HARRISBURG – Sen. David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill) has been appointed by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) to serve on seven committees in the Senate of Pennsylvania for the 2013-14 legislative session.

Argall will serve as vice chairman of the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee and as a member of the Aging and Youth, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Appropriations, and Intergovernmental Operations Committees. Argall will continue to serve on the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee. In addition, he will serve as chairman of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.

"The Appropriations Committee is the key to the state budget," Argall said. "This session, I will renew my past efforts to reform our state's welfare system. Time and time again, residents tell me at town hall meetings they would rather cut wasteful spending than raise taxes. As a member of the Appropriations and Intergovernmental Operations Committees, my primary goal will be cutting wasteful government spending."

The Senate committees are responsible for holding public hearings and voting on legislation before it is sent to the Senate floor to be voted on by all 50 senators.

The 2013-14 legislative session includes a new assignment for Argall as a member of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. Argall believes his committee assignments will mean stronger representation for local residents.

"My key goal for both the Community, Economic and Recreational Development, and Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees will be jobs to turn unemployment checks back into local paychecks," Argall said.

As the newly-appointed chairman of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, Argall plans to build on recent anti-blight successes to look for additional ways to increase private-sector jobs, especially in once-vibrant, now-vacant downtowns across Pennsylvania.

"Blight is an issue whether you live in Philadelphia and New Philadelphia. My goal for the committee is to make our downtowns and our neighborhoods a better place to live, work and raise a family," Argall said.

In the wake of the horrific child sexual abuse scandal involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, strengthening laws to protect children will be a priority for the legislature. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester) stated that enacting recommendations by the Task Force on Child Protection will be the first agenda item in the New Year for the Senate.

"After the Sandusky scandal rocked our state and nation, we must lead the nation to enact new laws that will prevent any atrocious activity like this from ever occurring again," Argall said.

The Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee will continue to look at ways to protect the environment and increase the number of Pennsylvanians employed in the natural gas and coal industries.

"The positive economic impact for the state created by domestic energy, including coal and natural gas, is unprecedented," Argall said. "In order for Pennsylvania to become a national energy leader, we must look at all resources available within the state; however, we must do this in a manner that is not degrading to our environment. This committee's work will focus on these important issues."

The six-county district Argall represents, while diverse, has many common themes, which are represented by Senator Argall's committee choices. This district is actually larger than the state of Rhode Island.

"From our downtowns, like Hamburg and Palmerton and Pottsville, to the many farmlands across the southern portion of this district, I look forward to continuing my work on issues to improve our local communities, both rural and urban," Argall said.

Argall was sworn in on Jan. 1, to begin serving his second term in the State Senate. Argall represents all of Schuylkill County and portions of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton counties.