In this Update:
Seward Generating Station Tour
I recently had a chance to join my fellow colleagues from the Senate and House, as well as officials from the Department of Environmental Protection, to tour the Seward Generating Station.
This power plant in southern Indiana County produces electricity by burning refuse coal, which, many times, is found piled on the outskirts of our mining towns.
I appreciated the opportunity to see how the plant operates, as well as the work they are doing with cleaning up old refuse piles and local waterways, like Blacklick Creek.
Thanks to the Kroh family for hosting us as well as everyone that joined in on this informative event.
PSATS ‘Coffee & The Capitol’ Interview
The Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors recently invited me to join them for their monthly “Coffee & The Capitol” conversation.
I appreciated the chance to discuss many issues currently impacting our commonwealth during the interview.
You can watch this video by clicking on the photo above.
‘Trees for Troops’ This Saturday
This program allows folks to dedicate a special tree to our deserving troops in memory or in honor of a friend or loved one.
See the flyer above for more details. If you are unable to attend, you can call 724-463-0570 to have a tree donated.
Town Hall Meeting in Fairfield Township
Thank you to all who participated in my town hall meeting in Fairfield Township, Westmoreland County.
I greatly valued hearing concerns and thoughts on various issues that are impacting our local communities and state government. The opportunity to have a discussion like this offers an important perspective as we work together to strengthen Pennsylvania.
A special thanks to Fairfield Township Volunteer Fire Company #1 for the hospitality and use of their facility.
New Law Makes It Easier for Students of Military Families to Enroll in School
Recently signed into law, Act 24 of 2023 makes it easier for an estimated 185,000 students of relocating military families to enroll in school.
Previously, students of military families that transferred on official military permanent change of station orders were not eligible to register in classes, enroll in specialized academic programs, or participate in lotteries for charter or magnet schools until they were physically located within the district boundaries. The delay caused students to miss deadlines, requiring them to shift their planned courses of study, which forced some to take summer classes, or even graduate later than expected.
The new law allows such families to establish residency for purposes of enrollment in the school district in which they will be residing by providing the school district with a copy of their military transfer order. This enables them to access registration and enrollment at the same time it is open to the general population.
Bill to Punish Looters Wins Bipartisan Senate Approval
In the aftermath of widespread looting in Philadelphia and many other cities, the Senate approved legislation to prevent these crimes by a bipartisan vote.
According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, organized retail theft has resulted in the loss of almost 700,000 jobs nationwide due to more than $125 billion in economic losses. While large retail stores have been the primary target, 54% of the state’s small business owners said they have seen an increase in shoplifting in the past year. These hardworking Pennsylvanians who are trying to provide for themselves and their families rightly deserve our support.
Senate Bill 596 would create a first-degree felony offense, which can result in up to 20 years in prison, for thieves who steal $20,000 worth of goods and intend to resell them. The bill would also create the Office of Deputy Attorney General for Organized Retail Crime Theft to pursue the leaders of these criminal rings.
Babies Receive Life-Saving Care with New Law
Legislation approved by the Senate to provide critical nourishment for medically fragile babies is now law.
In very low birth-weight babies and other medically compromised infants, human donor milk protects against serious health complications that can lead to longer hospital stays, multiple medical and surgical procedures, readmissions, lifelong disability or even death.
The law grants children who are less than a year old access to medically prescribed pasteurized human donor milk by requiring Medical Assistance coverage in inpatient and outpatient settings. To qualify for coverage, the child must meet medical necessity requirements or the child’s mother must be medically or physically unable to produce breast milk in an amount needed to meet the child’s needs.
High Schoolers: Can You Fix These Transportation Issues?
High school students are invited to participate in the seventh annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge. The statewide competition pushes teams of students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges.
Regional winners will be selected by PennDOT’s Engineering Districts. Those winners will move on to a statewide competition where an overall winner will be selected.
Students can find the details of the 2023-24 Challenge and project guidelines here. All submissions must be received by Jan. 26, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.
Safely Discard Your Unwanted Prescription Drugs
Help keep your loved ones and community safe by discarding old and unwanted prescription medications through Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Program.
Items that can be accepted include over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, prescription patches, prescription ointments, vitamins and pet medicines. Hydrogen peroxide, thermometers, iodine-containing medications, compressed cylinders or aerosols, alcohol and illicit drugs cannot be accepted.
There are nearly 900 locations statewide. Find one near you here.
Remembering Pearl Harbor
“A date which will live in infamy…” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Dec. 7 marks 82 years since the surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After a decade of strained relations between the United States and Japan, that act drew the United States into World War II. While thousands of lives were lost, they were not lost in vain. The gruesome and exhausting war ultimately ended in a victory of Allied powers around the globe.
As we enjoy our American ideals and freedoms because of battles fought and wars won, please thank a veteran for his or her service.
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