Senator Pittman E-Newsletter

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August 2019

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to send you this edition of my electronic newsletter. These e-newsletters enable me to provide information about issues, events and activities in Harrisburg and around the 41st Senatorial District to you in a timely manner while saving postage costs.

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Committee Discusses the Impact of Broadband on Jobs, Local Governments

The Senate Communications and Technology Committee, which I serve on, visited Indiana on August 7 to hear panelists from across the state testify about the role high-speed internet plays in today’s economy.

The three-hour public hearing was held at my request and featured testifiers and experts who are assisting in closing Pennsylvania’s digital divide. I suggested that the Blue Spruce Lodge in Indiana serve as the venue for the hearing since the area lacks high-speed internet coverage.

For more information about the hearing, click here.

We Need to Preserve Funding for Transportation Improvements

In the near future I will introduce legislation to reduce the amount of funding that is diverted each year from essential transportation improvement projects to support State Police operations.

My bill significantly expedites the timeframe for reducing the diversion of money from the state’s Motor License Fund (MLF) – which supports highway and bridge improvement efforts – to fund the State Police.

Since Fiscal Year 2012-13, the MLF has provided more than $4.25 billion for State Police operations, money that otherwise would have allowed PENNDOT to undertake more highway infrastructure improvement projects.

When Act 89 of 2013 was enacted, Pennsylvanians were promised a significant investment in improving our deteriorating highway system. We need to continue that promise and ensure that tax dollars for the maintenance and improvement of roads and bridges are used for that purpose. My legislation will move us in that direction more expeditiously.

For more information about my bill click here.

Local Hospitals Receive $2 Million State Grants

I am pleased to report that Armstrong County Memorial Hospital (ACMH) and Indiana Regional Community Medical Center (IRMC) were each recently awarded $1 million in state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants.

 The state made a significant investment in protecting and improving the health and well-being of our local residents with these grants.

ACMH is moving forward with a major expansion and modernization project. IRMC is planning to redevelop an important piece of property along Wayne Avenue that could promote further growth around the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, such as we have seen with the Hilton Garden Inn. This state funding supports the sustainability of independent hospitals in rural communities. These hospitals are focused on providing care in their home community, as opposed to those that are part of a larger network, which tend to be more focused on bottom lines and balance sheets.

For more information click here.

 Helpline Available to Assist Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

A new hotline is now available to assist grandparents raising their grandchildren.

The KinConnector hotline, created by Act 89 of 2018, provides families with information on health, financial and other services designed to help caregivers. Kinship Navigators can also help families apply for federal, state, and local benefits such as Social Security, public assistance, or CHIP.

KinConnector can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111).  Assistance is available Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Safe2Say Program Receives Nearly 23,500 Tips in First Six Months

Nearly 23,500 tips about potential threats were reported through the Safe2Say program from its start on January 14 through June 30, according to a recent report.

Tips included:

Bullying/Cyber Bullying 3,558
Cutting/Self-Harm 2,529
Suicide/Suicide Ideation 2,184
Depression/Anxiety 2,121
Drug Use/Distribution/Possession 1,921
Smoking (Tobacco, E-Cig, Vape) in School 1,448
Inappropriate Language/Behavior/Gesture 949
Threat Against School 607
General Harassment 574
Threat Against person 523

The complete report is available here.

Mark Your Calendar

State Representatives Donna Oberlander and Jeff Pyle and I will co-host a Senior Expo on Wednesday, August 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Kittanning Township Volunteer Fire Department, 13126 State Route 422, Kittanning.

A number of local organizations and businesses, health associations as well as state and federal agencies will be participating in this free event. Representatives will provide information on numerous subjects of interest to older residents including health care, insurance, nutrition and exercise, fire safety, financial planning and personal safety.

A free prescription drug disposal service will be available for those wishing to safely get rid of unneeded prescription/over the counter medications, liquid medications, creams and ointments, nasal sprays, inhalers, and pet medications. Intravenous solutions, syringes, injectables and needles, illicit and illegal substances will not be accepted.

Participants can receive health screenings and will be eligible for door prizes. Free refreshments will be provided. For more information, call my Kittanning District Office at (724) 543-3026.

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