Senator Lisa Baker E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Madry-Kahlau Memorial Rink
  • Senate Accomplishments: Education
  • Farmers and Mental Health Discussed by Senate Committee
  • Homeowner Assistance Program Opens Feb. 1
  • Caring for Dogs in Winter: The Law
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Madry-Kahlau Memorial Rink

Madry-Kahlau Memorial Rink

I was honored to attend the ribbon cutting for the newly restored and re-named, Madry-Kahlau Memorial Rink, at Wright Township Park. The ice rink was named in honor of former Crestwood hockey players Brian Madry and Tanner Kahlau.  Brian and Tanner were remembered as tremendously kind, funny, and driven young men, who met and became friends through hockey.

The project started last year and received over $50,000 in donations from members of the community, that were put toward restoring the rink to full use. Wright Township also was awarded a DCNR grant that could be used to help develop a “master plan” for the future of the rink and the rest of the municipal park.

Read more about how the lives of these bright young men have left a legacy on our community here.

Senate Accomplishments: Education

Senate Accomplishments - Education

Building on last year’s efforts, Senate Republicans will continue their work in 2022 to ensure students receive a proper education during the shifting elements of the pandemic.

In 2021, the Senate acted to allocate $500 million in federal funds to help ensure schools reopened, sustained safe operation and addressed student needs resulting from the pandemic. For students who experienced learning loss, the Senate passed a new law allowing parents the option to have their child repeat a grade level during the 2021-22 school year due to COVID-19. 

Other legislation passed by the Senate eased school staffing shortages by making permanent a temporary program that gave schools an option to use teachers-in-training as substitutes and providing schools with more hiring flexibility for day-to-day substitutes.

You can find more key education bills passed by the Senate here.  

Farmers and Mental Health Discussed by Senate Committee

Mental Health in Agriculture

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee this week held a discussion about mental health in agriculture at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.

The panel heard from Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, mental health professionals and others about the unique challenges faced by farmers.

Pennsylvania recently received a two-year, $500,000 federal grant to bolster mental health services and resources for the agricultural community, and the Department of Agriculture is launching a statewide education and awareness campaign in February. The department is working with the national AgriSafe Network to provide a 24/7 mental health hotline for agricultural producers in the near future.

Homeowner Assistance Program Opens Feb. 1

Homeowner Assistance Program

Beginning Feb. 1, income-eligible Pennsylvania homeowners facing unforeseen financial hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for assistance.

The Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF) will help Pennsylvania homeowners whose household income is at or below 150% of the area median to prevent or ease mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, displacement and utility disconnection.

The General Assembly allocated $350 million in federal funds for the program. The legislature also established a Construction Cost Relief Program to support the production of developments by addressing financial deficiencies directly attributed to the effects of the pandemic.

Homeowners can learn about PAHAF and see a list of organizations that can assist them by visiting www.pahaf.org or by calling the PAHAF call center at 888-987-2423 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Caring for Dogs in Winter: The Law

Winter Dog Care

Now that cold weather is upon us, I’d like to remind you of the 2017 law designed to prevent animal cruelty in harsh conditions, particularly involving dogs.  

Under Act 10 of 2017, an unattended dog may be tethered for no more than nine hours in a 24-hour period and must meet the following criteria: 

  • The dog may not be tethered for longer than 30 minutes in temperatures below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The tether must be of a type commonly used for the size and breed of dog and at least three times the length of the dog or 10 feet, whichever is longer.
  • The tether must be secured to a well-fitted collar or harness by means of a swivel anchor, swivel latch or other mechanism designed to prevent the dog from becoming entangled.
  • The tethered dog must have access to water and an area of shade to escape the direct rays of the sun.

Penalties range from up to 90 days in jail and/or a $300 fine for neglect to seven years in jail and/or a $15,000 for aggravated cruelty. You can read more about Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws here.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

  Martin Luther King Day 

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day across America. It’s a time to rededicate ourselves to bridging divides and fostering true racial harmony.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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