Aug. 09, 2019

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Making PA Schools Safer
 
Recognizing the importance of ensuring our children feel safe at school, the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in support of investing an additional $60 million in the School Safety and Security Block Grant program.

Now in its second year, the program provides flexible funding that schools may use for a variety of security-related initiatives, including hiring school police officers, school resource officers, counselors and/or mental health counselors; alternative education and diversion programs; violence prevention initiatives; school safety and emergency preparedness plans; or physical upgrades to school buildings and equipment to improve safety.

Based on revisions to the grant funding guidelines, each school entity that submits an application for funding to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will receive a base grant of between $30,000 and $45,000, based on the school’s average daily attendance.

As part of the Public School Code bill that accompanied passage of this year’s budget, lawmakers also are requiring each public school district to create at least one multi-disciplinary threat assessment team to identify students in distress before their behavior escalates to a level that raises concern about safety.


Town Hall Meetings to be Held
Throughout the month of August, I will be hosting town hall meetings in the 46th Legislative District. All meetings will begin at 7 p.m. Additional town hall meetings will be scheduled later this year.

The schedule for August is:

• Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the South Fayette Township Municipal Building, 515 Millers Run Road, Morgan.
• Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Collier Community Center, 5 Lobaugh St., Oakdale.
• Wednesday, Aug. 21, at the McDonald Borough Municipal Building, 151 School St., McDonald.
 

Safe2Say Something Reporting System Gets Results
An anonymous reporting system designed to give students, teachers, parents and community members the ability to anonymously report potential threats and other problems has collected nearly 23,500 tips in its first six months of operation, according to a report from the Office of Attorney General.

The Safe2Say Something program, created by a 2018 law, launched in mid-January to give students a way to share information without fear of repercussions or blame from their peers.

Among the most common issues reported included bullying/cyber bullying; cutting/self-harm; suicide/suicide ideation; depression/anxiety; and drug use/distribution/possession.

To report a possible dangerous or violent situation, individuals can call the state tip line at 844-723-2729. Tips can also be reported to safe2saypa.org or through the Safe2Say app on iPhone and Android devices.
 

Be Smart About Financial Aid
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is encouraging college-bound students and their families to visit MySmartBorrowing.org to help make informed choices about student loans.

This free, easy-to-use tool helps users understand how different career, school and financial decisions can influence the cost of an education and their ability to repay student loans, while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle long after graduation.

The site was recently updated with enhanced college and career projection data through 2026. This includes expected college costs for various majors at different schools and future employment opportunities and salary levels for different careers and geographic locations.

This data helps provide a personalized look at a student’s potential cost of attendance at different schools, while highlighting salary expectations for a particular degree and future employment prospects. Students are encouraged to use the site more than once so they can compare different scenarios, using different schools and careers, to see how the choices they make can affect their futures.

For more information about financial aid opportunities, visit PHEAA.org.
 

New FCC Robocall Spoofing Rules Adopted
Late last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted new rules banning malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and foreign calls. These new rules will close a loophole in the law that prevented the agency from pursuing scammers sending spoofed text messages and international fraudsters making spoofed calls to Americans.

Fraudsters working in overseas call centers often pretend to be calling from trusted organizations and use pressure tactics to deceive and defraud American consumers of money and personal information. Caller ID spoofing is used in these cases by the scammers to make their phone number appear to match the organization they are pretending to represent. The FCC’s new rules will prohibit such malicious spoofing from foreign robocallers.

These new rules are the latest in the FCC’s series of recent efforts to combat malicious caller ID spoofing. In 2018, the commission issued the largest fines in its history for violations of its caller ID spoofing rules. The agency has also pushed the phone industry to implement a caller ID “authentication” framework called SHAKEN/STIR this year. In June 2019, the commission adopted a further notice of proposed rulemaking which laid the groundwork to mandate implementation of SHAKEN/STIR if major voice service providers fail to do so by the end of this year.

For more information, please click here. 
 
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Office Locations                                                                                                                                                                      
300 Old Pond Road, Suite 205A, Bridgeville, PA 15017 | Phone: (412) 221-5110
Room 143-A, East Wing, PO Box 202046, Harrisburg PA 17120-2046 | (717) 787-1281
Email: jortitay@pahousegop.com
 
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