Senator Ward, J E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Take My Survey: What are your Thoughts on Sunday Hunting?
  • Chamber Seminar: Unemployment Compensation
  • Nonprofit Security Grant Program Webinar
  • Senate Continues Detailed Review of Shapiro’s Budget
  • Scholarship Grants Available for EMS Professionals
  • Find Lost Life Insurance Policies and Annuity Contracts
  • Supporting Agriculture, PA’s Top Industry
  • Celebrating “The Star-Spangled Banner”
  • Out and About in the 30th

Take My Survey: What are your Thoughts on Sunday Hunting?

There is a Senate bill (Bill Information) that would remove the prohibition on Sundays available for hunting and would leave all wildlife management decisions to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Currently, Sunday hunting is allowed one day during deer rifle season, one day during deer archery season, and one day as determined by the PA Game Commission.

Let me know your thoughts! Take the survey. If you have already took the survey, thank you! Please feel free to share with any neighbors who might have an opinion on the matter.

Chamber Seminar: Unemployment Compensation

Click here for more information and to register

Nonprofit Security Grant Program Webinar

The purpose of this program is to provide funding for physical and cybersecurity enhancements and other security-related activities to nonprofit organizations that are at a high risk of a terrorist or other extremist attack. 

The NSGP also seeks to integrate the preparedness activities of nonprofit organizations with broader state and local preparedness efforts.

The FY 2024 NSGP FEMA Spring Webinar Series has been announced.

Please click on the above link for more information and registration.

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 $3.2 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

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.

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.

Celebrating “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Sunday, March 3, is National Anthem Day. “The Star-Spangled Banner” shares a message of endurance and perseverance. Francis Scott Key originally wrote his poem during a naval attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. That battle was nearly lost.

It wasn’t until March 3, 1931, that President Herbert Hoover signed a law officially making “The Star-Spangled Banner” our country’s national anthem.

Rather than commemorating victory, our national anthem highlights our ability to withstand attack. Today, we continue to raise our flag and refuse to be defeated.

Out and About in the 30th

The Keystone Family Alliance held an event this week to raise awareness to the number of children in foster care across the state and in our region. Jill (Blair County Coordinator) and Ron Conzo delivered a challenge to get involved to help support foster families and children through the Care Community Team Ministry. Pastor Dave and Beth Ann Huston were keynote speakers and shared their story of adopting six children and the struggles and rewards of raising their children. The theme for the event was to create a “ripple effect,” where everyone can do something to help families in need through the foster/adoption process, whether it be meal deliveries, clothing, or friendship. To learn more about becoming a care community team member, visit

The Alexandria Volunteer Fire Co. held their annual banquet recently. I always enjoy the time spent with first responders in my district. I appreciate the members of this company for all of their dedication to keep residents safe and for putting their lives at risk to save others. Thank you for your service Alexandria Volunteer Fire Co.! 

Chief Tom Weyer

Adam Miller, Guest Speaker and Public Health & Safety Program Instructor at Huntingdon County Career and Technology Center

Rescue Captain Brian Hetrick

Joe Thompson, Former Director of Huntingdon County’s Emergency Management Agency

The Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission (SAP&DC), in collaboration with the Huntingdon County Commissioners, hosted a Grant Information Session at the Smithfield Fire Hall in Huntingdon. This session, attended by approximately 40 local municipal officials and community leaders, included presentations from SAP&DC, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR), and Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST). My staff participated in the event, sharing copies of the Pennsylvania Municipal Leaders and First Responders Resources Guides, and providing information on how my office can help identify and advocate for potential funding resources for projects through research requests and support letters.



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