HARRISBURG – The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and its chairman, Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32), voted in favor of five bills, including ones to increase compensation for members of the Pennsylvania National Guard; establish a statewide mapping system for tracking and responding to drug overdoses; and improve the state’s cyber security.
Senate Bill 1286, sponsored by Sen. Katie Muth (D-44) and me, would increase the compensation for National Guard members when they respond to emergencies to $180 per day. Act 61 of 2016 was the last increase Guard members received when it was increased from $75 to $100 per day.
“There are many teenagers who work in grocery stores and restaurants who are making more than what our Guard members – who are providing critical emergency response needs – currently do,” Stefano said. “Based on a twelve-hour shift, National Guard members make just $8.33 per hour at the current $100 per-day rate. By raising the per-day rate to $180, Guard members would make $15 an hour.”
Senate Bill 1152, sponsored by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33), would create the Overdose Mapping Act to ensure drug overdoses are reported into a mapping system by first responders within 72 hours. It would coordinate the response of public health, emergency management, first responders, community organizations, and health care providers to prevent and reduce overdose spikes.
House Bill 397, sponsored by Rep. Clint Owlett (R-68), would allow counties, municipalities, and school boards to utilize resolutions or ordinances, to establish tax credits for active volunteers of a fire or emergency medical services company as a recruitment and retention tool.
House Bill 1867, sponsored by Rep. Karen Boback (R-117), is the companion bill to Stefano’s Purple Star Schools legislation. It would ensure schools provide strong services for students of military families as they deal with frequent moves, new schools, deployments and separations.
“Twenty-eight states have adopted similar Purple Star School programs, and I am hopeful that Pennsylvania will soon recognize those schools that are taking the extra steps to support our military-connected students and their families,” said Stefano.
House Bill 2412, sponsored by Rep. Craig Williams (R-160), would permit the Pennsylvania National Guard to assist state agencies, counties and municipalities with cyber security.
Click HERE for the video from the meeting.
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