Senator Ward, J E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Join Me at Discover STEM
  • Job Fair April 26th
  • PennDOT Invites Pennsylvanians to Join the Conversation
  • Senate Concludes Week Two of Budget Hearings
  • Help Our Struggling Military Members
  • Veterans: Town Hall about PACT Act on April 4
  • State Offers Free Motorcycle Safety Training
  • $25,000 Fishing and Boating Grants Available
  • PHEAA Webinars
  • Out and About in the 30th

Join Me at Discover STEM 

ALL AGES WELCOME! No need to register. Hope to see you there! 

Bring your children and join me at Discover STEM: A Day for Families, an event I am hosting in partnership with the Science in Motion Consortium and Juniata College. 

This will be an educational, interactive, and immersive day filled with the exploration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). 

At the event, you and your child can: 

  • Explore the StarLab, 
  • Watch ice cream develop before your eyes, 
  • Code your way through the world of robots, 
  • Discover secrets of the animal kingdom, 
  • And many more hands-on activities! 

Discover STEM will take place on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the Kennedy Sports and Recreation Center, Juniata College, 1700 Moore St, Huntingdon. 

Science in Motion is a state partnership program of colleges and universities. Science in Motion educators bring science and technology learning to the students of the commonwealth. 

I hope to see you at Discover STEM! 

Job Fair April 26th 

PennDOT Invites Pennsylvanians to Join the Conversation 

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that registration has opened for its upcoming 12-Year Program (TYP) update, which will be held on Wednesday, April 12, from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM. The Online Public Forum will be broadcast live via PAcast and PennDOT social media channels

Pennsylvanians can pose transportation-related questions to PennDOT leadership and members of the STC during the forum’s Q&A session. Questions may also be submitted in advance of the forum by filling out the registration form or by emailing The public may also call PennDOT and share their questions at 717-783-2262. 

Every two years the State Transportation Commission (STC) and PennDOT update Pennsylvania’s 12-Year Program (TYP) and public feedback is a critical part of that process. The public comment period for the TYP update began on Wednesday, March 1, and continues through Sunday, April 30. During the public comment period, Pennsylvanians can submit feedback by taking the Transportation Survey or emailing comments to Public feedback and survey results will help identify needs and prioritize transportation projects across the state. 

For more information on the TYP Public Comment Period, Transportation Survey, and Online Public Forum, and how transportation projects are planned and funded, visit

Senate Concludes Week Two of Budget Hearings

The Senate Appropriations Committee continued public hearings this week on the proposed 2023-24 state budget.

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s $45.8 billion budget seeks to boost state spending by more than $1.3 billion above the current year’s budget. Projections indicate it will nearly wipe out the state’s Rainy Day Fund in five years.

Among the Senate hearing highlights:

The Department of Education hearing focused on the largest proposed Basic Education Funding increase in Pennsylvania history as well as Gov. Shapiro’s failure to follow through on his promise to fund Lifeline Scholarships, a key provision to help provide families with greater options to meet their educational needs.

At the Department of State budget hearing, the committee sought details about federal and private election funding, county election grants, funding outreach to unregistered voters and publishing constitutional amendments.

At the hearing for the Department of Labor and Industry, members discussed the potential for major job losses if Pennsylvania enters the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Persistent concerns about Unemployment Compensation (UC) claims processing and preventing UC fraud were also leading topics.

The Department of Agriculture hearing included acknowledgment that the Norfolk Southern train derailment impacted many residents at Pennsylvania’s border with Ohio, including farmers. Testing of livestock and crops will continue following that incident. 

During the Pennsylvania State Police hearing, there was discussion about funding methods, as the state police currently receives money out of the Motor License Fund. The governor proposed phasing in a new Public Safety and Protection Fund.

Find full hearing recaps, video, livestreams and upcoming schedule at

Help Our Struggling Military Members

Anyone who is owed a Pennsylvania personal income tax refund has a convenient opportunity to support our military members, veterans and their families who are facing tough times.

You can help those who serve our nation and commonwealth by making a gift to the Military Family Relief Assistance Program. All donations will benefit those with a direct and immediate financial need as a result of circumstances beyond their control.

On lines 32 through 36 of the Personal Income Tax Return, fill out Code C. If you do not have an overpayment on your return, you may make a donation by sending a check directly to the Military Family Relief Assistance Program, c/o Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Building 0-47, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003-5002.

