Senator Marty Flynn Appointed Democratic Chair of PA Senate Transportation Committee

Senator Marty Flynn Appointed Democratic Chair of PA Senate Transportation Committee

Harrisburg, PA – January 19, 2022 – Yesterday, State Senator Marty Flynn was appointed as Democratic Chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee.

“I look forward to working with both my Democratic and Republican colleagues to ensure Pennsylvania improves our many modes of transportation and the systems that make them run,” said Senator Marty Flynn. “Transportation infrastructure is the backbone of our cities and communities. I see how safe roads and bridges, fair tolls, and access to mass transit can support local economies. I’m committed to making sure Pennsylvanians have the best and most innovative options for transportation throughout the commonwealth.”

Recently, Senator Flynn addressed the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the nearly $104 million in tolls that were uncollected from June 2020 to May 2021. Senator Flynn called for three solutions to make sure all tolls get collected, including restoring some toll collectors at high volume exits. Most recently, in a separate piece of proposed legislation, Senator Flynn suggested directing the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to accept app payments such as Venmo and Cash App.

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Senator Flynn, Local State Representatives Show Their Support for Scranton Teachers and Paraprofessionals

Senator Flynn, Local State Representatives Show Their Support for Scranton Teachers and Paraprofessionals

Lackawanna County − November 5, 2021 − Senator Marty Flynn was joined by local state representatives today outside of the Lackawanna County Courthouse to discuss the ongoing strike of the Scranton Federation of Teachers. Flanked by a raucous crowd of Scranton School District teachers, paraprofessionals, faculty, and their supporters, Senator Flynn, Rep. Kyle Mullins, Rep. Elect Thom Welby, Rep. Bridget Kosierowski, and Rep. Mike Carroll fittingly stood in front of the John Mitchell Statue to show their support for the Scranton Federation of Teachers in their labor dispute with the school district’s administration.

“I’m proud to stand here today, not just as your State Senator, but as an AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) brother,” Senator Flynn began. “I’m proud to have my colleagues here with me. We’re all on the same page here; we all agree that our teachers are not the problem.”

Senator Flynn went on to admonish the administration’s attempts to solve their issues by cutting successful, popular programs in the district. “The administration made class sizes larger, which placed an even greater burden on the teachers,” Senator Flynn said. “They cut art. They cut music. They cut preschool. They cut counselors for students in elementary school. You can’t cut your way to prosperity. You can’t cut your way to recovery.”

Rep. Elect Thom Welby used his own personal experience as a student in the Scranton School District to highlight the negative impact the program cuts could have on the city’s children, highlighting his experience in the now-cut theatre program and crediting it for “helping so many children become fine, upstanding adults.”

“I got involved with the theatre group and with some of the arts groups, and my exposure to the arts literally changed me as a person, that brought me out of my shell,” Rep. Elect Welby said. “It’s so important to our students. We need exposure to the arts from Pre-K all the way through high school.”

Rep. Welby was followed by Rep. Kyle Mullins, who noted that the lack of proper funding for the school district has led to its current situation. “Decades of insufficient funding from the state to school districts like Scranton has set teachers and district management on a collision course,” said Rep. Mullins. “While I’m committed to ending this disparity, this unfairness, we need students back in the classroom with teachers who were put on this earth to care and to teach, teachers who deserve health care and pay comparable to other school districts.”

Rep. Bridget Kosierowski commented on the administration’s decision to suspend teachers’ and paraprofessionals’ health insurance during the strike. “When I say I believe health care is a right and not a privilege, I don’t just mean it as a campaign slogan every two years; I actually believe it,” Kosierowski said. “As a registered nurse of more than 25 years, I saw firsthand the cracks in a broken healthcare system, but never did I think I would see the day that restricting healthcare access would be used as negotiating tactic and a bargaining tool. It is not only cruel, but it is simply immoral.”

Finally, Rep. Mike Carroll laid out a plan to get the district out their current state of crisis and into a position of greater financial stability. “There are three things we need to do: Reinstate health insurance, negotiate a contract for the teachers that is aligned with other Lackawanna County school districts without offsetting healthcare savings, and reduce property taxes by 1%,” Rep. Carroll said.  “We know this is in conflict with the recovery plan, but no recovery plan can substitute for the more than $30 million annual shortfall from the state.”

