In this Update:
Statement on House Bills 1018 & 714
Many constituents have reached out to my office this week to share their opposition to HB 1018 and HB 714. You can rest assured that I share your opposition to these dangerous pieces of legislation, and should they come before me I will vote NO.
It has been brought to my attention that an organization is spreading misinformation that I am being pressured by the anti-gun lobby. That is indisputably false. The Pennsylvania Constitution is unequivocally clear – the rights of the citizens to bear arms shall not be questioned. I will stand in support of our second amendment rights and vote NO on this disastrous legislation.
Since joining the Senate in 2016, I have consistently stood up for individual’s second amendment rights. Further, I have been the prime sponsor of legislation to strengthen our Commonwealth’s firearm preemption law since being elected and will continue to protect your constitutional right to bear arms with all available means.
Recognizing Private First Class Jessica Lynch
On Tuesday, I had the honor to meet former Prisoner of War and Army Private First Class Jessica Lynch. In 2003, Private First Class Lynch was captured and held as a Prisoner of War by Iraqi forces. Private First Class Lynch became the first American Prisoner of War to be successfully rescued since World War 2. My colleague Senator Devlin Robinson, a United States Marine, played a crucial role in the rescue of Private First Class Lynch in An Nasiriyah. It was great to see both of these heroes speak on the Senate floor about their experiences during their service to our nation. Thank you for your service to our nation!
Speaking at the Pennsylvania State Coroners Association Annual Conference
This week, State Representative Jim Rigby, State Representative Jesse Topper and I had the privilege of speaking at the Pennsylvania State Coroners Association Annual Conference.
Free Haircuts for Veterans
The Admiral Peary Area Vocational Technical School is showing their appreciation by giving free haircuts to all veterans. This service begins in October and will be available on Tuesdays from 8:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and Thursdays from 12:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Call 814-472-6490 extension 335 to schedule your appointment.
Ribbon Cutting at Grub Shack
It was great to have my staff at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Grub Shack on Franklin Street in Johnstown this week. Best of Luck!
Please join me on Thursday, September 28, 2023, my annual Senior Expo. The Expo will be held at East Hills Recreation, 101 Community College Way, Johnstown from 10 am – 12 pm. Admission is free!
I will be hosting a Veteran Appreciation Breakfast on October 19, 2023, at the VFW Post 1785, 1145 Industrial Park Road, Clearfield. Please use this link or call my office at 814-266-2277 to register. Registration is required and the deadline to register is October 8, 2023.
I will be hosting a second Veteran Appreciation Breakfast on November 1, 2023, at the Young Peoples Community Center, 300 Prave Street, Ebensburg. Please use this link or call my office at 814-266-2277 to register. Registration is required and the deadline to register is October 22, 2023.
Senate Votes to Streamline and Increase School Safety Measures
This week, the Senate passed House Bill 27 to more effectively keep Pennsylvania children safe at school by streamlining and increasing school safety measures.
House Bill 27 would consolidate school safety programs and operations under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and create a new Executive Committee under PCCD to review school safety issues and to identify current and emerging trends.
The bill would also ensure schools and counties can develop best practices for emergency response by developing a safe schools collaborative, release $100 million that was included in the 2023-24 state budget for K-12 mental health programs and provide greater flexibility for school districts experiencing shortages of substitute teachers. Read More
PA Voters Get Greater Say with Senate Bill
The Senate passed a bill that would give Pennsylvania voters a significant say in presidential elections by moving up the primary election date.
In many presidential elections, the outcome is largely decided before Pennsylvania voters have a chance to cast a ballot. Moving up the spring election date gives voters in the fifth-largest state a better chance of weighing in on the presidential primary.
Currently, the primary takes place on the fourth Tuesday of April. Senate Bill 224 would move the primary to the third Tuesday in March, making the next presidential primary election date March 19, 2024. The change would also prevent a conflict with Passover, during which observant Jewish Pennsylvanians are prohibited from writing, driving or using electricity.
Tax Seminars Held Virtually and Across PA
Tax professionals can learn about changes to state tax laws and policies during one-day seminars offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue held across the state and virtually.
The tax seminars will educate tax professionals on Personal Income Tax, sales tax corporate taxes, compliance initiatives and using the department’s website to establish tax accounts for new businesses, file tax returns and pay state taxes.
Find a local or virtual seminar here.
Grants Available to Increase Economic Benefits Boaters Offer PA Communities
Communities can apply now for grants to enhance the economic and social benefits of providing convenient boating access along their waterways. Townships, boroughs, municipal and county governments, and nonprofit groups may apply. Private businesses and service clubs are not eligible.
Applicants can seek grants for site acquisition, development, expansion, prevention of the spread of aquatic invasive species and rehabilitation of recreational boat access facilities. Eligible construction projects may include boat ramps, courtesy floats, restrooms, access roads, parking areas and signs. Funds may also be used to make facilities ADA compliant.
While the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will accept applications from anywhere in the commonwealth, special consideration will be given to projects that provide public boating access in the Delaware River watershed. Learn more or apply online by Dec. 30.
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