Senator Stefano E-Newsletter

View this email in a browser

In this Update:

  • Senate Honors 2024 State Champion Wrestlers
  • Early Child Care Advocates Continue the Call to Address Teacher Shortage
  • Working Mothers Carry the Burden of Inconsistent Child Care
  • Senate Approves Bill to Improve Workforce Development Programs
  • Bill to Improve Early Literacy Receives Senate Support
  • Senate Votes to Expand Access to Benefits for Disabled Veterans
  • Jumpstart Your Child’s Education Savings
  • Antlerless Deer Licenses for Sale Starting June 24
  • June is Pet Preparedness Month

Senate Honors 2024 State Champion Wrestlers

State wrestling champions were recognized on the Senate floor as part of “High School Wrestling Day” at the capitol. This was the first year state championships were sanctioned by the PIAA for girls’ wrestling and I’m proud that we have two phenomenal wrestlers out of Bedford County – Jordyn Fouse and Violette Lasure.

Jordyn is a three-time state championship title holder, heading into her senior year at Bishop McCort Catholic High School. Now a sophomore at Chestnut Ridge High School, Violette completed her first high school wrestling season undefeated and is ranked 25th in girls wrestling across the country.

I congratulate Jordyn, Violette and all of the female wrestlers in the commonwealth for being trailblazers and ultimately, history-makers, during the PIAA’s first sanctioned season. I look forward to continually cheering for girls wrestling in Pennsylvania in the many years to come!

Early Child Care Advocates Continue the Call to Address Teacher Shortage

Child care providers, advocates, and a bi-partisan slate of lawmakers rallied on the steps of the capitol to highlight the impact of a historic child care teacher shortage driven by low-wages. This called on the general assembly to invest in a recruitment and retention grant program as part of the final budget deal to help keep teachers in the classroom.

Bob Carl, President and CEO of the Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce underscored the negative economic impact of the child care teacher crisis impacting employers in nearly every sector across the state. He presented a letter signed by 42 local chambers of commerce and economic development agencies urging an investment that directly helps child care providers to recruit and retain their teachers.

Working Mothers Carry the Burden of Inconsistent Child Care

ReadyNation released a report, based on a survey of more than 300 working mothers in Pennsylvania and related economic analysis, showing an annual economic cost of $2.4 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and tax revenue.  The report attests that the vast majority of child care responsibility still falls on mothers – therefore, work disruptions, career barriers, and financial burdens caused by inadequate access to child care are greater for working moms as a percentage of earnings than all working parents.

Though both mothers and fathers are forced to face the consequences of inconsistent child care – an earlier report highlights the economic cost of $6.65 billion annually – 60 percent of the working mothers surveyed say that they have been late, missed days of work, been distracted to the point of being unproductive, or have been forced to turn down a job offer due to problems with care. This report emphasizes that high-quality, reliable child care is as critical to the modern-day workforce as it is to healthy family life.

Senate Approves Bill to Improve Workforce Development Programs

The Senate passed legislation to make Pennsylvania more attractive to employers and improve workforce development programs.

Senate Bill 761 would require the Department of Labor and Industry and the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis to share data that is already collected with local workforce development boards in a timely fashion. Delayed information and data sharing limit these boards in efficiently analyzing programs and policy. Having access to workforce data on wages, new hires and unemployment claimants enables programs to be modified so Pennsylvanians can succeed professionally.

The bill also calls for technical assistance and support for the improved data sharing model so local workforce development boards can use the information.

Bill to Improve Early Literacy Receives Senate Support

To give students the best chance of success, the Senate passed a bill that would improve early literacy using a three-pronged approach.

Senate Bill 801 would:

  • Bolster reading instruction with evidence-based reading curricula,
  • Identify struggling readers via universal screening within the first 30 days of school and
  • Use screening data to implement intervention plans to prevent children from falling behind.

Half of Pennsylvania’s fourth grade students read below their grade level. Studies show that childhood reading difficulties can produce long-term effects and dramatically impact someone’s ability to succeed.

Senate Votes to Expand Access to Benefits for Disabled Veterans

Legislation to exempt 100% of disabled veterans’ benefit payments from income calculations for any commonwealth programs or benefits received Senate support.

Senate Bill 126 would ensure veterans who receive disability compensation would not have those payments counted against them when applying to programs such as the Real Estate Property Tax Exemption, Education Gratuity Program, Veterans Temporary Assistance Program and Military Relief Assistance Program.

The bill would also extend the exclusion of the veterans’ compensation benefits to their unmarried surviving spouses.

Jumpstart Your Child’s Education Savings

Saving for your child’s education can be daunting, but Keystone Scholars can jumpstart education savings for Pennsylvania children.

The first program of its kind in the country, Keystone Scholars provides a $100 investment for post-high school education for every child born in Pennsylvania since Jan. 1, 2019. It can be used to pay for collegiate studies, technical school training and apprenticeship programs. Claim your child’s money, which is funded by surplus investment earnings from the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan.

Opening a companion PA 529 College and Career Savings Program account can also help to save for education-related expenses. PA 529 accounts have tax advantages and do not impact eligibility for Pennsylvania state financial aid.

Antlerless Deer Licenses for Sale Starting June 24

For wildlife management units (WMUs) 1B, 2G and 3A, antlerless deer licenses go on sale for residents Monday, June 24, at 8 a.m. Licenses for residents of all other WMUs go on sale Thursday, June 27, at 8 a.m. They will be guaranteed until July 7. Unsold licenses will be available for nonresidents on July 8 at 8 a.m.

One tag will be available per hunter in the first round of sales. The second round of sales begins July 22 at 8 a.m. for residents and nonresidents alike on a first come, first served basis. Read more about all four rounds of license purchase.

Resident antlerless deer licenses cost $6.97, and nonresident antlerless deer licenses cost $26.97. Purchase a license online or in-store at a license issuing agent.

June is Pet Preparedness Month

Just as it’s important to have an emergency plan for our family, it’s also smart to think ahead for our pets so they can be safe even in unforeseen circumstances. Here are some steps to take:

  • Make a plan. Have an evacuation plan because many shelters and hotels do not allow pets. Have your pet microchipped, and make sure to keep your address and phone number up-to-date.
  • Build a pet emergency kit. Think about the basics for survival, such as food and water. Have two kits: one larger kit if you’re sheltering in place and a lightweight version if you need to evacuate.
  • Stay informed. Bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pay attention to wireless emergency alerts for local alerts and warnings. Evacuate or shelter in place when recommended.

Learn more about how to make sure your pets are prepared and protected.


Facebook Twitter/X Instagram Website

2024 © Senate of Pennsylvania | | Privacy Policy