Senate Passes Wilding’s Law with Bipartisan Support

Senate Passes Wilding’s Law with Bipartisan Support

Harrisburg, October 26, 2021 − The Pennsylvania Senate passed Officer John Wilding’s Law (Senate Bill 814) today, which creates a new offense of “evading arrest or detention on foot.” 

Introduced by Senator Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) and Senator John Yudichak (I-Luzerne/Carbon/Monroe), the bill was drafted in response to the tragic death of Officer John Wilding of the Scranton Police Department. In 2015, Officer Wilding lost his life from injuries sustained while chasing three armed robbery suspects in a West Scranton neighborhood. 

“Every day, our police officers put their lives on the line for us. What’s at stake for them every time they go to work – we can’t imagine,” Senator Flynn said. “So it’s our job as lawmakers to look out for those who serve and uphold the law. We have to protect those who protect us.”

In a bipartisan vote of 36-14, the Senate voted affirmatively on the bill which makes evading arrest or detention on foot an offense if a person knowingly and intentionally flees on foot from a public servant attempting to lawfully arrest or detain that person.

“Officer Wilding gave his life in service to the citizens of Scranton and our great Commonwealth,” said Senator Yudichak. “Senate Bill 814 ensures that his life will forever be honored by protecting the men and women of law enforcement with the addition of a new offense, evading arrest on foot, as a felony offense in the crimes code.”

Existing statute currently prohibits fleeing from an officer in a vehicle and struggling with an officer attempting to place an individual under lawful arrest, however the statute is silent with respect to fleeing from an officer on foot and placing the officers or innocent bystanders at risk of injury. 

In addition to establishing the offense, the bill sets the new offense grades as follows: 

  • A third-degree felony if a person flees or attempts to evade arrest or detention for an underlying offense that constitutes a felony or misdemeanor and another person suffers serious bodily injury as a result
  • A second-degree felony if a person flees or attempts to evade arrest or detention for an underlying offense that constitutes a felony or misdemeanor and another person dies as a result
  • A second-degree misdemeanor if a person flees or attempts to evade arrest or detention for an underlying offense that constitutes a felony or misdemeanor 

The bill also creates a new offense of “harming a police animal while evading arrest or detention.”

“Unfortunately, we cannot change what happened to Officer Wilding,” said Senator Flynn. “But hopefully this law will provide a bit of peace for the Wilding family and will prevent something like this from happening again in the future.”

Senate Bill 814 will now be sent to the House of Representatives for its concurrence. 

GOP Senators, Accept Reality, Move on

GOP Senators, Accept Reality, Move on

OpEd by Senator Marty Flynn 

I must address the call for an investigation into the results of the 2020 Election made by Pennsylvania Senate Republicans. To be honest, folks, I had a hard time deciding if I should even write this. It’s frustrating to have to respond to claims so absurd. The Republicans are living in a fantasy world, and they want us to pay for their room and board. This is beneath us. It should be beneath them, too.

They claim that they are calling for this audit to “restore trust in our system,” while they are the ones actively trying to sow distrust. It’s like burning a house to the ground to restore trust in the fire department. They’re the ones destroying it! The amount of evidence the Republicans are clinging to is precisely zero – it simply does not exist. All of the facts clearly show that the election results were fair and valid. Over 50 courts across the country, independently of one another, have examined these claims and found them to be completely baseless. You may remember Rudy Giuliani leading the charge against the election results. You may also remember that, as a result, his legal license was suspended in his home state of New York. His claims were found to be so patently untrue that he is no longer allowed to practice law. Over a dozen Republican state senators won re-election in 2020, and not one of them questioned the integrity of those results. The exact same people who had no issue accepting the results of races they won are disingenuously crying foul at the outcomes of the races they lost. They are claiming that when they win, it’s fair, and when they lose, it’s rigged, ignoring the fact it’s all the same election, the same ballots, the same machines.

