In this Update:
Senate Votes to Streamline and Increase School Safety Measures
This week, the Senate passed House Bill 27 to more effectively keep Pennsylvania children safe at school by streamlining and increasing school safety measures. You can watch a video of my Floor Remarks about this bill here.
House Bill 27 would consolidate school safety programs and operations under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and create a new Executive Committee under PCCD to review school safety issues and to identify current and emerging trends.
The bill would also ensure schools and counties can develop best practices for emergency response by developing a safe schools collaborative, release $100 million that was included in the 2023-24 state budget for K-12 mental health programs and provide greater flexibility for school districts experiencing shortages of substitute teachers.
Advancing this school safety legislation demonstrates what we can do when we work together in a bipartisan manner. By taking these steps, we are protecting our most precious resource – our children. We remain hopeful the House will follow suit and demonstrate they can fulfill this responsibility too. Read More
Senate Welcomes Former POW Jessica Lynch
In honor of POW/MIA Recognition Day in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Senate welcomed retired Pfc. U.S. Army Jessica Lynch to the Senate floor.
While serving in Iraq, Lynch was captured on March 23, 2003, and was held captive by Iraqi forces after her unit was ambushed, leaving her severely injured.
She was initially listed as missing in action. After some time in the custody of the Iraqi army regiment that had captured her, she was taken to a hospital in An Nasiriyah. State Sen. Devlin Robinson’s unit aided in the mission to search for her and her subsequent rescue.
Thank you to Jessica for sharing her story with us, and to all the brave men and women who have, and who continue to serve our nation.
We acknowledge the extreme sacrifices and offer our support for former prisoners of war who have shown tremendous courage in standing up for our freedoms.
PA Voters Get Greater Say with Senate Bill
The Senate passed a bill that would give Pennsylvania voters a significant say in presidential elections by moving up the primary election date.
In many presidential elections, the outcome is largely decided before Pennsylvania voters have a chance to cast a ballot. Moving up the spring election date gives voters in the fifth-largest state a better chance of weighing in on the presidential primary.
Currently, the primary takes place on the fourth Tuesday of April. Senate Bill 224 would move the primary to the third Tuesday in March, making the next presidential primary election date March 19, 2024. The change would also prevent a conflict with Passover, during which observant Jewish Pennsylvanians are prohibited from writing, driving or using electricity.
Constituents Visit the State Capitol
This past week I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with constituents Gilbert Woodley and his daughter Ali, as well as Kelly Knupp and her son Sean, who all visited the state Capitol.
Following a photo with Sen. Doug Mastriano, it was great to introduce them during the Pennsylvania Senate’s session.
Thank you for stopping by!
Tax Seminars Held Virtually and Across PA
Tax professionals can learn about changes to state tax laws and policies during one-day seminars offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue held across the state and virtually.
The tax seminars will educate tax professionals on Personal Income Tax, sales tax corporate taxes, compliance initiatives and using the department’s website to establish tax accounts for new businesses, file tax returns and pay state taxes.
Find a local or virtual seminar here.
Grants Available to Increase Economic Benefits Boaters Offer PA Communities
Communities can apply now for grants to enhance the economic and social benefits of providing convenient boating access along their waterways. Townships, boroughs, municipal and county governments, and nonprofit groups may apply. Private businesses and service clubs are not eligible.
Applicants can seek grants for site acquisition, development, expansion, prevention of the spread of aquatic invasive species and rehabilitation of recreational boat access facilities. Eligible construction projects may include boat ramps, courtesy floats, restrooms, access roads, parking areas and signs. Funds may also be used to make facilities ADA compliant.
While the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will accept applications from anywhere in the commonwealth, special consideration will be given to projects that provide public boating access in the Delaware River watershed. Learn more or apply online by Dec. 30.
Yom Kippur Begins Sunday
Yom Kippur – the holiest day on the Jewish calendar – begins at nightfall on Sunday, Sept. 24. The Day of Atonement, which ends the following day at nightfall, is spent fasting, praying and seeking forgiveness.
I wish everyone who observes this important holiday a meaningful Yom Kippur.
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