In this Update:
Shielding Sexually Exploited Children, Human Trafficking Victims from Traumatizing Third Party ID Requirements
Continuing efforts to combat human trafficking throughout the Commonwealth, I am teaming up with Senators Maria Collett (D-12) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) to advance legislation that would remove the third-party control requirement to ensure that minors who are human trafficking victims have full access to appropriate services and support.
Under current Pennsylvania law, a minor that is exploited for commercial sex must identify a third party to be considered a victim of human trafficking.
My legislation, Senate Bill 44 would remove third-party control from Titles 18 and 23 of the Pennsylvania criminal code. Senator Collett’s Senate Bill 45 would eliminate the third-party control requirement to access victim services under the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Notification Act (PA Act 197 of 2012).
Sexually exploited children subjected to immeasurable emotional and physical trauma should never have to identify their human trafficking perpetrator to justify or obtain the services that they desperately need.
This combined legislative effort seeks to remove these unfortunate and unnecessary barriers that frequently preclude minors who are human trafficking victims from receiving the necessary relief and resources for restoration and healing.
Pennsylvania currently ranks as the 9th highest state for reported human trafficking cases. During the past five years, charges have been filed in more than 870 human trafficking cases statewide.
Grants Available for Emergency Service Training Centers
Because of legislation passed by the Senate last November, emergency services training centers, community colleges, county-owned facilities, municipal or fire department-owned facilities and nonprofit countywide associations can apply for grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.
Through the Emergency Service Training Center Capital Grant Program, funds can be used to establish or modernize facilities that house firefighting equipment, ambulances or rescue vehicles and to repair or purchase firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment.
The application period runs from June 1-30. Learn more or apply for a grant here.
Providing Critical Information in Emergencies
Pennsylvania offers two free voluntary programs to save the lives of residents in emergency situations: the Yellow Dot program and the Emergency Contact Information program.
PennDOT’s Yellow Dot program allows participants to fill out the program form with emergency contact, medical contact and medical information, insert it in the program’s folder and then place it in their vehicle’s glove compartment. A yellow dot sticker affixed to the rear window alerts emergency responders to the availability of information to help them provide better care to crash victims.
The Emergency Contact Information program offers Pennsylvania driver’s license and PennDOT-issued ID holders the opportunity to log into a secure database and list two emergency contacts. Participants can update their records as needed, but only law enforcement officials can view the information in the system. In an emergency, law enforcement can use a participant’s ID to find his or her emergency contact information.
The Yellow Dot program is used only in vehicle crashes, but the Emergency Contact Information program can be used in other emergencies as well as crashes.
Helping Communities Fight Illegal Dumps
To limit public health hazards that negatively impact property values, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have launched the Illegal Dump Free PA Program. It will help communities curb illegal dumping by exposing those who commit this crime.
To avoid costly cleanups that average $3,000 per site, grant recipients will receive, as a temporary loan, three cameras to capture evidence of illegal dumping. Equipment includes wireless technology to capture photos of vehicle license plates and illegal dumpers, even at night. One camera uses wireless technology to email pictures when triggered, providing almost instant results.
DELAYED: Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Vouchers
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture reports that, due to vendor issues, the mailing of Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers will be delayed until the end of June. Vouchers are good until Nov. 30.
Eligible participants will receive five $10 vouchers and a list of participating farmers and farmers’ markets where vouchers can be used to purchase Pennsylvania grown fruits and vegetables. Call your County Aging office to find out when and where it will distribute the vouchers. Learn more here.
Download PA’s Happy Traveler Guide for Summer Fun
Pennsylvania has thousands of places for summer fun, and the state’s official travel guide, the Happy Traveler Guide, is available for downloading here.
Categorized by region, the guide includes nearly 100 pages of attractions, lodging options, dining and many other recreational activities all across the state. Things to see and do are grouped by area, taking the work out of planning a vacation.
Tourism is one of the state’s largest industries. In 2021, Pennsylvania welcomed 180 million travelers, which generated more than $66 billion and supported nearly half a million jobs.
Celebrating the Health Benefits of Dairy
Every June, National Dairy Month highlights the importance of consuming nutrient-rich dairy foods and beverages. Dairy products, like milk, contain nine essential nutrients which may help to better manage weight and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers.
Dairy plays no small part in the state’s top industry: agriculture. The Senate has a few legislative measures to help our hard-working farmers who provide for our dairy needs.
Senate Bill 153 would ensure that milk haulers can travel on highways during a declaration of disaster emergency so the perishable product isn’t lost. Senate Bill 297 would allow whole milk in schools. Senate Resolution 48 urges the United States Department of Agriculture to allow 2% and whole milk in schools.
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