Senator Joe Pittman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Parents have until July 15 to Choose Additional Year of Education for their Child Following Pandemic Disruptions
  • 2021-22 State Budget in Detail
  • Bills of Note Passed by the Senate in 2021
  • Bipartisan Task Force Recommends Steps to Improve Juvenile Justice System
  • Avoiding Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

$188,000 Green Light-Go Grant Awarded to White Township

I am pleased to report that White Township, Indiana County, will receive a $188,000 state grant to improve traffic safety under Pennsylvania’s “Green Light-Go” program.

The township was awarded the grant to replace traffic signal supports and add pedestrian accommodations at the Ben Franklin Road/Warren Road intersection. This is one of the most congested intersections in Indiana County. This grant will certainly improve traffic flow in the area. The Indiana Fire Association’s White Township Station is near this intersection, so these enhancements also help public safety response. 

White Township was among 50 municipalities statewide sharing more than $15.6 million in the current round of Green Light-Go funding. The program provides funding to install light-emitting diode (LED) technology, perform regional operations such as retiming, develop special event plans and monitor traffic signals, as well as upgrade traffic signals to the latest technologies.

Parents have until July 15 to Choose Additional Year of Education for their Child Following Pandemic Disruptions

Parents have until July 15 to take advantage of a new state law empowering them to decide whether their children should advance to the next grade level or be held back a year due to learning disruptions created during COVID-19.

Parents who wish to pursue the additional optional year of education for their children must complete and return a standardized form to their school district by the July 15 deadline. This allows school districts enough time to plan for changes in class sizes for the upcoming school year.

The form is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website, which also features a Frequently Asked Questions page about the new law.

The additional optional year of education was provided by the newly enacted Act 66 of 2021. The option would only apply to the 2021-22 school year to help manage learning loss caused by the pandemic.

2021-22 State Budget in Detail

Last week, I reported that the Senate approved a 2021-22 state budget that holds the line on taxes, supports Pennsylvania’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and provides a financial safety net for the future.

This year’s budget was unlike almost any other given the amount of pandemic recovery federal funding involved. The goal was to drive state and federal funds to where they are most needed, while holding back money to balance next year’s budget responsibly. You can take a closer look at the spending plan here.

Bills of Note Passed by the Senate in 2021

Legislation giving citizens a voice in disaster response and protecting the vulnerable during the pandemic received the most attention this year, but the Senate tackled many more issues in the first six months of the two-year legislative session.

From strengthening schools, to reducing regulatory burdens, improving health care and more, here’s a roundup of notable bills passed by the Senate in 2021.

Bipartisan Task Force Recommends Steps to Improve Juvenile Justice System

The bipartisan Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice Task Force recently released a comprehensive final report with policy recommendations that protect public safety, increase accountability, achieve savings for reinvestment, and improve outcomes for youth, families and communities.

The 30-member task force assessed the state juvenile justice system and reviewed data from court and state agencies and examined how practices can better align with what research says works to improve outcomes for youth and families. The task force received input from more than 500 stakeholders.

If adopted, the policy recommendations are expected to safely reduce the population of young people in out-of-home facilities by 39% by 2026, freeing up nearly $81 million for reinvestment.

Executive Summary
Full Report

Avoiding Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s latest statistics (2019), Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of confirmed Lyme disease cases.

The best way to avoid it is to avoid tick bites. Some tips:

  • Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Many people get ticks in their own yard.
  • Use bug repellent.
  • Check yourself, children, clothing, gear and pets for ticks after returning indoors.

You can read more about how to avoid tick bites, as well as how to spot Lyme disease symptoms and other related topics, here.

 

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