Senator Ward, J E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Stormwater Management for Property Owners
  • Join Me at Discover STEM
  • Senate Appropriations Budget Hearing on Dep. of Human Services
  • Fighting Fraud
  • Senate Concludes State Budget Hearings
  • Monthly Appropriations Update Shows Lagging Sales Tax Collections
  • Safely Dispose of Unused Prescriptions on April 22
  • Farmers, Help PA Claim Federal Funding
  • State Grant Deadline is May 1 for PA College Students
  • 30th Happenings

Stormwater Management for Property Owners

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! 

Senate Appropriations Budget Hearing on Dep. of Human Services

This week I spoke to the Acting Secretary of Human Services Valerie Arkoosh on setting the record straight about Real Alternatives. I want to ensure the Department of Human Services continues to support the wonderful services that Real Alternatives provide for pregnant families. Additionally, I questioned proposed changes to our Keystone STARS Program for child care facilities across our Commonwealth. Listen to the full dialogue above.

Fighting Fraud

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.

You can find video and recaps of every budget hearing at

Monthly Appropriations Update Shows Lagging Sales Tax Collections

Each month, the Senate Appropriations Committee prepares an update about the state’s financial health. The most recent report shows that sales and use tax (SUT) collections were $25 million, or 2.3%, below estimate for the month. Perhaps more importantly, March’s SUT collections were below March 2022’s collections.

SUT is the second-largest source of revenue for the General Fund and is mostly due on a “pay-as-you-go” basis throughout the year. Closely monitoring these collections for continued weakness could help signify any potential slowing of the economy.

The full update, including the monthly revenue report, is available here.

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.

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.

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 or 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.

30th Happenings

I had a great time at the Hospital Association luncheon in Harrisburg this week meeting and speaking with nurse ambassadors from all across the state.  As a former nurse, I love hearing from nurses about what is important to them and the issues they are currently facing.  Thanks to nurses everywhere for all you do to care for our communities.


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