In this Update:
Resolution Urging Governor Josh Shapiro to Support Texas Governor Greg Abbott
This week I joined PA Senate leadership in co-sponsoring a resolution urging Governor Josh Shapiro to join other governors from across the country in support of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s actions to secure the border and calling on President Biden and our federal officials to address the crisis we have with illegal immigration.
Under the Biden Administration, the number of migrants who have crossed the border illegally has increased at an alarming rate. During the past couple months, the number exceeds hundreds of thousands of people, overwhelming many border towns and straining government resources across our country.
State and local officials nationwide have sounded the alarm and I believe it is our duty to do so as well. Governor Abbott is clearly exercising his Constitutional authority to defend his state against the consequences of the Biden Administrations border policies.
The resolution will express our support for Texas in its efforts, call on Governor Josh Shapiro to urge federal officials to stop fighting against Texas’ efforts and instead commit resources to support Texas in securing the border.
Protecting PA’s Local Governments from Cyberattacks
The Senate Communications and Technology Committee and the Senate Local Government Committee this week examined cybersecurity threats faced by local governments and municipal authorities.
Recent cyberattacks targeting the Bucks County emergency dispatch system and the Aliquippa Water Authority highlight the vulnerability of Pennsylvania’s more than 2,500 local governments and authorities.
While exposure of residents’ personal information is a serious concern, these attacks can also interfere with ways people satisfy basic needs, such as the delivery of clean drinking water to their homes and being able to call for help in the case of an emergency. Learn more from the cybersecurity experts and local government officials who took part in the hearing.
2023 Accomplishments: Supporting PA Seniors
As part of Senate Republicans’ commitment to healthy and safe communities, we are focused on supporting Pennsylvania seniors. This means making sure they have access to the health care they need and preventing their exploitation.
One new law adjusts Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes so the facilities can continue to meet the needs of vulnerable patients. Another law ensures seniors do not lose access to Pennsylvania’s prescription drug programs due to an increase in their Social Security payments.
A third piece of legislation recently signed into law aims to prevent elder abuse by strengthening guardianship laws. It protects vulnerable adults within the guardianship system from fraud, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Improving Pennsylvanians’ Experiences by Increasing Broadband Access
Federal grants are available to improve the experiences Pennsylvanians have at medical care facilities, schools and libraries. The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority’s Capital Projects Fund allows for investment in high-quality broadband infrastructure as well as other connectivity infrastructure, devices and equipment.
The $45 million of competitive grants can be used for community projects to construct, acquire or improve facilities that will enable work, education and health monitoring.
Grants will be awarded in amounts ranging from $250,000 to $2 million. Apply online through April 20. While the grant funding was awarded through a federal program, it supports Senate Republicans’ priority of infrastructure advancement.
PA VETConnect Helps Veterans Access Programs and Services
Because of legislation supported by Senate Republicans, PA VETConnect makes it easier for Pennsylvania’s 700,000 veterans to access the programs and services available to help them.
Administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, PA VETConnect benefits service members, veterans and their families. The database of resources enables local veteran advocates to point veterans to information, resources, programs and services in their area and across the commonwealth.
Resource areas include benefits, employment, financial assistance, post-traumatic stress, mental wellness and substance use.
Grants Available to Support Student Safety, Behavioral Health Needs
Grants are available through a few different state programs to support the physical security and behavioral health needs of students in the commonwealth. All grant applications must be received by Feb. 29.
School Mental Health Grants make $90 million available for school districts, intermediate units, area career and technical schools, charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber charter schools.
Approximately $32 million is available through Competitive School Safety Grants for school resource officers, security-related technology and violence prevention programs that address safety and security. As part of Senate Republican efforts to ensure safe schools and communities, a budget measure passed in December included provisions to consolidate and streamline school safety and security programs and operations under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
The School District Meritorious Grant Program is specifically for school districts and approximately $18.6 million is available. Individual awards to address physical safety and security range from $30,000 to $45,000.
Preventing Cancer by Increasing Access to Screenings
The federal government estimated that nearly two million Americans would be diagnosed with cancer and that more than 600,000 would die from their disease in 2023. Research shows that more than 40% of those cases can be attributed to preventable causes such as smoking, physical inactivity, excessive exposure to the sun and excess body weight.
Making healthier choices can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. Learn how you can put yourself on a better path and test your cancer prevention knowledge here.
Senate Republicans passed legislation that is now law to help Pennsylvanians get the preventative cancer testing they need. Specifically, it eliminates out-of-pocket costs for genetic testing of hereditary cancer syndromes and supplemental breast screenings for women at high risk of developing breast cancer.
Saturday, February 3, 12am-2pm: Congressman Dan Meuser Veteran Appreciation Lunch
Saturday, February 3-11: Great American Outdoor Show
Friday, February 2, 5:30pm-6:30pm: Friday Stem Program
Saturday, February 3, 8am-10am: Mt. Gretna Fire Co. Pancake & Sausage Breakfast
Saturday, February 3, 6pm: Farm Country Shindig
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