In this update:
New Senate District Map Takes Effect
New boundaries for my Senate District are now in effect. The map was redrawn as part of redistricting following the most recent census.
You can find a detailed map and list of municipalities here. I look forward to serving new and remaining constituents, and keeping you informed, in the years ahead.
2021-22 Bills of Note: Moving from Pandemic Response to Recovery
As the 2021-22 legislative session draws to a close, I’d like to note some important legislation enacted to transition Pennsylvania from initial COVID-19 pandemic response to helping residents and employers get back to normal, productive lives.
To bolster our health care response and keep Pennsylvanians safe, the General Assembly allocated $225 million in federal funding for hospitals and frontline health care workers. Further emergency financial resources included $569 million for rental and utility assistance, $197 million for education programs, and $145 million to support Pennsylvania’s struggling restaurants and taverns as they cope with the devastation created by the pandemic and the governor’s mandated closings and restrictions.
When the governor refused to act, we voted to terminate the pandemic emergency declaration and end the governor’s power to close employers, limit occupancy, suspend state statutes or issue stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. We put constitutional amendments on the ballot that will prevent emergency overreach again by a governor. You can find the full list of our pandemic response measures here.
Senate Takes Next Steps in Impeachment of Philadelphia District Attorney
The Senate this week took the next steps in the impeachment process of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner following the House of Representatives’ 107-85 vote to impeach him after investigation of his conduct in fulfilling his duties.
As outlined by the Pennsylvania Constitution, the role of the Senate is to sit in judgement and review the evidence presented by the House. Following Senate action, a writ of summons will be issued to District Attorney Krasner requiring him to come before the Senate to answer to impeachment. He will be required to file an answer by Dec. 21 and ordered to appear before the Senate on Jan. 18 at 11:30 a.m.
PA Broadband Development Authority Unveils Statewide Plan
The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, created by the General Assembly last year, has released the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Statewide Broadband Plan to improve access to high-speed internet in underserved communities.
The plan focuses on infrastructure and availability, affordability, device and technology access, and digital literacy and technical support. The authority estimates there are 800,000 Pennsylvanians without broadband service. You can review the plan here.
In addition to planning, the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority is a single point-of-contact for federal broadband funding.
Training Available to Help Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and Their Families
As part of ongoing efforts to prevent suicide among service members, veterans and their families, the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is offering Military Cultural Competency Training, provided by Psych Armor at no cost, to community partners, providers and others to support strategies related to their suicide prevention action plans.
Additional information about the training content can be found here, along with registration and information on accessing the training portal. These 15 trainings will be available through the portal through December 2025. OMHSAS has the ability to train 300 people on a first come, first serve basis.
I hope providers take advantage of these evidenced-based trainings to ensure this critical care is available to service members, veterans and military families.
Friday Deadline for Hemp Marketing and Promotion Grants
Nonprofit marketing and promotion organizations can submit funding proposals for projects aimed at increasing sales, export or consumer awareness of Pennsylvania hemp products. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture plans to award grants to reimburse up to half of project costs.
Hemp was once a staple of Pennsylvania’s farming economy and could provide an array of sustainable construction materials, fiber and food products.
The department will give special consideration to projects that leverage other funding and public-private partnerships. Eligible projects may include regional or national promotion.
Qualified nonprofits may apply for grants through the Department of Community and Economic Development online application system. The application period closes Friday at 5 p.m. Full grant guidelines can be found in the Oct. 15 issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.