In this Update:
Senate Kicks Off 2023-24 Legislative Session with Historic Achievements for Women
The Pennsylvania Senate convened this week for the start of the 2023-24 legislative session, highlighted by the swearing in of members.
I was sworn in to serve a fifth term representing the 20th Senatorial District which includes parts of Luzerne and Wayne Counties and all of Pike, Susquehanna, and Wyoming Counties. The proceedings also included the historic election of the Senate’s first female president pro tempore, Senator Kim Ward. Together, we join a record 77 other women in the General Assembly, including 16 in the Senate.
No matter how many times I take the oath of office, it is a solemn and a humbling occasion. Upholding the Constitution and representing so many people and communities with fidelity and integrity are serious responsibilities. There is optimism about the possibilities for constructive action with a new administration and many new legislators taking office, alongside a renewed commitment to achieving a better record of productive and practical reform. I am grateful for the trust and support the people have extended.
PA Farm Show Set for Jan. 7-14
The 107th Pennsylvania Farm Show – the largest indoor agricultural exposition under one roof in the nation – takes place this Saturday to Jan. 14 in Harrisburg.
Admission is free. It features nearly 4,000 animals, 12,000-plus competitive events and exhibits, 245 commercial exhibits, and hundreds of educational and entertainment programs.
The visitor’s guide will help you plan your day, with information on hours, parking, exhibitors, food and more. For over a century, the PA Farm Show has celebrated Pennsylvania’s rich tradition of farming and agriculture’s key role in the state economy.
Assistance Available for Organizations Aiding PA Veterans
Nonprofits, veteran service organizations and county directors of veterans affairs have until Jan. 19 to apply for Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund grants for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans.
Grants will be considered in the following areas:
I was proud to work with veterans’ organizations and charitable groups to establish the Veterans’ Trust Fund more than 10 years ago to enhance programs, services, and benefits for former servicepeople and their families.
The program is supported by Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs or vehicle registrations; purchase Honoring Our Veterans or Honoring our Women Veterans license plates; or make private donations.
New Initiative Supports County Home Repair Programs
County governments can apply now for funding through the Whole-Home Repairs Program, which will provide eligible homeowners and landlords across the state with critical home repair and weatherization assistance.
The new program aims to help low- and moderate-income homeowners and small landlords with needed repairs up to $50,000, fight blight, improve energy efficiency in homes and provide construction-related workforce development.
To apply for funding, counties or designated nonprofits must submit an application online through the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Single Application for Assistance website by Jan. 31.
Students Invited to Compete in Transportation Innovations Contest
Students are invited to participate in the sixth annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge, which encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to resolve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.
For this year’s challenge, students are asked to develop ideas to help address the shortage of commercial truck parking along major interstate corridors in Pennsylvania. Trucks parking on highway shoulders and ramps is common during overnight hours and presents a significant safety issue.
The Innovations Challenge is open to all students in grades 9-12, regardless of their school’s learning model. Regional Innovations Challenge winners will be selected and invited to present their solutions to the PennDOT secretary and a panel of judges, who will determine the statewide cash prize winner. The submission deadline is Jan. 27.
Taking Time to Stand with Law Enforcement Officers
While lawmakers in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. create laws, it’s police officers who risk their lives enforcing them. On Law Enforcement Appreciation Day this coming Monday, I hope citizens take a moment to reflect on the dangerous and sometimes thankless job performed by those who protect and serve our communities.
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