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Northeastern Pennsylvania legislative roundup for March 29th

Pennsylvania State Representative Gerald Mullery
Pennsylvania State Representative Gerald Mullery

Here's a look at news from our local Northeastern Pennsylvania legislators. State Representative Gerald Mullery (D-119) announces a new DEP grant. Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-17th) is named Legislative Leader. State Representative Karen Boback (R-117th) announces Fish and Game News. Congressman Lou Barletta (R-11th) criticizes the Affordable Care Act, again.

Gerald Mullery

State Representative. Gerald Mullery announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has awarded Luzerne County a $21,762 grant to help cover the cost of two household hazardous waste collections that were held last year.

"It is critically important that we properly dispose of products and chemicals that could potentially create public health and environmental hazards," said Mullery, D-Newport Township. "I am proud that the state is recognizing Luzerne County’s efforts, and is committed to providing financial assistance to hold such events throughout the region."The grant reimburses half the cost of the collection events, which were held in Butler and Hanover townships in October.

The events are designed to collect waste such as cleaners, paints, pesticides, automotive fluids and other products containing hazardous components.

DEP awarded the grant under the Pennsylvania Small Business and Household Pollution Prevention Grant Program, which was established in 1996.

Mullery represents part of Luzerne County consisting of the City of Nanticoke and the Townships of Bear Creek (part, District 01), Fairview, Hanover (part, Wards 01, 02 [part, Division 02], 03, 04, 05, 06 and 07), Newport, Plymouth, Rice, Slocum and Wright (part, District 01) and the Boroughs of Edwardsville, Larksville, Laurel Run, Plymouth, Sugar Notch and Warrior Run.

Mullery is seeking a third term in the State Legislature and is running unopposed in the democratic primary. No Republican candidate has filed for the May primary, so Mullery should have no opposition in November, barring a write in candidate on the Republican side.

Matt Cartwright

Congressman Matt Cartwright was named a “moderate Democratic leader” in the U.S. Congress by GovTrack, an independent government watchdog group.

Representatives are rated according to their ability to persuade other Members of Congress to cosponsor their legislation. Approximately the top 20 percent of legislators are designated “Leaders,” about 60 percent are termed “Rank-and-file” members, and the final 20 percent are designated as “Followers.”

Nearly all of the Democratic House “Leaders” have been in office for more than 14 years. GovTrack designated Cartwright a “Leader” after him only serving 1¼ years.

“I am proud to represent the 17th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. Northeastern Pennsylvania is entitled to the best representation in Congress, and I am working at it,” said Cartwright.

In its 2013 Report Card, GovTrack ranked Cartwright as number one amongst his 76 first-term colleagues in several categories, including: Leadership, Number of Bills Introduced, and Percentage of Bills with Bipartisan Cosponsors. According to the group, 64 percent of Cartwright’s bills during his first year were bipartisan.

Cartwright was first elected to Congress in 2012 when he defeated long time incumbent Congressman Tim Holden (D-Schuylkill County.) The 17th Congressional district extends from Carbondale to Stroudsburg to Easton and Pottsville. It also includes the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.

Cartwright faces no primary opposition in the safe Democratic seat. There are three Republicans hoping to challenge Cartwright in November. They are Matthew Dietz, Matthew Connolly, and David Moylan.

Karen Boback

State Representative Karen Boback announced the following Fish and Games News.

Several issues surrounding the management of the state’s wildlife took center stage in Harrisburg last week as the House held a public hearing about deer management policies and approved legislation to modify the terms of commissioners with both the PA Game Commission and PA Fish and Boat Commission. Additionally, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) presented its feasibility study on the merger of the state’s two wildlife agencies.

The LBFC found that a merger of the commissions is feasible and would save the Commonwealth about $5 million annually, primarily through elimination of redundant upper level positions and duplication of services. The House Game and Fisheries Committee heard testimony about deer management and several bills related to deer management and hunting policies. Among the concerns raised were the soundness of science used to manage the state’s deer population and harvest reporting.

Two new laws are changing the terms of service for members of the Boards of Commissioners for both the Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission. Act 24 of 2014 and Act 26 both reduce the length of term for commissioners from eight years to four. The intent of the new laws is to ensure greater accountability.

Boback represents the 117th legislative district. The 117th consists of parts of Columbia, Luzerne, and Wyoming counties and is considered a safe Republican district. Boback was first elected in 2006 when long time State Rep. George Hasay retired after 30 plus years in the House.

Boback faces opposition in the primary from Davis Haire, and if she is successful in the May primary will face Democrat Laura Dickson in November.

Lou Barletta

Congressman Lou Barletta continued his criticism of the Affordable Care Act in a fund raising email. Barletta wrote: "President Obama is delaying Obamacare’s personal mandate one more time. He’s claiming that people just need a little more time to figure out the website. He says it’s not about inflating the number of enrollees to make the law look like less of a failure."

"Don’t you think we deserve better? I don’t want Obamacare – in any form — but I can’t help being frustrated at how the President is showing complete disregard for our Constitution."

Barletta was elected to Congress in the Republican surge of 2010 when he defeated Congressman Paul Kanjorski in his third attempt to defeat the Congressman who was first elected in 1984. the 11th District was redrawn adter the 2010 census to include communities as far south as Dauphin County. Once a Democratic stronghold centered in Luzerne County, the district is now safe Republican after the additional of many rural Republican areas in and outside Luzerne County.

Barletta will face Democratic opposition in November from Andrew Ostrowski. Ostrowski is an attorney from Dauphin County.

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