In this update:
Join Us for an Agriculture Update
I am excited to announce an upcoming event that promises to be both informative and engaging for our local agriculture community. On Feb. 8, I will host our second annual Farmers’ Breakfast at the Eureka Volunteer Fire & Ambulance Company in Stewartstown. I want to extend a warm invitation to all members of the agriculture community to join me for this meeting.
Our guest speaker is Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. Additionally, York College of Pennsylvania Dean Charles MacVean will share a brief update on the college’s new environmental horticulture program. This promises to be an enlightening session for those interested in the intersection of education and agriculture.
Please RSVP at https://senatorkristin.com/farmers-breakfast/ or call our local office at 717-741-4648. Your registration ensures that we can accommodate everyone comfortably.
Take My Survey: Should PA Stand with TX on Securing Our Border?
Illegal immigration continues to be an issue that goes unresolved by the federal government. States are now taking action to stem this illegal activity. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would work on a state solution to secure his state’s southern border due to federal inaction.
This week, my colleagues announced they would offer a resolution in the Senate of Pennsylvania to call on Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro to join other governors from across the nation in supporting Gov. Abbott’s lawful authority to defend his state and its citizens.
The resolution would also call on the Biden Administration to stop fighting against Texas’ efforts.
Protecting PA’s Local Governments from Cyberattacks
As a member of the Senate Communications and Technology Committee, I participated in a public hearing this week that examined cybersecurity threats faced by local governments and municipal authorities.
Recent cyberattacks targeting the Bucks County emergency dispatch system and the Aliquippa Water Authority highlight the vulnerability of Pennsylvania’s more than 2,500 local governments and authorities.
While exposure of residents’ personal information is a serious concern, these attacks can also interfere with ways people satisfy basic needs, such as the delivery of clean drinking water to their homes and being able to call for help in the case of an emergency. Learn more from the cybersecurity experts and local government officials who took part in the hearing.
Improving Pennsylvanians’ Experiences by Increasing Broadband Access
Federal grants are available to improve the experiences Pennsylvanians have at medical care facilities, schools, and libraries. The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority’s Capital Projects Fund allows for investment in high-quality broadband infrastructure as well as other connectivity infrastructure, devices, and equipment.
The $45 million of competitive grants can be used for community projects to construct, acquire, or improve facilities that will enable work, education, or health monitoring.
Grants will be awarded in amounts ranging from $250,000 to $2 million. Apply online through April 20. While the grant funding was awarded through a federal program, it supports Senate Republicans’ priority of infrastructure advancement.
Marching Mustangs Soared to Victory in 2023
This week, Rep. Kate Klunk and I celebrated South Western Marching Band’s victory, recognizing its hard work, dedication, and teamwork. The Marching Mustangs, under the exceptional guidance of Directors Bill Kirsch, Erika McKee, and Shaine Lepley, clinched first place in the 2023 Cavalcade of Bands – Yankee A Division with a stellar score of 91.475!
Congratulations to the students, directors, and everyone involved in the program! You can find more photos here.
Improving PA’s Financial Literacy
In the ever-evolving landscape of financial decisions, high school students often find themselves facing complex choices, from student loans for college to purchasing their first vehicle. Recognizing the need to equip students with the knowledge for informed decisions, Sen. Chris Gebhard is leading the charge to establish a solid foundation for future financial choices starting in high school.
In addition, Auditor General Tim DeFoor, in collaboration with Harrisburg University and Members 1st Federal Credit Union, proudly presents the 11th Annual Financial Literacy Scholarship. This opportunity invites Pennsylvania students in grades 9-12 to submit short essays on “what financial literacy means to you” for a chance to win the top prize of $2,500. Second, third, and honorable mention prizes will also be awarded.
You can find more information about this opportunity here.
Cheers to 30 Years: Quinn Flags
We extend heartfelt congratulations to Quinn Flags for reaching an incredible milestone — three decades of unwavering success! Recently, PA State Rep. Kate Klunk and I had the honor of presenting citations to this Hanover-based business, renowned for being a flagbearer of quality, specializing in promotional displays and flags.
During our visit, we witnessed firsthand the dedication and commitment that have propelled Quinn Flags to 30 years of excellence. Here’s to celebrating their past achievements and looking forward to many more years of success! You can find more photos from our visit on my Instagram.
2023 Accomplishments: Supporting PA Seniors
As part of Senate Republicans’ commitment to healthy and safe communities, we are focused on supporting Pennsylvania seniors. This means making sure they have access to the health care they need and preventing their exploitation.
One new law adjusts Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes so the facilities can continue to meet the needs of vulnerable patients. Another law ensures seniors do not lose access to Pennsylvania’s prescription drug programs due to an increase in their Social Security payments.
A third piece of legislation recently signed into law aims to prevent elder abuse by strengthening guardianship laws. It protects vulnerable adults within the guardianship system from fraud, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
PA VETConnect Helps Veterans Access Programs and Services
Due to legislation supported by Senate Republicans, PA VETConnect makes it easier for Pennsylvania’s 700,000 veterans to access the programs and services available to help them.
Administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, PA VETConnect benefits service members, veterans and their families. The database of resources enables local veteran advocates to point veterans to information, resources, programs and services in their area and across the commonwealth.
Resource areas include benefits, employment, financial assistance, post-traumatic stress, mental wellness and substance use.
As a reminder, if you or someone you know would like to receive my monthly email update to our local veterans, please sign up here.
Grants Available to Support Student Safety, Behavioral Health Needs
Grants are available through a few different state programs to support the physical security and behavioral health needs of students in the commonwealth. All grant applications must be received by Feb. 29.
School Mental Health Grants make $90 million available for school districts, intermediate units, area career and technical schools, charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber charter schools.
Approximately $32 million is available through Competitive School Safety Grants for school resource officers, security-related technology and violence prevention programs that address safety and security. As part of Senate Republican efforts to ensure safe schools and communities, a budget measure passed in December included provisions to consolidate and streamline school safety and security programs and operations under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
The School District Meritorious Grant Program is specifically for school districts and approximately $18.6 million is available. Individual awards to address physical safety and security range from $30,000 to $45,000.
Preventing Cancer by Increasing Access to Screenings
The federal government estimated that nearly two million Americans would be diagnosed with cancer and that more than 600,000 would die from their disease in 2023. Research shows that more than 40% of those cases can be attributed to preventable causes such as smoking, physical inactivity, excessive exposure to the sun and excess body weight.
Making healthier choices can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. Learn how you can put yourself on a better path and test your cancer prevention knowledge here.
Senate Republicans passed legislation that is now law to help Pennsylvanians get the preventative cancer testing they need. Specifically, it eliminates out-of-pocket costs for genetic testing of hereditary cancer syndromes and supplemental breast screenings for women at high risk of developing breast cancer.
Starting Next Week: Email Delivery on Thursday Evenings
Starting next week, we are making a positive change to bring you more timely and up-to-date information. My weekly email update will now take place on Thursday evenings, ensuring you receive the latest updates in a convenient and timely manner and get you a jump start to your weekend. I look forward to keeping you informed and engaged with YOUR state government.
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes on Monday, Feb. 5, at 1 p.m. You can watch all of the Senate votes and view our agenda here.
In addition to session on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week, Gov. Josh Shapiro will unveil his second state budget proposal on Tuesday before a joint legislative session on Tuesday, Feb. 6.