In this Update:
District of Character
This Week in Harrisburg: Legislative Recap
The Senate of Pennsylvania had a busy week in Harrisburg – here is a recap of some legislative news.
SENATE BILL 433: Legislation requiring Senate confirmation of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) director was approved by a bipartisan Senate vote. Senate Bill 433 would increase accountability and ensure the agency is prepared to deal with emergencies efficiently and effectively. PEMA is the lead emergency coordination agency in the commonwealth tasked with guaranteeing the safety of 13 million residents. This includes oversight of 911 centers and the Emergency Alert System, as well as hazardous materials and incidents involving five nuclear power plants.
SENATE BILL 137: The Senate approved a bill to help protect Pennsylvania senior citizens from financial exploitation scams using information that is already available within state government. Under Senate Bill 137, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General would notify the Department of Aging about any investigations or enforcement actions involving someone age 65 or older and related to the Pennsylvania Telemarketer Registration Act.
SENATE BILL 267: The Senate unanimously passed legislation to protect babies whose parents are unable to care for them. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. Senate Bill 267 would expand Pennsylvania’s Safe Haven Law to allow parents to surrender their unharmed baby at participating urgent care centers. The urgent care centers will ensure the newborn is transported to a hospital and placed in the care of a health care provider.
All proposals now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Supporting Pennsylvania’s Community College’s
As a member of the Senate’s Community College Caucus, I was pleased to stand alongside students and House and Senate colleagues in support of increased funding to our state’s fifteen community colleges. The 40th Senate District is proud to have Northampton Community College providing quality and affordable education – supporting workforce development and providing the skills for family-sustaining jobs. Thank you to our caucus chair, Senator Devlin Robinson for hosting this press conference.
It’s Tick Season!
As many of you are aware, I have been a long-time advocate for policies to combat Lyme / Tick Borne Disease – Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of Lyme disease cases. Several years ago, I was able to establish state funding to offer Pennsylvania’s FREE tick-testing at Pennsylvania’s Tick Research Lab located at East Stroudsburg University.
The university provides testing on ticks for harmful diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and more. Testing a tick for diseases is extremely helpful in early diagnosis and can be used as a tool with your doctor.
To remove a tick, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin’s surface as possible and then pull upward with a steady, even pressure. Avoid twisting or jerking as this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
For more information about tick-borne diseases or how to submit a tick for testing here.
Broadband Grant Program Opens May 10
The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority recently approved the Pennsylvania Broadband Infrastructure Program which will provide $200 million in funding to businesses, nonprofits, local governments and economic development organizations.
This program will fund line extension and development projects, as well as large-scale regional infrastructure projects. Upon completion, projects must deliver service that meets or exceeds symmetrical download and upload speeds of 100 Megabits per second, with prioritization being given to fiber-optic deployment.
The application period will begin May 10 and will close July 10. View program guidelines here.
Register to Vote by May 1
The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania’s May 16 primary election is Monday, May 1. Your county election board must receive your application for a mail-in or absentee ballot by Tuesday, May 9.
To legally register, individuals must be a citizen of the United States, reside in their local voting precincts at least 30 days prior to the election and be at least age 18 on Election Day, Tuesday, May 16. Once registered to vote, you are not required to register again unless you change your residence, name or political party affiliation.
Voter registration forms, mail-in ballot applications and absentee ballot applications are available here or from your local county’s Board of Elections. You can also use the site to check your registration status.
Call Before You Dig
As the weather improves, more people are doing outdoor projects. To stay safe during your excavation project and avoid hitting an underground utility line, call PA One Call by dialing 8-1-1 before you dig.
State law requires contractors and residents to contact PA One Call at least three days prior to excavation. This minimizes risk to the contractors or homeowners who are doing the digging; to utility workers and emergency responders who are mobilized to deal with the damage; and to bystanders who live, work or travel near the locations of the incidents.
Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 to connect with the One Call system, while out-of-state residents or businesses can call 1-800-242-1776. Learn more here.
Around the 40th Senate District
Last weekend, in Lackawanna County, I attended UNICO National Keystone Chapter’s 11th annual charity pig roast – benefiting the Make-A-Wish foundation. Always so heartwarming to see the kindness within our communities that support amazing work for those who deserve it most.
This week, I stopped at Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ legislative conference in Harrisburg. Great to see so many familiar faces doing great work for the municipalities in the 40th district. As Chairwoman of the Senate Local Government Committee, I value the communication between all levels of government for the most productive work
This week, I had the honor of attending the Inaugural Dinner and Installation Ceremony for the 14th President of East Stroudsburg University (ESU), Kenneth Long. I have worked with President Long for many years in his role as chief administrative, financial and operations officer at ESU and we are truly blessed to have his experience, professionalism and hard work dedicated to here at ESU as president.
This week, Kinsley’s ShopRite in Brodheadsville, PA held their Annual Partners In Caring Hunger-Fighting Initiative. In five weeks, they raised a record breaking 42,000! Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania stated since 2021 food distribution has increased 179% in Monroe County. Every month, 15,000 people served at food banks here locally. Thank you to the Kinsley family for being stewards in our community!
Thank you PennDOT! As a reminder, Milford Road (Rt. 209) from Marshall’s Creek to Eagle Valley is getting PAVED! Years of pushing for attention to this section of roadway – happy to see it is getting done! The work is being done through the evening hours and is expected to be completed in the month of May.
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