In this Update:
Recognizing Excellence: 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championships
On April 26, I joined with several of my Senate colleagues in formally recognizing the individual and team accomplishments of Pennsylvania collegiate wrestlers during the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
The Senate Resolution, I am co-sponsoring, honors Penn State’s wrestling team and head coach Cael Sanderson for bringing home the national team championship, as well as the achievements of wrestlers for Pennsylvania’s other universities and native Pennsylvanians who earned individual success during the tournament.
In addition to PSU’s main campus, two of these outstanding championship wrestlers also have direct ties to my legislative district and have also made their Pennsylvania hometown communities proud.
Ethan Laird from McKean County, who attends Rider University, and Anthony Noto, who attends Lock Haven University in Clinton County, both placed in the top three of their respective weight classes.
Through their perseverance and hard work, it is obvious that each of these young men have given all they had in order to achieve both their individual and team objectives—and in the end they were undisputedly victorious!
Congratulations gentlemen and best wishes for continued success.
Senate State Government Committee Acts on Daylight Savings and Firefighter Instructor Pension Retention
This week, as Senate State Government Committee chairman, I convened voting meetings to successfully advance the following legislation to the full Senate for consideration:
The Senate State Government Committee has broad oversight over the executive branch, including the Office of the Governor, the Departments of State and General Services, as well as the Civil Service, Historical and Museum, and State Ethics Commissions.
The committee is also responsible for developing and approving legislation relating to campaigns and elections, ethics and transparency in state government, constitutional amendments, and state procurement and land sales.
Destination Centre County: Transportation Infrastructure Update
On Friday afternoon, April 21, I switched gears to learn more about Centre County’s transportation infrastructure.
My first stop was a tour of the Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA). A very forward thinking and cost-saving driven organization, CATA was formed for the purpose of providing public transportation services within the boundaries of its member municipalities. Subsequent agreements with the Borough of Bellefonte, Spring Township, and Benner Township have allowed for service extensions to Bellefonte and Pleasant Gap.
For more information, visit www.Catabus.com or www.Facebook.com/rideCATABUS.
My final destination was the Village of Lemont for the Pike Street Traffic Calming and Streetscape Project dedication ceremony.
The Pike Street Traffic Calming and Streetscape Project was developed to improve safety for pedestrians and motorists by slowing traffic movements through the Village of Lemont, while also incorporating streetscape improvements that improve overall accessibility to the businesses and residences along Pike Street.
The project limits spanned a section of Pike Street from its intersections with Elmwood and Dale Streets and included full depth paving, installation of curbing and stormwater upgrades, delineated parallel parking, new curb ramps and sidewalks along both sides of Pike Street and tree plantings. The project also required waterline and gas line relocation work.
College Township, working with Delta Development, was able to secure a $1,149,041 PennDOT Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant in 2018, which was fundamental in enabling the completion of this nearly $2 million project.
Senate Passes Bill to Protect Newborns
The Senate unanimously passed legislation to protect babies whose parents are unable to care for them. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 267 would expand Pennsylvania’s Safe Haven Law to allow parents to surrender their unharmed baby at participating urgent care centers. The urgent care centers will ensure the newborn is transported to a hospital and placed in the care of a health care provider.
Currently, people may bring their newborn (up to 28 days old) to any Pennsylvania hospital, to a police officer at a police station or to an emergency services provider at an EMS station. The Department of Health estimates that 50 babies have been saved by Pennsylvania’s Safe Haven Law since 2003.
Increasing Accountability and Disaster Response Capability
Legislation requiring Senate confirmation of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) director was approved by a bipartisan Senate vote. Senate Bill 433 would increase accountability and ensure the agency is prepared to deal with emergencies efficiently and effectively.
PEMA is the lead emergency coordination agency in the commonwealth tasked with guaranteeing the safety of 13 million residents. This includes oversight of 911 centers and the Emergency Alert System, as well as hazardous materials and incidents involving five nuclear power plants.
Five state agencies with fewer employees than PEMA require Senate confirmation. The bill is before the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Votes to Protect Seniors from Financial Exploitation
The Senate approved a bill to help protect Pennsylvania senior citizens from financial exploitation scams using information that is already available within state government.
Under Senate Bill 137, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General would notify the Department of Aging about any investigations or enforcement actions involving someone age 65 or older and related to the Pennsylvania Telemarketer Registration Act.
The improved information sharing would enable the Department of Aging to deliver warnings to local area agencies on aging in counties across the commonwealth while ensuring strict adherence to confidentiality rules.
Senate Bill 137 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Broadband Grant Program Opens May 10
The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority recently approved the Pennsylvania Broadband Infrastructure Program which will provide $200 million in funding to businesses, nonprofits, local governments and economic development organizations.
This program will fund line extension and development projects, as well as large-scale regional infrastructure projects. Upon completion, projects must deliver service that meets or exceeds symmetrical download and upload speeds of 100 Megabits per second, with prioritization being given to fiber-optic deployment.
The application period will begin May 10 and will close July 10. View program guidelines here.
Register to Vote by May 1
The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania’s May 16 primary election is Monday, May 1. Your county election board must receive your application for a mail-in or absentee ballot by Tuesday, May 9.
To legally register, individuals must be a citizen of the United States, reside in their local voting precincts at least 30 days prior to the election and be at least age 18 on Election Day, Tuesday, May 16. Once registered to vote, you are not required to register again unless you change your residence, name or political party affiliation.
Voter registration forms, mail-in ballot applications and absentee ballot applications are available here or from your local county’s Board of Elections. You can also use the site to check your registration status.
Free Tick Testing for All Pennsylvanians
Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of Lyme disease cases. As we continue to fight Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in the commonwealth, East Stroudsburg University offers a valuable resource for all Pennsylvanians.
The university has a tick lab, which provides free testing on ticks for harmful diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and more. Send a tick sample to the lab and receive the test results that are often necessary evidence for doctors to treat you and increase your chance of staying healthy.
This week, the Senate passed a bill to require school officials to notify a student’s parents or guardian if a tick is removed from them at school and inform them of the symptoms of Lyme disease. The bill also calls for schools to provide the tick to parents or guardians if they would like to send it to the lab for testing.
To remove a tick, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin’s surface as possible and then pull upward with a steady, even pressure. Avoid twisting or jerking as this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
For more information about tick-borne diseases or how to submit a tick for testing here.
Call Before You Dig
As the weather improves, more people are doing outdoor projects. To stay safe during your excavation project and avoid hitting an underground utility line, call PA One Call by dialing 8-1-1 before you dig.
State law requires contractors and residents to contact PA One Call at least three days prior to excavation. This minimizes risk to the contractors or homeowners who are doing the digging; to utility workers and emergency responders who are mobilized to deal with the damage; and to bystanders who live, work or travel near the locations of the incidents.
Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 to connect with the One Call system, while out-of-state residents or businesses can call 1-800-242-1776. Learn more here.
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