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1st District Connection

Senator FarneseDear Constituent,

Welcome to another edition of First District Connection. I have information to share about several topics:

  • Marcellus Shale Report Amounts to Industry Infomercial

  • Senate Bill 1203 Will Create ‘Caylee’s Law’

  • New Study Recommends Annual Mammograms at Age 40

  • Funding for USO Program Benefits Soldiers’ Families

  Staying Connected, 
Sen. Larry Farnese  

Marcellus Shale Report Amounts to Industry Infomercial

I reject the recently released Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission report as a whitewash that amounts to nothing more than an infomercial and a sales pitch for the natural gas industry.

The supposed "comprehensive" report fails to address environmental impacts and does not even consider a severance tax on gas extraction.

The Corbett administration has repeated for months that it wanted a report based on fact and science, not emotion and then arbitrarily prohibited the committee from even holding a debate on issues like a severance tax. That's not science or fact; it's misplaced political ideology.

A truly fair and comprehensive report would have looked at past experience with drilling in other states and conducted an honest assessment of potential environmental impacts and an evaluation of various severance tax scenarios. This industry can create jobs and benefit Pennsylvania, but there needs to be proper oversight and drillers need to pay their fair share of the burden.

The Commission further added insult to injury by backing the unfair practice of ‘pooling,’ which according to the Oil & Gas Conservation Law, allows for the extraction of oil or gas from underneath a property from a well in an adjacent property. This clearly favors the industry over the rights of property owners.”

It is unfortunate that the Commission missed a golden opportunity to create a thoughtful, comprehensive report that included an objective evaluation of the issues. Instead, the commission, composed of industry and administration officials, created an infomercial.

I will look to hold additional hearings to address the issues the commission refused to discuss.

Senate Bill 1203 Would Create ‘Caylee’s Law” 

In response to the disappearance and death of Florida girl, Caylee Anthony, and her mother’s controversial murder trial, I have introduced Senate Bill 1203 to toughen penalties against those who conceal the death of a child.

“Caylee’s Law” would upgrade the charge for concealing the death of a child from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail and a fine of $15,000.

The measure would also create the offense of “Neglecting to Report a Missing Child” as a first-degree misdemeanor, carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine of $10,000.

The disappearance and death of Caylee Anthony and the criminal trial of Casey Anthony riveted the nation and prompted me to take steps to protect Pennsylvania children from similar injustices. Regardless of the jury’s verdict on the murder charges, most people agree that the mother’s conduct following her child’s disappearance was shocking and reprehensible.”

Two-year-old Caylee Anthony was missing for a month before her disappearance was reported. She was ultimately found dead. Her mother, Casey, was put on trial for her death, but was acquitted of all felony charges, including murder.

New Study Recommends Annual Mammograms at Age 40

I am pleased that a new study recommends offering all women in their 40s the chance to get annual screenings for breast cancer.

The new recommendations, from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) are based on the chances of catching an early cancer and the risks inherent in any screening. Other organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Comprehensive Cancer network agree.

Last year I joined Philadelphia breast cancer specialists from Thomas Jefferson University and breast cancer survivors to criticize a study by the United States Preventative Services Task Force that stated that women in their 40s do not need a mammogram and that self-examinations hold no value. At that time, I introduced a Senate resolution urging Congress not to follow those recommendations.

Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among Pennsylvania women, and it is imperative that it is caught early. Experts agree that one in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime and that women should discuss the possible benefits and risks with their doctors. Many doctors agree that if women wait until age 50 to have a mammogram, there is a risk of reversing the decade-long decline in deaths caused by breast cancer.

The ACOG news release is available at http://www.acog.org/from_home/publications/press_releases/nr07-20-11-2.cfm

Funding for USO Program Benefiting Soldiers’ Families

Senator Mike Stack and I recently joined the Pennsylvania National Guard to announce that significant state dollars will be made available to provide meals and comfort to military personnel and their families who pass through the Liberty USO Center at the Philadelphia International Airport.

We were honored to present a $100,000 state grant to the United Service Organizations of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (Liberty USO) at a news conference at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory in Northeast Philadelphia. The funds will be used to provide meals and morale-boosting programs to 65,000 soldiers and their families at the center.

Occupying 5,000 square feet on the tarmac level of airport Terminal A, the Liberty USO Center offers servicemen and women and their families around-the-clock access to complimentary meals, internet, showers, laundry, bunks, a library, game room and a home theater.

Liberty USO has been serving the needs of the active duty, National Guard and reserve military personnel and their families throughout Pennsylvania for more than 60 years.

The grant was provided through the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Offices of State Senator Larry Farnese