Senator Vogel E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Highlights in the 47th
  • PA Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Provide Updates on Ongoing Response Efforts Following the East Palestine Train Derailment
  • Senate Continues Detailed Review of Shapiro’s Budget
  • Supporting Agriculture, PA’s Top Industry
  • Scholarship Grants Available for EMS Professionals
  • Find Lost Life Insurance Policies and Annuity Contracts

Highlights in the 47th

I was pleased to present a certificate to Lieutenant Connor Mack during Cranberry Township’s recent Save a Life Event where they honored several local first responders who saved the lives of those who experience a life-threatening crisis!

Recently, I attended the first annual Frostbite Open in Mars which was a fun family and business friendly event whose main focus was on mental wellness as well as the Seneca Valley School District Hope Squad. Thank you, to the Rotary Club of Cranberry Township for putting on such a great event!

Pictured from left with Tim Landry, teacher; Rebecca Rockey, SHS Counselor; Lara Meyers, teacher; and Brenna Miller, teacher. All are Hope Squad Counselors.

Congratulations to the Rotary Club of Zelienople on celebrating their centennial anniversary! I was glad to attend their celebration event and present their president, Rich Gigliotti, and John Marshall (District Gov.) with a Senate Proclamation honoring this tremendous milestone!

I had a great time at the Ellwood City Volunteer Fire Dept.’s annual banquet! Congrats to all award recipients, especially Firefighter of the Year award recipient Eric Brandt, and Jack Andrews who has retired after 43 years of fire dept. service!

PA Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Provide Updates on Ongoing Response Efforts Following the East Palestine Train Derailment

During last week’s appropriations budget hearings, I questioned PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Interim Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley, and PA Department of Agriculture (PDA) Secretary Russell Redding about their agency’s ongoing response efforts following the East Palestine Train Derailment as we passed the one-year mark since the tragic accident.

Check out PDA’s full response here and DEP’s full response here.

Senate Continues Detailed Review of Shapiro’s Budget

Officials struggled to answer questions about Gov. Josh Shapiro’s broad higher education concepts and wide discrepancies in K-12 education funding during the Department of Education hearing with the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. He proposes increasing Basic Education spending by nearly $1.1 billion in his 2024-25 spending plan, but his proposed budget shows no increases in Basic Education funding after this year – raising concerns that the administration cannot pay for the billions of dollars in promised new education spending without raising taxes.

The hearing was one of a series held by the committee to analyze the governor’s proposed $48.3 billion 2024-25 state budget. His plan would boost state spending by more than $3.3 billion above the current year’s budget. It requires thoughtful consideration so tax dollars are spent wisely without eliminating the state’s Rainy Day Fund in five years as projections indicate would happen with Shapiro’s budget.

At the Department of Agriculture budget hearing, discussion included state efforts to combat avian influenza, farming education initiatives and the performance of tax credit programs for PA farmers. Concerns were also raised about Gov. Shapiro’s plan to legalize adult-use marijuana.

At the hearing for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), members discussed how to make the most efficient use of existing resources as both agencies have considerable reserves and the PGC’s budget increased from approximately $130 million in 2019-20 to approximately $350 million in 2024-25.

Thursday’s hearings include the Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Find the hearings schedule, livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at

Supporting Agriculture, PA’s Top Industry

To bolster agriculture – the state’s top industry – $500,000 in grants is available to help Pennsylvania farms pursue growth opportunities. Funding will be used to benefit economic development, job creation and innovation.

The Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program will help fund professional services for those planning for the future of a farm. The program is designed to enhance the long-term vitality of Pennsylvania’s farms through sound business planning, efficient transitions of farm ownership, strategic farm expansion, diversification of agricultural production and building a team of financial and technical experts as a resource for the state’s farmers.

The maximum grant amount is $7,500 and is limited to 75% of project costs. Learn more about guidelines and how to apply.

Scholarship Grants Available for EMS Professionals

To recruit and retain emergency medical services (EMS) professionals, a tuition assistance program offers up to $5,000 for reimbursement of EMS state certification training for permanent Pennsylvania residents.

Up to $300 is available for emergency medical responders, up to $800 for emergency medical technicians, up to $1,000 for advanced emergency medical technicians and up to $5,000 for paramedics.

Pennsylvania-licensed EMS agencies are eligible to receive up to $1,250 of recruitment and retention expenses per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Reimbursement will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted. Learn more.

Find Lost Life Insurance Policies and Annuity Contracts

Individuals who believe they are beneficiaries, executors or legal representatives of a family member or friend can locate lost life insurance policies and annuity contracts through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

When a request is received, the NAIC will give participating companies that have policy information access to respond to you as the designated beneficiary or if you are authorized to receive information. It will also allow participating companies to search their records to determine whether they have a life insurance policy or annuity contract in the name of the deceased person.

Access NAIC’s life insurance policy locator.


Please contact me to provide input on any state-related matter, or to receive help in dealing with a state agency.

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