Senator Ward, J E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Update on Election Integrity
  • Legislative Review: Supporting Veterans
  • Public Hearing on Child Protective Services Law Revisions
  • Education Financial Assistance Available to Eligible Children of Veterans
  • Around the 30th District

Update on Election Integrity

Many of you have reached out and told me that you want to know more about how Pennsylvania elections have been conducted. Given the concern that so many of you have, I believe I have an obligation as your Senator to ensure citizens have faith in this process and to restore your confidence. I continue to support a forensic  investigation and the use of subpoenas to gather this information.

Legislative Review: Supporting Veterans

Pennsylvania is home to nearly 800,000 veterans in addition to active members of the military. Supporting these men and women, and their families, is a top priority. The Senate passed several bills this year to assist Pennsylvanians who served our nation.

Act 31 of 2021 extends employment protections to Pennsylvania citizens who are members of another state’s National Guard.

Act 55 of 2021 increases the maximum donation amounts to the Veterans’ Trust Fund from $3 to $5 when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, ID card or vehicle registration and from $6 to $10 when applying for a two-year vehicle registration.

Act 63 of 2021 adds a member of the State Veterans Commission to the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council.

Senate Bill 248 designates March 6 as Persian Gulf War Veterans Day and October 7 as Global War on Terrorism Veterans Day.

Senate Bill 486 provides members of the Pennsylvania National Guard and reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces who serve on active duty, as well as their spouses, preference for placement into job training programs for one year after discharge.

You can find a full list of bills of note passed by the Senate in 2021 here.

Public Hearing on Child Protective Services Law Revisions

A bill I am proposing aimed at protecting children from abuse was the topic of a Senate hearing this week.

The Senate Aging and Youth Committee, which I Chair, took testimony on revisions to Pennsylvania’s child protective services law proposed by the state Department of Human Services. Among the changes would be the removal of time frames for the expungement of state records on child abuse cases.

Currently, state law requires that unfounded child protective services reports and invalid general protective services reports be expunged from the state database after one year and that validated general protective services reports be expunged after 10 years or until the youngest child in the report turns 23. The change is aimed at aiding efforts to identify children at risk of future abuse.

You can watch the hearing and read testimony here.

Education Financial Assistance Available to Eligible Children of Veterans

The Educational Gratuity Program provides financial assistance for those attending post-high school education or training at an approved institution in the Commonwealth.

The program supports children of honorably discharged veterans who have 100% service-connected disabilities and served during a period of war or armed conflict, or children of veterans who die or died in service during a period of war or armed conflict. All applicants must have a financial need.

Payments will not exceed $500 per term or semester per qualified child to each approved educational institution over a total of eight terms or semesters. More information on the program and how to apply can be found here.

Around the 30th District

I had a delicious time at the Mercersburg Lions Club Fair. My ice cream was delivered to me by the Franklin County Dairy Princess, Kellie Bernice.

In support of the agricultural industry and the young folks in my district, I purchased two livestock animals at Blair County Livestock Auction in Martinsburg. Pictured is Luke Uplinger with his market hog and Kara Lansberry with her lamb.

It is always a fun time at the Huntingdon County Junior Livestock Auction. Here I am pictured with my new friend, Natalie, with her Reserve Grand Champion Rabbits, which I purchased. Also pictured with me is the Huntingdon County Fair Queen, Mackenzie Coffman.

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