In this update:
Coffee and Conversation in Ferguson Township
On Friday, I attended Coffee and Conversation at The Naked Egg Café hosted by Ferguson Township. It was great to speak with township officials and residents about concerns they are facing in their community! Ferguson Township is a part of the new 35th Senatorial District that will take effect on December 1st, 2022.
There will be a free backpack giveaway for K-12 students on Sunday July 31, 2022 at the Wireless Zone, 592 Galleria Drive in Johnstown from 1 to 4!
Citation Presentation to Rylee Kohan
I had the privilege to present a Pennsylvania State Senate Citation to Rylee Kohan for winning the 11/12 year old Girls 50 Yard Backstroke gold medal during the 2022 PA YMCA State Swimming Championships. Rylee is a student at Westmont Hilltop School District in Cambria County. Congratulations and best of luck in the future!
Ribbon Cutting at Elite MedSpa
This week, my staff attended the Ribbon Cutting for Elite MedSpa in Richland Township, Cambria County. Congratulations and Best of Luck!
Grand Opening of The Weathered Farmhouse
Congratulations to JT Hoffman and Zach Reese on the Grand Opening of The Weathered Farmhouse in Johnstown. It is always nice to see small businesses opening in the district. Best wishes for a successful future!
Veterans Food Drive
Laurel Highlands Historical Village will be conducting a Veterans Food Drive Friday, July 22, 2022 at the Ebensburg Walmart.
Collections of all food items, paper goods, drinks, hygiene products, small kitchen appliances, and gift cards will be excepted. They are also in need of electric razors, pressure cookers, air fryers, food saver machines and bags. For more information call Ron Shawley at 814-241-6123.
Proposed Constitutional Amendments One Step Closer to Voter Input
To ensure that citizens are heard, the General Assembly approved a measure that would put five proposed amendments to the state constitution on the ballot for voters to decide. The measure must be approved again in the 2023-24 legislative session to go before the voters.
The proposed amendments would:
The process of amending the constitution is lengthy and deliberative, and will give citizens across the commonwealth the appropriate time to weigh the merits of the proposals and have their voices heard.
Crime Victims will Receive More Support Under New Law
Legislation passed by the Senate and signed into law this month gives crime victims legal standing in court, updates crime victim compensation, provides notice of events in the judicial process and enhances victim confidentiality for domestic and sexual violence crimes.
Act 77 of 2022 ensures victims can now stand in court and assert their own rights and it gives them recourse when their rights are ignored.
Giving victims standing was part of Marsy’s Law, a constitutional amendment to guarantee crime victims’ rights. More than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians voted in favor of the amendment in 2019. However, the outcome was set aside by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court due to a technicality with the ballot question.
New Laws Aim to Improve Information Sharing and Health Outcomes
Bipartisan legislation designed to improve the ability of health care providers to treat the overall health of patients is now law.
Act 32 and Act 33 of 2022 amend the Mental Health Procedures Act and the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act to allow for sharing of patient information among providers, facilities and insurers. The changes would also meet existing Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements to ensure patient confidentiality.
Under current law, mental health and physical health information cannot be fully shared among providers in Pennsylvania. The proposed changes would bring Pennsylvania in line with the majority of states that already share this information and are seeing improved patient outcomes.
Call 988 for Suicide Prevention and Crisis Support
Pennsylvanians now have an easier way to connect to behavioral or mental health crisis services. Dialing 988 will connect callers directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The Lifeline’s trained crisis response professionals support individuals considering suicide, self-harm, or any behavioral or mental health need for themselves or people looking for help for a loved one. Lifeline services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no cost to the caller.
988 counselors located at 13 crisis call centers around Pennsylvania can immediately provide phone-based support and connections to local resources.
National Guard Needs Mentors for At-Risk Teens
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs needs adult mentors to work with at-risk teens in the Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy (KSCA) at Ft. Indiantown Gap.
The program provides Pennsylvania teens who are struggling an opportunity to achieve the discipline and skills necessary to succeed as productive and responsible citizens through an engaging and structured residential experience. Cadets will be guided to improve their academic standing and increase their potential for future employment or further education.
Each mentor will be counted on to meet with a cadet on a routine basis to ensure they are progressing in residency and then achieving their post-residency goals. Mentors will participate in training sessions during the residential phase to ensure they are fully prepared for their critical role. All mentors will be required to pass state and federal level background checks as a condition of volunteering. You can read more about the program and volunteer here.
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