In my time as a boxer, there were fights I was certain I’d won only to be dealt a crushing and surprising decision. To accept a loss after preparing yourself for victory is no easy task, but it’s an essential lesson in humility and maturity. I believe that you learn more about yourself in defeat than in victory. We’re certainly learning a lot about the senators right now.  Instead of focusing on moving forward, helping their constituents bounce back and even thrive as our nation recovers from this pandemic, their attention is on some delusional version of the past. Our job as senators, fundamentally, is to help those we were elected to represent. The Republicans are clearly not concerned with actually helping anyone.

Let’s be blunt about their motives here. First, they’re trying to indulge our previous president in his attempt to undermine President Biden. This is unseemly, sure, but sadly it’s what we’ve come to expect. It’s the second motive, though, that could have real consequences should this audit proceed. Suddenly, there will be a precedent set where the results of every single election could be disputed or outright ignored by anybody who doesn’t like how the vote turned out. This, it should not need to be said, runs completely counter to the foundations and ideals upon which this country was founded.

So please, senators, come to your senses, accept reality, move on, and put an end to this farce. The rest of us are trying to have a democracy here.

Senator Marty Flynn Announces $2.6M in State Grants for Luzerne County

Senator Marty Flynn Announces $2.6M in State Grants for Luzerne County

Luzerne County – July 20, 2021– State Senator Marty Flynn today announced Luzerne County will receive $2,673,188 in state grants to support community projects and equipment purchases across the region. The grants were awarded through the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s (CFA) Local Share Account (LSA) program.

“These grants are a great example of what we can achieve at a state and local level. Almost three million dollars for projects and equipment across Luzerne will go a long way to improve local infrastructure, making our county safer, more efficient, and overall a better place to live,” said Sen. Flynn.

The following projects have been approved to receive LSA program funds:

  • Luzerne County 911 Tower Construction – $246,300 for the construction of a radio tower to be located at 283 Campbell’s Ledge Road in Duryea Borough to increase the county’s communications infrastructure.
  • North East Pennsylvania Land Bank – $250,000 to assist with the Land Bank’s operational costs and the acquisition, demolition, and rehabilitation of blighted properties within the Land Bank’s participating municipalities.
  • Avoca Fire and Ambulance Renovations – $336,160 for site improvements and renovations to expand the current Avoca Hose Company No.1 building. Building renovations will include new overhead doors, entry doors, windows, and metal sliding; electrical upgrades; and site improvements.
  • Dupont DPW Equipment – $317,058 to purchase a CNG refuse packer, a 6500 dump truck and an asphalt roller.
  • Duryea Police Vehicle – $55,768 to purchase a new police vehicle.
  • Pittston Police and Road Equipment – $166,700 to purchase equipment and vehicles for township police and public works departments.
  • Germania SCUBA Team Equipment – $90,195 for the purchase of a truck and double stack boat trailer.
  • Compost Equipment Repair – $50,258 to rehabilitate the Bandit Beast 2460 Grinder being operated at the Greater Pittston Regional Compost Facility.
  • New Compost Equipment – $128,050 to purchase a Caterpillar 914 14A Wheel Loader for the Greater Pittston Regional Compost Facility.
  • Duryea Main Street Sidewalk Project – $314,375 to assist with infrastructure improvements to Main Street’s streetscape.
  • 630 Main Street Parking Lot Improvements Project – $14,355 for parking lot improvements at 630 Main Street.
  • Public Works Equipment – $347,558 for the purchase of a CNG refuse packer, a 6500 dump truck, an asphalt roller and 3-ton hot box.
  • Pittston Township Equipment – $230,200 to purchase vehicles and equipment for use by the township’s road, public works, and emergency management departments.
  • West Side Social Club Parking Lot – $79,970 for parking lot improvements at the West Side Social Club.
  • West Side Social Club Roof Replacement – $46,241 for a roof replacement at the West Side Social Club.

Under Act 71 (the Gaming Act), Luzerne County is eligible for LSA grant funding for projects that improve the quality of life of citizens in the community. Funding is supported by 2% of gross terminal revenues of certain licensed gaming facilities and administered by the CFA to support and enhance community and economic well-being and mitigate the impact of gaming and related activities.

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