In this Update:
Farmers from Cambria and Bedford Counties Visit Harrisburg
This week I had the honor of welcoming farmers from Cambria and Bedford counties to Harrisburg. In the morning we discussed the various issues impacting farmers in our community and how I can further advocate for our Commonwealth’s top industry in Harrisburg. Later in the day, I reconnected with the group for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Annual Luncheon.
Students from University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Visit the Capitol
I had the distinct privilege of meeting and giving a tour of the Senate floor to a few students from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown this week at the Capitol. Thank you for coming to visit and best wishes in your future endeavors!
Religious Leaders from Cambria County Visit Harrisburg
Several religious leaders from Cambria County visited Harrisburg this week! It was an honor to show them around the Capitol. Thank you for visiting!
5th Annual Vietnam Era Recognition Day
While I was in Harrisburg this week, it was a privilege for my staff to attend the 5th Annual Vietnam Era Recognition Day hosted by Veteran Community Initiatives, VCI, Laurel Highlands Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA 364), and the Conemaugh Valley Veterans (CVV). This event served as a humbling reminder of the sacrifices our Vietnam Veterans and their families made in service of our nation. Thank you to all Vietnam Veterans for your service to our nation!
Events in 35th Senatorial District
RSVP today here or call 814-266-2277.
Are the costs of your electric and gas bills going up? Ever wonder about shopping for your suppliers? I have invited the members of the PUC to join me for a workshop on “How to Shop for your Energy Supplier.” Join me on April 26th at 6 pm via my website or our Facebook LIVE for this important workshop. An audio-only option is available upon request. Register for the event and submit your questions for the PUC here. The PUC will be answering your questions during our workshop. I hope you will join us for this event!
Ribbon Cutting in Upper Yoder Township
My staff attended a Ribbon Cutting for the new traffic signal at the intersection of Menoher Boulevard and Woodmont Road in Upper Yoder Township, Cambria County.
Attention individuals who serve/sell alcohol. There will be a free RAMP (Responsible Alcohol Management Program) training available sponsored by the Cambria County Drug & Alcohol Program and Learning Lamp. There are two dates available with the first being Monday, April 4th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Please see here for further details.
Spring Clean-up in DuBois
Attention DuBois Residents! Spring Clean Up is scheduled for April 23, 2022 from 9-11 a.m. Individuals and groups should pre-register by emailing DuBoisCleanUp@gmail.com or leaving a message at 814-375-4769.
Senate Acts to Extend Pandemic Waivers of Government Regulations
The state Senate this week voted to extend waivers of several regulatory statutes, rules and regulations to aid in Pennsylvania’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate Bill 1019 was signed into law as Act 14 of 2022.
The waivers affecting health and human services, as well as consumers, workers and veterans, were due to expire Thursday. Act 14 extends the waivers until June 30, 2022.
The waivers were initially implemented as part of the COVID-19 emergency declaration in 2020. In response to overreach by Gov. Tom Wolf, voters in 2021 stripped him of the authority he claimed to extend emergency declarations without approval of the General Assembly. Wednesday’s vote marks the third time the legislature has extended waivers.
Some of the waivers extended through June 2022 allow for:
The new law also requires commonwealth agencies to issue a report to the public and the General Assembly identifying regulatory statutes, rules or regulations that were temporarily suspended that the agency believes should be considered for a permanent suspension.
Independent Analysis Concludes RGGI Carbon Tax Could Increase Pennsylvania Electricity Costs 3.8 Times more than Wolf Administration Projections
Impartial analysis from the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) projects the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) could nearly quadruple new electricity costs for consumers.
The nonpartisan IFO reviewed the Wolf administration’s outdated RGGI modeling and presented its findings to a joint hearing of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee on Tuesday.
IFO Director Matthew Knittel said Pennsylvania could spend upwards of $781 million annually on emissions credits at the RGGI auctions – nearly four times the amount anticipated by the administration’s taxpayer-funded 2020 analysis used to justify Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI. The IFO also warned members that “those costs would be pushed through to final customers.”
The IFO analysis also concluded that emissions reductions between 2008 and 2020 for the 10 RGGI states were comparable to non-participating states.
The administration’s effort to force Pennsylvania into RGGI is being challenged in court and could face additional legislative action.
“Purple Star Schools” to Support Military Families Approved by Senate
The Senate approved legislation to have Pennsylvania join 28 other states in establishing a Purple Star School Program for students from military families. The measure was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The program is a state-sponsored recognition designed to acknowledge a public, private or charter school that has committed to supporting the unique educational and social-emotional needs of military-connected students. A Purple Star School designation means better ease and consistency in transferring schools so children experience fewer educational gaps and obtain meaningful support when frequently moving to new towns and schools as a military child.
Senate Bill 1028 would provide “Purple Star” recognition to schools that: maintain a website with resources for military-connected students and their families, designate a staff point of contact for these students, provide training to school staff to best equip them to support these families, establish a partnership with a military installation, and take other steps.
Assistance Available for COVID-Related Funeral Expenses
Pennsylvanians who incurred funeral expenses for a COVID-19-related death can apply for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) COVID-19 funeral assistance program to help ease the financial burden brought on by the pandemic.
The program will provide reimbursement for expenses incurred for funeral services, including but not limited to transportation to identify the deceased individual, the transfer of remains, a burial plot or cremation niche, a marker or headstone, clergy or officiant services, the use of funeral home equipment or staff, and cremation or interment costs.
Eligible applicants can apply for the funeral assistance program by calling FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 1-844-684-6333 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday to begin the application process.
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