In this Update:
Students Become “Senator for a Day”
I am thrilled to share that my annual student government seminar, “Senator for a Day”, was back this year and better than ever. We hosted more than one-hundred students, from fourteen school districts, at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus.
The program encourages students to become “Senators for a Day” to better understand the legislative process and think critically about some of the real-life issues facing lawmakers. The schools that participated include:
The day started off with a group lesson on the legislative process. Then, the students were assigned to one of five committees – Education, Finance, Judiciary, Law & Justice or Transportation – to consider two mock Senate proposals. This year’s topics included:
All of which are ongoing topics of discussion for the General Assembly.
Once the mock committee meetings adjourned, the groups came together in a general session to debate the bills that were approved in committee. The students this year were lively and very passionate about the subjects at hand.
In addition to teaching students about the legislative process, the Senator for a Day program offers students a chance to discuss and debate the merits of some of the most important issues facing Pennsylvania. I was impressed with the perspectives and insights shared by students during these events, and the thoughts and opinions offered during the program were certainly no exception. If these students represented the future leadership of our communities, we are in good hands.
I would like to thank Senator Camera Bartolotta, PA State Rep. Matt Dowling, PA State Rep. Bud Cook and all the advisors, legislative staff, lobbyists, Penn State Fayette staff, and Somerset Trust Company for participating, organizing and sponsoring this event. Finally, a huge thank you to the students that made this all possible.
Senate Concludes Hearings on State Budget
The Senate Appropriations Committee this week concluded four weeks of public hearings on the proposed 2022-23 state budget.
Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion budget that would increase spending by $4.5 billion. Based on projections, this will create a $1.3 billion deficit in the following fiscal year and produce a $13 billion deficit by FY 2026-27.
Among the key points from the series of hearings, which began Feb. 22:
The Senate will use findings from the hearings to craft an alternative spending plan to the governor’s, with the aim of enacting a final 2022-23 state budget by the June 30 constitutional deadline.
You can find video and recaps of every budget hearing at PASenateGOP.com.
Two Veterans’ Job Fairs Upcoming
How to Protect Yourself Against Tick-Borne Diseases
Lyme disease and the rare but dangerous Deer Tick Virus (DTV) have been found in ticks at high levels for the first time in multiple locations around the state.
The Deer Tick Virus is rare in the United States, but positive cases have increased in recent years. Initial symptoms of a DTV infection may include fever, headache, vomiting and weakness. Some people who are infected with DTV experience no symptoms, and therefore infection may go undetected. However, 91% of patients treated for DTV infections develop severe neuroinvasive disease.
Recommended precautions for anyone venturing outdoors include:
For more information about tickborne disease prevention, visit Department of Health’s Tickborne Diseases website.
From the VAEP Chairman’s Desk
It was a busy week to be the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee Chairman in Harrisburg this week.
On Tuesday, I welcomed Paul Dillard, the American Legion’s National Commander to the Pennsylvania State Capitol. We discussed the importance of the Veterans Service Officer program, which helps veterans obtains the services and benefits that they’ve earned.
On Wednesday, I participated in the Senate Appropriations Committee Budget hearing for the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs. We discussed a number of topics, including the Pennsylvania National Guard’s State Partnership Program with Lithuania, staffing levels at the State Veterans Homes, and the start-up of the Keystone Youth Challenge Program for at-risk youth.
Access Nursing Home Inspections Online
Pennsylvanians with loved ones in long-term care can access a searchable database of nursing homes to view the results of inspections and complaint investigations.
The database includes patient care surveys, building safety surveys, size of the nursing home, type of ownership and additional information about each of the nursing homes in the state. The Department of Health oversees 688 nursing homes with more than 88,000 beds.
If you see something that may jeopardize patients’ safety or well-being, you can file an anonymous complaint by calling 1-800-254-5164, filling out an online form, emailing email@example.com or sending a letter in the mail.
March is National Kidney Month
More than 37 million people in the United States are estimated to have chronic kidney disease and nearly 90% of them are unaware.
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you are at higher risk for developing kidney disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has useful information during National Kidney Month and year-round.
Around the District
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of participating in Connellsville Area Community Ministries’ Heart to Hope Telethon. This year they raised over $51,000 for their community ministries and programs.
The Connellsville Area Community Ministry uses the funds from this telethon, the proceeds from their thrift store, and income from renting portions of the community center to provide programs in our area; such as running Fayette County’s largest food pantry, providing numerous social services, and has plans to open a soup kitchen and start other programs in the future. They are a vital part of our community and I am so proud of Fayette County for helping them exceed their goals for this year.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
To everyone who is Irish or Irish for the day, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
May the road rise up to meet you,
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