In this email update:
Proposal to help threatened coal refuse industry
Last week at a press conference at the Panther Creek Energy facility in Carbon County, Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Carbon/Luzerne) and I unveiled a bipartisan legislative proposal to help aid the state’s threatened coal refuse industry.
Media at 4/26 Press Conference for Coal Refuse Legislation
Senator Yudichak and I have a simple goal here—to protect local jobs AND to continue the environmental progress, which we have seen in the past few decades, which is only possible through a public-private partnership. To continue this progress, businesses like this one need to survive. These plants have created many jobs, cleaned up mountains of waste coal, and filled many dangerous pits, while creating energy for decades and created a lot of energy.
Legislative Update: Senate approves bill to reform how the lieutenant governor is elected
This week, with a vote of 46 to 2, the Senate passed my bipartisan legislation to amend the state constitution to change how the lieutenant governor is selected in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 133 amends the state’s constitution to permit candidates for governor to choose their lieutenant governor candidate after the primary election – a process that mirrors how presidential candidates currently select their vice presidential running mates.
In the last few years, we have seen a leadership team separate into two warring factions that didn’t even talk to each other. If we want to succeed in Pennsylvania, then the Commonwealth’s top two executive officials need to see eye-to-eye on the issues and not get distracted by petty rivalries.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives. If approved by that chamber, it will again be voted on by both chambers during the 2021-2022 Legislative Session. In Pennsylvania, constitutional amendments such as Senate Bill 133 must be approved during two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before they are finally approved by the voters.
May 2, 2019: Town hall meeting in Minersville
On Thursday morning, I hosted my latest in a series of town hall meetings. This week we discussed a variety of issues including property tax elimination, unacceptable road conditions, blight and cyber school funding.
We are now planning two similar events for Berks County. Hope to see you there!
Senate Policy Committee discusses ways to limit “brain drain”
This week the Senate Majority Policy Committee, which I chair, held a workshop to take a closer look at the effects of outmigration or “Brain Drain” from Pennsylvania. Brain Drain is defined as “the departure of educated or professional people from one country, economic sector, or field for another usually for better pay or living conditions.”
The workshop provided statistics and opinions from representatives of the Independent Fiscal Office, Harrisburg Young Professionals, the Commonwealth Foundation, the PA Department of Education, the PA Department of Labor and Industry and demographic experts from Penn State University.
My goal is simple: To reverse those trends that are encouraging people to leave.Check out the full discussion here.
New School Safety Grants Awarded in Local Communities
One of the most significant agreements in last year’s budget debate was a bipartisan consensus to devote more state resources to school safety, given the terrible events of recent years. Because of this agreement, these school safety grants were announced this week to nine school districts in Schuylkill and Berks Counties:
School districts that were awarded grants include:
Eligible uses for the grants include hiring school security officers, purchasing security-related technology, completing safety and security assessments, implementing violence prevention curricula, offering counseling services for students, and creating other programs to protect students.
A total of approximately $40 million was awarded for 234 projects throughout the state in the current round of funding. In total, the School Safety and Security Grant Program will provide $52.5 million in school safety grants and $7.5 million in community violence prevention grants in the current Fiscal Year.
Every school district in the state that submitted an application was awarded a $25,000 grant last October to improve school safety. The grants were awarded on a competitive basis to schools that were seeking additional funding beyond the original grant.
A total of $7.5 million in grants were also awarded for community violence prevention initiatives.
Local recipients include:
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