In this Update:
New Law Makes It Easier for Students of Military Families to Enroll in School
Recently signed into law, Act 24 of 2023 makes it easier for an estimated 185,000 students of relocating military families to enroll in school.
Previously, students of military families that transferred on official military permanent change of station orders were not eligible to register in classes, enroll in specialized academic programs, or participate in lotteries for charter or magnet schools until they were physically located within the district boundaries. The delay caused students to miss deadlines, requiring them to shift their planned courses of study, which forced some to take summer classes, or even graduate later than expected.
The new law allows such families to establish residency for purposes of enrollment in the school district in which they will be residing by providing the school district with a copy of their military transfer order. This enables them to access registration and enrollment at the same time it is open to the general population.
Bill to Punish Looters Wins Bipartisan Senate Approval
In the aftermath of widespread looting in Philadelphia and many other cities, the Senate approved legislation to prevent these crimes by a bipartisan vote.
According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, organized retail theft has resulted in the loss of almost 700,000 jobs nationwide due to more than $125 billion in economic losses. While large retail stores have been the primary target, 54% of the state’s small business owners said they have seen an increase in shoplifting in the past year. These hardworking Pennsylvanians who are trying to provide for themselves and their families rightly deserve our support.
Senate Bill 596 would create a first-degree felony offense, which can result in up to 20 years in prison, for thieves who steal $20,000 worth of goods and intend to resell them. The bill would also create the Office of Deputy Attorney General for Organized Retail Crime Theft to pursue the leaders of these criminal rings.
Babies Receive Life-Saving Care with New Law
Legislation approved by the Senate to provide critical nourishment for medically fragile babies is now law.
In very low birth-weight babies and other medically compromised infants, human donor milk protects against serious health complications that can lead to longer hospital stays, multiple medical and surgical procedures, readmissions, lifelong disability or even death.
The law grants children who are less than a year old access to medically prescribed pasteurized human donor milk by requiring Medical Assistance coverage in inpatient and outpatient settings. To qualify for coverage, the child must meet medical necessity requirements or the child’s mother must be medically or physically unable to produce breast milk in an amount needed to meet the child’s needs.
High Schoolers: Can You Fix These Transportation Issues?
High school students are invited to participate in the seventh annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge. The statewide competition pushes teams of students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges.
Regional winners will be selected by PennDOT’s Engineering Districts. Those winners will move on to a statewide competition where an overall winner will be selected.
Students can find the details of the 2023-24 Challenge and project guidelines here. All submissions must be received by Jan. 26, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.
Safely Discard Your Unwanted Prescription Drugs
Help keep your loved ones and community safe by discarding old and unwanted prescription medications through Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Program.
Items that can be accepted include over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, prescription patches, prescription ointments, vitamins and pet medicines. Hydrogen peroxide, thermometers, iodine-containing medications, compressed cylinders or aerosols, alcohol and illicit drugs cannot be accepted.
There are nearly 900 locations statewide. Find one near you here.
Remembering Pearl Harbor
“A date which will live in infamy…” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Dec. 7 marks 82 years since the surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After a decade of strained relations between the United States and Japan, that act drew the United States into World War II. While thousands of lives were lost, they were not lost in vain. The gruesome and exhausting war ultimately ended in a victory of Allied powers around the globe.
As we enjoy our American ideals and freedoms because of battles fought and wars won, please thank a veteran for his or her service.
Out and About in the 30th
I attended a legislative briefing roundtable with Geisinger Hospital leadership in Lewistown to discuss issues that are important to the healthcare industry. My colleagues, Rep. Kerry Benninghoff and Senator Cris Dush, joined me.
What a festive time at the annual Hollidaysburg Borough’s Winterfest Tree Lighting celebration this past weekend! The Altoona Brass Collective and Hollidaysburg Community Chorus provided Christmas carols for entertainment.
Catholic Charities of Philly hosted the Maternal and Infant Health Caucus on a tour of their facility. It was incredible to see and hear about the services and programs they have to help women and babies in need. They provide material support, counseling, parenting, and life-skills classes, among many other things. Everyone on the tour walked away with a deep appreciation for all they do for their community. Pictured with me are Representative Bellmon, staff from Senator Haywood’s office, Amy Stoner, Director of the Community Based /Housing and Homeless Division Catholic Social Services, James Amato, Deputy Secretary of Catholic Social Services, and their talented staff. The second photo I am pictured with Yanira and her son, José.
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