In this Update:
Highlights in the 47th
Congratulations to the Southwest Butler Stormwater Planning Commission and the City of Beaver Falls for receiving the Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence in Harrisburg this week!
The Commission was recognized for their Regional Stormwater Planning Initiative and the City of Beaver Falls was recognized for their Innovation Corridor!
Last week, on my behalf, my executive director met with Cliff Wallace, Chip Kohser, and Wayne Harley from the Beaver-Lawrence Farm Bureau to discuss agriculture policies and attended the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s legislative event in Harrisburg.
Our agriculture industry is an invaluable asset to our growing communities in Pennsylvania.
Farmers, Help PA Claim Federal Funding
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is collecting responses for the 2022 Census of Agriculture, which impacts funding priorities for numerous programs. Any farmers who have not returned their questionnaires are encouraged to respond by mail or online here.
In addition to directing the use of tax dollars, the census data also informs decisions about policy, farm and conservation programs, infrastructure and rural development, research, education and more.
Join Us for Our Kids Extravaganza on May 13!
Our 12th Annual Kids Extravaganza will be held on Saturday, May 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at CCBC – Athletics and Events Center, 1 Campus Drive in Monaca.
While vendors will be present to share information about services they can provide for parents and their children, there will be plenty of fun activities offered for kids to take part in including face painting, a coloring contest, special character performances, a selfie station, and more.
Families are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for a chance to throw a pie at Vogel. The Beaver County District Attorney Dave Lozier will be present with a Drug Take Back box for disposal of expired or unused medications.
For more information, contact our Cranberry Township District Office at 878-978-2575.
The USDA Needs to Include 2% and Whole Milk in Child Nutrition Programs
As the chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, and with the support of the majority of PA Senate Republicans, submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging for the inclusion of 2% and whole milk in its recently proposed rule Child Nutrition Programs: Revisions to Meal Patterns Consistent with the 2020 Dietary Guideline for Americans.
Because of the critical health benefits that 2% milk and whole milk provide to growing children, there is no question they should be included as options within the national standards for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs and Smart Snacks.
With Pennsylvania continuing to be a strong competitor nationally in dairy-based on sales and overall milk production, the impact of additional milk options in these programs would have an immense positive impact on our state dairy farmers. I hope the USDA would agree with and support these inclusions for the benefit of our farmers and our children.
I greatly appreciate the continued support from my Senate colleagues on this important issue and for always prioritizing our dairy industry and our beloved Pennsylvania farmers.
Prior to the submission of the letter, the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously adopted Senate Resolution 48 which also urged the USDA for these inclusions.
To view the support letter submitted to the USDA, click here.
Senate Concludes State Budget Hearings
The Senate Appropriations Committee this week finished three weeks of public hearings about the proposed 2023-24 state budget.
Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed a $45.8 billion budget that would increase spending by $1.3 billion and all but deplete the state’s Rainy Day Fund in five years.
Among the key points from this week’s hearings:
Workforce issues, the state’s tax structure and the need to help businesses grow and stay in Pennsylvania drove the conversation during the Department of Community and Economic Development hearing.
The Department of Corrections/Pennsylvania Parole Board hearing covered the state’s recidivism rate and declining inmate population. The costs associated with the 750 vacancies in the Department of Corrections – which results in increased use of overtime – and efforts to protect inmates from human trafficking were also discussed.
Questions about how the Department of Human Services is handling reduced federal emergency funding were raised during the hearing. The conversation also covered the Shapiro Administration’s request for state taxpayers to backfill millions of dollars cut by the Biden Administration.
The Senate will use findings from the hearings to craft an alternative spending plan to the governor’s, with the aim of enacting a final 2023-24 state budget.
State Grant Deadline is May 1 for PA College Students
The deadline for students and families to submit their applications for the 2023-24 Pennsylvania State Grant program is May 1. This deadline applies to all renewal applicants and first-time applicants who plan to enroll in a degree program or other college or university (excluding community colleges).
To apply for a Pennsylvania State Grant, applicants must first complete the 2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applicants can access the FAFSA online at www.PHEAA.org/FAFSA or www.fafsa.gov. Completing the FAFSA online saves time and reduces application and processing errors.
Students and families with questions about the FAFSA or the State Grant Program can call 800-692-7392 for personal assistance.
PA Farm Bill Farm-to-School Grant Program Applications Now Available
This program aims to enrich the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local producers by changing food purchasing behaviors and education practices at schools and early childhood education sites. The application deadline is Friday, May 19, at 5 p.m.
Grants are available to any school, program, or center with a Pre-K through 8th grade classroom with the grant amount being up to $15,000.
For more info, visit http://bitly.ws/CXaH.
To apply, visit https://bit.ly/2YkSTsS.
The Emergency Food Assistance (TEFAP) Reach and Resiliency Grant Program Applications Now Available
Qualified food banks, pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens that offer emergency food assistance can now apply for The Emergency Food Assistance (TEFAP) Reach and Resiliency Grant Program. $1.6 million in grant funds are available.
The grants aim to expand access to emergency food assistance in isolated or underserved rural or low-income communities. Applications must be submitted by 5:00 PM on Friday, May 26, 2023.
For more information, visit http://bit.ly/43nFZbq.
To apply, visit http://bitly.ws/CXbA.
Safely Dispose of Unused Prescriptions on April 22
Conveniently remove opioids and other unused medicines from your home on Saturday, April 22, as part of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
More than 13 tons of prescription drugs were disposed of across Pennsylvania in the Prescription Drug Take Back Day held last October.
Find a location to safely dispose of unused drugs here.
Please contact me to provide input on any state-related matter, or to receive help in dealing with a state agency.