In this Update:
Working with Schools to Provide a Safe Learning Experience
As the new school year gets underway, students and teachers in many districts across the state are returning to classes made safer by actions taken by the General Assembly.
We have worked together on bipartisan legislation that gives our schools the tools they need to identify potential threats early, provide mental health services and safeguard our classrooms.
Landmark legislation in 2018 specifically established a School Safety Committee at the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. It also created the School Safety and Security Grant Program which allowed schools to hire school police officers, resource officers and counselors; implement safety plans and violence prevention initiatives; and purchase equipment and physical upgrades to boost student safety.
We allocated $60 million to that program initially and then another $60 million in 2019 and $95 million more in 2022.
Additionally, we passed legislation creating an anonymous school threat reporting system to help schools and law enforcement be prepared for any potential violent incidents. The Safe2Say program has generated more than 80,000 tips since its inception in 2019, not only for school safety concerns, but also for student safety issues like bullying and self-harm.
This is an ongoing process and I’m committed to providing schools with the tools they need to keep students and staff safe.
Constitutional Amendment Supporting Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
This week, an agreement was reached between The General Assembly and Governor Wolf, on opening a two-year window for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits.
My personal commitment to survivors is to push through the constitutional amendment as soon as possible in the new session. Further, because the outcome of a referendum on an amendment is never certain, I will also introduce legislation to make the change statutorily, if necessary. You can read the full press release here.
Agriculture and Youth Grant Program Applications Being Accepted
For every four farmers in Pennsylvania over the age of 65 in 2019, only one was under 35. The Agriculture and Youth Grant Program aims to address the looming workforce deficit the industry is expected to face in coming years.
The program provides direct grants of up to $7,500 and matching grants of up to $25,000 to support projects, programs and equipment purchases by youth-run organizations, and those with programs that benefit youth or promote development in agriculture, community leadership, vocational training and peer fellowship. Past funded projects include workforce development programs, seminars and field trips, agricultural safety training, capital projects and equipment purchases aimed at leading students to opportunities in agriculture and building the future workforce that Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry needs to succeed.
Applications for these grants will be accepted through Sept. 30. You can find guidelines and application details here.
Please Help Me Collect Items for Area Food Banks
According to Feeding Pennsylvania, nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians – or one in nine – are struggling with hunger and 500,000 of them are children. The pandemic has caused an even greater need.
At the state Capitol, for 12 seasons now from the spring through the fall, the 1,000-square-foot Capitol Hunger Garden has been producing hundreds of pounds of fresh produce that is donated to Harrisburg’s Downtown Daily Bread, which takes those donations into their kitchen to provide healthy meals to many in the Harrisburg area. Last year, 849 pounds of produce was harvested from the garden and we’re hoping for a similar bounty by the time the growing season ends this year.
Closer to home, I’m asking for everyone who can to donate non-perishable items to their local food banks. My legislative district offices (see addresses below) are collecting donations from anyone who wishes to give, with those collections to be given to food banks in our communities.
Free Webinars Help New Hunters Enjoy this Pennsylvania Tradition
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is hosting free webinars allowing new hunters to ask questions of biologists, game wardens and experienced hunters about the best, safest ways to participate in this Pennsylvania tradition.
Register here for upcoming webinars covering archery deer and pheasant hunting. The page includes past webinars on “Hunting Tips & Tactics,” “Getting Started” and other topics.
How My Office Can Help You
My staff and I are here to make state government more accessible and helpful to you. Listed below are several constituent services available to you:
Don’t hesitate to contact my offices listed below with any requests, questions or concerns.
Please do not reply to this email. If you would like to contact Senator Baker, submit a web contact form here: https://www.senatorbaker.com/contact-me-2/