In this Update:
Honoring Sgt. John T. Boxler
On February 25, 1991, Sgt. John T. Boxler and 27 fellow soldiers were killed when a scud missile struck their barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Today, just over 32 years later, I had the honor and privilege of officially naming the bridge that he traveled daily, in his memory. Sgt. Boxler served two tours of duty in Vietnam before serving as a member of the 458th Engineer Battalion. Sgt. Boxler graduated from Richland High School in 1964, where today’s ceremony took place. The SGT. John T. Boxler Memorial Bridge, located in Riverside, Cambria County, will serve as a constant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice he made, so we can share the many freedoms that we have today.
Read Across America Day
I would like to thank the Johnstown Elementary students, staff, and administration for such a great visit. I enjoyed reading The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss to the students to celebrate his birthday and Read Across America Day.
Centre County Open House
I will be hosting an Open House for the public at my Centre County office on Monday, March 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The office is located at 341 Science Park Road, Suite 201, State College, PA 16803.
The event is designed to introduce the public to their new State Senator and his staff. I encourage all to attend to learn about the various constituent services he and his office can provide. Senate district offices assist constituents with many services, including PennDOT registrations, status reports on legislation, birth certificate applications, property tax and rent rebate forms, notary applications or unemployment compensation questions and much more.
I want my new constituents to know that my office is a resource for them. I look forward to seeing many new faces at this event.
Residents of the 35th Senatorial District can get assistance Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the new location located at 341 Science Park Rd., Suite 201, State College, PA 16803, or by calling 814-806-1197.
Senate Votes to Restrict Diversion of Transportation Funding
To bolster funding for Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure, the Senate passed my legislation to restrict the diversion of transportation funding out of the Motor License Fund. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 121 dedicates the transportation charges to road and bridge safety projects, while ensuring the Pennsylvania State Police receive reliable, sustainable funding from sources beyond the susceptible Motor License Fund. The bill caps transfers from the Motor License Fund at $250 million in 2023-24 then reduces the transfer by $50 million annually. The bill seeks to end the transfers by 2028-29 and allocate all transportation fees for road and bridge improvements.
Senate Urges President Biden to Restart Keystone XL Pipeline
The Senate adopted a resolution myself and Gene Yaw (R-23) regarding the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Senate Resolution 9 urges the president of the United States to restart and expedite the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which had its permit canceled through an executive order on President Joe Biden first day in office.
This resolution sends a strong message that Pennsylvanians want to restart the Keystone XL pipeline. This resolution, coupled with our calls upon the governor to remove the Commonwealth from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, will position ourselves toward North American energy independence.
A report from the Department of Energy showcased that the construction of the pipeline would have generated between 16,149-59,468 jobs annually and contribute $3.4 billion to the United States Gross Domestic Product. While President Biden blocked American jobs, he waived sanctions on the Russian firm responsible for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.
The resolution will now be transmitted to President Biden and members of Congress, including the entire Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation.
Hazardous Materials Transported by Rail Hearing
This week, as Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, I held a public hearing on Hazardous Materials Transported by Rail. For more information visit here.
2023 State of the City Address
A member of my staff attended the Cambria Regional Chamber 2023 State of the City Address.
Penn State University’s College of Engineering
Congratulations to Penn State University’s College of Engineering on a beautifully designed new building. Many brilliant young minds will learn, grow, and prosper in this facility.
Upcoming Food Bank
Save the date! The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will be holding a drive-up food distribution on Wednesday, March 8th from 12-2 p.m. at the Galleria Johnstown, 500 Galleria Drive, Johnstown. You do not have to pre-register for this event.
Senate Republicans Announce Priorities and Principles for 2023-24 Session
With the two-year legislative session getting into full swing, I joined colleagues this week in announcing Senate Republican priorities and principles for 2023-24.
Our legislative efforts will be focused on protecting jobs, empowering families and defending freedoms.
Protecting Pennsylvania jobs requires a comprehensive approach that includes ensuring energy independence, promoting workforce development and continued improvement of our infrastructure.
Empowering Pennsylvania families means providing healthy and safe communities, addressing mental and behavioral health needs, and guaranteeing access to high-quality educational opportunities.
Defending freedom means keeping government out of the lives and pockets of citizens as much as possible, and instilling confidence in the electoral process.
Senate Republicans will build on our successful efforts last session that were focused on:
Senate Republican leaders discussed our 2023-24 priorities and principles here.
Committee Votes to Eliminate Costs for Genetic Testing and Breast Cancer Screenings
Legislation I’m co-sponsoring to eliminate all out-of-pocket costs for genetic testing of hereditary cancer syndromes and supplemental breast screenings for women with a high lifetime-risk of developing breast cancer took a step toward Senate passage this week.
Senate Bill 8, a bipartisan, first-of-its-kind, comprehensive breast cancer screening and testing bill was approved by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and is poised for consideration by the full Senate.
Genetic testing often leads to early cancer detection or preventive treatments and procedures. It not only informs the tested individual, but also provides vital information to family members who may have a high likelihood of inheriting a gene mutation.
Senate Bill 8 expands on a 2020 law that secured insurance coverage for breast MRIs by removing any applicable patient copays, deductible and coinsurance for this preventive screening. A supplemental screening is necessary because of failed early detection by screening mammography among women with dense breasts and those at high lifetime risk of breast cancer.
Homeowner Septic Program Helps Cover Cost of Septic Systems, Sewer Hook-ups
Functioning on-lot septic systems, laterals and connections to a public sewer system are essential for public health but are expensive to repair or replace.
The Homeowner Septic Program offers affordable loans for the repair or replacement of on-lot septic systems and sewer laterals, or a first-time sewer connection from an existing home. The revamped program now features:
The program is funded and administered by Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA).
For more information or to start the PENNVEST application process, homeowners should contact a participating lender or PHFA at 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466), then press “0” to be connected with the Customer Solutions Center. Information on the program is also available here. Lenders interested in participating should visit the PHFA website for more details.
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