In this Update:
Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Sends Letter in Opposition to RGGI
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee met this week to discuss opposition to Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The Governor is attempting to enter Pennsylvania into the program without legislative support or approval. You can watch my comments here or the entire hearing on the committee’s website.
Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI would be disastrous as it would eliminate $2.87 billion in economic activity while costing over 8,000 jobs. In addition, the PA Department of Environmental Protection admitted through its own data that 99.1% of all CO2 reductions that would occur would be offset by increases in CO2 emissions by surrounding states that do not participate in the RGGI program.
I, along with many of my colleagues, voted to send a letter the to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission stating that they should reject the final proposal regulation and not join RGGI.
Legislative Review: Supporting Veterans
Pennsylvania is home to nearly 800,000 veterans in addition to active members of the military. Supporting these men and women, and their families, is a top priority. The Senate passed several bills this year to assist Pennsylvanians who served our nation.
Act 31 of 2021 extends employment protections to Pennsylvania citizens who are members of another state’s National Guard.
Act 55 of 2021 increases the maximum donation amounts to the Veterans’ Trust Fund from $3 to $5 when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, ID card or vehicle registration and from $6 to $10 when applying for a two-year vehicle registration.
Act 63 of 2021 adds a member of the State Veterans Commission to the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council.
Senate Bill 248 designates March 6 as Persian Gulf War Veterans Day and October 7 as Global War on Terrorism Veterans Day.
Senate Bill 486 provides members of the Pennsylvania National Guard and reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces who serve on active duty, as well as their spouses, preference for placement into job training programs for one year after discharge.
You can find a full list of bills of note passed by the Senate in 2021 here.
Public Hearing on Child Protective Services Law Revisions
Proposed changes to a state law aimed at protecting children from abuse was the topic of a Senate hearing this week.
The Senate Aging and Youth Committee took testimony on revisions to Pennsylvania’s child protective services law proposed by the state Department of Human Services. Among the changes would be the removal of time frames for the expungement of state records on child abuse cases.
Currently, state law requires that unfounded child protective services reports and invalid general protective services reports be expunged from the state database after one year and that validated general protective services reports be expunged after 10 years or until the youngest child in the report turns 23. The change is aimed at aiding efforts to identify children at risk of future abuse.
You can watch the hearing and read testimony here.
Education Financial Assistance Available to Eligible Children of Veterans
The Educational Gratuity Program provides financial assistance for those attending post-high school education or training at an approved institution in the Commonwealth.
The program supports children of honorably discharged veterans who have 100% service-connected disabilities and served during a period of war or armed conflict, or children of veterans who die or died in service during a period of war or armed conflict. All applicants must have a financial need.
Payments will not exceed $500 per term or semester per qualified child to each approved educational institution over a total of eight terms or semesters. More information on the program and how to apply can be found here.
Game Commission Offering Learn to Hunt Webinars
The series kicks off Aug. 19 with a “Squirrel Hunting 101” webinar at 7 p.m. Additional live webinars will be on Sept. 9 and Sept. 21, also beginning at 7 p.m. The series continues into October with a “Pheasant Hunting 101” webinar at 7 p.m. on Oct. 7 and again on Oct. 26.
The webinars will be about an hour long and hosted by Game Commission staff. Each webinar will include a live Q&A session at the end. Advanced registration to view the webinars live is required at the Learn to Hunt page.
Observing Aviation’s Contribution to Pennsylvania and America
August 19 is National Aviation Day. Pennsylvania ranks 13th in the country in the number of public-use aviation facilities, including airports, heliports and seaplane bases. More than 120 public-use facilities provide an annual economic impact of $23.6 billion and support more than 300,000 jobs. Happy Aviation Day!
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