In this Update:
Senate Approves Measures to Help Women at High Risk of Breast Cancer
The Senate this week passed two bills to help women at high risk for breast cancer, ensuring coverage for MRIs, ultrasounds and genetic testing with no out-of-pocket costs.
Breast cancer is the second-most common cancer in women in the United States after skin cancers, and early detection is the key to saving lives. The Senate approved the following bills:
Senate Bill 1225 eliminates out-of-pocket costs for breast MRI and ultrasound for women with high-risk conditions such as dense breast tissue, a family history of breast cancer, personal history of breast cancer, genetic predisposition or prior radiation therapy.
Senate Bill 1330 removes costs associated with genetic testing and counseling for Pennsylvanians with a family history of breast and ovarian cancers. Genetic testing for heredity cancers provides the opportunity for earlier screenings and preventive treatments and procedures.
At a news conference celebrating passage of the bills, PA Breast Cancer Coalition President Pat Halpin-Murphy said: “Senate Bill 1225 and Senate Bill 1330 will arm the women of Pennsylvania with the best tools possible to find breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.”
Other Bills Passed by the Senate this Week
In addition to bills expanding coverage for breast cancer prevention, the Senate approved the following measures this week:
Senate Bill 1243 improves personal financial literacy by requiring completion of a half-credit economics and personal finance course as a high school graduation requirement.
Senate Bill 139 directs the Department of Education to establish a model curriculum for instruction in the events and significance of Sept. 11, 2001 and provides for a moment of silence in schools on 9/11.
Senate Bill 1265 creates an online registry of fire courses for firefighters similar to what is maintained for medical responders, EMTs and paramedics.
Senate Bill 1282 grants land banks the same environmental protections other economic development agencies receive when dealing with brownfields.
Senate Bill 589 is a Local Government Commission bill that provides an alternative process for the formation of a government study commission to consider home rule for municipalities currently in the Act 47 recovery program.
You can find a list of all bills that received votes in the Senate this week here.
Senate Committee Reviews Legislation to Empower Parents
The Senate State Government Committee held a public hearing Tuesday on legislation to establish by state statute the rights of parents over the upbringing of their children.
The hearing featured testimony from Pennsylvania parents and parental rights advocacy groups. Testifiers discussed the importance of the parent-child bond, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on learning, and the inability of parents to remove inappropriate material from Pennsylvania schools.
Senate Bill 996 would make clear in statute that the state, counties, local governments and school districts may not infringe on the fundamental rights of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children without demonstrating that such action is reasonable and necessary to achieve a compelling state interest — narrowly tailored – and not otherwise achieved by less restrictive means.
The legislation would also ensure a parent’s right to access and review all school records related to their child, a right to review all instructional materials used throughout the school year, and the right to opt out their child from certain curriculum that the parent finds to be objectionable or harmful.
Earlier this year, the Senate approved legislation to require school districts to identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum and materials and notify parents that their child’s coursework includes such content, and prohibit classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students.
Fighting Human Trafficking
On Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, Jefferson County Commissioner Scott North brought in The Asservo Project and its CEO, Joe Sweeney, to discuss Human Trafficking 101 at the Punxy Community Center in Punxsutawney.
The event was attended by numerous local residents and Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas Judge John H. Foradora. I was asked to provide comments about and I offered my support for the anti-human trafficking efforts across our commonwealth.
A week before this event, I opened the Anti-Human Trafficking Conference in Johnstown where I introduced my strategy for fighting the second largest business in the world – human trafficking.
Local Government Commission Second Annual Symposium
The Local Government Commission recently hosted its Second Annual Symposium, “Looking Forward: Local Government in an Evolving Landscape,” at the state Capitol.
The all-day event featured informative sessions on a variety of topics relevant to Pennsylvania’s local governments. I was proud to introduce the panel discussion on recruiting and retaining public employees, which featured academics from Shippensburg University and representatives of local government associations, as well as a case study of one municipality’s experience with the Act 47 program.
The following are links to Zoom recordings of the symposium’s sessions:
I strongly encourage local government officials from around the 25th District to go on-line to the Local Government Commission Web Page and view the Symposium. There were presentations made which I know will provide information they can use.
“Making $ense of Finance” Veterans’ Benefits Event
A “Making $ense of Finance” veterans’ benefits was recently held in Port Allegheny, McKean County.
Sponsored by members of the PA Military Finance Alliance, the free event for veterans and their families offered veterans and their families help to strengthen their financial readiness through a series of noncommercial financial education workshops.
The many systems of veterans benefits and services can be overwhelming, so engaging and communicating with veterans and their families about what’s available to them can help them navigate what can be daunting processes. Additionally, our veterans have always been targets of scammers, and with the enactment of the PACT Act, there’s been an increase in scams focusing on veterans; anything we can do to educate and prepare veterans and their families will help reduce the risk to the benefits earned in service to our nation.
McKean County Career Fair on Oct. 27
Clinton County’s Flaming Foliage Festival
As we get close to the end of the year, we get to enjoy the beauty of God’s design in the splash of color we get here in the fall.
The Flaming Foliage Festival in Renovo is an annual celebration of this beauty and draws thousands to this small town in Clinton County.
During the parade Congressman Glenn Thompson and I were introduced to retired Colonel Donald Miller (USMC Retired) who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam! What a distinguished gentleman and career!
I also got to catch up with Clinton County Fair Queen Bryley Miller. She’s been touring the commonwealth and visiting other fairs. It’s been a tremendous opportunity for her to learn about other parts of the state and the people.
This year’s colors are remarkable and I encourage everyone to get out soon and enjoy.
HARP Helps Hospitality Workers in Need
Hospitality Assistance Response of PA (HARP) provides immediate, emergency funding to servers, bartenders, front-desk workers, housekeepers, receptionists, cashiers, cooks and others in need in the hospitality field.
HARP is a 501(c)(3) funded by private donations and can help with medical bills or general hardship and provide immediate relief to hospitality employees experiencing a variety of other financial challenges. Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to availability of funds.
If you want to donate or know a hospitality worker who needs help, you can find information here.
Cultural and Historical Support Grants Available
Applications are being accepted from qualified museums and official county historical societies for nearly $2 million in state Cultural and Historical Support Grants.
Among other uses, the grants can supply general operating support to museums and official county historical societies that are not supported by other state agency funding programs. Eligible museums must have annual operating budgets exceeding $100,000 and at least one full-time professional staff person (some museums are not eligible if they are eligible for grant support from other state agencies).
The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission has eligibility information and grant guidelines. The deadline to apply is Nov. 7.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
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