Senator Pittman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Investment to Improve Access to High-Speed Internet in the 41st Senatorial District
  • Honoring Capt. Harry G. Cramer
  • Student Visitor from Armstrong County
  • Carbon Capture Sequestration Legislation
  • Increasing Penalties for Reporting False Threats at Schools
  • Eagle Scout Ceremony
  • Senate Approves Bill to Protect Critical Infrastructure
  • Primary Election Day is Tuesday, April 23
  • New Crime-Fighting Tool for the Public
  • Youth Leadership Camp to be Held June 9-15

Investment to Improve Access to High-Speed Internet in the 41st Senatorial District

This week the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) announced Verizon and Comcast Cable have been awarded nearly $6.5 million in grants to increase access to reliable, high-speed internet in the 41st Senatorial District.

High-speed internet allows people better access to basic amenities such as education, health care, public safety and government services, and it has become essential for most businesses. We need to bridge the digital divides that exist in our commonwealth, especially those in rural areas, to ensure all Pennsylvanians can take advantage of the many things broadband can deliver.

Grants for projects in the 41st Senatorial District were awarded as follows:

  • Comcast Cable Communications, LLC received $940,421 for projects in Indiana County.
  • Verizon Pennsylvania LLC received $2.95 million for projects in Indiana and Jefferson counties.
  • Verizon North LLC received $2.6 million for projects in Indiana and Westmoreland counties.

An additional $34.7 million will be used by Verizon to improve access in parts of Indiana, Cambria and Clearfield counties:

  • Verizon Pennsylvania LLC received $9.18 million for projects in Cambria, Clearfield and Indiana counties.
  • Verizon North LLC received $12.8 million for projects in Cambria and Indiana counties.
  • Verizon Pennsylvania LLC received $12.7 million for projects in Cambria and Indiana counties.

Made feasible by the federally funded Broadband Infrastructure Program, competitive grants totaling $200 million were awarded for projects across the state in areas lacking 25/3 Mbps internet service.

To ensure transparency and efficiency, the PBDA mandates quarterly and annual progress reports from grantees, accompanied by comprehensive guidance on state and federal requirements and technical support. All funds must be utilized by Dec. 31, 2026. Grantees will be held accountable for the prudent expenditure of awarded funds. The PBDA can claw back any unused or misused funds.

This inaugural round of grants represents a significant milestone in the PBDA’s broader initiative to close the digital divide since the General Assembly established the PBDA in 2021.

Honoring Capt. Harry G. Cramer

I was pleased to join my friend and colleague Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. to dedicate and name Cramer Pike as ‘Captain Harry G. Cramer Memorial Highway’.

Captain Cramer was an original Green Beret when the Special Forces were formed in the early 1950s; he led the first team of Green Berets to Vietnam in 1957.

May this re-naming serve as a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice so many families have paid in defense of our freedoms.

We are forever indebted to Capt. Cramer for his service and sacrifice for our great country.

Student Visitor from Armstrong County

Last week, I had the pleasure of welcoming Daniel Dunmire to the Pennsylvania State Capitol.

Daniel is a sophomore music education major at Seton Hill University and a constituent from Spring Church, Armstrong County.

He made his first trip to Harrisburg to attend the Student Aid Advocacy Day sponsored by the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP).

Thanks for stopping by my office, Daniel!

Carbon Capture Sequestration Legislation

Legislation to establish the legal and regulatory framework for potential carbon dioxide capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) in Pennsylvania has been passed by the Pennsylvania Senate.

I have my doubts as to the efficacy of carbon capture sequestration, but if this is going to be the next great thing, we should put a regulatory framework in place to allow it to occur.

Senate Bill 831 has received support from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, as well as the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. It is also supported by the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council, the Pittsburgh Regional Building Trades Council, the AFL-CIO, and numerous other labor groups and industry representatives.

