Senator Gebhard E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Semi-Conductor Facility Tour Hosted by Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee
  • February is National Career and Technical Education Month
  • Hamburg Revitalization Survey
  • Shielding Pennsylvanians from Cybersecurity Attacks
  • Budget Hearings Begin Next Week Examining Massive Shapiro Spending Plan
  • PA Parks Offer Free Events for People of All Ages
  • Protect Your Money by Investing Wisely
  • Student Art Contest Raises Lyme Disease Awareness
  • Happy Presidents Day!
  • Local Events

Semi-Conductor Facility Tour Hosted by Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee

Last week, as chairman of the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, we hosted a joint round table discussion on workforce development and how to attract high paying tech jobs to Pennsylvania. 

Part of the day’s events included a tour of the Infinera Corporation’s manufacturing facility in Allentown. Infinera is the United States’ only optical semiconductor facility.  It was impressive to learn how they have developed a business model to compete with the larger foreign competitors.  I was excited to hear their plans to expand their Lehigh Valley operation. 

These are the type of advanced manufacturing professions we need to attract to make our Commonwealth more economically competitive and provide good family sustaining careers for future generations of Pennsylvanians. 

February is National Career and Technical Education Month

February is National Career and Technical Education Month. I was happy to join others from around the state at this year’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) dinner at the Hershey Lodge. Crystal Bomgardner, who is from Lebanon County and currently serves as the Pennsylvania FFA state president also attended the dinner.

Demand for career and technical programs continue to grow. I believe when discussing education in Pennsylvania, this needs to be a critical part of the conversation. While in session, I had the opportunity to hear from students from County Career & Technology Centers and how these centers have greatly benefited them.

Hamburg Revitalization Survey

Our Town Foundation, Hamburg’s non-profit community revitalization organization, is seeking input from residents, businesses, and visitors about their perception of the Hamburg area. The survey will help guide revitalization efforts moving forward. The deadline to complete the survey is Thursday, February 29.

Click here to complete the survey

Shielding Pennsylvanians from Cybersecurity Attacks

The Senate approved legislation to improve cybersecurity defenses by setting cybersecurity standards for IT procurement within state government.

Cyberattacks and data breaches – experienced by multiple state agencies – highlight the need for increased cybersecurity measures to protect the valuable data of every Pennsylvanian.

The bill would require any acquisition of computer hardware by the state to adhere to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines for computer security. NIST’s comprehensive approach includes standards, guidelines and best practices to effectively manage cybersecurity-related risks.

Budget Hearings Begin Next Week Examining Massive Shapiro Spending Plan

State spending would increase by more than $3.2 billion, or about 7.1%, under Gov. Josh Shapiro’s new budget plan. This level of increase will make it virtually impossible to balance future budgets without deep spending cuts and massive tax increases within the five-year planning period.

The process of finding ways to rein in this spending includes three weeks of budget hearings held by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Hearings begin Tuesday with appearances by the Independent Fiscal Office, Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Parole Board, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Department of Community and Economic Development, Department of Labor and Industry and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Livestreams of the hearings and daily recaps will be available here, and I will share updates on this important process each week.

The hearings will be used to review Gov. Josh Shapiro’s spending plan and ask administration officials about the need for any proposed expenses. From there, a budget that more appropriately reflects the needs of taxpayers can be developed before the constitutional deadline of June 30.

PA Parks Offer Free Events for People of All Ages

As people start to feel a bit of cabin fever this time of year, it can be a great time to take advantage of recreational opportunities offered at Pennsylvania state parks.

There are free or low-cost seminars to interest people of all ages. Some examples include a winter photography walk, an introduction to cross country skiing, make and take tree cookie crafts, a cast iron cooking lesson and even a full moon hike.

Find a full calendar of events, including some that are virtual, and sign up here.

Protect Your Money by Investing Wisely

Trying to research financial services, products or companies can be confusing, but investing without first investigating can be a costly mistake.

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) offers free information about how to research people, companies and investments. If you’re not sure where to start, call the department at 1-800-600-0007.

Learn more about the free and confidential help DoBS provides.

Student Art Contest Raises Lyme Disease Awareness

Pennsylvania has one of the highest counts of Lyme disease cases in the nation. Symptoms often initially include fever, headache and extreme tiredness. If the disease is untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.

First- through sixth-graders can help spread the word about preventing this tick-borne illness by entering the Pennsylvania Department of Health Lyme Art Contest. They are encouraged to submit a poster or video showing how to avoid exposure to ticks, check for ticks and/or remove ticks safely by March 15 at 5 p.m.

Find more information, including how to apply, here.

Happy Presidents Day!

On Monday, Feb. 19, we recognize Presidents Day and reflect on the effort it takes to guide our country in the right direction. Originally, the holiday was to honor our first president – George Washington – but it has since been expanded.

Because of the holiday, my offices will be closed with normal business hours resuming on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Local Events

Saturday, February 17, 11am-2pm: Pot Pie Sale
Kutztown Community Fire Company (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Friday, February 16, 9am-1pm & February 17, 9am-12pm: CLA Cherry Pie Sale
Lebanon Farmers Market (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Friday, February 16, 4pm-8pm & February 17, 10am-8pm: Lititz Fire & Ice Festival
Downtown Lititz (Lancaster, PA)
Click here

Saturday, February 17, 6am: Schoeneck Fire Company Breakfast
125 N King St, Denver (Lancaster, PA)
Click here

Friday, February 16, 5:30pm: Friday STEM Program
Wernersville Public Library (Berks, PA)
Click here

Friday, February 16 & 17: Lebanon Valley Indoor Classic Tractor Expo
Lebanon Expo Center (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

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