Veterans: Town Hall about PACT Act on April 4

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) will hold an in-person Veteran Town Hall on the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act on Tuesday, April 4, from 6-8 p.m. at the West View VFW Post 2754, 386 Perry Highway, Pittsburgh. The town hall will also be available by phone.

The new federal PACT Act law expands VA health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances. The town hall will enable veterans and their advocates to learn and ask questions about eligibility and applying for benefits related to the PACT Act.

In-person attendees may arrive early to enjoy a dedicated resource fair from 5-6 p.m. People who will be attending any portion of the event in person are asked to register by calling 717-644-3890.

Anyone joining the town hall by phone should call 267-332-8737 and enter Conference ID: 989503340# to participate. Both in-person attendees and callers will be able to ask questions during the town hall.

State Offers Free Motorcycle Safety Training

PennDOT offers free motorcycle training through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program.

Free courses for novice through seasoned riders are offered to Pennsylvania residents who have a motorcycle learner’s permit or motorcycle license. Four levels of courses are available – including the 16-hour Basic Rider Course, the eight-hour Intermediate Rider Course, the one-day Advanced Rider Course and the 3 Wheel Rider Course.

For more information or to enroll in a course, visit

$25,000 Fishing and Boating Grants Available

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is seeking applicants for grants to support education programs that promote new and renewed interest in fishing and boating. The grants aim to connect Pennsylvanians with the fun of commonwealth waterways by teaching fishing and boating skills and providing quality places for these recreational opportunities.

PFBC will reimburse qualifying organizations up to $25,000 for eligible expenses from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024. The grants require a minimum 25% match of total project costs. Grant applications must be submitted here by April 14.

PHEAA Webinars 

Paying for College and Options for Balances 4/4 Tuesday @Noon; 4/20 Thursday @6:30pm 

This one-hour webinar is for students and families that are starting to plan or are in the thick of decisions with May 1st, National College Decision Day, right around the corner.  Affording the costs is one topic that is on everyone’s mind.  This presentation by PHEAA’s Daniel Wray and Linda Pacewicz of the PA Forward Private Student Loan Program will review the types of  aid available and what needs to be done to check for eligibility, and provide tips on the options for covering the balances and making affordable decisions. 

Financial Aid and Planning Q&A with PHEAA   4/6 Thursday @6:30pm; 4/18 Tuesday @Noon 

Articles related to funding a higher education are in the news almost every day, and it can lead even the most knowledgeable of us into information overload. Have you ever wanted to simply ask a few specific questions, yet couldn’t find anyone to ask?  Maybe you have questions about planning for college, finding the right school, applying for scholarships, applying for federal and state aid, understanding offer letters, completing loan applications, comparing federal loans to private loans, repaying/refinancing loans after graduation, etc.  Join Linda Pacewicz and Daniel Wray of PHEAA for a wide open one-hour Q&A session.   


Out and About in the 30th 

Congratulations to the Central PA Community Foundation on their great new location in the Greenwood area of Altoona! 

My dear friend, Vivian Norris from Blair County, came to Harrisburg to see the State Capitol. It was great to have you, Vivian! 

It was wonderful listening to the Altoona Area Orchestra and Vocal Ensemble perform at the State Capitol this past week. Great work to all the students and staff! 

I enjoyed the Huntington County Farm Bureau’s annual banquet this week. Pictured are Evangeline McGargle, Huntingdon County Fair Queen, and Kelly Bliss, Dairy Princess.

I had a great time last week speaking with Deputy Fire Chief Mike Hawksworth and Chief Adam Free of Altoona’s Fire Company. Thank you for everything you do for our community!

Congratulations to Bob Pennington and Coldwell Banker of Altoona in Blair County on the 50th Anniversary of the business under Bob’s leadership. I was honored to present a citation to him for this admirable accomplishment.  


Recently I attended the Claysburg Volunteer Fire Company’s spring banquet and presented a citation to the Chief, Scott Eicher, for the Department’s 80th Anniversary. Thank you for your service to our community! 


I always enjoy my time in Williamsburg. Recently, I attended the annual community auction, where my friend Ty Uplinger showed off his auctioneering skills! He did a great job.  

I attended the annual Allegheny Mountain Chapter’s Safari Club International event. This event, which was very well attended, focused on “The Next Generation of Outdoorsmen.” 


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