In This Update:
2021-22 Legislative Session is Officially Underway
It is an honor to have been one of 24 members who were sworn in to the Senate for the 2021-22 Session. I want to thank The People of the 25th Senatorial District for granting me that honor and want them to know that I realize they are granting it to me as a trust. My pledge is to honor that trust and to serve each of you as God has gifted me to serve. I will honor and protect the constitutions of Pennsylvania and the United States and protect them for the benefit of The People.
The 2021-22 Legislative Session began this week. The beginning of the new session allows lawmakers to start the process of addressing the most critical issues facing our communities, including fixing problems related to the state’s response to COVID-19, creating a stronger environment for job creation and making necessary reforms to restore faith in the voting process.
A total of 24 Senators and 202 Representatives were sworn into office this week. Seating was delayed temporarily for one Senate district that is still being contested, and one House seat will remain vacant after the tragic passing of Representative Mike Reese on December 30.
Honoring Representative Mike Reese
I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Representative Mike Reese over the weekend. I had the honor of serving with Mike over the past six years in the House and he was an honorable Christian man who loved the people of the 59th Legislative District in Somerset and Westmoreland counties. He served them with honor and distinction since 2009, and his tireless leadership and dedicated advocacy will be sorely missed in the halls of the state Capitol.
He was thoroughly devoted to his wife Angela and three children. My heart grieves for them and I ask for your prayers for Mike’s family during this difficult time.
Fire and EMS Companies Can Apply Now for Federal Grants
Volunteer and career fire departments and EMS organizations can apply now for grants to support training, equipment purchases and other critical public safety priorities through the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Applications are available through February 12. If you know someone who serves in a Fire Department or EMS organization please forward this newsletter to them to allow them to subscribe. As I did as a member of the House of Representatives I will endeavor to keep these agencies updated as these funding streams become available or simply to remind them of the annual application periods so that none of them miss out.
Workshops and webinars are scheduled throughout January to help fire and EMS companies learn more about the program and how to apply.
Security Grant Applications Available Now for Nonprofit Groups
Nonprofit organizations that serve groups at the greatest risk of being targeted for hate crimes can apply now for grants to complete security enhancements. Applications for the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program are available through February 3.
Eligible uses of grants include safety and security planning, the purchase of security equipment and technology, security training, threat awareness and response training, threat assessments and other safety or security-related projects.
COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard Offers Updates on Distribution
The Department of Health recently announced the creation of a new COVID-19 vaccine dashboard on its website to provide updates on the number of vaccinations administered by county, as well as demographic information about people who have received the vaccine.
The vaccine is currently being distributed to health care workers, as well as staff and residents of long-term care facilities. More information about the roll-out of the vaccine is available here.
Commercial Driver Licenses, Learner’s Permits Extended Through February 22
PennDOT has extended the expiration dates of all commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits that were set to expire between March 16, 2020 and February 22, 2021.
The extension provides additional time for truck drivers to renew these licenses and permits as they continue to keep supply lines open and prevent product shortages and disruptions.