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Senator Argall

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Toll Free: 1-877-327-4255

Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203029
171 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3029
717-787-2637
717-783-8657 FAX

Email: dargall@pasen.gov

District Offices
 

One West Centre Street
P.O. Box 150
Mahanoy City, PA 17948
570-773-0891
570-773-1675 FAX

61 North Third Street
Hamburg, PA 19526-1501
610-562-3411
610-562-6895 FAX
(Shared with Representative
Jerry Knowles)

100 North Centre Street
Pottsville, PA 17901
570-621-3400
570-622-6629 FAX
(Shared with Representative Mike Tobash)

Spring Township
2850 Windmill Road
Spring Township, PA 19608
1-877-327-4255

237 West Broad Street
Tamaqua, PA 18252
570-668-1240
570-952-3374 FAX
(Shared with Representative
Jerry Knowles)

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In this email update:

  • Celebrating the Fourth of July
  • State budget restores funding for key programs
  • Senate Appropriations Committee approves bill on work zone speed cameras
  • Debunking the myths about school property tax elimination
  • Changes to the selection of lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania
  • Exploring Pennsylvania’s amusement parks
  • Complications from antibiotic resistance

Celebrating the Fourth of July

As we celebrate the birth of our country as an independent nation, many of us recognize this national holiday in several different ways.  I celebrated with my mom, my wife Beth and my daughter Elise at a farm that has been in my mom’s family for the past 251 years:

Built by Jacob and Anna Schultz, this farm is located along the Berks and Montgomery county line and has been in use for 10 generations.  

The farm was first purchased on July 2, 1766, followed by the erection of the current barn in 1851 and then finally the building of the current house in 1862.

Being able to visit this farm and visit with members of the Schultz family from across the nation was a good opportunity for my mom to take a stroll down memory lane, as well as for us to learn more about our extensive family history.


State budget restores funding for key programs

On Friday, June 30, the Senate passed its amended version of House Bill 218 which restores funding for some of the state’s vital programs and services. 

The $31.99 billion proposed spending plan is almost $650 million less than what the governor’s budget proposed.  Some highlights of this budget plan includes: 

  • An additional $100 million for basic education.
  • An additional $25 million for special education; an additional $25 million for Pre-K Counts; and $11.7 million for early intervention.
  • $50 million in restored funding that was cut from the school district transportation program.
  • $8.9 million in additional funding for the State System of Higher Education.
  • $7 million to combat the heroin/opioid crisis that is plaguing our communities, including funds for naloxone and additional drug courts.
  • Funding for the Renal Dialysis program restored to nearly $7 million.
  • Earmarking enough funding for three new State Police cadet classes.
  • Restored funding for important agricultural programs, including an additional $500,000 for the Department of Agriculture. 

The spending plan passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 43-7, and the House of Representatives approved the measure by a vote of 173-27.  The bill now awaits the governor’s approval or veto. 

While the passage of this spending plan is a step in the right direction, there is still much work that needs to be done to pay for these priorities.  Our goal should be to reduce the dependence on government programs across the board, shrink the size and scope of state government and most importantly, reduce the burden on taxpayers. 

Many people have told me that if Pennsylvania were a business, the sheriff would be knocking at our door.  The governor has continued to spend as if we don’t have a problem – and we should stop this now.


Senate Appropriations Committee approves bill on work zone speed cameras 

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 172, which I introduced along with Senator Judith Schwank (D-Berks).

Senate Bill 172 would provide a three-year trial period for PennDOT to place speed cameras in active work zones on interstate highways in order to determine if the added $100 fine would make drivers slow down in a work zone. 

The goal of this legislation is to reduce the significant number of accidents and fatalities that have occurred on our highways due to reckless driving and speeding.  Protecting both workers and drivers is critical, and according to data from PennDOT, in 2016 there were 2,075 crashes and 16 fatalities that occurred within work zones. 

The bill is now under consideration in the Senate.  Senator Schwank and I introduced a similar bill last session which passed the Senate unanimously.


Debunking the myths about school property tax elimination 

School property tax elimination remains my #1 priority.  During a recent interview with Pennsylvania Legislative Services, I discussed the components of Senate Bill 76, the Property Tax Independence Act.  You can watch the full discussion here.

As a follow-up to the bipartisan town hall meeting I held on June 22 with Senator Mario Scavello (R-Monroe/Northampton), I want to share comprehensive information prepared by the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition regarding the myths surrounding school property tax elimination and its impact on school districts and taxpayers.  These myths were discussed by the coalition at the meeting and included some of the following illusions:  local tax dollars don’t stay local; Senate Bill 76 doesn’t eliminate school property taxes; Senate Bill 76 shifts taxes from businesses to individuals; school property taxes are stable; school property tax elimination will exacerbate school funding inequities; and increasing income and sales taxes will hurt renters.

Read about these myths along with the real facts here

You can also read more about the event and Senate Bill 76 from the Pocono Record here.


Changes to the selection of lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania 

To say the relationship between our current governor and lieutenant governor is rocky would be an understatement.  Having stated to different media sources that they both go weeks without communicating with one another, this sort of behavior is not only embarrassing, but detrimental to Pennsylvania’s citizens. 

In order to avoid this type of forced marriage from occurring in the future, I introduced Senate Bill 761 which would amend the state’s constitution to allow gubernatorial candidates to select their running mate after the primary election – subject to the approval of their state committees – which is a similar process to how presidential candidates select their vice presidential running mates. 

Senate Bill 761 is currently under review in the Senate State Government Committee.


Exploring Pennsylvania’s amusement parks 

Pennsylvania’s award-winning amusement parks offer food, carousels, funhouses, children’s rides, modern steel and retro wooden coasters, water attractions, and much more, according to VisitPA

Amusement parks with a history abound in PA.  Some have risen from a fish hatchery, another as a picnic and relaxation area for a company’s employees, and two others with ties to popular children’s TV shows.

For safe and fun-filled memories of your trip to the amusement park, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Weights and Measures Division registers, inspects, and educates park visitors, as well as owners and attraction operators.  Questions may be directed to the Bureau of Ride and Measurement Standards, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 4 p.m., at 717-787-2291.


Complications from antibiotic resistance

Annual estimates find more than 2 million of us experience complications from antibiotic resistance and more than 23,000 of these cases lead to death, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Reducing the over-prescribing of antibiotics and increasing good prevention practices are among the objectives to reduce illness and death due to antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics can treat bacterial infections, while doing nothing for viral infections.  A list of common conditions or illnesses indicates those treatable with antibiotics

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