Senator Bartolotta E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Advances Key Education, School Safety Budget Priorities
  • Funding for State-Related Universities Approved by Senate
  • Veterans Day Weekend was Special
  • Happenings in the 46th
  • Supporting Athletic Trainers
  • Loans Available for Businesses Creating and Retaining Jobs
  • Recognizing National Child Safety and Protection Month

Senate Advances Key Education, School Safety Budget Priorities

The Senate approved budget implementation language that will drive out critical funding to schools and present a more streamlined approach to school safety.

House Bill 301 allocates funding for several critical priorities that were included in the 2023-24 state budget, including:

  • $100 million for K-12 mental health programs.
  • An additional $150 million for education tax credits to provide scholarships to students through the existing Education Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs.
  • $295 million for Ready-to-Learn Block Grants.
  • More than $261 million for community colleges.
  • More than $76 million in special education funding for intermediate units.
  • $10 million to create a new Educator Pipeline Support Grant Program to provide grants to student teachers.
  • $46.5 million in reimbursements to school entities that participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.
  • More than $70 million in state aid to public libraries.
  • $14.5 million in funding for career and technical schools.
  • $7 million to assist distressed schools.

The bill would also ensure greater collaboration in keeping children safe in the classroom by consolidating school safety programs and operations under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), which currently manages the highly successful School Safety and Security Grant Program created by Senate Republicans in 2018.

Learn more about other ways the bill helps students and schools here.

Funding for State-Related Universities Approved by Senate

The Senate has voted overwhelmingly to support funding and additional transparency for Pennsylvania’s state-related universities. Because the House then also passed both bills, they are set for enactment.

Under House Bill 1461, general support for Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University would remain at the previous year’s levels. Lincoln University and Penn College of Technology would receive increases of more than $3.2 million.

In addition, the Senate approved House Bill 1556, which would require greater transparency from state-related universities. The bill would ensure the institutions provide additional information in its annual Right-to-Know Law filing, including information related to contracts, financial statements, faculty, compensation, enrollment, courses and meeting minutes.

According to existing law, funding in the bill is directed to provide tuition discounts for in-state students, and universities are required to meet strict financial reporting requirements as a condition of receiving the money. The leaders of the state-related universities support the funding bill.

Veterans Day Weekend was Special

On the hallowed grounds of the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, I gave my remarks paying tribute to those who have served during the annual Veterans Day ceremony. It was a pleasure to see Brigadier General, PA (Ret.) Maureen Weigl who now serves as the Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs. She delivered an important and poignant keynote speech. Watch both of our remarks by clicking the image above.

It is of highest esteem to be in the presence of a Medal of Honor recipient. It was a true honor introducing Retired U.S. Army Colonel Walter Joseph Marm and his lovely wife, Deborah, on the Senate floor this week. Colonel Marm, a Washington County native, is the only living MOH recipient from Pennsylvania. You can watch my remarks, Senator Mastriano’s remarks, and Colonel Marm addressing the Senate by clicking the image above.

Colonel Marm, welcome home.

Guardian Angels. There isn’t a better name for an organization that pairs individuals with medical service dogs that forever change their lives, especially our veterans. On Veterans Day weekend, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. broke ground on their Pennsylvania campus in McDonald that will serve as their northeastern hub. It’s a gorgeous piece of property that will bring tranquility to those suffering with post-traumatic stress.

Learn more about the Guardian Angels organization:

I am so appreciative to have participated in the 50th PennWest California Veterans Day Program and present a Senate certificate recognizing the school’s dedication to honoring service members and veterans on campus and in the community, and to remember those veterans who are no longer with us. I presented the certificate to PennWest Council of Trustees Chair, Kathy Pape.

Happenings in the 46th

Last week’s ribbon cutting celebrating the grand opening of the Welcome & Education Center at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum was the culmination of years of dedication and an incredible amount of hard work by so many people. This was a project that I supported every step of the way. Congratulations to all of the volunteers, community members, business leaders, contractors, and government officials for coming together to realize this vision.

The Greene County Pa Chamber of Commerce held their 35th Annual Membership Banquet at Valley View Farm Venue in Waynesburg this week. Congratulations to all of the award winners.

The McCracken Legacy Award was presented to Waynesburg Milling Company and the Distinguished Service Awards went to Debbie Wilson, Barb Wise, Joe Ayersman and Waynesburg University’s President Douglas Lee. All of the award winners contribute to our community and make a difference every day with their kind spirit and can-do attitude.

The Eatery at Kiln To Table marks a milestone of growth and expansion for this local business in Waynesburg, Greene County. Kiln to Table now offers The Eatery – a lovely dining room behind the existing restaurant. Congratulations to Natalie and daughter Dana on this exciting adventure.

Supporting Athletic Trainers

I was sincerely flattered to be acknowledged by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society by receiving the Friends of Athletic Trainers’ Award during halftime at last week’s Washington & Jefferson homecoming game. I have always supported the incredibly important field of athletic training and insured athletic trainers have the necessary resources and recognition they deserve. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Loans Available for Businesses Creating and Retaining Jobs

Low-interest loans and lines of credit are available to eligible businesses that commit to creating and retaining full-time jobs and for the development of industrial parks and multi-tenant facilities.

The money can be used for land and building acquisitions, machinery and equipment purchases, working capital and accounts receivable lines of credit, multi-tenant facility projects and industrial park projects.

Learn more and apply online here.

Recognizing National Child Safety and Protection Month

National Child Safety and Protection Month is dedicated to recognizing the dangers children may face and taking steps to prevent those challenges.

We have passed bills to provide child identification kits to parents to help identify and return missing children and to allow parents to surrender their unharmed baby at participating urgent care centers.

Other bills would protect them on their way to school by increasing penalties for drivers who refuse to stop for school buses and extending and revamping the school bus stop arm automated enforcement program.


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