In this Update:
Senate Votes to Streamline and Increase School Safety Measures
This week, the Senate passed House Bill 27 to more effectively keep Pennsylvania children safe at school by streamlining and increasing school safety measures.
House Bill 27 would consolidate school safety programs and operations under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and create a new Executive Committee under PCCD to review school safety issues and to identify current and emerging trends.
The bill would also ensure schools and counties can develop best practices for emergency response by developing a safe schools collaborative, release $100 million that was included in the 2023-24 state budget for K-12 mental health programs and provide greater flexibility for school districts experiencing shortages of substitute teachers. Read More
PA Voters Get Greater Say with Senate Bill
The Senate passed a bill that would give Pennsylvania voters a significant say in presidential elections by moving up the primary election date.
In many presidential elections, the outcome is largely decided before Pennsylvania voters have a chance to cast a ballot. Moving up the spring election date gives voters in the fifth-largest state a better chance of weighing in on the presidential primary.
Currently, the primary takes place on the fourth Tuesday of April. Senate Bill 224 would move the primary to the third Tuesday in March, making the next presidential primary election date March 19, 2024. The change would also prevent a conflict with Passover, during which observant Jewish Pennsylvanians are prohibited from writing, driving or using electricity.
Ensuring Funding Flexibility for County and Municipal Bridges
This week, my legislation to help counties and municipalities repair and construct safe bridges passed the Senate Transportation Committee unanimously. Senate Bill 799 would amend current law to explicitly allow Act 44/89 funds to be used for both county and municipal bridges. This legislation would give counties to the flexibility they need to fund much-needed bridge repairs. Senate Bill 799 now awaits consideration of the full Senate.
Grants Available to Increase Economic Benefits Boaters Offer PA Communities
Communities can apply now for grants to enhance the economic and social benefits of providing convenient boating access along their waterways. Townships, boroughs, municipal and county governments, and nonprofit groups may apply. Private businesses and service clubs are not eligible.
Applicants can seek grants for site acquisition, development, expansion, prevention of the spread of aquatic invasive species and rehabilitation of recreational boat access facilities. Eligible construction projects may include boat ramps, courtesy floats, restrooms, access roads, parking areas and signs. Funds may also be used to make facilities ADA compliant.
While the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will accept applications from anywhere in the commonwealth, special consideration will be given to projects that provide public boating access in the Delaware River watershed. Learn more or apply online by Dec. 30.
Yom Kippur Begins Sunday
Yom Kippur – the holiest day on the Jewish calendar – begins at nightfall on Sunday, Sept. 24. The Day of Atonement, which ends the following day at nightfall, is spent fasting, praying and seeking forgiveness.
I wish everyone who observes this important holiday a meaningful Yom Kippur. May you be sealed in the Book of Life.
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