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Senator Judy SchwankHello friend. February is American Heart Month, and it’s important that we all take steps to protect this vital organ. After all, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. Thankfully, it can also be prevented. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, monitor your blood pressure, have your cholesterol checked, don’t smoke, and limit alcohol use. We can all make simple changes in our lifestyles to ensure that we live long, healthy lives.  

For all the latest news and events in the 11th Senatorial District and in Harrisburg, visit my website, my Facebook page and Twitter page.


Budget Doesn’t Adequately Address Jobs, Education

TV interview

Sen. Schwank speaks with a TV reporter after the governor's annual state budget address.

The governor’s 2013-14 state budget plan, which he announced last week, does not provide a solid long-term plan for lifting up our economy. As our smaller cities and urban areas across the state continue to struggle, we should be focused on putting Pennsylvanians back to work.

I’m very concerned about the governor’s plan to privatize alcohol sales and put that money into a block grant program for our public schools. We can’t guarantee a dollar amount at this time to our schools, many of which are desperately in need of more funding, and we shouldn’t dangle a one-time payout in front of them.

Our schools need secure, sustained funds in order to maintain and improve conditions for our students. Block grants provide that extra resource, but it’s unfair to provide temporary relief by selling off our liquor stores and licenses.

We should focus on a better long-term vision for our education system. We need to provide students with the right tools and support to achieve and succeed while ensuring that school districts aren’t forced to make up for losses by placing the burden on property taxpayers.

This is just the start of many conversations and debates over the state budget, and our work begins now. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I look forward to participating in budget hearings over the next few weeks to determine the best course for our state’s numerous agencies.

Survey Results Support Municipal Police Coverage

In my last newsletter I included a survey on the use of state police services and regional police forces. As promised I’m sharing the results of the survey below.

While the survey is certainly not representative of our entire community it does indicate that many of you have been weighing the cost of public safety and its worth to your personal sense of security. Many of you not only answered the survey but also offered very thoughtful observations on how you think public safety services should be delivered. I am now processing your responses and reviewing previous legislative initiatives supporting regional policing. I hope to use this information in proposing new legislative and administrative initiatives that will support communities who currently have or are considering regional police forces.

Q: Does your community rely upon the State Police or a municipal police force for public safety coverage?
Municipal Police Force – 74%
State Police – 26%

Q. Would you prefer to reside in a community with state police or municipal police coverage?
Municipal Police Force - 84%
State Police – 11%

Q. How important is police coverage to your quality of life?
Very Important – 49%
Important – 30%
Not Important – 21%

Q. Do you support legislation requiring communities who rely on State Police coverage to pay a fee based upon population?
Yes – 74%
No – 26%

Q. If your community currently relies upon State Police coverage would you be willing to pay higher taxes so your community could join a regional police force?
Yes – 50%
No – 50%

Thanks for your input!

Film, Discussion Focuses on Women in the Media

Miss RepresentationJoin me for the screening and discussion on the film “Miss Representation” on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Miller Center for the Arts on the Reading Area Community College Campus (Watch the trailer).

This thought-provoking documentary, hosted by the Junior League of Reading, highlights the way women and girls are depicted in the media and how this influences their future roles in business and government. The film and discussion will be enlightening for parents and older teens alike.

Tickets are $10 and are available online.

Lottery Privatization Plan a Bad Deal for Pennsylvanians

PA lottery soldThe Corbett Administration is currently working to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery and recently made the decision to award a contract to the British firm Camelot Global Services.

The quick decision to award a contract troubles me. I'm disappointed in this rush to privatize our successful lottery and outsource jobs without the legislature at least reviewing the matter. Despite the fact that the administration is pushing this privatization deal without any legislative oversight, the Senate Finance Committee still held a public hearing on this issue.

The majority of Pennsylvania Lottery funds goes to critical state programs that benefit seniors, like the property tax and rent rebate program, prescription drug benefits and free public transportation. I know how important these benefits are to my constituents. Privatizing the lottery would take lottery dollars away from these programs and go to Camelot instead.

This is a bad deal all around for Pa senior citizens and taxpayers.

Local Clubs Get Extra Year to File Small Games Report

small games of chanceI’m pleased to report some good news for local clubs and charitable non-profit organizations that run small games of chance to raise funds. The Corbett Administration has moved the financial report filing deadline on small games of chance to Feb. 1, 2014. The initial deadline was Feb. 1, 2013.

While the passage of Act 2 of 2012 authorized the payout of higher prize limits by eligible organizations that run small games of chance, the financial reporting requirements imposed by the new law and the initial report filing deadline set by the Department of Revenue created a great deal of consternation and confusion among organization volunteers. That is why I joined with several of my colleagues from the Senate Democratic Caucus in December to ask that the administration delay the filing deadline for small games of chance financial reports.

I am pleased that the administration agreed to our request. This will give our many local volunteer organizations, including volunteer fire companies, which rely on small games of chance to raise funds, some breathing room and the General Assembly time to consider any potential legislative fixes to Act 2 that may be necessary.





Video on child protection bills PennDOT website Reading School District website Video of Senator Schwank's budget response Senator Schwank's floor remarks Voter ID web page PA Farm Show website