Senator Stefano E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Connellsville Team Honored for National Title
  • Art Leaders Hold Advocacy Day at Capitol
  • “Penn State Day” Brings Fayette Students to Harrisburg
  • Students Display Research to Legislators
  • Calling on Shapiro to Send PA National Guard to Defend Texas Border
  • Senate Passes Public Safety Bills Targeting Opioid Overdoses, Human Trafficking
  • Struggling Homeowners Can Apply for Assistance
  • Help Available for High-Priority Specialty Crop Farmers
  • Recognizing Agriculture’s Impact on Our Lives

Connellsville Team Honored for National Title

This week, we celebrated the Connellsville Area High School clay target sporting clays team for winning another national championship in the fall. Rep. Ryan Warner and I were so proud to host these young athletes and share the story of their great success with our colleagues. Congratulations again, Falcons!

Art Leaders Hold Advocacy Day at Capitol

On Tuesday, art advocates from across the commonwealth met with legislators to request continued investments in arts and culture to boost local economies, tourism, and downtown revitalization. Support for the arts provides an opportunity for economic growth, as the arts touch multiple industries across the commonwealth. An investment in local art is an investment in our local businesses, so funding creative endeavors propels our economy to thrive.

“Penn State Day” Brings Fayette Students to Harrisburg

Penn State Fayette students journeyed to the capitol to meet with legislators to share the positive impact the university has on our commonwealth. It was great to see local faces in the building advocating for my alma mater.

Students Display Research to Legislators

Iliana Hunsberger, a PennWest-California student and Hollsopple resident, presented her research on identifying genetic differences for use in genetic testing for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the capitol on Tuesday. She and other undergraduate students displayed posters of their studies to showcase the importance of undergraduate research. Great work, Iliana!

Calling on Shapiro to Send PA National Guard to Defend Texas Border

The Senate approved a measure calling on Gov. Josh Shapiro to protect Pennsylvania communities by supporting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s request to respond to America’s illegal immigration crisis.

Senate Resolution 251 implores Shapiro to reverse course and deploy the Pennsylvania National Guard along Texas’s southern border with Mexico as part of Operation Lone Star. The border security initiative has led to more than 500,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions, more than 40,000 criminal arrests and the seizure of more than 468 million lethal doses of fentanyl, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A 2023 report indicates at least 251,000 illegal immigrants reside in Pennsylvania with an annual burden of more than $1.6 billion on taxpayers. That equates to a cost of approximately $318 per Pennsylvania household annually, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Senate Passes Public Safety Bills Targeting Opioid Overdoses, Human Trafficking

The Pennsylvania Senate approved two measures this week boosting community safety by targeting opioid overdoses and human trafficking. Both bills, which head to the House of Representatives for consideration, are part of the Senate Republican effort to improve community safety across Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1054 strengthens the Overdose Information Network (ODIN) law, which requires all law enforcement in Pennsylvania to input reports of an overdose within 72 hours of the incident into the ODIN system. The ODIN database enables law enforcement agencies to quickly record, analyze and share information concerning fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses and naloxone administrations. The bill would ensure overdose reporting by EMS providers is incorporated into the statewide mapping system. EMS providers are responsible for handling more than 80% of overdoses annually in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1111 would ensure that individuals who are convicted of certain human trafficking offenses – as well as attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit those offenses – are subject to the same Megan’s Law reporting and evaluation requirements as other sexual offenders.

Struggling Homeowners Can Apply for Assistance

To help homeowners struggling as a result of pandemic-related financial hardships, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) reopened a program that had been paused to address a backlog of applicants.

The majority of pending applications has been processed and an assessment of remaining American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds has been made, so PHFA is accepting additional applicants until the remaining monies are exhausted.

New applicants can use the funds for pandemic-related mortgage reinstatement, forward mortgage assistance, tax assistance and delinquent utility bills. Interested Pennsylvania homeowners can find more information, eligibility requirements and instructions about how to submit an application here.

Help Available for High-Priority Specialty Crop Farmers

To stimulate market growth or boost the competitive position for high-priority crops, grants are available for projects that benefit Pennsylvania’s growers as a whole, rather than an individual grower.

Specialty crops eligible for Pennsylvania’s grant program and deemed high priority include hardwoods; honey; hemp and flax for fiber; and hops, barley, rye and wheat for brewing, distilling and malting.

Proposals must be submitted through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Electronic Single Application by Friday, April 19, at 5 p.m. Full grant guidelines are available here.

Recognizing Agriculture’s Impact on Our Lives

In Pennsylvania, we are blessed that agriculture is one of our top industries as it helps to provide us with food security without having to rely as much on other states or even other countries.

National Agriculture Week, observed March 17-24, encourages every American to understand how food products are produced; appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant, and affordable products; value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy; and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, and fiber industries.


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