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22 News & Views from State Senator John Blake

Telephone Town Hall

Later today -- Thursday, July 30 -- at 6:15 p.m. I will host a Telephone Town Hall Meeting which will give constituents an opportunity to pose questions in a live forum on any topics of state or local interest.

Anyone interested in participating in today’s Telephone Town Hall must sign up at Constituents can submit questions through the website until 2 p.m. today or participate live on a phone, computer or tablet at 6:15 p.m. at

I am very much looking forward to discussing the issues that matter most to the people of the 22nd Senatorial District. A Telephone Town Hall is another way to connect constituents to state government and to ensure my responsiveness to your needs and concerns.

For more information on my upcoming Telephone Town Hall, please call my Scranton District Office at 570-207-2881.

Legislature Must Continue to Work on Responsible Budget Compromise

Sen. Blake budget reaction
Senator Blake remarks on the passage of the GOP crafted 2015-16 state budget that was vetoed by Governor Tom Wolf.

The budget that was forced to Governor Wolf’s desk by members of the Senate and House Republican majorities at the end of June was dishonest budgeting at its worst and based upon unrealistic revenue projections. Governor Wolf and legislative Democrats have been persistent in seeking a seat at the table – trying to work with our colleagues across the aisle to find a fair and proper middle ground that is fiscally responsible while addressing our significant structural deficit.

We can no longer budget with smoke and mirrors or fiscal shell games.  We must work toward a compromise.  Budget negotiations should also consider proposals in both chambers that offer school property tax relief to citizens across our state. The majority of Pennsylvanians want to see our public schools properly funded; they want fair and responsible tax policy; and they deserve appropriate state investments to meet the needs and expectations of working class families while offering the promise of jobs and economic growth.

Pennsylvanians get better government when they get balanced government – when the voices of the majority and the minority join to ensure the best future for our communities, our schools and our citizens.  It is my sincere hope that, we can get back to work on an authentic spending plan that reflects the priorities of all Pennsylvanians.

$9 Million PENNVEST Loan Approved for Scranton Sewer Project

PENNVESTThe Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority Board (PENNVEST) recently approved a nearly $9.1 million low-interest loan requested by the Scranton Sewer Authority.

The $9.095 million low-interest loan will fund the construction of a 1.2 million gallon detention basin below the Linden Street Bridge on the eastern side of the Lackawanna River. The project is expected to significantly reduce the combined sewer overflows into the Lackawanna River and bring the combined sewer system into compliance with a 2012 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consent decree.

I want to commend the Scranton Sewer Authority for their great work in leveraging these state resources for the removal of combined sewer overflow problems. This not only creates jobs in the short term but it protects the Lackawanna River Watershed and the Susquehanna River Watershed going forward. I also commend the Scranton Sewer Authority and the City of Scranton for taking care of this environmental threat.”

Combined sewer overflow into the Lackawanna River currently exceeds 650 million gallons per year resulting in public health threats. This project is expected to eliminate all annual combined overflows except from the very largest storms.

Construction on the detention basin is expected to begin in August and finish by December 2016.

Around the District

CIL Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversy Celebration

Rep. Mike Carroll and I very much enjoyed celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with Tim Moran and his team at the Northeast PA Center For Independent Living.

Gathering Place

Glad to join local officials and the board of The Gathering Place to unveil their plans to utilize recently awarded LSA funding and private investment to renovate the first floor of the former Clarks Summit Borough Building.

Rock 107
Thanks again to the Prospector and Rock 107 for having me on the morning show to discuss the ‪state budget and to reminisce about some of the best concerts I've ever attended
Tobyhanna Army Depot

Congrats to Tobyhanna Army Depot & members of the Rolling Airframe Missile Launcher Organic Depot Refurbishment Team who were honored at Naval Sea Systems Command Excellence Awards in Washington D.C.


Nay Aug Avenue Natural Play Area Now Officially Open in Green RidgeNay Aug Natural Play Area Ribbon Cutting

It was a pleasure to join Mayor Bill Courtright, state Rep. Marty Flynn, Lackawanna County Commissioner Jim Wansacz, Natalie Gelb and Julia Munley from the Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area (LHV), as well as executives from Pennsylvania American Water and DCNR to officially open Nay Aug Avenue Natural Play Area in ‪‎Scranton earlier this week. This park is one of the first of its kind in the entire state and future programming at the site will be valuable in educating our children about nature and the environment.

The park, designed by McLane Associates, includes a miniature bicycle track for children that simulates a real road; the Lily Pad Stage that will be utilized for plays, live music and story times; and many other great outdoor activities for our children.Nay Aug Natural Play Area

The new park was made possible with a combination of public and private funding – including a 2014 Building Better Communities grant awarded through the American Water Charitable Foundation and state support through the DCNR.

The Natural Play Area in the Green Ridge section of Scranton will give our families a great venue to encourage outdoor play for their children and it is another important asset along the beautiful Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. Thanks to all those who made it happen and for being part of this continuing "Trail of Investment" in Lackawanna County.

DOH Lyme Disease Press ConferenceDepartment of Health, DCNR Working to Fight Lyme Disease in Pennsylvania

I was glad to welcome Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Karen Murphy back home to Lackawanna County and to join DOH Bureau Director Tomas Aguilar; Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources State Parks Regional Manager Kevin Fazzini; and many other local and state officials at Lackawanna State Park to discuss state efforts to combat Lyme disease in Pennsylvania.

The Department of Health and DCNR are undertaking efforts to educate citizens and state workers on the dangers -- and the appropriate treatments -- of tick-borne diseases. The recently-released 2014 Lyme statistics show increases in reported Lyme Sen. Blake at news conferencecases in most counties in the state; and for the past five years, Pennsylvania has lead the nation in reported Lyme disease cases.

When detected early, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Left untreated, the disease can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system. Early diagnosis is important in preventing late-stage complications. Secretary Murphy noted that the first line of defense against Lyme is to take precautions in the outdoors by using insect repellent with DEET, wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants, checking for - and promptly and properly removing – any ticks, and showering shortly after exposure.

If you are planning a trip to any of our beautiful state parks or forests, please take time to visit and learn how to prevent Lyme disease.

Pennsylvania CareerLink® Offers Important Resources to Unemployed

Pennsylvania CareerLink Lackawanna CountyPA CareerLink® has received a National Emergency Grant that targets the long term unemployed and offers a variety of services such as: career assessment, one on one job development, mentoring, basic computer classes, funding for short term classroom training, and on the job training where an employer hires and trains you directly, while you are working. This program can offer you the help you need whether to match you to a job or provide training to help you earn a self -sustaining wage.

If you are interested in taking advantage of any of these opportunities or to get more information stop by the  PA CareerLink®  Lackawanna County offices at 135 Franklin Avenue in Scranton; or contact Bill at 570-344-0564 or Chris at 570-344-6875.

Facebook Stay Connected

For updates on this and other legislative initiatives, stay in touch with me on the Internet through my website or on Facebook

Offices to Serve You


District Office
Oppenheim Building
409 Lackawanna Ave., Ste. 210
Scranton, PA 18503
Phone: (570) 207-2881
Fax: (570) 207-2897
Toll free: 1-877-346-5721
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Harrisburg Office
Room 17 East Wing
The State Capitol
Senate Box 203022
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3022
Phone: (717) 787-6481
Fax: (717) 783-5198
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.