Senator Culver E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Passes Bill to Protect Newborns
  • Coney Island Lunch Celebrates 105 Years!
  • Young Constituent Visits Capitol
  • World War II Veteran Laid to Rest
  • Eagle Scouts Honored
  • Meeting with Future Teachers
  • PHEAA Launches PA HELPS
  • Increasing Accountability and Disaster Response Capability
  • Senate Votes to Protect Seniors from Financial Exploitation
  • Broadband Grant Program Opens May 10
  • Register to Vote by May 1
  • Free Tick Testing for All Pennsylvanians
  • Call Before You Dig

Senate Passes Bill to Protect Newborns

The Senate unanimously passed legislation to protect babies whose parents are unable to care for them. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Bill 267 would expand Pennsylvania’s Safe Haven Law to allow parents to surrender their unharmed baby at participating urgent care centers. The urgent care centers will ensure the newborn is transported to a hospital and placed in the care of a health care provider.

Currently, people may bring their newborn (up to 28 days old) to any Pennsylvania hospital, to a police officer at a police station or to an emergency services provider at an EMS station. The Department of Health estimates that 50 babies have been saved by Pennsylvania’s Safe Haven Law since 2003.

Coney Island Lunch Celebrates 105 Years!

Coney Island Lunch in Shamokin has been providing great food for 105 years! State Rep. JoAnne Stehr and I presented citations to this local business in recognition of its accomplishment. We also got to meet Margaret Dunkin, one of Coney Island’s best customers. Congratulations to Bill Bacas and his staff for this small business success story.

Included in the picture are Northumberland County Commissioners Joe Klebon and Sam Schiccatano  who also presented certificates and 50 year Coney Island employee Sharon Wichurowski.

Young Constituent Visits Capitol

I got to meet one of my younger constituents this week at the Capitol. This wonderful young man is David Knight. David attends the Scranton School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. It was a pleasure meeting David and welcoming the rest of the students from the school who made the trip to the Capitol.

World War II Veteran Laid to Rest

I had the honor and privilege to attend the burial service this week for World War II veteran Army Pvt. Horace H. Middleton of Northumberland. Horace was killed during World War II, but his remains were just discovered in 2018 in Hawaii. Horace was killed during the siege of Myi Kyina, Burma in the summer of 1944. God bless Horace Middleton and his family. A true hero finally came home.

Eagle Scouts Honored

I recently presented Senate citations at two Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremonies for Nathan Derr, Troop 605, and Philip Gesumaria and Michael Stebila of Kratzerville Troop 441.

I am always impressed by the dedication, leadership and perseverance of Scouts who attain the title of Eagle Scout. I’m sure these future leaders are destined for great things. Congratulations to these Eagle Scouts and best wishes for their futures!

Meeting with Future Teachers

A group of young students preparing to become educators stopped in my Harrisburg office this week on Teacher Education Day to discuss the teacher shortage in our commonwealth. Associate Professor Stephanie Gardner and the students from the Pennsylvania Association for Colleges and Teacher Educators (PAC-TE) discussed the decreasing number of certified teachers, lack of substitute teachers and significant rise in emergency certified educators. Teaching is an honorable and rewarding profession, and we need to break down the barriers standing in the way of students who want to become future educators.


My colleagues in the state Legislature last year approved and the governor signed into law a bill to establish a new program within the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to promote interest among students in mental health studies.

The new PA Mental Health Education Learning Program in Schools (PA HELPS) is a state-funded initiative that encourages students to complete internships in school-based mental health fields in Pennsylvania. PHEAA’s PA HELPS program is intended to help students obtain certifications and employment in a Pennsylvania Local Education Agency.

You can learn more about PA HELPS here

Increasing Accountability and Disaster Response Capability

Legislation requiring Senate confirmation of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) director was approved by a bipartisan Senate vote. Senate Bill 433 would increase accountability and ensure the agency is prepared to deal with emergencies efficiently and effectively.

PEMA is the lead emergency coordination agency in the commonwealth tasked with guaranteeing the safety of 13 million residents. This includes oversight of 911 centers and the Emergency Alert System, as well as hazardous materials and incidents involving five nuclear power plants.

Five state agencies with fewer employees than PEMA require Senate confirmation. The bill is before the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Votes to Protect Seniors from Financial Exploitation

The Senate approved a bill to help protect Pennsylvania senior citizens from financial exploitation scams using information that is already available within state government.

Under Senate Bill 137, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General would notify the Department of Aging about any investigations or enforcement actions involving someone age 65 or older and related to the Pennsylvania Telemarketer Registration Act.

The improved information sharing would enable the Department of Aging to deliver warnings to local area agencies on aging in counties across the commonwealth while ensuring strict adherence to confidentiality rules.

Senate Bill 137 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Broadband Grant Program Opens May 10

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority recently approved the Pennsylvania Broadband Infrastructure Program which will provide $200 million in funding to businesses, nonprofits, local governments and economic development organizations.

This program will fund line extension and development projects, as well as large-scale regional infrastructure projects. Upon completion, projects must deliver service that meets or exceeds symmetrical download and upload speeds of 100 Megabits per second, with prioritization being given to fiber-optic deployment.

The application period will begin May 10 and will close July 10. View program guidelines here.

Register to Vote by May 1

The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania’s May 16 primary election is Monday, May 1. Your county election board must receive your application for a mail-in or absentee ballot by Tuesday, May 9.

To legally register, individuals must be a citizen of the United States, reside in their local voting precincts at least 30 days prior to the election and be at least age 18 on Election Day, Tuesday, May 16. Once registered to vote, you are not required to register again unless you change your residence, name or political party affiliation.

Voter registration forms, mail-in ballot applications and absentee ballot applications are available here or from your local county’s Board of Elections. You can also use the site to check your registration status.

There will also be a special election on May 16 for Montour and Northumberland County voters living in House District 108 where voters regardless of party affiliation can vote.

Free Tick Testing for All Pennsylvanians

Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of Lyme disease cases. As we continue to fight Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in the commonwealth, East Stroudsburg University offers a valuable resource for all Pennsylvanians.

The university has a tick lab, which provides free testing on ticks for harmful diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and more. Send a tick sample to the lab and receive the test results that are often necessary evidence for doctors to treat you and increase your chance of staying healthy.

This week, the Senate passed a bill to require school officials to notify a student’s parents or guardian if a tick is removed from them at school and inform them of the symptoms of Lyme disease. The bill also calls for schools to provide the tick to parents or guardians if they would like to send it to the lab for testing.

To remove a tick, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin’s surface as possible and then pull upward with a steady, even pressure. Avoid twisting or jerking as this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

For more information about tick-borne diseases or how to submit a tick for testing here.

Call Before You Dig

As the weather improves, more people are doing outdoor projects. To stay safe during your excavation project and avoid hitting an underground utility line, call PA One Call by dialing 8-1-1 before you dig.

State law requires contractors and residents to contact PA One Call at least three days prior to excavation. This minimizes risk to the contractors or homeowners who are doing the digging; to utility workers and emergency responders who are mobilized to deal with the damage; and to bystanders who live, work or travel near the locations of the incidents.

Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 to connect with the One Call system, while out-of-state residents or businesses can call 1-800-242-1776. Learn more here.


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