In this Update:
Join Me at My Upcoming Veterans Assistance Event
Attention local veterans, their spouses and caregivers! You are invited to join me on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m., for a Veterans Assistance Event I am co-hosting with Congressman John Joyce (PA-13) at the World War II American Experience Museum, 845 Crooked Creek Road, Gettysburg.
As chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and a U.S. Army combat veteran, I appreciate the sacrifices our veterans made while serving our nation. You served America and Pennsylvania. Now it is our turn to serve you!
My Veterans Assistance Event will provide information about programs, services and benefits available to U.S. military veterans. Through your service to our country, you have earned access to many of these important resources.
The event is free to attend and will feature guest speakers and a guided tour of the World War II American Experience Museum. Parking is available in a large, off-street lot at the museum. Light refreshments will be served.
If you are able to join me at this event, please R.S.V.P. by Friday, Nov. 10, by emailing Melissa Cruys (MCruys@PaSen.Gov) in my office.
Court Rules Multi-State Energy Tax Initiative Unconstitutional
The Commonwealth Court this week ruled to prohibit the administration of Gov. Josh Shapiro from moving forward with its efforts to participate in a multi-state energy tax initiative.
Shapiro and his predecessor, former Gov. Tom Wolf, attempted to enter Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state cap-and-trade system that taxes carbon emissions.
The court ruled unconstitutional the effort by Wolf and Shapiro to sidestep the General Assembly by entering Pennsylvania into the multi-state compact without legislative approval.
The Commonwealth Court in its ruling said, “Stated simply, to pass constitutional muster, the Commonwealth’s participation in RGGI may only be achieved through legislation duly enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.”
The Commonwealth Court also ruled the money that would be collected through the multi-state agreement amounts to a tax and not, as the administration argued, a fee.
House Committee Approves My Bill to Help Veterans
I spoke this week at the House Veterans Affairs Committee meeting in favor of my legislation to establish the PA VetConnect Program, which would improve the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families by connecting them with helpful resources.
The committee approved my bill and sent it to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Passes Bill to Fight Opioid Epidemic
The Senate recently passed legislation aimed at keeping up with the rapid introduction of new drugs to commonwealth communities. It would be a significant step toward ensuring dangerous substances don’t slip through the cracks into our communities without being controlled.
Senate Bill 959 would enable faster prosecution by allowing Pennsylvania to automatically follow the federal government’s Drug Enforcement Administration classification for drugs. Drug traffickers constantly update these chemical compounds, and Pennsylvania scheduling has struggled with inefficiency. Automated scheduling will save the lives of our loved ones and more effectively fight the effects the opioid epidemic has on our communities.
As the bill would only apply to new controlled substances, it would not impact Pennsylvania’s scheduling of cannabis or its availability for medical marijuana patients.
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Grants Available to Organizations Benefitting Veteran Employment
To help veterans as they transition from serving our country to resuming civilian life, funding is available for organizations that connect veterans with jobs.
The grant opportunity is designed to assist veterans who have received a discharge other than dishonorable, members of the reserves and guard, and spouses of veterans and service members in securing employment.
Applications for the Veterans Employment Grant Program must be submitted by Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 4 p.m. Learn more and apply online here.
Funding to Improve Local Transportation and Pedestrian Safety
Grants are available to municipalities, businesses and other organizations to improve local transportation and pedestrian safety. The funding aims to ensure a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to Pennsylvania residents.
Funding for priority investments is available through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Transportation Fund. Apply online by Monday, Nov. 13, at 4 p.m.
Paid Government Internships Available for Undergraduates
Paid internship opportunities with state executive agencies are available for undergraduate college students interested in politics and government through the James A. Finnegan Fellowship Foundation.
Students who want to apply for the fellowship need to submit an essay between 1,500 and 2,500 words about their opinions for the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) Program, which would offer students in struggling schools grants to explore other educational opportunities.
Essays and other materials must be submitted to the foundation by Jan. 26, 2024. Find more information and the application here.
Turn Those Clocks Back This Weekend
Daylight saving time will end at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, so Pennsylvania residents should turn their clocks back one hour before going to bed on Saturday night.
Biannual time changes can be a great reminder to check or change the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced every 10 years and located near bedrooms and on each level of the residence.
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