Senator Argall E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Should Armed Security Be Required to Protect Children at School?
  • Free Hard to Read License Plate Check in Freeland
  • Western Schuylkill County Composting Company Fined $500 Per Day for Noxious Odors
  • Senate Votes to Give Parents Control Over Sexually Explicit Content in Schools
  • Busy Week in Greater Hazleton
  • How Can We Fight Illiteracy?
  • Preventing PA Taxpayer Dollars from Supporting Russian War Crimes
  • Welcoming Hegins-Hubley Elementary School to the Capitol
  • Recognizing Pennsylvania’s First Responders

Should Armed Security Be Required to Protect Children at School?

The Senate Education Committee voted this week to advance Senator Mike Regan’s bill to require an armed security officer in all public schools.

Since Sandy Hook, there have been more than 200 shootings resulting in fatalities at K-12 schools across the country. A poll published by Franklin & Marshall this week found that 69% of registered voters in Pennsylvania support taking this action to better protect children.

When I traveled across the state holding roundtable discussions on school safety, I heard countless times from students, parents, educators, and administrators that we need to do more to keep our children safe. We can’t bury our heads in the sand – we need to take action to prevent more tragedies.

Free Hard to Read License Plate Check in Freeland

Is your license plate worn out? You can get it replaced for free at an event I’m hosting with Rep. Mike Cabell on November 9th. A local police officer will be on hand to inspect your plate to determine if it’s illegible.

For more information or to RSVP, call 877-327-4255.

Western Schuylkill County Composting Company Fined $500 Per Day for Noxious Odors

Photo by Lindsey Shuey/ Staff Photographer for the Republican Herald

Rep. JoAnne Stehr and I continue to hear from many in western Schuylkill County about the obnoxious odors affecting TOO MANY people’s homes. The Republican Herald reported that the composting facility that has caused this issue is being fined $500 a day after missing the deadline to install the odor control system required by the PA Department of Environmental Protection.

If you continue to suffer from these noxious smells, please register the nature and the time of your complaint at the DEP hotline: 570-826-2511.

In addition, please do not hesitate to contact any of my local offices if you have additional information which will help us to resolve this issue, which has already impacted too many people for FAR TOO LONG.

Senate Votes to Give Parents Control Over Sexually Explicit Content in Schools

This week, the Senate passed Senator Ryan Aument’s Senate Bill 7 to give parents control over whether their children are exposed to sexually explicit content in schools. During a public hearing I chaired on this topic last week, I was shocked to see some of the images and stories that are available in our public school libraries.

Whether you like it or not, these books ARE in our schools, they ARE extremely graphic, and they ARE causing many parents great concern.

Parents deserve to decide when their children are exposed to this material.

Busy Week in Greater Hazleton

I had quite a busy week in the Hazleton area!

On Saturday, Rep. Dane Watro and I were invited to attend the Festival and Awards Herencia Latina at the Hazleton Integration Project. Nicole Castillo, who works as an intern in my Hazleton office, was honored as the outstanding woman of the year – congrats to her and everyone else who received awards!

On Sunday, Rep. Watro and I visited the Greater Hazleton Polonaise Society to celebrate the 95th birthday of Tom Kopetskie in Banks Township. Tom founded the society because of his deep pride for his Polish heritage – he visited Poland on many occasions. Tom also founded the Reverend L. Garbacik Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to area high school seniors. Happy birthday Tom!

Rep. Watro and I also stopped by the Hazle Township Fall Festival and Trail of Treats on Sunday, where we met Tux – the mascot for the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Miss Greater Hazleton Scholarship Organization sponsored a great event for the community.

On Thursday, I was invited to tour the Greater Hazleton Historical Society and Museum with Mayor Jeff Cusat and Rep. Watro. They have a VERY large collection of exhibits showcasing the history of the area, including items from local coal miners, veterans, Native Americans, and more.

The museum is open by appointment – call 570-455-8576 for more information.

Also on Thursday, I hosted a breakfast with faith leaders from Hazleton, White Haven, and East Side Borough. We had a very productive discussion about the mental health crisis, substance abuse, and the needs of our region.

Thank you to all who joined us this morning, including Rep. Watro, Rep. Cabell, and Mayor Cusat.

Rep. Watro and I then visited the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Business and Community Awards to offer our congratulations to everyone who received an award. See the full list of everyone who was honored here.

My last stop on Thursday: I was invited for a tour of the Hazleton Area Cyber Academy. Located in the Laurel Mall in Hazle Township, the cyber academy provides local students with the chance to earn a diploma from the Hazleton School District while taking classes online.

How Can We Fight Illiteracy?

I chaired a public hearing of the Senate Education Committee on new efforts to fight illiteracy in our public schools.

We heard testimony from experts in the science of reading about a new program that has helped Mississippi make huge improvements to their reading test scores. According to an article from the New York Times, “among just children in poverty, Mississippi fourth graders now are tied for best performer in the nation in National Assessment for Educational Progress reading tests.”

Dr. Wendy Farone, who spent 30 years in literary education, said it best: we need to stop spending money on education programs that don’t produce good outcomes for our students. We need to focus on the basics, so all students learn to read as soon as possible.

Preventing PA Taxpayer Dollars from Supporting Russian War Crimes

My bill to prevent Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars from supporting companies with ties to the governments of Russia and Belarus was approved with unanimous, bipartisan support in the Senate this week.

My constituents of Ukrainian descent have been loud and clear – they do not want our state government supporting the war crimes committed by the Russian government during their invasion of Ukraine.

Welcoming Hegins-Hubley Elementary School to the Capitol

Rep. JoAnne Stehr and I welcomed students from Hegins-Hubley Elementary School to Harrisburg this week!  The students had a busy day – they had the chance to tour the Governor’s Mansion as well as our state Capitol building.

Recognizing Pennsylvania’s First Responders

Saturday, Oct. 28, is National First Responders Day. Police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians care for us during some of life’s worst moments. They are true heroes, and I am proud to honor their brave and selfless efforts.

My Senate colleagues and I have passed legislation to address the serious shortage of volunteer firefighters in the commonwealth. The number dropped from about 300,000 in the 1980s to less than 38,000 today, so they need our support. Without enough volunteers, communities across Pennsylvania face longer wait times when minutes make the difference between life and death.

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