Senator Stefano E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Celebrating Young Minds, Those Who Care for Them in April
  • Bipartisan Caucus Calls for Further Support to Early Learning
  • Ohiopyle Named Top Small Town by USA Today
  • Bill Requiring Prosecutors to Notify ICE of Illegal Migrants Passes Senate
  • Senate Approves Bill Prioritizing Community Safety
  • Beware of E-ZPass Scam
  • Increasing Student Safety, Eliminating Vehicle Owner Fee
  • April is National Financial Literacy Month

Celebrating Young Minds, Those Who Care for Them in April

This week, the PA Senate recognized SR 261 recognizing the week of April 6 through 12, 2024 as the “Week of the Young Child” in Pennsylvania.

This designation is about acknowledging the importance of early childhood care and education, and celebrating the incredible potential that lies within every young mind. Celebrating this week also means recognizing the significant role that parents, caregivers, and educators play in supporting the growth and development of children. It’s proven that investing in high-quality early childhood care, education and development is paramount and a continued investment in our commonwealth’s future.

I spoke on the resolution and highlighted the importance of protecting young Pennsylvanians while supporting those who help them grow.

Bipartisan Caucus Calls for Further Support to Early Learning

Early Childhood Education Caucus hosted a rally with child care and pre-K students, teachers and parents as well as other advocates to underscore the worsening impacts of the commonwealth’s early learning teacher shortage and further call for support to the early childhood care and education.

Speakers from multiple industries detailed how low teacher compensation fuels the shortage which leads to a growing number of child care and pre-K classroom closures, thus driving up waitlists and creating a burden on working families.

Ohiopyle Named Top Small Town by USA Today

I’m overjoyed that Ohioplye has been awarded the title of USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice award winner for Top Small Town in the Northeast.

Though the borough is known for its rushing waters and unparalleled natural sceneries, the sense of community housed within these 320 acres is unmatched. The success deemed with this award was built on the back of partnerships between local businesses and the state park. It’s collaboration like this that makes the “small” something great.

Congratulations to everyone whose continuous efforts have led Ohioplye to be named the Top Small Town in the Northeast. I’m so proud to represent this tiny but mighty town.

Bill Requiring Prosecutors to Notify ICE of Illegal Migrants Passes Senate

The Senate approved legislation that would require prosecutors across the state to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) whenever illegal migrants are charged with violating state law. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Currently in Pennsylvania, violations of state law by illegal migrants are not required to be reported to ICE, but Senate Bill 1127 would ensure illegal migrants who violate our laws are held accountable. The change will better safeguard our communities and protect Pennsylvania’s law-abiding citizens.

Earlier this year, two NYPD officers were assaulted in broad daylight by illegal migrants. Several of the offenders had been previously arrested but not reported to ICE and were released back on the streets. The shocking crime prompted New York City Mayor Eric Adams to call for ICE to be informed when illegal migrants have been charged with violations of state law.  

Senate Approves Bill Prioritizing Community Safety

The Senate passed legislation this week to strengthen the bail determination process for dangerous individuals: repeat violent offenders, drug dealers trafficking fentanyl and those who assault law enforcement officers or evade arrest on foot.

Senate Bill 1120 would only allow cash bail to be used and ban release on own recognizance or unsecured bail from being issued to those who pose a threat to public safety while they await trial. The bill is part of the Senate Republican effort to improve community safety across Pennsylvania as an average of 14 Pennsylvanians die every day from a drug overdose. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and approximately 50 times more potent than heroin. Two milligrams of fentanyl – the amount that fits on the tip of a pencil – is enough to kill an average person.

Beware of E-ZPass Scam

A new phishing scam is targeting E-ZPass account holders requesting information to settle outstanding toll amounts. The texts claim to be from “Pa Turnpike Toll Services” and center around urgent requests with your account that would result in a late fee if the balance does not get settled. Similar scams have been reported by toll agencies across the country in the past several days.

Customers who receive an unsolicited text, email or similar message suggesting it is from E-ZPass or another toll agency should not click the link. E-ZPass account holders can use approved safe methods to check their accounts such as the PA Turnpike E-ZPass website or the PA Toll Pay app available from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

Those who receive a fraudulent text can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at The site is dedicated to sharing information on internet crimes across law enforcement agencies.

Increasing Student Safety, Eliminating Vehicle Owner Fee

As a result of action taken by Senate Republicans, students will be safer on their journey to and from school. Because of legislation now in effect, school districts may install and operate automated camera systems on school buses to capture violations committed by motorists.

Violations identified by the camera system will be reviewed by police under agreement with the school district. After that review, the school district may issue a violation and a $300 fine to the vehicle owner. These violations are civil penalties only and no points will be assessed to driver’s licenses.

Vehicle owners may request a hearing before a PennDOT hearing office, at no cost to the vehicle owner, if they feel they are innocent. Before the passage of the legislation, the vehicle owner was responsible for paying applicable civil filing fees.

April is National Financial Literacy Month

In April, we recognize National Financial Literacy Month, a time to celebrate work being done to improve the knowledge that helps people achieve their money-focused goals.

Senate Republicans recognized that young adults face financial decisions that can come with long-term consequences and passed legislation to arm high school students with money management skills. The new law requires completion of a half-credit personal finance course to graduate high school.

The course will give high school students the understanding they need about topics like credit and credit scores; savings and investments; college, home and auto loans; and planning for postsecondary education and retirement.


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