Senator Phillips-Hill E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • “Grow PA” Bills to Support Affordable Pathways to Higher Ed, Career Prep Passes Senate
  • Protecting Property Owners from Squatters Receives Senate Support
  • Join Me for a Coffee Break!
  • Senate Policy Hearing Dives into Crime Trends and Solutions
  • Powerlifter from Susquehannock Recognized by Senate
  • Guest Chaplain with Southern York County Roots
  • Bill to Extend Grant Program for Fire, EMS and Rescue Organizations Passes Senate
  • Working Animal Appreciation Day
  • Senate Approves Legislation Combatting AI “Deepfake” Images of Minors
  • Free Webinars Provide Helpful Financial Aid Info
  • Mobile Office in Penn Township
  • Happy Father’s Day
  • Upcoming PennDOT Maintenance Projects

“Grow PA” Bills to Support Affordable Pathways to Higher Ed, Career Prep Passes Senate

Tens of thousands of students would have more opportunities to pursue affordable post-secondary education and career preparations programs under a package of bills approved with bipartisan support in the Senate.

The Grow PA initiative would create and expand programs to connect students to high-demand careers in Pennsylvania. The bills would not only make education and career training more affordable, but also provide strong incentives for students to stay and work in the state after completing their degrees and certifications.

Grow PA Scholarships would be established for in-state students who attend college in Pennsylvania, pursue a degree in a high-demand industry, and agree to live and work in that industry in Pennsylvania after graduation.

Grow PA Merit Scholarships would be created to allow high-performing, out-of-state students pursuing in-demand occupations to pay lower, in-state tuition at Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools.

Ready to Succeed Scholarships would be expanded to help as many as 24,000 additional students cover post-secondary education costs.

Fostering Independence Tuition Waivers would be expanded to nonresident students, waiving PASSHE tuition and fees for children in the foster care system and children who were adopted.

Performance-based metrics would be added to funding for state-related universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University and Temple University to provide added accountability to taxpayers.

A Higher Education Task Force would be created to improve higher education and career preparation programs.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion would be required for high school seniors, ensuring families have access to vital information on higher education aid, career and technical education, certificate programs and more.

The Grow PA plan also includes historic investments in career and technical education and dual enrollment.

Bill to Protect Property Owners from Squatters Receives Senate Support

The Senate approved legislation to establish more certainty for homeowners, landlords and law enforcement who encounter squatters. This measure has now been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Under current Pennsylvania law, squatters are considered trespassers once the property owner warns them to vacate. Despite this, reclaiming property from squatters has been an exhausting and painful process, requiring a “notice to quit” be issued to individuals with no legal right to the property. This process often imposes financial burdens and significant emotional strain on property owners.

Senate Bill 1236, which received unanimous support, clearly defines what constitutes a “tenant,” simplifies the reclamation process by eliminating the need for a “notice to quit” for non-tenants, and offers a practical solution to this deeply distressing problem. This legislation strikes a balance that respects the rights of all parties involved, ensuring legitimate tenants are protected while closing the door to those who exploit the system to occupy homes illegally.

The support in the Senate of Pennsylvania mirrors what I have heard from across our community. I recently asked citizens to weigh in on whether or not the state should increase penalties on squatters and protect property owners. You can view the results below:

This bill represents a significant step toward protecting the rights of property owners and ensuring a fairer system for everyone involved.

Join Me for a Coffee Break!  

Since my last Coffee & Conversation received such great feedback and had many productive discussions on state-related issues, I am excited to announce the next event!

Join me at Belmont Bean Co. next Thursday, June 20, from 10-11 a.m. Come out, say hello, and have coffee on me! Belmont Bean Co. is located at 18 South Belmont St., York, PA 17403.

I look forward to catching up with familiar faces and meeting new ones!

Senate Policy Hearing Dives into Crime Trends and Solutions 

This week, the Senate Majority Policy Committee held a hearing to explore crime trends across Pennsylvania and discuss potential solutions with top prosecutors. Chaired by Sen. Dan Laughlin, the hearing featured testimony from several law enforcement professionals, including York County’s very own District Attorney, Dave Sunday.

