Senator Pittman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Passes Legislation Urging Gov. Shapiro to Deploy PA National Guard to Defend U.S. Southern Border
  • IUP Hospitality Program Dedication
  • Nursing Students Visit Harrisburg
  • Be Internet Awesome Assembly
  • Senate Passes Public Safety Bills Targeting Opioid Overdoses, Human Trafficking
  • Struggling Homeowners Can Apply for Assistance
  • Bills Broadening the Capabilities of Athletic Trainers Pass the Senate
  • Help Available for High-Priority Specialty Crop Farmers
  • Recognizing Agriculture’s Impact on Our Lives

Senate Passes Legislation Urging Gov. Shapiro to Deploy PA National Guard to Defend U.S. Southern Border

The Senate approved a measure calling on Gov. Josh Shapiro to protect Pennsylvania communities by supporting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s request to respond to America’s illegal immigration crisis. Click here to watch my video remarks on the Senate Floor about this critical issue.

This crisis knows no borders, it knows no bounds. In response to suggestions that this is not a Pennsylvania problem, I have two words: 𝐋𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐧 𝐑𝐢𝐥𝐞𝐲.

President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address was candid in his acknowledgement that she was murdered by an illegal immigrant. I was impressed with that moment of candor, only to realize that in 12 hours, the President walked his statement back because so many in his own party were offended by it.

This is about the sense of the Senate and what we believe is a priority for Pennsylvania. To protect not only our citizens, but citizens across this nation.

Senate Resolution 251 implores Shapiro to reverse course and deploy the Pennsylvania National Guard along Texas’s southern border with Mexico as part of Operation Lone Star. The border security initiative has led to more than 500,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions, more than 40,000 criminal arrests and the seizure of more than 468 million lethal doses of fentanyl, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A 2023 report indicates at least 251,000 illegal immigrants reside in Pennsylvania with an annual burden of more than $1.6 billion on taxpayers. That equates to a cost of approximately $318 per Pennsylvania household annually, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

IUP Hospitality Program Dedication

Photo courtesy of IUP – pictured below (front row) L to R: Dr. Nicole Buse, IUP faculty; Dr. Stephen Shiring, IUP faculty; Student and Statler Foundation Scholarship of Excellence Recipient Elizabeth Haffling; (back row) student, Katelynn Thrasher; student, Hannah Jacoby; IUP Trustee, Jennifer Baker; student, Regina Nadal; Ryan Chadwick; IUP Alum Kyle Kubicko; Student and Statler Foundation Scholarship of Excellence Recipient, Tezmionah Jordan; Paul Mesenburg, Operations Manager, Breakers Hotel, Cedar Point; Dr. Yasong Wang

It was great to join individuals from IUP’s Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism, and Event Management program in the Eberly College of Business, for the recent naming and dedication of the university’s hotel front desk simulation lab in honor of the Statler Foundation!

The Foundation donated $125,000 to IUP in May 2022 to construct the lab for the program.

The Statler hotel front desk simulation lab provides students an opportunity to experience a real check-in and check-out process. The desk was custom built and serves as an innovative and hands-on way for students to practice all aspects of hotel customer service operations.

Nursing Students Visit Harrisburg

I was pleased to welcome nursing students Alexandra Peters, Jenna Morgan and Liam McIlwain from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford to Harrisburg this week. They were accompanied by the Director of the Nursing program, Jean Truman, DNP, RN.

Liam is a constituent and nurse at ACMH Hospital, and wanted to discuss Senate Resolution 219 to recognize ‘World Diabetes Day’ in Pennsylvania. We discussed the importance of creating a day for awareness of risk factors and promoting healthy habits to reduce the prevalence of diabetes.

Thank you all for making the trip to our Capitol!

Be Internet Awesome Assembly

I had fun taking part in an interactive assembly with students in grades 6-8 at West Hills Intermediate School.

Representatives from Google provided a great program on safe and responsible internet use.

As technology continues to grow and evolve, it becomes more and more important we help provide our youth with extra guidance and tools to keep them safe online.

Senate Passes Public Safety Bills Targeting Opioid Overdoses, Human Trafficking

The Pennsylvania Senate approved two measures this week boosting community safety by targeting opioid overdoses and human trafficking. Both bills, which head to the House of Representatives for consideration, are part of the Senate Republican effort to improve community safety across Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1054 strengthens the Overdose Information Network (ODIN) law, which requires all law enforcement in Pennsylvania to input reports of an overdose within 72 hours of the incident into the ODIN system. The ODIN database enables law enforcement agencies to quickly record, analyze and share information concerning fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses and naloxone administrations. The bill would ensure overdose reporting by EMS providers is incorporated into the statewide mapping system. EMS providers are responsible for handling more than 80% of overdoses annually in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1111 would ensure that individuals who are convicted of certain human trafficking offenses – as well as attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit those offenses – are subject to the same Megan’s Law reporting and evaluation requirements as other sexual offenders.

Struggling Homeowners Can Apply for Assistance

To help homeowners struggling as a result of pandemic-related financial hardships, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) reopened a program that had been paused to address a backlog of applicants.

The majority of pending applications has been processed and an assessment of remaining American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds has been made, so PHFA is accepting additional applicants until the remaining monies are exhausted.

New applicants can use the funds for pandemic-related mortgage reinstatement, forward mortgage assistance, tax assistance and delinquent utility bills. Interested Pennsylvania homeowners can find more information, eligibility requirements and instructions about how to submit an application here.

Bills Broadening the Capabilities of Athletic Trainers Pass Senate

Two bills modernizing the capabilities of athletic trainers in Pennsylvania were overwhelmingly passed by the Pennsylvania Senate this past week. Thank you to my colleague Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20) for introducing Senate Bill 559 and Senate Bill 560.

These important measures would amend the Medical Practice Act of 1985 and the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act to provide for the definitions of “athletic training services” and “physically active person” to allow athletic trainers the ability to deliver a wider scope of health care services to more individuals.

Help Available for High-Priority Specialty Crop Farmers

To stimulate market growth or boost the competitive position for high-priority crops, grants are available for projects that benefit Pennsylvania’s growers as a whole, rather than an individual grower.

Specialty crops eligible for Pennsylvania’s grant program and deemed high priority include hardwoods; honey; hemp and flax for fiber; and hops, barley, rye and wheat for brewing, distilling and malting.

Proposals must be submitted through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Electronic Single Application by Friday, April 19, at 5 p.m. Full grant guidelines are available here.

Recognizing Agriculture’s Impact on Our Lives

In Pennsylvania, we are blessed that agriculture is one of our top industries as it helps to provide us with food security without having to rely as much on other states or even other countries.

National Agriculture Week, observed March 17-24, encourages every American to understand how food products are produced; appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant, and affordable products; value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy; and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, and fiber industries.


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