Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Remembering the events and victims of September 11, 2001
  • Challenging state agency over murky legal authority
  • Latest podcast features discussion with nationally renowned expert on high-speed internet access
  • School safety grant application period open for schools, community groups
  • Erasing stigma of mental health challenges
  • Meeting with Red Lion Area School District’s Dr. Deisley
  • Joining community leaders to present scholarship funding to benefit York County families
  • Outlining ways Pennsylvania can be a leader in ending human trafficking
  • York County’s tourism and hospitality contributing $1 billion to local economy
  • Upcoming PennDOT projects

Remembering the events and victims of September 11, 2001

Last week, I was humbled to speak at the Citizens Volunteer Fire Company’s 9/11 Memorial Service in Fawn Grove. The event paid tribute to the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on that fateful day in 2001.

During my remarks, I said that while that number is significant – each and every firefighter who lost their life on 9/11 was not thinking about numbers, they were thinking about saving lives.

At a time when people who hated our country showed us their worst, our first responders showed us their best.

As we look back with reverence at the brave actions of our first responders, we should also rededicate ourselves to ensure those lives lost on September 11 serve as a continual reminder that our freedoms are not free, and that when others show us their worst, we will show our best.

One of the bills I am proud to sponsor as your senator would require our state’s Department of Education to create model curriculum that could be used in our classrooms to teach about the events and significance of September 11.

With many schools not teaching about 9/11, I think it is important for students to understand an event that was so pivotal in our nation’s history and the world in which they live. It does not impose a requirement or unfunded mandate on our schools, but provides them with the necessary resources to put 9/11 in their curriculum.

You can read more about my legislative efforts here. 

Challenging state agency over murky legal authority

Earlier this week, I participated in a bicameral and bipartisan legislative hearing chaired by Senator Mike Folmer and Representative Garth Everett of the Senate and House State Government Committees. The hearing was focused on state real estate modernization efforts.

As part of my ongoing efforts to hold our state government accountable, I challenged Secretary Topper, who leads the Department of General Services, about entering into a contract to market certain property despite not having adequate legal authority to do so.

One of my biggest frustrations with state government is when any branch of government acts above the law and ignores the adequate checks and balances in our system.

You can watch my line of questioning below.

9/10/19 – Real Estate Modernization

I also asked the Pennsylvania State Police about input and expertise they have provided to the Department of General Services about improving access to high-speed internet with regard to this contract – knowing how important this service is to our first responders, law enforcement agencies and the safety of our communities.

You can watch my question below.

9/10/19 – Statewide Radio Network for State Police and Emergency Responders

If you are interested in the overall topic of real estate modernization, you can learn more about it here.

Latest podcast features discussion with nationally renowned expert on high-speed internet access

Thanks to those who subscribe to my podcast.  I apologize that we have not had a new episode of “Kristin’s Corner” in a while and am excited to share the latest episode with you today.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with Sascha Meinrath, who is the Palmer Chair of Telecommunications at Penn State University. Our 38+ minute discussion focusses on challenges when it comes to deploying high-speed internet in areas across our state. We also discuss what other states have done when trying to build out the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of their residents.

Read more about this podcast here.

You can listen to my latest podcast here. You can also find instructions to subscribe to my podcast to get the latest episodes delivered directly to your mobile device here. 

School safety grant application period open for schools, community groups

School districts and community groups throughout the 28th Senatorial District can now apply for grants to boost safety measures and reduce violence.

The School Safety and Security Grant Program provides state grants to school districts, intermediate units, career and technical schools, charter schools and private residential rehabilitative institutions to be used for school safety measures. Measures include hiring school security officers, purchasing security-related technology, implementing anti-violence curricula and providing counseling services for students as well as other programs that best protect students.

Grant money can also be used to complete safety and security assessments of current facilities.

A total of $18.72 million in funding will be distributed among all school districts that submit a qualifying application. An additional $33.78 million in grant funding will be awarded on a competitive basis.

Also included in the funding is $7.5 million to be awarded to community safety groups to help reduce the risk of violence through mentoring and intervention for at-risk children and families as well as improving communication between school entities and law enforcement and other programs to curb school and community violence.

This funding was included in the state budget that I supported in June.

You can learn more about these grants here.

Erasing stigma of mental health challenges

Tuesday marked World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.

One in five people experience mental health challenges. That is why on September 25, Red Lion Area School District is hosting an event titled, “Transforming Stigma into Strength.” The event will feature Mike Veny, who will share his personal story about struggling with mental health disorders.

Details can be found below.

Meeting with Red Lion Area School District’s Dr. Deisley

Continuing on my individual meetings with school districts throughout the 28th Senatorial District, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Scott Deisley and his team at Red Lion Area School District.

We spoke about several upcoming events the school district has planned, including the abovementioned event. We also discussed legislation I am working on, as well as the new option for school districts to implement flexible instructional days – an option that was included in a new law I authored.

These meetings over the last few months have been incredibly beneficial to me in establishing good communication between state government and our local school districts.

Joining community leaders to present scholarship funding to benefit York County families

On Thursday, I joined Reps. Stan Saylor (R-York) and Carol Hill-Evans (D-York) to present a check from the Bridge Educational Foundation to families of York County for a total of $30,500. The scholarship funding is made possible through the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs.

Outlining ways Pennsylvania can be a leader in ending human trafficking

On Monday evening, I had the privilege of speaking with the Winterstown United Methodist Church Women to discuss Senate Bill 60 and my efforts to end human trafficking in Pennsylvania.

Human trafficking is a pervasive problem that impacts York County and our commonwealth. I believe we can strike a critical blow against those who are making a living by promoting the suffering of others, and concerned citizens can play an important role in not only ending the modern day slave trade but also restoring a sense of humanity to its victims.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this important update. 

York County’s tourism and hospitality contributing $1 billion to local economy

Senator Doug Mastriano, Rep. Dan Moul, Rep. Torren Ecker and I met with the Southern Chapter of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association for a legislative roundtable earlier this week in Gettysburg to discuss issues affecting our county’s hospitality industry.

According to Explore York PA, tourism in York County generates over $1 billion a year. Our York County restaurants and lodging entities are a big part of our York County economy.

We had a great conversation on various topics, including how to grow jobs and allow hardworking men and women to keep more of their hard-earned paycheck.

Upcoming PennDOT projects

You can see PennDOT’s maintenance projects planned for next week here.

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