In this Update:
2021 Legislative Roundup: Children & Families
Among the key bills passed by the Senate in the first half of the year are several that strengthen protections for children and older Pennsylvanians. They include:
Act 20 of 2021 aligns the Family Caregiver Support Act with federal standards, expands the definition of “care receiver” to add a child being raised by a grandparent and an adult with a disability who is cared for by an older adult, and makes other changes to help families.
Act 42 of 2021 allows a criminal justice agency to share information relating to an allegation or instance of child abuse with a county agency or the Department of Human Services to investigate, or with a children’s advocacy center to provide services to investigating agencies.
Act 48 of 2021 gives the Attorney General’s office concurrent jurisdiction with county district attorneys to investigate individuals who use their position of trust to financially exploit older adults and care-dependent people.
Act 49 of 2021 targets elder abuse by making it a misdemeanor for a professional caretaker to post pictures of care-dependent individuals on social media without permission with the intent to ridicule or demean.
Act 53 of 2021 increases the penalties for those convicted of child pornography and permits the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to increase penalties for those convicted of the sexual abuse of children when the victim is known to the defendant.
A complete list of notable bills passed by the Senate this year can be found here.
Bedford Open House – August 10
My Bedford office relocated to 129 E. Penn Street. Please join me Tuesday, August 10, from 11 am to 1 pm. We will be available to answer specific state government questions or explain the many legislative services we can offer.
Centennial Birthday Celebration
This week I had the honor to present a Senate of Pennsylvania Citation to John Adams. John’s 100th birthday was on July 13. He served this country with honor and distinction as a Combat Aircraft Carrier Pilot in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Mr. Adams served in the European and Pacific Theaters aboard the aircraft carriers USS Kasaan Bay and USS Intrepid, from which he flew various aircraft. For his dedicated and distinguished service, he was awarded numerous citations for bravery. Mr. Adams is the proud father of seven children and also has been blessed with twenty-two grandchildren and thirty-three great-grandchildren. Happy Birthday Mr. Adams!
Cambria County Military Hall of Fame
On Wednesday I had the privilege to recognize the 2021 Cambria County Military Hall of Fame Inductees at the 1st Summit Arena at Cambria County War Memorial. Vincent Obsitnik, Michael Capelli, Paul Clawson, Harry Raab, Jr. and Horace Pysher received this well-deserved recognition for their exceptional commitment to our country. Congratulations and thank you!
State Government Merger to Save Taxpayer Dollars
Legislation merging the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole was recently signed into law.
The new law transfers supervision of offenders and certain administrative functions from the Board to the Department, but preserves parole decision–making responsibilities within the Board. The merger is projected to save taxpayers $29.6 million through 2023 when fully implemented by eliminating redundant procedures and sharing of resources and personnel.
Preventing Child Deaths in Hot Cars
Since 1998, an average of one child per year has died in Pennsylvania after being left in a hot car. All of these tragic deaths could have been prevented.
More than half of pediatric vehicular heat stroke deaths involve children under 2 years of age. By far, the leading circumstance is children forgotten by a caregiver.
The National Safety Council advises parents and caregivers to stick to a routine and avoid distractions to reduce the risk of forgetting a child. Place a purse, briefcase or even a left shoe in the back seat to force you to take one last look before walking away. Keep car doors locked so children cannot gain access and teach them that cars are not play areas. And look in the back seat before you leave and lock your vehicle.
Increased Unemployment Compensation Fraud and Identity Theft
According to the Department of Labor and Industry, unemployment phishing attempts are at an all-time high. Before clicking on any link or responding to suspicious messages, claimants are asked to review all verified UC contact methods.
What to do when someone files for unemployment benefits using your identity: