Senator Baker E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Bipartisan Special Committee Will Review Election, Offer Reforms
  • Funding Available for Organizations Serving PA Veterans
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Grants Available
  • Have a Merry Christmas

Bipartisan Special Committee Will Review Election, Offer Reforms

I was recently named to serve on the Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform. The Special Committee will be comprised of four Republican members and four Democrat members, with the President Pro Tempore serving as an ex-officio member.

I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Special Committee to ensure our elections are fair and secure. As someone who has supported and voted for a series of reforms to state election law over the years, I welcome the opportunity to examine what was done right and what went wrong in recent elections. If we approach this responsibility in a constructive manner, we can emerge with remedies and additional reforms that will improve voter access and increase participation in future elections. Our democracy functions best when there are more voters engaged, not fewer.

The “Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform” will focus on:

  • the security of the vote before, during and after Election Day;
  • the accuracy and security of the election process, particularly during the pre-canvassing and canvassing stages;
  • the uniformity of the election processes across the Commonwealth;
  • the impact and role of our judiciary in the election process;
  • the impact and role of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in issuing interpretations, guidance and instructions regarding the election process and the conduct of the election as a whole; and
  • other election related issues that may come before the Committee.

The Special Committee will have subpoena power, the ability to receive sworn testimony and must be focused on ensuring the integrity and security of elections. It is important for us to swear-in all testifiers and insist that individuals provide evidence to support any information that is shared. The findings and recommendations will then be presented to the full Senate for swift action.

Funding Available for Organizations Serving PA Veterans

Veterans’ service organizations, counties and other groups have until January 27, 2021 to apply for competitive grant funding from the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund.

The PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs announced the availability of a total of $800,000 in funding. Up to $650,000 is available for veterans’ service organizations and non-profit organizations that have a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans. Funding priorities for the 2020-21 grant year are programs that address homelessness, behavioral health initiatives or veterans’ courts. The maximum grant request in this category is $50,000.

Up to $150,000 is available for grants to the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs or grants to counties. The maximum grant request is $20,000 per county. Information and applications can be found here.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Grants Available

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is accepting applications for the Enhancement and Expansion of Treatment and Recovery Services for Adolescents, Transitional Aged Youth, and their Families grant program.

Grants of up to $545,000 are available for state and local governments, universities, non-profit health care systems, and community and faith-based organizations.

The grants should be used to enhance and expand comprehensive treatment, early intervention, and recovery support services for adolescents (ages 12-18) and transitional aged youth (ages 16-25) with substance use disorders, and their families. The deadline to apply is February 8, 2021.

Have a Merry Christmas

2020 has brought many challenges, while also helping to highlight the importance of the simple things in life. From my home to yours, wishing you a Christmas that is joyful and warm. Well wishes to you and yours for a happy & healthy new year!

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