Senator Baker E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Josh Shapiro Sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 48th Governor
  • Senate Acts to Help Farmers Meet Rising Demand for Home Delivery
  • Measure to Boost Volunteer Fire Company Membership Approved
  • PennDOT Job Openings Posted for College Students
  • Veterans: Now is a Good Time to Review and Update Benefits
  • Blood Donation is Easy and Safe

Josh Shapiro Sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 48th Governor

Governor Shapiro delivered a speech that was forceful and inclusive.  He identified several priority issues for which there is bipartisan support.  Based on his experience as a state Representative, county commissioner, and attorney general, our expectation is that he will be more respectful of differing viewpoints and more considerate of community interests.  That has been my impression when we have worked on issues such as opioid abuse and justice for abuse victims.  We have a lot of work to do in education, health care, public safety, justice, protection of rights, and other issue areas that require clear thinking and the ability to bring together disparate interests toward solid solutions.  The manner in which he has assembled a representative cabinet and leadership team sends a positive signal that this administration will try to build bridges with the General Assembly, and his selections from northeastern Pennsylvania, Major Chris Paris as the Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner, and former Representative Mike Carroll PennDOT Secretary, will serve our area well.

Senate Acts to Help Farmers Meet Rising Demand for Home Delivery

Legislation to help farmers meet the rising demand for farm products delivered to homes was approved by the Senate.

The current vehicle code allows for home deliveries via a commercial vehicle registration, but prevents the commercial vehicle from being registered as a farm vehicle. As a result, a farmer needs to purchase, register and maintain a separate commercial vehicle for at-home delivery, while also maintaining a farm vehicle to deliver agricultural commodities to places of business.

Senate Bill 95 would remove this duplicative, unnecessary and overburdensome requirement. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives.

Measure to Boost Volunteer Fire Company Membership Approved

To address the serious shortage of volunteer firefighters across Pennsylvania, the Senate passed legislation to create a pilot program giving interested high school students training in firefighting.

Senate Bill 114 would award grants to one higher education school each in eastern, central and western Pennsylvania to establish fire training programs for students in high school, with the hope they will remain firefighters for years to come.

The number of Pennsylvania volunteer firefighters has plummeted from 300,000 in the 1970s to fewer than 37,000. Senate Bill 114 was sent to the House of Representatives.

PennDOT Job Openings Posted for College Students

Summer PennDOT jobs are available to full-time college students registered for the Fall 2023 semester. 

Jobs include assisting in seasonal maintenance work, crash system input and analysis, and maintenance and custodial services at roadside rest facilities. Many students also perform laboring and flagging duties in maintenance organizations and at highway worksites. The pay is $15.49 per hour.

Students majoring in engineering or a related scientific or technical field might be interested in engineering internship opportunities at PennDOT’s Central Office (Harrisburg) or at one of its statewide engineering district offices.

Veterans: Now is a Good Time to Review and Update Benefits

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) says that the start of the year is a good time for veterans to meet with an accredited veteran service officer to ensure they are receiving or maximizing the benefits they have earned through their service and sacrifice while in uniform.

Safeguarding military paperwork – especially the DD-214, which is used to verify military service – is an important first step for securing benefits. Filing these documents for free at the county courthouse is an easy way to secure them until needed, which can often be decades into the future. Anyone needing assistance locating their military documentation can call the DMVA at 800-547-2838 or e-mail RA-REQ@pa.gov.

A complete list of accredited county directors of veterans affairs and their contact information can be found here. Contact information for accredited veteran service officers can be found here.

Blood Donation is Easy and Safe

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs donated blood. Blood donors help accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, those battling cancer and others.

Please take the occasion of National Blood Donor Month to consider providing this lifesaving gift. You can find the nearest blood drive here, and learn more about the process here.

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