In this Update:
Bipartisan Education Reforms Set Up Students for Success
As a father, one of my highest priorities is ensuring my kids have real opportunities to chase their dreams and achieve whatever they can possibly imagine. Most parents I know share these same feelings.
To help all families meet those goals, state lawmakers need to make sound policy decisions that expand opportunity and give our young people the tools they need to succeed. Thankfully, a bipartisan package of education reforms enacted this year will do exactly that – putting our students on the right track toward a brighter future. You can read my published Op-Ed on this legislative package to learn about how we are helping to ensure that students are able to learn in educational settings that best meet their needs.
Senator Martin Develops Legislation to Protect Drivers from a Recent License Plate Ruling
Recently a Superior Court panel decided that a member of law enforcement may stop a driver if any part of their license plate is obscured, even if the obstruction covers only the paint around the edges or the “visitpa.com” at the bottom of the plate. This causes several problems because many of us have custom frames around our license plates to support our favorite sports teams or to display special messages. Soon, I will be introducing legislation that will clarify the vehicle code and permit the use of these custom frames so Pennsylvanians can continue to show their support for various causes.
Working with Schools to Provide a Safe Learning Experience
As the new school year gets underway, students and teachers in many districts across the state are returning to classes made safer by actions taken by the General Assembly.
We have worked together on bipartisan legislation that gives our schools the tools they need to identify potential threats early, provide mental health services and safeguard our classrooms.
Landmark legislation in 2018 specifically established a School Safety Committee at the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. It also created the School Safety and Security Grant Program which allowed schools to hire school police officers, resource officers and counselors; implement safety plans and violence prevention initiatives; and purchase equipment and physical upgrades to boost student safety.
We allocated $60 million to that program initially and then another $60 million in 2019 and $95 million more in 2022.
Additionally, we passed legislation creating an anonymous school threat reporting system to help schools and law enforcement be prepared for any potential violent incidents. The Safe2Say program has generated more than 80,000 tips since its inception in 2019, not only for school safety concerns, but also for student safety issues like bullying and self-harm.
This is an ongoing process and I’m committed to providing schools with the tools they need to keep students and staff safe.
Agriculture and Youth Grant Program Applications Being Accepted
For every four farmers in Pennsylvania over the age of 65 in 2019, only one was under 35. The Agriculture and Youth Grant Program aims to address the looming workforce deficit the industry is expected to face in coming years.
The program provides direct grants of up to $7,500 and matching grants of up to $25,000 to support projects, programs and equipment purchases by youth-run organizations, and those with programs that benefit youth or promote development in agriculture, community leadership, vocational training and peer fellowship. Past funded projects include workforce development programs, seminars and field trips, agricultural safety training, capital projects and equipment purchases aimed at leading students to opportunities in agriculture and building the future workforce that Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry needs to succeed.
Applications for these grants will be accepted through Sept. 30. You can find guidelines and application details here.
Please Help Me Collect Items for Area Food Banks
According to Feeding Pennsylvania, nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians – or one in nine – are struggling with hunger and 500,000 of them are children. The pandemic has caused an even greater need.
At the state Capitol, for 12 seasons now from the spring through the fall, the 1,000-square-foot Capitol Hunger Garden has been producing hundreds of pounds of fresh produce that is donated to Harrisburg’s Downtown Daily Bread, which takes those donations into their kitchen to provide healthy meals to many in the Harrisburg area. Last year, 849 pounds of produce was harvested from the garden and we’re hoping for a similar bounty by the time the growing season ends this year.
Closer to home, I’m asking for everyone who can to donate non-perishable items to their local food banks. My legislative district offices (see addresses below) are collecting donations from anyone who wishes to give, with those collections to be given to food banks in our communities.
Free Webinars Help New Hunters Enjoy this Pennsylvania Tradition
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is hosting free webinars allowing new hunters to ask questions of biologists, game wardens and experienced hunters about the best, safest ways to participate in this Pennsylvania tradition.
Register here for upcoming webinars covering archery deer and pheasant hunting. The page includes past webinars on “Hunting Tips & Tactics,” “Getting Started” and other topics.
How My Office Can Help You
My staff and I are here to make state government more accessible and helpful to you. Listed below are several constituent services available to you:
Don’t hesitate to contact my offices listed below with any requests, questions or concerns.
Happy Labor Day
I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend with family and friends. Enjoy the day off and the waning days of summer.
If you have a question about the information in this e-newsletter or other state related matters that you would like a response to, please click HERE to submit your inquiry through my website. This will help to ensure that we are able to respond to your question in a timely fashion due to the high volume of emails and the ever growing amount of computer generated spam mail we receive daily.