In This Update:
National First Responders Day
Along with the Cambria County Drug Coalition, it was an honor to recognize our First Responders today with the help of many volunteers to distribute breakfast bags and appreciation gifts to over 100 EMS, Fire and Police departments across Cambria County. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Paramedics, Firefighters, and our Police are to be commended for their unselfish acts of bravery and heroism as they answer each call without hesitation.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Penn Highlands Community College, Ebensburg Center
This week I attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at Penn Highlands Community College, Ebensburg Center. As Chair of the Senate Education Committee, I am pleased to advocate for all colleges and universities within the 35th Senatorial District.
Daylight Saving Time
Daylight Saving Time ends 2 a.m. Sunday, so Saturday night is the time to turn clocks back 1 hour. It’s also a good time check the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Hosting Food Distribution in Johnstown on Nov. 4th
Save the date!
drive-up food distribution Wednesday, November 4 at the Johnstown Galleria from 12-2 pm. Please read the pick-up guidelines and policies in effect for safe and efficient drive-up food distribution. Please make a reservation in advance of the event here: https://www.pittsburghfoodbank.org/…/driv…/reservations/
Senate Passes Package of Bills to Support Veterans, Military Families
Throughout our nation’s history, Pennsylvania’s military veterans and their families have been called on to make extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of a grateful nation. I supported a package of bills last week designed to boost support for veterans and military families and honor their incredible efforts to protect their fellow citizens.
The package includes bills that would permanently establish the Military Family Relief Assistance Program in state law; update the Veterans’ Preference Law to ensure veterans receive proper credit for their skills and experience; create Veterans Courts to provide mentorship and treatment for underlying problems; help more veterans qualify for prescription drug assistance; and ensure the POW/MIA flag is flown on any ground or building owned by the Commonwealth and at all roadside rest stops and welcome centers operated by PennDOT, as well as PA Turnpike service plazas.
All of the bills were sent to the governor’s desk to be signed into law in advance of Veterans Day on November 11.
Additional Funding Approved to Help Schools Meet Health and Safety Needs
Local schools will be able to apply soon for additional grant funding to protect the health and safety of students, teachers and school employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants were approved as part of the $200 million COVID-19 Disaster Emergency School Health and Safety Grant program created by lawmakers in May as part of Act 30 of 2020.
Eligible uses of the funding include:
The grant program is expected to open no later than Monday, November 2. Grant applications can be submitted on the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Egrants website.
Senate Votes to Protect Insurance Coverage for Mental Health Issues, Substance Use Disorder
Millions of Pennsylvanians struggle with mental health issues and substance use disorder, and many state residents report challenges in receiving the care they need. The Senate approved two bills last week to ensure mental health and substance use disorder receive the same level of insurance coverage as other health issues.
The bills will strengthen enforcement of a federal law that mandates equal access to care and coverage for these health issues. House Bill 1696 and House Bill 1439 would require insurers to annually attest the steps they have taken to comply with this law.
Respiratory Care Week
October 25-31 has been designated “Respiratory Care Week.” Now more than ever we owe a debt of gratitude to these frontline workers. Make sure to thank a RC worker today! #RCWEEK20
Has Your Polling Place Moved for Tuesday’s Election?
A reminder that some polling places may have been consolidated or relocated due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Voters can double-check where they should go to vote in Tuesday’s general election by entering their county, city and street information at the Department of State’s website. https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/PollingPlaceInfo.aspx
Applications for Community Violence Prevention Grants Due November 10
Local municipalities, counties, colleges and community groups are encouraged to apply for grants to boost community safety and reduce the risk of violence. Applications for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Community Violence Prevention/Reduction Initiative must be completed and returned by November 10.
The program was created by lawmakers two years ago as part of a broad package of reforms to make our schools and communities safer. Eligible uses for the grants include mentoring services and other intervention services for at-risk children and families; promoting communication between school entities and law enforcement; linking the community with local trauma support and behavioral health systems; and other programs designed to reduce community violence.
Energy Efficiency Grants Available for Farmers, Small Businesses
Farmers and other small business owners can apply now for grants to support energy efficiency and pollution prevention projects. Applications for the Small Business Advantage Grant program are available now, and grants will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis through April 12, 2021.
The program covers up to 50 percent of the project costs up to $7,000. Grants are available to small businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees who undertake projects that would save the business 25 percent ($500 minimum) on energy costs annually.
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