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.
Have a Happy Independence Day
Every year, we look forward to the Fourth of July holiday as an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends by grilling out, enjoying the warm weather, and viewing the community fireworks display. As we enjoy the day of fun, we must not let the significance of our nation’s birthday escape us. Two hundred and forty-five years ago, our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. By signing the Declaration, a new nation was established, ruled by the people and for the people.
I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July celebrating our nation’s birthday.
More than $1.4 Million Granted to Fire, EMS Companies in 23rd Senatorial District
State fire grants help cover the costs of operations, training & more
Fire and emergency medical service companies across Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties will be receiving grant allocations through the Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program.
We are blessed to have a number of highly skilled and dedicated individuals in our area who volunteer their time and efforts to protect our communities. These grant disbursements will help alleviate some of the burden faced by these organizations on a day to day basis.
The grant program is administered by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner and is available to all fire and EMS companies as well as volunteer rescue squads. The money can be used for construction, repair or renovation of their facilities, the purchase of new equipment, training and education, recruitment or retention efforts, as well as covering lost income due to the interruption of fundraising during the COVID-19 pandemic.
*Note – Agreements must be submitted by the recipients to complete the application / funding process. The deadline to submit the grant agreements is July 1, 2021.
For a listing of awardees, click here.
JUST IN: Governor VETOES Comprehensive Voter Rights Bill, Vaccine Passport Bill
This week, Governor Wolf vetoed two important bills approved by the Legislature. The Voting Rights Protection Act that passed both chambers of the General Assembly reflects the legislative branch’s work to identify and fix flaws in our election system, and ensures no voter would be disenfranchised by ensuring every single legal voter in the state would receive a qualifying voter ID under the bill – free of charge.
The process included review of best practices in multiple states including red, blue, and purple states, as well as many bipartisan hearings that were held over several months. The recommendations and changes identified in these hearings were all reflected in this important piece of legislation.
Additionally, the governor also chose today to veto Senate Bill 618, which would have prohibited “vaccine passports” in Pennsylvania. This bill had a very simple purpose – to limit government intrusion into people’s lives. Governor Wolf’s veto is a clear indication that he believes he knows best how to handle everyone else’s personal decisions – despite all evidence to the contrary.
Senate Passes Kayden’s Law to Protect Children during Custody Disputes
The Senate approved and sent to the House of Representatives legislation known as Kayden’s Law to increase protections for children during child custody disputes.
The legislation is named after Kayden Mancuso, a 7-year-old Bucks County resident murdered by her biological father in 2018 during a visit ordered by the court, despite evidence of his abusive and violent behavior.
The bill imposes safety conditions and restrictions on visitation in cases of abuse, modifies the factors that a judge must consider in making a custody award to put the focus on the health and safety of the child, and recommends better training of all court personnel involved in custody cases.
Senate Helps Open Agritourism to More Farmers
Agritourism includes farm markets, pick-your-own produce, corn mazes, paintball, petting zoos, hayrides and farm tours. They can make the difference between having a positive year on the ledger or ending up in the red, especially for small family farmers.
The Senate approved the Agritourism Activity Protection Act to create a statewide standard for agritourism and provide limited civil liability protection for persons who offer agritourism activities on a farm and meet requirements.
The legislation was returned to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.
DON’T MISS IT! The Center for Rural Pennsylvania Launches 2021 Rural Policy Summit Series July 22
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, of which I serve as Chair, has announced its new virtual 2021 Rural Policy Summit series, the first of which will be held July 22, 2021 at 9AM.
The Center’s plan for the Rural Policy Summit is to bring together a wide range of groups, including policymakers, nonprofit leaders, academic researchers, industry professionals, and others interested in “rural,” to learn about and discuss major policy issues that will affect rural Pennsylvania over the next 5 to 10 years.
The five topic areas for the summit are education, health care, local services, economic development, and agriculture.
The series is being cohosted by the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, Pennsylvania Rural Development Council, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Downtown Center, and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s Community Development and Regional Outreach Department.
The Rural Policy Summit will be held via Zoom webinar. Attendees are asked to please register in advance, click here.
First Payments of American Rescue Plan Funding Made This Week
The first payments under the American Rescue Plan Act’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program have been sent to qualifying Pennsylvania municipalities this week.
Pennsylvania counties, cities, boroughs and townships are eligible for $6.15 billion from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program to aid in recovering from the pandemic. Nationwide, $350 billion was allocated for the program.
Municipalities now have until July 29th, 2021 to submit applications to DCED. A municipality must apply in order to receive funds.
Municipalities should be moving to submit by mid-July at the latest for processing purposes. Please know that within the next week, municipalities in Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties that have not applied for ARP funding will receive a certified letter from DCED asking to either apply or decline the funds.
In the meantime, it was brought to our attention that there may also be some scam calls starting. It is not necessary for your municipality to pay to get a SAMs number. Doing that does not speed-up the process. A municipality needs an official communication from SAMs outlining the completed registration.
For any technical issues, it’s important to stay in contact with DCED Customer Service staff Monday-Friday 8:30AM-5PM at 800-379-7448.
For Keystone Login account assistance or password resets, please contact the Keystone Global Help Desk at 877-328-0995.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my Williamsport Office with all other questions or concerns at 570-322-6457.
FREE SBDC WEBINAR: Business Startup Basics
Do you dream about starting your own business, but don’t know where to begin?
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Bucknell University is hosting a free webinar on Thursday, July 8, from 10AM-12PM to help aspiring entrepreneurs take the first step to business success in Union, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Juniata, and Perry counties.
This webinar is offered at no fee through the support of M&T Bank, Fulton Bank, Northumberland National Bank, and Sholley Insurance Agency through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Neighborhood Assistance Program.
Application Opens for 2021 Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside of the Surface Block Grant
$18 million Available Statewide for Eligible Projects
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced on Tuesday that the application site for the 2021 Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Surface Block Grant Program is now open, and applications will be accepted through October 15.
Eligible project sponsors include local governments, transit agencies and school districts across Pennsylvania.
Defined as ‘transportation alternatives,’ examples of eligible projects may include stormwater management, non-infrastructure projects such bicycle and pedestrian education, conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails, and construction of turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas.
All participating large Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) selections and all District and Planning Partner application review comments will be due January 7, 2022. The statewide project selection committee will meet in January 2022 to recommend projects for receipt of statewide Transportation Set-Aside funds. Approximately $18 million in funds will be made available statewide.