Jun. 28, 2019

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

New State Budget Passes House
On Tuesday, the House passed a new state budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year without any new or increased taxes or fees. My overriding goal with this budget is to make sure it responds to the needs of our communities, from increasing the amount of money our local schools will receive to helping our agriculture industry. Together with a growing national economy and higher-than-expected revenues, we’ve been able to make smart financial decisions that have allowed us to prioritize funding for critical programs that benefit our residents.

This budget also invests in workforce development and connects in-demand jobs to career training programs. Good jobs and a strong economy lift all boats. By providing greater access to workforce development programs, we can help match up job seekers with expanding opportunities and fill the skills gap. This is a win-win for everyone.


School Safety Changes Incorporated into Education Code
As part of the overall budget package, the Public School Code legislation (Senate Bill 144) encompasses two proposals I have pushed this legislative session to increase school safety.

The first, a portion of my House Bill 1423, will require 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 concerns about safety. These teams will build on the Safe2Say Something Program that was created under Act 44 of 2018.

The second modifies my House Bill 1631 to change the way funds allocated under the $60 million school safety and security block grant program are disbursed. Each school entity that submits an application to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will now receive a base grant between $30,000 and $45,000 depending on its average daily attendance. Previously the grant was $25,000 for every entity.

Although I was not able to have my full proposals sent to the governor’s desk, this is a good starting point to advance the conversation and ensures these critical safety and security measures are put in place.

UPMC, Highmark Reach 10-Year Deal
This week, officials with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Highmark reached a 10-year agreement that will allow their patients to continue to receive health care services, regardless of their insurance network. A consent agreement between the two was set to expire on Sunday, June 30.

This agreement was the result of intense negotiations and hard work over the past few weeks, and I want to thank these two health care giants for putting the needs of their patients first.

Fish for Free on Independence Day
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is hosting the second of its two annual Fish for Free Days on Independence Day, Thursday, July 4.

This is a great opportunity to try your hand at fishing in any of Pennsylvania’s waterways, even if you don’t have a license.

Both residents and non-residents are eligible. Just make sure you follow all other fishing regulations.

For your convenience, there are even opportunities to borrow equipment from certain sites at state parks and other locations. You can find those locations by clicking here

Independence Day Reminders
A few important reminders as you plan to celebrate our nation’s independence next week!

If you are traveling, check out 511pa.com. Free and available 24 hours a day, the site provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 950 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

PennDOT will also close its driver license service centers on Thursday, July 4. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, dmv.pa.gov.

Have a safe and happy July Fourth!
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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