Aug. 16, 2019

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Harrisburg Update

A quick look at what’s happening in Harrisburg
and the 125th Legislative District...

Funding to Help Volunteer Fire Companies
Six fire companies in the 125th District will benefit from a state grant to help fight rural wildfires. The announcement of the competitive statewide grants was made to mark the 75th birthday of Smokey Bear.

The fire companies receiving grants includes:
• Wiconisco Fire Engine Co. No. Inc, Wiconisco - $10,000
• North End Fire Co., Pine Grove - $1,355
• Rainbow Hose Co. No. 1, Schuylkill Haven - $1,540
• Sacramento Community Fire Co., Sacramento - $5,622
• Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1. of Tower City, Tower City - $1,296
• Weiser Wildland Firefighters Inc., Pine Grove - $10,000

The grants are to be used to better equip and train volunteers to save lives and protect property in unprotected or inadequately protected rural areas. Grant recipients are selected based on vulnerability and adequacy of existing fire protection.

In reviewing applications, the bureau places priority on applications seeking funds for projects that included purchasing wildfire-suppression equipment and protective clothing.

Several of our local fire companies have received funding from this program in previous years.

Sixth Annual Senior Expo Sept. 6
More than 35 exhibitors have registered to participate in my sixth annual Senior Expo, set for Friday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pine Gove Hook and Ladder Fire Company.

Representatives from the attorney general’s office will be providing a presentation on opiates: what is an opiate, proper communication, storage and disposal. The Schuylkill County Sheriff’s office will also be in attendance.

This free event will feature door prizes, health screenings and lunch. For more information, contact my Schuylkill Haven district office at 570-385-8235.

Future Little Miss United States Agriculture

Meet Lalia Shutt! She is four years old and was recently crowned National Future Little Miss U.S. Agriculture. Lalia stopped by my Williamstown office where we presented her a House citation. By the way, Lalia’s mother was named National Elite Ms. U.S. Agriculture.

Making PA Schools Safer
Recognizing the importance of ensuring our children feel safe at school, the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in support of investing an additional $60 million in the School Safety and Security Block Grant program.

Now in its second year, the program provides flexible funding that schools may use for a variety of security-related initiatives, including hiring school police officers, school resource officers, counselors and/or mental health counselors; alternative education and diversion programs; violence prevention initiatives; school safety and emergency preparedness plans; or physical upgrades to school buildings and equipment to improve safety.

Based on revisions to the grant funding guidelines, each school entity that submits an application for funding to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will receive a base grant of between $30,000 and $45,000, based on the school’s average daily attendance.

As part of the Public School Code bill that accompanied passage of this year’s budget, lawmakers also are requiring each public school district to create at least one multi-disciplinary threat assessment team to identify students in distress before their behavior escalates to a level that raises concern about safety.

Safe2Say Something Reporting System Gets Results
An anonymous reporting system designed to give students, teachers, parents and community members the ability to anonymously report potential threats and other problems has collected nearly 23,500 tips in its first six months of operation, according to a report from the Office of Attorney General.

The Safe2Say Something program, created by a 2018 law, launched in mid-January to give students a way to share information without fear of repercussions or blame from their peers.

Among the most common issues reported included bullying/cyber bullying; cutting/self-harm; suicide/suicide ideation; depression/anxiety; and drug use/distribution/possession.

To report a possible dangerous or violent situation, individuals can call the state tip line at 844-723-2729. Tips can also be reported to or through the Safe2Say app on iPhone and Android devices.

Slow Down for School Buses, Pedestrians
In the near future, students will head back to class. Motorists, parents and children are encouraged to refresh their memories about how to share the road safely with school buses and other school transportation vehicles.

Pennsylvania law requires motorists stop at least 10 feet away from school buses when their red lights are flashing and their stop arm is extended. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop are is withdrawn.

Penalties for failure to obey school bus safety laws can result in a $250 fine, five points on a driving record and a 60-day license suspension.

Click here for more information and tips on school bus safety.

Get the Facts About Concussions

With many student athletes gearing up for fall sports practice, students, parents and coaches are reminded about ways to prevent, recognize and manage concussions.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or from a fall or blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Concussions can have serious short-term and long-term impacts, especially on young people whose brains are still developing.

To protect students, the 2011 Safety in Youth Sports Act was passed to require all school entities to develop return-to-play policies for student athletes with concussions, as well as to require related training for coaches.

Visit the Department of Health’s website at and search for “Traumatic Brain Injury” for approved curricula for coaches and other school personnel, along with frequently asked questions about the law and many other state-related resources.
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Office Locations
988 Route 61 South, East Main Street, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 | Phone (toll free) (855) 271-9384
Borough Building, 200 S. West St., Williamstown, PA  Phone (717) 647-7208
4B East Wing, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2147 
TTY: 855-282-0614