The discussion provided valuable insights into the current state of crime and highlighted strategies to enhance public safety.

Watch the hearing in its entirety here.

Powerlifter from Susquehannock Recognized by Senate

The Senate celebrated the achievements of Sagan Marks, a state champion powerlifter from Susquehannock, who recently represented Pennsylvania and York County at Bench World’s during session this week. It was a pleasure to host her, along with her family and coach, at the state Capitol to honor her impressive accomplishments.

During the introduction, a female wrestler from another school expressed interest in starting a similar program. Sagan and her coach kindly offered advice on how to get started, showcasing their support for the growth of women’s high school sports.

Sagan is set to attend West Chester University this fall to study exercise science. You can watch her recognition here.

Senate Guest Chaplain with Southern York County Roots

This week, the Pennsylvania Senate welcomed Pastor Michael Hopkins from New Freedom Baptist Church as the Guest Chaplain. A native of Southern York County, Pastor Hopkins has dedicated his life to ministry, education, and community service.

Since 2017, he has led New Freedom Baptist Church, developing numerous ministries to serve and uplift the community. He was joined by his wife of 33 years, Shelly Hopkins.

You can find his welcome and opening prayer on my YouTube.

Bill to Extend Grant Program for Fire, EMS and Rescue Organizations Passes Senate

The Senate approved Senate Bill 1099 to extend the state Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program for an additional five years. The program is scheduled to expire June 30.

Grants are provided through the program to help volunteer and professional fire companies, emergency medical services (EMS) organizations and volunteer rescue squads construct or renovate facilities, purchase or repair equipment, reduce debt and provide training.

The grant program allocates up to $30 million, with fire companies eligible for grants of up to $20,000 and EMS companies eligible for grants of up to $15,000.

Working Animal Appreciation Day 

The state Capitol honored the hardworking animals of Pennsylvania as part of Working Animal Appreciation Day this week. Among the notable attendees was York County’s K9 Sergeant Prince, who, alongside the York County Sheriff’s Office, showcased his vital role in local law enforcement and his impact on protecting and serving York Countians.

Attendees had the opportunity to meet several trainers and handlers, gaining insights into the various nonprofits and law enforcement entities that utilize working animals to provide invaluable services across the Commonwealth.

It was an inspiring event, highlighting the dedication and importance of these remarkable animals and their handlers! You can find more photos on my Facebook.

Senate Approves Legislation Combatting AI “Deepfake” Images of Minors

Legislation to combat “deepfake” images of minors and child sexual abuse materials generated by artificial intelligence (AI) was approved by the Senate. The bill will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The unauthorized dissemination of an intimate image is against the law in Pennsylvania. However, the law does not specifically address the use of AI deepfake technology to create and disseminate an intimate image of a non-consenting person. Some websites have published realistic AI-generated sexual images of non-consenting adults, as well as children. The images may be artificial but are created by using data and images from real individuals and children.

Senate Bill 1213 would make it clear that the use of AI deepfake technology to create pornographic images of an individual without his or her consent is prohibited. It would also prohibit the use of deepfake technology to create child sexual abuse materials.

Free Webinars Provide Helpful Financial Aid Info

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is holding free webinars to assist college-bound students and their families with navigating the financial aid process.

On Tuesday, June 25, at noon, speakers will discuss how to cover the gap between awarded loans and the actual amount due. On Thursday, June 27, at 6:30 p.m., speakers will focus on how to compare financial aid offers to choose the right loan for the borrower.

Register to attend the one-hour webinars.

Mobile Office in Penn Township 

On Thursday, June 20, my team will be stationed at the Penn Township Municipal Building from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Residents are invited to stop by the office, located at 20 Wayne Ave., to receive assistance with any state-related matters.

Happy Father’s Day 

Father’s Day is a time to reflect on the amazing men in our lives and let them know how much their dedication means to us. They show their love and guidance in so many ways, big and small, that make our lives better. Wishing all of the dads a wonderful day with their families!

Upcoming PennDOT Maintenance Projects

Most weeks, PennDOT shares with me its maintenance schedule for the week ahead. When it becomes available, you can view the full list here to see if it will impact you and your family.


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