Senator Argall E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Strong Partnerships Breathing New Life into Hazleton Area
  • Fighting the Spread of Blight in our Communities
  • Higher Education Reform Plan Guides Students to High-Demand Careers
  • Biden Natural Gas Pause Hurts PA Jobs
  • Welcoming Job Shadow Cierra Abrachinsky to the State Capitol
  • Congrats to New Eagle Scouts Jacob Wolfgang Tice and Thomas John Cullen
  • Tuesday, April 16: PennDOT Job Fair
  • New Sidewalks Coming to the Town Square in Orwigsburg
  • Senate Approves Bill Prioritizing Community Safety
  • Beware of E-ZPass Scam

Strong Partnerships Breathing New Life into Hazleton Area

Rep. Watro and I met with representatives from American Eagle Outfitters Distribution Center in Hazleton.

Local efforts to breathe new life into the Hazleton area were the focus of my remarks to members of the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

To me, the downtown is the heart of the community. I’ve been working on downtown revitalization efforts in Tamaqua and Pottsville for years – we’ve seen some very successful turnarounds. Now, I’m enjoying working on similar efforts in this new senate district in communities in Carbon and Luzerne Counties as different as Hazleton, White Haven, Jim Thorpe, and Lehighton.

Whether it’s a large downtown in Hazleton, or a small downtown in White Haven, these revitalization efforts can really breathe new life into a community.

I highlighted a few efforts currently underway that I worked with Rep. Dane Watro and Rep. Mike Cabell to secure state grants for, including:

  1. Making major streetscape improvements to Alter Street, including new storm water grates, trees, and decorative lighting;
  2. Transforming the Hazleton YMCA building into an early education and childcare center;
  3. Renovating the Hazleton One Community Center; and
  4. Expanding the available space for entrepreneurs at the Hazleton LaunchBox.

Fighting the Spread of Blight in our Communities

Blight affects us all – it lowers our property values, it strains the real estate market, it hurts our schools, it breeds crime, and poses a serious threat to our safety and well-being.

I voted in favor of a bill from Rep Tim Twardzik this week to fight the spread of blighted, decaying, rat-infested buildings in our communities. His bill, House Bill 775, would create a blighted and vacant property registration program and give local governments more authority to hold the owners of these eyesores accountable.

HB 775 was approved with bipartisan support in the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee and now advances to the full Senate.

Higher Education Reform Plan Guides Students to High-Demand Careers

Quality higher education has the potential to improve the lives of our students and their families and breathe new life into our communities, but it’s clear that Pennsylvania is falling behind the competition.

This week, I joined Senate and House leaders to announce a new path for higher education in Pennsylvania. You can watch my full remarks above. This much-needed legislation will guide students to high-demand careers and strengthen all our colleges and universities, including technical education colleges and dual enrollment programs for high school students.

Learn more about it here.

Biden Natural Gas Pause Hurts PA Jobs

President Biden’s decision to pause all approvals for new terminals to export liquid natural gas has faced strong, bipartisan pushback since he announced it. Critics have noted that this pause could kill thousands of family-sustaining jobs in Pennsylvania.

Rep. Josh Kail of Beaver County noted that, “We can talk about fighting back against tyrants across the globe, but we could actually do it here in Pennsylvania by exporting our liquefied natural gas across Europe so that they’re not dependent on tyrants in Russia.”

Read more here.

Welcoming Job Shadow Cierra Abrachinsky to the State Capitol

Cierra Abrachinsky of Mahanoy City traveled to the State Capitol this week to see what a day in the life of a state senator is like. Rep. Dane Watro was also on-hand to welcome her to Harrisburg.

Cierra is a graduate student at Kutztown University, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration. She currently works as a graduate assistant at the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center.

Watch me introduce Cierra to the Senate here.

Congrats to New Eagle Scouts Jacob Wolfgang Tice and Thomas John Cullen

Please join me in congratulating Jacob Wolfgang Tice and Thomas John Cullen, who both earned the rank of Eagle Scout last weekend!

Jacob is a member of Troop 745, Ashland. For his service project, he planned and installed a prayer garden at Christ’s United Lutheran Church in Ashland. Schuylkill County Commissioners Boots Hetherington and Gary Hess and I were all on hand to congratulate him, his parents, and his scout leaders who guided him along the way.

Thomas is a member of Troop 99, Effort. For his service project, he cleaned out, organized, and built shelving units for the attic of the Effort United Methodist Church. Rep. Doyle Heffley and Carbon County Commissioner Michael Sofranko congratulated him last Sunday.

Tuesday, April 16: PennDOT Job Fair

PennDOT will be hosting a job fair on Tuesday, April 16 from 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Schuylkill County PennDOT Maintenance Building (970 E Main St., Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972).

Don’t miss this great opportunity!

New Sidewalks Coming to the Town Square in Orwigsburg

Orwigsburg Borough was awarded a state grant for $500,000 to refurbish sidewalks on two blocks of Market Street from Liberty to Wayne Street, around the town square. As you can see from the picture above, this will be a significant improvement for residents, visitors, and local employers.

I was able to work with Rep. Jamie Barton and Orwigsburg officials to guide this highly competitive funding to the borough. Between this funding and the many new beautiful apartments located at the former St. Francis orphanage, exciting things are happening in Orwigsburg!

Senate Approves Bill Prioritizing Community Safety

The Senate passed legislation this week to strengthen the bail determination process for dangerous individuals: repeat violent offenders, drug dealers trafficking fentanyl and those who assault law enforcement officers or evade arrest on foot.

Senate Bill 1120 would only allow cash bail to be used and ban release on own recognizance or unsecured bail from being issued to those who pose a threat to public safety while they await trial. The bill is part of the Senate effort to improve community safety across Pennsylvania as an average of 14 Pennsylvanians die every day from a drug overdose. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and approximately 50 times more potent than heroin. Two milligrams of fentanyl – the amount that fits on the tip of a pencil – is enough to kill an average person.

Beware of E-ZPass Scam

A new phishing scam is targeting E-ZPass account holders requesting information to settle outstanding toll amounts. The texts claim to be from “Pa Turnpike Toll Services” and center around urgent requests with your account that would result in a late fee if the balance does not get settled. Similar scams have been reported by toll agencies across the country in the past several days.

Customers who receive an unsolicited text, email or similar message suggesting it is from E-ZPass or another toll agency should not click the link. E-ZPass account holders can use approved safe methods to check their accounts such as the PA Turnpike E-ZPass website or the PA Toll Pay app available from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

Those who receive a fraudulent text can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at The site is dedicated to sharing information on internet crimes across law enforcement agencies.


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