Senator Rothman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Budget Hearings Begin Next Week Examining Massive Shapiro Spending Plan
  • Shielding Pennsylvanians from Cybersecurity Attacks
  • School Safety Grants Available
  • Protect Your Money with Tools to Research Financial Service Providers
  • Emergency Assistance for Veterans
  • PA Parks Offer Free Events for People of All Ages
  • Around the District
  • Happy Presidents Day!

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.  I will be actively involved as a member of that committee and I look forward to being your voice in the process.  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.

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.

School Safety Grants Available

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency is currently accepting applications for the FY 2023-24 School Safety Grants. Applications will be accepted until Thursday, February 29, 2024 for the following four programs:

  • School District Meritorious Grants
  • School Mental Health Grants
  • Competitive School Safety Grants
  • Targeted School Safety Grants for Nonpublic Schools

For a guide about which entity qualifies for each funding opportunity, select the appropriate entity type below:

Additional information about the grants and the application process can be found on PCCD’s School Safety and Security website.  

Protect Your Money with Tools to Research Financial Service Providers

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.

Temporary Assistance Available to Veterans

Freedom isn’t free. While serving is an honor, it requires sacrifice and can present unique challenges. Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs can help veterans dealing with unexpected circumstances by assisting with necessities like food, shelter, fuel, and clothing for a year.  More information, including eligibility requirements, can be found at

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.

Around the District

Congratulations to James Fitch of Troop 333 on earning the rank of Eagle Scout!  It was an honor to help recognize his achievements, dedication, and leadership this past week.

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 on Monday, with normal business hours resuming on Tuesday, Feb. 20.


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