Senator Ward, J E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • 2021-2022 Legislative Session Nears the Midway Point
  • CMS Temporarily Suspends Vaccine Mandate
  • FEMA Assistance for COVID-19 Funeral Expenses
  • Shopping Local Helps Neighbors, Strengthens Communities
  • Governor Vetoes Constitutional Carry Legislation
  • Preparing Sites for Jobs: State Assistance is Available
  • 2022 Fishing Licenses and Gift Vouchers Now Available
  • Remembering Pearl Harbor
  • Happy Hanukkah
  • Out and About in the 30th

2021-2022 Legislative Session Nears the Midway Point

The first year of the 2021-2022 legislative session is coming to a close with enactment of several key measures and more work to do in the second year.

This fall, the Senate passed bills to ease nursing home staff shortages, enable more schools to combat pandemic learning loss, help farmers transport goods and make home deliveries, and make political campaigns more transparent.

That’s just a sample. I’ll highlight these and other bills in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can check a complete rundown here.

CMS Temporarily Suspends Vaccine Mandate

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has temporarily suspended its vaccine mandate on health care staff and facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funding. This mandate was previously ordered under President Biden and included staff employed by publicly funded providers such as nursing facilities, hospitals, and home care.

FEMA Assistance for COVID-19 Funeral Expenses

FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred on or after January 20, 2020.  Examples of eligible expenses are headstones, transportation, and officiant and funeral home costs.  For more information on eligibility, application, and qualified expenses, visit FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance webpage at: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance |

Shopping Local Helps Neighbors, Strengthens Communities

Small businesses create 65% of jobs in Pennsylvania, and these local employers could use our help this holiday shopping season.

Shopping local doesn’t just help the local economy, it builds relationships within the community. Buying from business owners you trust makes shopping experiences more enjoyable because you know where the products are coming from and the people behind those products.

When you shop locally, many of the goods and services are locally sourced or crafted. This means that many of the items are one of a kind and carry a unique story. It’s not always possible, but when you can, I hope you will support your local employers this season and year-round.

Governor Vetoes Constitutional Carry Legislation

Recently, Governor Wolf vetoed Senate Bill 565.  This legislation would have ensured a constitutional right to carry for all Pennsylvanians.

I am very disappointed with the Governor’s decision and will continue to support legislation like this that protects and promotes our all-important 2nd Amendment rights.

Preparing Sites for Jobs: State Assistance is Available

Municipalities, municipal authorities, redevelopment authorities, industrial development agencies and private developers can apply now for funding to prepare sites for jobs-producing development.

The Business in Our Sites program has no maximum or minimum loan amount. However, the amount of the grant may not exceed $4 million or 40% of the total combined grant and loan award, whichever is less. Private developers are only eligible for loans.

Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2022. The program is overseen by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

2022 Fishing Licenses and Gift Vouchers Now Available

Whether you’re looking to get a jump on next season, or you’ve got holiday gift giving in mind, 2022 Pennsylvania Fishing Licenses, permits, and vouchers are on sale now! 

Beginning December 1, 2021, fishing licenses, permits, and vouchers for the 2022 season can be purchased through the HuntFishPA online portal on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) website, on your smartphone using the FishBoatPA mobile app, or by visiting one of nearly 700 retail license issuing agents. 

2022 licenses, permits, and vouchers purchased now are valid immediately for up to 13 months, from December 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of Japan’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941. The surprise strike would cost the lives of more than 2,400 military personnel and civilians.

We mark this date knowing that while the attack decimated America’s Pacific fleet, our resilience and industrial might would allow the U.S. to build a military force powerful enough to defeat the Japanese Empire and Nazi Germany.

“This war will give us much trouble in the future,” said Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. “The fact that we have had a small success at Pearl Harbor is nothing.” On Tuesday, we will remember the lives lost 80 years ago, and note the fate that awaits any adversary who questions American resolve.

Happy Hanukkah

Hanukkah ends at sundown Monday evening, wrapping up an observance that this year began Nov. 28.

To everyone celebrating Hanukkah, chag urim sameach, “Happy Festival of Lights.”

Out and About in the 30th

Congratulations to Sister Paula DelGrosso, Sister Pauline Kawtoski, and the St. Vincent DePaul Food for Families Soup Kitchen on 30 years of serving the Blair County community with meals. Sister Paula was the founder of the Kitchen and has developed a team of over 80 volunteers. Pictured with me is Sister Paula DelGrosso and Sister Pauline Kawtoski.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and co-workers of Rhonda Russell, a corrections officer with Blair County Prison who was tragically killed in the line of duty recently. Loved ones said goodbye to her during a special ceremony at the Blair County Convention Center this week. She will be missed by so many.

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