In this Update:
Apply to Vote by Mail by Oct. 31 for the November Election
The deadline is approaching for anyone who would like to vote by mail for the Nov. 7 election. Your county election board must receive your application for a mail-in or absentee ballot no later than Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 5 p.m.
Any registered voter may request a mail-in ballot. Absentee ballots can be requested by voters with disabilities or an illness that prevents them from going to their polling place on Election Day, or those who will be absent from their municipality on Election Day.
You can apply for a mail-in ballot online, by mail or in person at your county election board’s office or other designated locations. Learn more here.
Montour County Senior Expo
Our office will have a table with resources and information at the Montour County Senior Expo on Thursday, Nov. 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Montour County Administration Building, 435 E. Front St., Danville. The expo will feature free resources, a cooking demonstration, information about community based programs and assistance, and door prizes. Registration is not required.
Monthly Office Hours in Beaver Springs
My staff will be available to help residents with state government-related programs, services and issues on Thursday, Nov. 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Beaver Springs Senior Center, located at 55 Elm St., Beaver Springs. We host regular office hours on the first Thursday of each month in Beaver Springs.
We provide the same services at the Beaver Springs Senior Center that are available at our other offices, including assistance with Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program applications, unemployment compensation claims and PennDOT paperwork. Staff also will offer complimentary notary services, provide information about state legislation and make referrals to agencies to resolve state-related matters.
Residents should call the Shamokin Dam District Office at 570-743-1918 to reserve time with staff during the Beaver Springs outreach hours.
Additionally, a representative from U.S. Congressman Glenn Thompson’s office will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to assist Snyder County constituents with federal issues.
Shikellamy Lights on Afterschool Event
I had a wonderful evening at the Shikellamy Lights on Afterschool Event! This event was an opportunity to see firsthand the value that after-school programming has on a community. These programs keep children safe, inspire learning and provide a helping hand to working families. Thank you, Mr. Stevens, for the invitation and the work you do to nurture our students!
Senate Passes Bills Empowering Parents
The Senate approved legislation that would empower parents to protect their own child from accessing sexually explicit content at school, without impacting the books available to other students. Senate Bill 7 would require schools to:
Senate Bill 7 was crafted after a non-partisan, thorough two-year process – including conversations with parents, school administrators, teachers and librarians. It would not ban any books from Pennsylvania school curriculum or libraries, but rather empower parents to control only what their own children have access to in school.
The Senate also approved legislation requiring schools to make public curriculum information available online, including a link or title for every textbook and course syllabus used for classes. Other measures passed this week would require schools to display the United States Constitution and display the Pennsylvania Constitution. Empowering parents and families is a priority of Pennsylvania Senate Republicans.
Senate Votes to Extend and Improve Program to Protect Students
Building on recent legislation to improve school bus safety, the Senate approved legislation extending and improving the school bus stop-arm automated enforcement program. The measure is set for enactment into law.
The program was first authorized in 2018 and includes nearly 40 participating school districts that equipped 2,500 school buses with cameras to record vehicles that don’t stop for school buses. More than 4,000 violations have been recorded.
The program was set to expire this week. Senate Bill 851 makes the program permanent, improves interaction with law enforcement and streamlines the appeals process. If a driver illegally passes a stopped school bus, the school district will send the car owner a police-vetted violation in the mail. The owner must pay the $300 fine or make an appeal for a virtual or in-person hearing overseen by a PennDOT official. The driver may petition a magisterial district judge after PennDOT’s decision.
Grants Available for Organizations Helping Veterans
The Veterans’ Trust Fund is accepting grant applications for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans. Nonprofit organizations, veteran service organizations and county directors of veteran affairs may apply by Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m.
Find more information about the grant opportunity and how to apply here.
The trust fund is supported by Pennsylvanians who donate when applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses, photo IDs or motor vehicle registrations; purchase veteran-specific license plates; or make private donations. Tax-deductible donations can be made online.
Recognizing Pennsylvania’s First Responders
Saturday, Oct. 28, is National First Responders Day. Police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians care for us during some of life’s worst moments. They are true heroes, and I am proud to honor their brave and selfless efforts.
My Senate colleagues and I have passed legislation to address the serious shortage of volunteer firefighters in the commonwealth. The number dropped from about 300,000 in the 1980s to less than 38,000 today, so they need our support. Without enough volunteers, communities across Pennsylvania face longer wait times when minutes make the difference between life and death.