Berks County would split between three State Senate districts.

  • Senate District 48, currently represented by Senator Chris Gebhard
    • Bethel Township, Tulpehocken Township, Upper Tulpehocken Township, Marion Township, Womelsdorf, Jefferson Township, Upper Bern Township, Bernville, Tilden Township, Penn Township, North Heidelberg Township, Heidelberg Township, Lower Heidelberg Township, South Heidelberg Township, Robesonia, Wernersville
  • Senate District 16, currently represented by Senator Pat Browne
    • Albany Township, Windsor Township, Hamburg, Greenwich Township, Lenhartsville, Perry Township, Shoemakersville, Maidencreek Township, Ontelaunee Township
  • Senate District 11, currently represented by Senator Judy Schwank
    • Spring Township, Sinking Spring

Proposed State House Map

The State House districts in both counties would see major changes as well.  Representative Joe Kerwin would no longer represent Schuylkill County under the proposal. 

  • Both Berks and Schuylkill County
    • House District 124, currently represented by Rep. Jerry Knowles
      • Schuylkill County: Rush Township, Delano Township, Ryan Township, Schuylkill Township, Tamaqua, Coaldale, Walker Township, West Penn Township, East Brunswick Township, New Ringgold, West Brunswick Township, Port Clinton, Deer Lake, Orwigsburg, Schuylkill Haven, Auburn, South Manheim Township
      • Berks County: Upper Tulpehocken Township, Upper Bern Township, Tilden Township, Hamburg, Windsor Township, Albany Township, Greeenwich Township, Lenhartsville
    • Schuylkill County
      • House District 123, currently represented by Rep. Tim Twardzik
        • West Mahanoy Township, Gilberton, Frackville, Butler Township, Girardville, Ashland, Gordon, Cass Township, New Castle Township, St. Clair, Blythe Township, Middleport, New Philadelphia, Branch Township, Minersville, Norwegian Township, Port Carbon, Palo Alto, Mechanicsville, Pottsville City, Mount Carbon, Wayne Township, North Manheim Township, Cressona
      • House District 107, currently represented by Rep. Kurt Masser
        • Upper Mahantongo Township, Hubley Township, Eldred Township, Hegins Township, Barry Township, Porter Township, Tower City, Frailey Township, Tremont, Tremont Township, Foster Township, Reilly Township, Washington Township, Pine Grove Township, Pine Grove
      • House District 116, currently open
        • North Union Township, East Union Township, Kline Township, Mcadoo,

Mahanoy Township, Mahanoy City, Shenandoah, Union Township, Ringtown, plus portions of Luzerne County

  • Berks County
    • House District 5, currently represented by Rep. Barry Jozwiak
      • Bethel Township, Tulpehocken Township, Marion Township, Womelsdorf, Jefferson Township, Bernville, Penn Township, North Heidelberg Township, Heidelberg Township, Robesonia, South Heidelberg Township, Wernersville, Lower Heidelberg Township, Shoemakersville, Perry Township, Ontelaunee Township, portion of Spring Township
    • House District 130: currently represented by Rep. David Maloney
      • Maidencreek Township
    • House District 129, currently represented by Rep. Jim Cox
      • Sinking Spring, portion of Spring Township
    • House District 99, currently represented by Rep. David Zimmerman
      • Portion of Spring Township

Parks and Recreation Grants Awarded to Ten Local Projects

Kaier's Park Before

The blighted building that formerly housed Kaier Brewery in Mahanoy City before it demolished in 2017. 

Kaier's Park Now

Kaier’s Park now

Ten projects to improve local parks were awarded state grants last week. Improved parks and trails are a key ingredient in revitalized communities, large and small.  If we want to breathe new life into many of our older communities, this is one proven strategy.  The pictures above of Kaier’s Park in Mahanoy City are just one of many examples of successful revitalization efforts.

These highly competitive grants were awarded through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (DCNR) Conservation Community Partnerships Program.  The following projects were awarded grants:

  • Further development of Donaldson Park in Frailey Township: $50,000
  • Further development of Kaier’s Park in Mahanoy City: $70,000
  • Development of Ridge Road Park in Orwigsburg: $114,000
  • Development of Discovery Park in Pottsville: $120,000
  • Further development of Memorial Park in Reilly Township: $46,700
  • Rehabilitation of Ryan Memorial Park in Rush Township: $76,800
  • Development of 4 miles of the Schuylkill River Trail in Blythe Township, New Castle Township, and Saint Clair Borough: $104,500
  • Rehabilitation of Wildcat Park in Walker Township: $56,000
  • Rehabilitation and further development of Wayne Township Community Park: $129,000
  • Rehabilitation and further development of Atlas Park in West Penn Township: $242,000
  • Development of Tulpehocken Township Recreation Area: $16,700
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