Senator Cris Dush E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Kicks Off 2023-24 Legislative Session
  • PA Farm Show Set for Jan. 7-14
  • Online Database Offers Assistance with Finding the Help You Need
  • New Initiative Supports County Home Repair Programs
  • Applications Now Being Accepted for County Recycling Coordinator Grant Program
  • Students Invited to Compete in Transportation Innovations Contest
  • Public Asked to Report Turkey Flocks
  • Retirement Ceremony for PA State Police Troopers Steven Johnson, Bruce Morris
  • Taking Time to Stand with Law Enforcement Officers

Senate Kicks Off 2023-24 Legislative Session

The Pennsylvania Senate convened this week for the start of the 2023-24 legislative session, which was highlighted by the swearing in of members.

The proceedings also included the formal election of the senate president pro tempore, as well as a vote on rules to govern the body for the next two years. The Senate will return to voting session Monday, Jan. 9. Still to come are announcements of committee chairs and member committee assignments for 2023-24.

Voters gave Senate Republicans a 28-22 majority in the November 2022 General Election.

PA Farm Show Set for Jan. 7-14

The 107th Pennsylvania Farm Show – the largest indoor agricultural exposition under one roof in the nation – takes place this Saturday to Jan. 14 in Harrisburg. 

Admission is free. It features nearly 4,000 animals, 12,000-plus competitive events and exhibits, 245 commercial exhibits, and hundreds of educational and entertainment programs.

The visitor’s guide will help you plan your day, with information on hours, parking, exhibitors, food and more. For over a century, the PA Farm Show has celebrated Pennsylvania’s rich tradition of farming and agriculture’s key role in the state economy.

The 25th Senate District has a number of 4H and FFA presenters as well as county fair champions in various events and who would love to have you there to see the results of their efforts.  Please take a look at the visitors guide linked above for times.

On Tuesday, January 10 I’m inviting you all to attend the Mike Waugh Celebrity Feed Scurry Event to watch me defend my first place finish from last year.  My friend and former House colleague (and a previous champion in this event) Rep. David Zimmerman and I will be pitted against each other in the first heat at 6:00pm.  We have a great time in this event that benefits the Friends of the Farm Show Foundation.

Online Database Offers Assistance with Finding the Help You Need

If you’re in need of a social services provider but don’t know where to start, there’s an organization offering that type of assistance.

Operated by public benefit corporation findhelp (formerly Aunt Bertha), findhelp.org is a database of low cost or non-profit community and social services available within the Pennsylvania, as well as in every zip code in the United States and Puerto Rico, so if you have friends or family who have a need you can share it with them.

They maintain an in-house team that is responsible for adding and reviewing programs within the database to ensure the network is up-to-date and accurate. 

Organizations in your community are ready to help. Just type in your zip code, and findhelp connects you to a list of programs broken into categories such as food, housing, care and transit. The database is free, private and easy to use – you can search and connect here at findhelp.org.

New Initiative Supports County Home Repair Programs

County governments can apply now for funding through the Whole-Home Repairs Program, which will provide eligible homeowners and landlords across the state with critical home repair and weatherization assistance.

The new program aims to help low- and moderate-income homeowners and small landlords with needed repairs up to $50,000, fight blight, improve energy efficiency in homes and provide construction-related workforce development.

To apply for funding, counties or designated nonprofits must submit an application online through the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Single Application for Assistance website by Jan. 31.

Applications Now Being Accepted for County Recycling Coordinator Grant Program

A grant program only open to Pennsylvania county governments recently began accepting applications for grant funding that can be used to defray some of the costs associated with county recycling coordinators’ salary and expenses.

The deadline to submit applications to the County Recycling Coordinator Grant Program, which provides a 50% reimbursement for county recycling coordinators’ salary and expenses, is May 1, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.

More information about the program can be found here and questions can be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection at 717-787-8688 or jyurcaba@pa.gov.

Students Invited to Compete in Transportation Innovations Contest

Students are invited to participate in the sixth annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge, which encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to resolve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.

For this year’s challenge, students are asked to develop ideas to help address the shortage of commercial truck parking along major interstate corridors in Pennsylvania. Trucks parking on highway shoulders and ramps is common during overnight hours and presents a significant safety issue.

The Innovations Challenge is open to all students in grades 9-12, regardless of their school’s learning model. Regional Innovations Challenge winners will be selected and invited to present their solutions to the PennDOT secretary and a panel of judges, who will determine the statewide cash prize winner. The submission deadline is Jan. 27.

Public Asked to Report Turkey Flocks

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is asking for the public’s help finding turkey flocks to trap for ongoing turkey projects.

The agency is encouraging Pennsylvanians to report the location of any turkey flocks they see between now and March 15. Information is being collected online at https://pgcdatacollection.pa.gov/TurkeyBroodSurvey. Visitors to that webpage will be asked to provide the date of the sighting, the location, and the type of land (public, private or unknown) where birds are seen, among other things.

Game Commission crews will visit sites to assess them for the potential to trap turkeys. Turkeys will not be moved; they’ll simply be leg banded and released on site. In four Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) some also will be outfitted with GPS transmitters, then released back on site to be monitored over time.

Trapping turkeys during winter is part of the commission’s ongoing population monitoring as well as a large-scale turkey study. These studies are being done in partnership with Penn State University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Futures Program.

Retirement Ceremony for PA State Police Troopers Steven Johnson, Bruce Morris

 

I had the pleasure of attending the retirement ceremony for two of our hometown heroes: Pennsylvania State Troopers Steven Johnson (top picture with myself and Rep. Brian Smith, R-66) and Bruce Morris (bottom picture with myself and Rep. Smith).

Upon his graduation from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in 2001, Trooper Johnson was assigned to Troop P, Uniontown Station, from which he later was transferred to Troop C, Punxsutawney. On July 19, 2003, he was assigned to the Patrol Unit in Troop C, and on July 28, 2018, he was reassigned to the Forensic Services Unit.

Trooper Morris enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Police on Nov. 17, 1997, and was assigned to Troop C, Kane, upon his graduation from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy on May 22, 1998. He was assigned to the Patrol Unit of Troop C, Ridgway, on July 10, 1999, and became the troop’s Community Services Officer on July 6, 2002. To his great credit, Trooper Morris has donated countless hours of his time to the Troop C Camp Cadet program and has received numerous accolades for his involvement in various investigations.

Both men have demonstrated exemplary knowledge, ability and integrity in carrying out their many responsibilities and earned deep respect and gratitude for their tireless devotion to duty.

I’d like to congratulate Troopers Johnson and Morris, along with the three other state troopers from different legislative districts in Troop C with a combined 125 years of experience, on their well-earned retirements and wish them well in their future endeavors.

Taking Time to Stand with Law Enforcement Officers

While lawmakers in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. create laws, it’s police officers who risk their lives enforcing them. On Law Enforcement Appreciation Day this coming Monday, I hope citizens take a moment to reflect on the dangerous and sometimes thankless job performed by those who protect and serve our communities.

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