In this Update:
2021-2022 Legislative Session Nears the Midway Point
The first year of the 2021-2022 legislative session is coming to a close with enactment of several key measures and more work to do in the second year.
This fall, the Senate passed bills to ease nursing home staff shortages, enable more schools to combat pandemic learning loss, help farmers transport goods and make home deliveries, and make political campaigns more transparent.
That’s just a sample. I’ll highlight these and other bills in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can check a complete rundown here.
Shopping Local Helps Neighbors, Strengthens Communities
Small businesses create 65% of jobs in Pennsylvania, and these local employers could use our help this holiday shopping season.
Shopping local doesn’t just help the local economy, it builds relationships within the community. Buying from business owners you trust makes shopping experiences more enjoyable because you know where the products are coming from and the people behind those products.
When you shop locally, many of the goods and services are locally sourced or crafted. This means that many of the items are one of a kind and carry a unique story. It’s not always possible, but when you can, I hope you will support your local employers this season and year-round.
Preparing Sites for Jobs: State Assistance is Available
Municipalities, municipal authorities, redevelopment authorities, industrial development agencies and private developers can apply now for funding to prepare sites for jobs-producing development.
The Business in Our Sites program has no maximum or minimum loan amount. However, the amount of the grant may not exceed $4 million or 40% of the total combined grant and loan award, whichever is less. Private developers are only eligible for loans.
Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2022. The program is overseen by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
Rural Broadband Loans, Grants Available Through Federal ReConnect Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it has begun accepting applications for up to $1.15 billion in loans and grants to help people in rural areas get access to high-speed internet.
Those eligible for the funding, which is being made available through the ReConnect Program, include state, local or territory governments; corporations; Native American tribes; limited liability companies; and cooperative organizations.
According to the USDA, the funding is available for projects that serve rural areas where at least 90% of the households lack broadband service at speeds of 100/20 Mbps. USDA says it will give funding priority to projects that will serve people in low-density rural areas and areas lacking internet access services at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps.
Applications for funding must be submitted by Feb. 22, 2022 through USDA Rural Development’s online application system on the ReConnect webpage. More resources related to the ReConnect Program can be found on the USDA website.
Dealing with the Challenges of Driving in Snow
No one wants to get behind the wheel when it’s snowing, but sometimes we have no choice. PennDOT offers tips for driving in wintry conditions:
You can also find ideas for preparing your vehicle for winter weather and creating a winter emergency kit.
Remembering Pearl Harbor
Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of Japan’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941. The surprise strike would cost the lives of more than 2,400 military personnel and civilians.
We mark this date knowing that while the attack decimated America’s Pacific fleet, our resilience and industrial might would allow the U.S. to build a military force powerful enough to defeat the Japanese Empire and Nazi Germany.
“This war will give us much trouble in the future,” said Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. “The fact that we have had a small success at Pearl Harbor is nothing.” On Tuesday, we will remember the lives lost 80 years ago, and note the fate that awaits any adversary who questions American resolve.
Hanukkah ends at sundown Monday evening, wrapping up an observance that this year began Nov. 28.
To everyone celebrating Hanukkah, chag urim sameach, “Happy Festival of Lights.”
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