Apr. 26, 2024

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The Barb Wire
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
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Capitol Update
The week, after our meeting with the Newville Historical Society, House Bill 105 was called up for a vote in the House. This is the Historic & Older Building Redevelopment Assistance Grant Program Act, which could be helpful to our area specifically; however, we already have a historic tax credit program and questions arose about double dipping into taxpayer dollars, as well as the increased cost of these projects. This bill would require prevailing wage to be used on the projects. I voted no. The majority voted yes, and it now moves to the Senate.

House Bill 1853 passed the House as well last week, which is a bill “promoting communication” between health care facilities and the Department of Health. I voted no along with 76 of my colleagues. It was an oddly worded bill, which required at least one annual meeting with staff from the licensed long-term care nursing facilities under their jurisdiction, specifically to discuss survey results, which a state agency could do on their own anyway.

April 21-27 is National Crime Victims’ Rights week.

Next week we go into session again to begin the long process of passing a budget. Thank you for the calls and meetings this week on various issues related to funding.

Cumberland County Historical Society (CCHS) Turns 150!
On April 17, 1874, a “Hamilton Library and Historical Association of Cumberland County” was proposed, making the Cumberland County Historical Society (CCHS) one of the first county historical societies established in Pennsylvania. And this past Sunday, I had the honor of attending the 150th anniversary celebration for CCHS and presenting a joint citation from the Cumberland County PA House Delegation. Congratulations, CCHS, and thank you for preserving our rich history in Cumberland County. Decisions we make today will be the history of tomorrow. I am honored that the people contributed in a small way in “making history” in Cumberland County, electing me as the first woman to serve the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 199th District!

50 Years in Business!
Happy 50th anniversary to The Kitchen Shoppe & Cooking School of Middlesex Township. Their celebration event will be held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Read more here.

St. Patrick School Visit
On Mon., April 22, students from Mrs. Scavone’s fourth-grade class from St. Patrick School visited with me and Sen. Greg Rothman at the Capitol. The students had great questions about the budget, process and how government works. Thank you to the teachers, staff and chaperones for bringing the kids to witness history.

Getting Back to Basics
As we prepare for negotiations on the 2024-25 state budget, members of the House Appropriations Committee have outlined a 13-bill package of legislation that would prioritize government getting back to the basics.

It became clear during testimony from many state agencies they are failing to meet the basic services they were created to provide Pennsylvanians. From protecting vulnerable senior citizens to ensuring reasonable permitting timelines for businesses, members say the Shapiro administration needs to focus on meeting current needs of the people instead of seeking to grow the size and cost of state government.

For additional information about the legislation, click here

Combatting Illegal Immigration
In the wake of the Biden administration’s continued failure to secure the nation’s southern border, House Republicans this week highlighted legislation to combat illegal immigration and its impacts on the Commonwealth.

House Bill 2214 would require a minimum bail of $1 million be set in cases of assault of a law enforcement officer, which was introduced in response to the attack on New York Police Department officers by a gang of illegal immigrants earlier this year.

House Bill 1840 would prohibit counties and municipalities from designating themselves as sanctuaries for illegal immigrants, while House Resolution 294 calls on Congress and federal agencies to address ghost flights.

An additional measure, not yet introduced, would both crack down on squatters and require local cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement should a squatter be in the country illegally.

Grow PA Bills to Make Higher Education More Accessible, Affordable, Accountable
Working together, House and Senate Republicans recently unveiled a multi-bill package to reform higher education to make it more accessible, affordable and accountable. Grow PA is true and meaningful reform for our students and taxpayers.

Grow PA includes two new programs to encourage students to enroll in higher education programs on the condition they remain and work in Pennsylvania after completing their studies to be part of our workforce and contribute to the state and local economies. It would also expand some existing higher education assistance programs that have shown success, including the Ready to Succeed Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to high-achieving students to cover the cost of post-secondary education. The Targeted Industry Support Program, which helps cover the cost of a wide variety of certificate programs in high-growth industries, would also be expanded.

In addition, Grow PA would encourage universal completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so students and families are fully aware of what financial aid packages are available to them and can make informed post-secondary education decisions.

To hold institutions of higher education accountable, performance-based metrics to fund some higher education institutions would be instituted. The use of the metrics to determine funding levels gives policymakers the ability to track necessary data and hold institutions accountable for student achievement while continuing to grant Pennsylvania students from all financial circumstances access to a world-class education.

In the coming weeks, House and Senate members will introduce the bills.

To watch the full press conference, click here.  

Clean Up During ‘Pick Up Pennsylvania’
The Pennsylvania departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Transportation (PennDOT) are encouraging residents, local leaders, businesses and organizations to join in cleaning up their communities as part of the “Pick Up Pennsylvania” spring community improvement campaign, now through May 31.

Pick Up Pennsylvania is a year-long initiative; however, events scheduled through May 31 receive free trash bags, gloves and safety vests provided by support from DEP, PennDOT and Keep America Beautiful, as supplies last.

Events may include litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, community greening and beautification, special collections and litter education events. Events must be registered at keeppabeautiful.org to receive free cleanup supplies.

Last year, the Pick Up Pennsylvania initiative welcomed more than 71,000 volunteers who disposed of more than 2.9 million pounds of trash; cleaned 8,462 miles of road and waterways; and planted more than 8,000 trees, flowers and other greens.

PennDOT, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Seeking High School Students for Young Ambassadors Program
PennDOT and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful are inviting 10th -12th grade students to help keep Pennsylvania clean and beautiful through the Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania program.

The program, now in its third year, builds community stewards and civic leaders by empowering young Pennsylvanians to become ambassadors in their community for a shared vision of a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Applicants should be passionate about the environment and committed to restoring and protecting Pennsylvania's ecological landscape through volunteerism and leadership.

Ambassadors will train and network with industry leaders, state agencies, local media and the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful network to prepare them to be leaders in their communities by building their leadership and problem-solving skills.

Chosen candidates will commit to serve as an ambassador from September 2024 through May 2025 and represent and uphold the mission and values of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

Other responsibilities include:
• Attending six mandatory virtual education sessions.
• Conducting a community assessment and creating a summary presentation.
• Organizing and participating in at least one community cleanup event through pick up Pennsylvania and conducting one community education event or activity.
• Non-mandatory education sessions from a variety of topics.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will provide education and training to program participants on such topics related to the impact of litter on roadways, litter prevention, waste management and recycling, civic engagement and related public policy, volunteer management, and social media marketing. The program will provide networking opportunities to not only build a sense of community within the program but also to promote professional development of the individual students. In addition, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has partnered with Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania funded by the NiSource Charitable Foundation to provide Job Shadow Days to select ambassadors.

The Young Ambassadors program was recommended in the Commonwealth's Litter Action Plan announced by the Governor's Office in November 2021 and is funded by PennDOT.

Applications are being accepted April 1 through June 10. Students will be chosen through a competitive application process. Students interested in applying should visit www.keeppabeautiful.org and choose “Programs,” “Education” then “Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania” or contact Kylie McCutcheon at 724-836-4121 x114 or kmccutcheon@keeppabeautiful.org.



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District Office: 437 E North Street | Carlisle, PA 17013 | Phone: 717-249-1990
427 Irvis Office Building | House Box 202199 Harrisburg, PA 17120-2199 | 717-772-2280