Increasing Penalties for Reporting False Threats at Schools

In the wake of a school shooting tragedy and an uptick in hoax reports, the Senate approved legislation to enhance criminal penalties for false threat reports. Senate Bill 975 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The bill would make knowingly reporting a false threat at schools and higher education institutions a felony of the third degree, resulting in a prison sentence of up to seven years and a fine of up to $15,000. It would also allow courts to sentence anyone convicted to pay the costs of an evacuation or response that resulted from the threat.

These costs may include supplies, equipment or materials to respond to the threat; food that went unused because of the evacuation or diversion from standard operations of a school; and salary and wages – including overtime pay – for those who respond to the threat and any teacher, administrator or other educational facility employee who was paid despite the diversion.

Eagle Scout Ceremony

State Rep. Brian Smith and I recently had the honor of attending an Eagle Scout ceremony for Dylan Novella of Jefferson County.

Dylan is the son of Thomas and Ashley Novella and is a member of Troop 245.

For his Eagle Scout community service project, Dylan built a prayer bench and prayer mailbox for the New Beginnings Church in Punxsutawney, PA.

Congratulations and best wishes to Dylan!

Senate Approves Bill to Protect Critical Infrastructure

The Senate approved legislation to increase fines and penalties against those who intentionally vandalize or attack critical infrastructure, like the power grid. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Under Senate Bill 819, those who willfully damage, destroy, vandalize, deface or tamper with equipment in a critical infrastructure facility will face a minimum of third-degree felony charges that come with a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of no less than $10,000, along with the potential to face civil suits for damages to personal or real estate interests.

A destabilized power grid brings national security risks and disrupts our day-to-day activities – particularly among vulnerable populations. With the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warning of increasing foreign and domestic threats to the power grid, protecting our critical infrastructure is more important than ever.

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, April 23

Primary Election Day is early this year: Tuesday, April 23, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you are not registered to vote using a mail-in ballot but need to do so because of an emergency situation – such as an unexpected illness, disability or last-minute absence from your municipality – you may request an Emergency Absentee Ballot. The deadline to submit an Emergency Absentee Ballot Application to the County Election Board is April 23 at 8 p.m.

If you’re not sure where to report to vote, check here using the Department of State website. In addition to providing the address of your polling place, it will also tell you if you are an annual mail-in or absentee voter.

Voters who requested a mail-in ballot but would prefer to vote in person can do so if they bring their ballot and the pre-addressed outer return envelope to their polling place to be voided. If you do not surrender your ballot and return envelope, you can only vote by provisional ballot at your polling place.

New Crime-Fighting Tool for the Public

PSP Tips offers the public a new way to share information related to active investigations, cold cases, the apprehension of wanted persons or locating missing persons. It includes information about nearly 100 cold case homicides, missing persons and other unsolved crimes. New cases will be added frequently.

Featured cases include the 1973 homicide of an eight-year-old girl in Greene County, the unsolved killing in 1977 of a high school junior in Blair County, the 1981 disappearance of a Lackawanna County teenager and the search for the children of Susan Reinert, a Montgomery County teacher found murdered near Harrisburg in 1979. All cases in which the Pennsylvania State Police requests public assistance can be viewed on Facebook and Twitter.

Your tip could provide investigators with a long-awaited breakthrough that will finally bring closure and justice for the victims’ families. All information submitted to PSP Tips can be provided anonymously, if desired. Submit information using the toll-free phone number, 1-800-4PA-TIPS (1-800-472-8477) or online.

Youth Leadership Camp to be Held June 9-15

Teenagers who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement or the military are encouraged to apply to participate in a leadership camp to be held June 9-15 at Messiah University in Mechanicsburg.

The Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania National Guard and Pennsylvania American Legion staff the camp. Cadets work on team-building exercises, physical fitness training, classroom activities involving police and military careers, and a marksmanship course. They will also visit the State Police Academy and Fort Indiantown Gap National Training Center.

The camp offers three $1,000 scholarships at the end of the week. Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 17 prior to entering the camp and may not reach age 18 during the camp. Applicants should be physically fit, in good health and have a strong academic record. There is no cost to participants as their local American Legion post sponsors their attendance. Learn more and fill out an application here by May 15.


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