Hello! Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 23rd Senate District and look forward to working with you toward building a better future for Pennsylvania!
This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Tioga and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
On the Horizon…
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania Board of Directors will Hold a Public Hearing on Rural Workforce Availability and Population Change May 25 at Penn College in Williamsport.
Join the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) May 24 for a Webinar to Learn More About the Recently-Released Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative.
Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority Accepting Applications for New Broadband Infrastructure Program Grants.
May 21-27, 2023 is National EMS Week! This week is a time to celebrate EMS practitioners across the county for the vital work they do.
Out and About
More than 180 students from 13 schools in Bradford, Lycoming, Tioga, and Union counties converged on Pennsylvania College of Technology’s campus on Thursday to participate in my Student Government Seminar.
The seminar gives high school students the opportunity to debate important issues, develop legislation, and vote on “mock bills” in an open session.
One of the largest Senate-organized student government seminars in the Commonwealth, the event hosts teachers; local and state government officials; lobbyists and special interests; and members of the media in addition to the student representatives.
Thank you to all of this year’s volunteers, participants, and sponsors!
Last week, members of the Senate Majority Policy Committee visited the Pennsylvania College of Technology for a tour of the campus, hosted by Penn College President, Dr. Michael Reed, and Chief Government Relations Officer, Patrick Marty.
The committee learned first-hand about PCT’s unique position to help address rural workforce challenges through their approximately 100 STEM-related academic programs emphasizing hands-on, experiential learning. These programs enable them to provide a steady stream of highly trained graduates to address persistent gaps in business and industry.
Photos courtesy of Cindy Davis Meixel, Writer/Photo Editor, Pennsylvania College of Technology
Congratulations to the Pennsylvania College of Technology’s class of 2023! As chairman, I had the honor of authorizing the conferring of the degrees on behalf of the Board of Directors at the Commencement Ceremonies on May 13th.
Pictured with me are two PCT Graduates, Michael J. Sormilic and Roger D. Bohner, Jr., of Montoursville.
Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in building automation engineering technology and an Associate of Applied Science in electric power generation technology: diesel emphasis. He received the President’s Award, presented for leadership and service to the college, the Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour Award for Leadership and Service to Penn College, and the Earth Science Center Service Award, presented to a graduate who shows exceptional leadership, professionalism, and service to the majors at the Earth Science Center.
Roger earned an Associate of Applied Science in aviation maintenance technician. A retired Army veteran, he previously earned an Associate Degree in general studies in 1982.
Best wishes to all of the graduates!
Last week I was joined by fellow local state lawmakers, along with representatives from the Bridge Educational Foundation, and officials from M&T Bank and Waste Management at St. John Neumann Regional Academy to celebrate the announcement of $32,500 in scholarships awarded to local students.
The scholarships were awarded to students attending St. John Neumann Regional, Epiphany Elementary School, Grace Christian Academy, Trinity Lutheran School, and New Covenant Academy through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
These public-private partnerships strengthen our educational programs, while expanding academic opportunities for our children throughout our state.
Tioga County Commissioners Erick Coolidge and Roger Bunn, both of whom will celebrate retirement at the end of their respective terms, received the Rotary Foundation’s Paul Harris Fellow recognition.
Rotary established the recognition in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarship.
Senate Republicans Work to Strengthen Pennsylvania
As the 2023-24 legislative session is in full swing, my colleagues and I are working to protect Pennsylvania jobs, empower Pennsylvania families and defend Pennsylvania freedoms. These initiatives are reflected in our agenda, and many relevant bills have already passed.
Protecting jobs requires a multifaceted approach that includes energy independence, workforce development and infrastructure advancement.
Families, not government, are the heart of our commonwealth. To empower families, we must provide healthy and safe communities, address mental and behavioral health needs and guarantee access to high-quality schools.
Defending freedom means keeping government out of citizens’ lives and pockets as much as possible and allowing them to be confident in the election process. To do that, we want to reduce the tax burden, cut government red tape and improve election integrity.
Lawmakers Discuss Rural Workforce Challenges During Williamsport Policy Hearing
Population decline, lack of broadband, labor, childcare and housing were a few areas of focus during Wednesday’s Pennsylvania Senate Republican Policy Committee hearing at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.
The committee, chaired by Sen. Dan Laughlin (R- 49), heard testimony from the Department of Labor and Industry, along with representatives from business, local chambers of commerce and local economic and workforce development organizations.
During the hearing, Acting L&I Secretary Nancy Walker noted that every Pennsylvania community is seeing a tight labor market fueled by historically low unemployment and record-high jobs, along with critical industries with worker shortages like health care, education, manufacturing, agriculture, and construction. Rural Pennsylvania is met with additional challenges including access to reliable transportation and internet service.
Kyle Kopko, Executive Director for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative research agency of the General Assembly, testified that between 2010 and 2020, rural Pennsylvania lost nearly 85,000 residents. The Center submitted data that showed the stagnation of Pennsylvania’s rural population, primarily due to more deaths than births, and a steady rural labor force decline, which predates the COVID-19 pandemic.
PTC President Dr. Michael Reed and Vice President of Workforce Development, Shannon Munro, testified further on the College’s unique position to help address rural workforce challenges through their approximately 100 STEM-related academic programs emphasizing hands-on, experiential learning. These programs enable them to provide a steady stream of highly trained graduates to address persistent gaps in business and industry.
The committee followed the hearing with a tour of the Pennsylvania College of Technology campus, hosted by Dr. Reed and Patrick Marty, Chief Government and International Relations Officer.
Monthly Appropriations Update Hints at Moderation of State Revenues
Each month, the Senate Appropriations Committee prepares an update about the state’s financial health. The most recent report shows that tax revenues in April were $15.3 million below estimate, indicating a potential moderation of state revenues. Personal Income Tax collections were also below estimate: $322 million, which is 10% lower than projected.
For the 2022-23 Fiscal Year, revenue collections remain $1.2 billion higher than estimates, driven largely by corporation taxes that are nearly 19% above projections.
The full update, including the monthly revenue report, is available here.
Win $5,290 to Celebrate 529 Day
May 29 is 529 Day, and the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is celebrating with the opportunity to win financial awards for new PA 529 College and Career Savings Program Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) account owners.
The PA 529 GSP allows you to save at today’s tuition rates to meet tomorrow’s tuition costs. PA 529 plans have state and federal tax advantages and can be used for a wide variety of qualifying technical, collegiate and apprenticeship educational expenses.
One new PA 529 GSP account owner will be awarded a $5,290 GSP contribution – enough to cover a year of tuition at a Pennsylvania Community College. There will also be 10 additional regional winners across the state who will each receive a GSP contribution of $2,529.
To be eligible for awards, open a new PA 529 GSP account with at least $10 before May 31. Beneficiaries must be Pennsylvania residents and may not already be the beneficiary of an active PA 529 GSP or PA 529 Investment Plan account. Additional conditions apply; read the official rules here.
National Safe Boating Week: May 20-26
National Safe Boating Week reminds all boaters to brush up on boating safety skills and prepare for the boating season.
In recognition of Safe Boating Week, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is offering free events to introduce people to boating, paddling, and kayaking. Learn more here.