In this Update:
Bill Would Expand Opportunities for College, Job Training Programs
Each year, billions in available student financial aid goes unclaimed.
Too many families in Pennsylvania miss out on chances to train for quality careers simply because they don’t know what programs or funding packages are available to them – or because they think they can’t afford it. I introduced a bill this week that will help more state residents make informed decisions about pursuing college and job training programs.
My bill will require high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines eligibility for federal, state and school financial aid programs. Families who choose not to complete the application could opt out on a form provided to parents or guardians.
More information about my bill is available here.
Recognizing Girls’ Wrestling in Pennsylvania
Girls’ wrestling in Pennsylvania has seen incredible growth in just a few short years, culminating in the PIAA voting to officially sanction the sport last month.
Before being officially recognized by the PIAA, female wrestlers held their own state championship tournament each year. I was proud to sponsor a resolution this week honoring these champions for their hard work and dedication.
I also had the distinct honor of individually recognizing one of the champions from our area. JP McCaskey’s Journie Rodriguez went 4-0 in the state championship tournament and earned the gold medal in the 112-pound weight class.
Congratulations to Journie and all the other champions recognized at the Capitol Building in Harrisburg on Monday!
Celebrating Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay Program, a partnership between the Federal government, surrounding states, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the Chesapeake Bay Commission to coordinate policies across all jurisdictions.
As Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, I joined my colleague Senator Gene Yaw to introduce a resolution designating the week of June 4-10 as Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week in Pennsylvania. My remarks on the Senate floor are available in the video above.
State Would Automatically Return Unclaimed Property Under Bill Approved by Senate
The Senate unanimously approved legislation authorizing the state to return unclaimed property without the need for rightful owners to search for it.
Senate Bill 24 would authorize the Pennsylvania Treasury Department to automatically return single-owner property for living individuals valued up to $5,000 after a thorough identification and verification process. The legislation streamlines the return of unclaimed money and property by eliminating the need for citizens to search and file a claim. For larger and more complex claims, owners would still be required to complete a claim form and provide additional information to confirm their identity and rightful ownership.
This commonsense initiative, which exemplifies how government should work to better serve its citizens, would return more money to hardworking Pennsylvanians who may be unaware of their unclaimed property. Search Treasury’s unclaimed property database here.
Looking to Change Agency’s Culture, Senate Approves Bill to Rename DEP
The Senate approved legislation to rename the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to the Department of Environmental Services. Senate Bill 691 will have no effect on the jurisdiction or current statutory or regulatory authority of the department.
The word “protection” in the department’s name carries a law enforcement connotation rather than that of an environmental resource and partner to the citizens of Pennsylvania. Emphasizing that the department is focused on services will be a major step forward in instituting a needed culture change.
DEP is charged with administering the laws of the commonwealth as enacted by the General Assembly. The General Assembly, through these legislative enactments, is responsible for ensuring the protection of the commonwealth’s environment and natural resources.
Free Junior Game Warden Camps Offered Across PA
The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) offers free Junior Game Warden Camps in each of PGC’s six regions in June and July for youth ages 12-15.
Campers will learn about wildlife crime forensics and how wardens catch poachers and solve wildlife-related crimes. Additional instruction will include woodland tracking skills, outdoor survival skills and wildlife capture techniques for nuisance complaints and research purposes.
Registration, available here, is limited to those who have not attended a camp previously.
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