Senator Bartolotta E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Bill to Improve Workforce Development Programs Passes Senate
  • Happenings in the 46th
  • “Grow PA” Bills to Support Affordable Pathways to Higher Ed, Career Prep Passes Senate
  • Bill to Protect Property Owners from Squatters Receives Senate Support
  • Senate Approves Legislation Combatting AI “Deepfake” Images of Minors
  • Bill to Extend Grant Program for Fire, EMS and Rescue Organizations Passes Senate
  • Free Webinars Provide Helpful Financial Aid Info
  • Happy Father’s Day

Bill to Improve Workforce Development Programs Passes Senate

This week the Senate passed my legislation to make Pennsylvanians more attractive to employers and improve workforce development programs. Senate Bill 761 would use data that already exists but is not shared with local development boards in a timely fashion. Delayed information and data sharing limits these boards in efficiently analyzing programs and policy.

The Department of Labor and Industry and the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis would be required to share workforce data on wages, new hires and unemployment claimants with local workforce development boards. The bill also calls for technical assistance and support for the improved data sharing model so local workforce development boards can use the information. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Happenings in the 46th

 Last week I visited WeCare at Rolling Meadows, Greene County. This facility provides skilled nursing rehabilitation, memory care and long-term living and are a valuable resource to the community.

After the tour and visit with some of the residents, I sat down with Co-Founders Ari Grinspan and Gedaliah Wielgus as well as Rich Walters, Administrator, Desiree Burns, Director of Nursing and Dr. Eric Chadwick. We discussed state funding and regulations and talked about opportunities for the future. I want to extend my sincere appreciation for the dedication and commitment that the entire WeCare team provides to their residents, guests and fellow health care workers.

 We recently celebrated the Meals on Wheels Volunteers in Greene County! 256 volunteers contributed 12,336 hours delivering 51,673 meals to 1,038 Greene County residents. These volunteers are dedicated members of their community and provide such a valuable resource to some of our most vulnerable residents.

A huge thank you to Stacy Stroman with Blueprints and Rachal Estle with the Southwestern PA Area Agency on Aging, Inc. for making the day special. I was able to present Senate Certificates to the six senior centers and seven community food banks who support Meals on Wheels.

 Last week I sat down with Lisa Snider, Director of the Greene County Conservation District. Lisa and her team do an excellent job and always have a variety of projects they are working on. We covered challenges and opportunities for the future, as well as successes from the past year.

Lisa is also active with the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc., as well as the Pennsylvania Envirothon. Thank you to the Greene County Conservation District Board of Directors and the Greene County Commissioners for supporting these important efforts.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my Identity Theft Prevention Shredding Event last Saturday in Washington. As always, thank you Shred America Pittsburgh (local and Marine Veteran owned) and our driver/operator Jay for shredding everyone’s sensitive documents!

Another reminder that I am inviting veterans, active duty service members, and their families of the 46th District to attend a veterans appreciation barbecue picnic on Friday, July 12, from 5-7 p.m. at the Stone Pavilion in Washington Park.

This picnic is an opportunity to thank the men and women who have sacrificed their time and put their lives on hold to defend our great country. Of course, it is also about their families, who lived without their loved ones, often in fear for their safety when they were gone. I encourage all veterans and active duty members of the 46th District and their spouses to attend.

Space is limited for the picnic, so veterans and their families are asked to RSVP by Friday, July 5, online by clicking this link. Call my district office for more information at 724-225-4380.

“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. It respects the rights of all parties involved, ensuring legitimate tenants are protected while closing the door to those who exploit our system to occupy homes illegally.

Under current Pennsylvania law, squatters are considered trespassers after the property owner warns them they are not welcome and instructs them to vacate the property. Should the squatters remain where they are not licensed or privileged to be, they commit the offense of defiant trespass. However, reclaiming property from squatters requires a “notice to quit” be issued to individuals who have no legal right to the property. It imposes financial burdens and significant emotional strain on property owners.

Given the inconsistencies and lack of clarity in how states address squatter concerns, Pennsylvania must establish clear, uniform guidelines. Senate Bill 1236 defines what constitutes a “tenant,” simplifies the reclamation process – by eliminating the need for a “notice to quit” to be provided to a non-tenant – and offers a practical solution to a deeply distressing problem.

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. 

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.

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.

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!


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