In this Update:
Senate Expands Right to Know Law to State-Related Universities
Seeking to shine light on costs driving college tuition increases, the Senate approved legislation to expand Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law to provide greater access to public records at state-related universities.
Senate Bill 488 would create an online searchable database that details information about budgets and contracts approved by Penn State University, Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University. The legislation also increases the amount of university personnel salary information subject to public disclosure.
State-related universities receive more than $600 million in taxpayer dollars.
Under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law, the Office of Open Records processes requests for documents from public agencies, such as the governor’s administration, legislative and judicial agencies and local organizations. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Among other measures passed by the Senate this week was Senate Bill 1203, which prevents companies from receiving state contracts, grants or tax credits if they are owned, controlled by, or acting on behalf of the Russian government.
Hearing Highlights Ideas to Combat Lyme Disease in PA
Pennsylvania leads the nation in Lyme disease cases, with children making up the largest demographic affected.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a public hearing to increase understanding of tick-borne diseases, tick testing and mitigation, testing options for physicians and patients, and guidelines for treatment options.
The panel heard testimony from Physician General and Acting Health Secretary Denise Johnson, as well as the director of the Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania at East Stroudsburg University, an infectious disease physician, and the president of the PA Lyme Resource Network.
Promise of Carbon Capture Technology in Pennsylvania Explored by Committee
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held an informational briefing Tuesday on Pennsylvania’s potential as a carbon capture, utilization and storage hub.
Wolf administration officials and the carbon capture and storage business opportunity manager for Shell USA, Inc. took part to discuss the region’s promise as a premier hub for both carbon capture and clean hydrogen.
The Great Plains Institute, using data from a 2009 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources report, estimates the state could store about 2.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide underground. This is equivalent to the level of greenhouse gases emitted from 517 million gas-powered passenger vehicles annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
September is Suicide Prevention Month
Approximately 1.2 million adults attempt suicide annually in the United States, with more than 85% reporting having made a suicide plan prior to their attempt. In 2020, the most recent year that data is available, approximately 1,700 people died by suicide in Pennsylvania.
Suicide Prevention Month provides an opportunity to remind Pennsylvanians that help is always available. This summer, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline officially launched nationwide, streamlining call and text access to the national lifeline that provides no-cost crisis response support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In addition to 988, many other resources also remain available to Pennsylvanians in need of support, including:
Rosh Hashanah Begins Sunday
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday and ends at nightfall Tuesday evening. For all who observe this Jewish holiday, I wish you a wonderful new year.
Collecting Items for Area Food Banks Continues
Throughout Hunger Action Month, my district offices (addresses are listed below) are collecting non-perishable items to be given to food banks in our communities.
Neighbors helping neighbors is the best form of charity and it’s one of the many traditions that make our country great. Please consider making a donation to help a family in need.
Around the 40th District
It was a pleasure to welcome the Mondillo family from Saylorsburg to the Capitol on Monday. Pictured with me in the Senate Chamber are David and Ramona with their two sons David and Mario!
This week I welcomed two Guest Chaplains to the Capitol who lead the Senate in the opening prayer on separate days. On Tuesday, Reverend Scott Carver, Lead Pastor at Pleasant Valley Assembly of God lead us.
And then on Wednesday, his wife Pastor Kelly Carver lead us. Scott and Kelly have been married for 25 years and have three children, Victoria, Lucas, and Aiden.
I recently attended a ribbon cutting in Pocono Township at TLC Park. The township recently completed the installation of new playground equipment that children will enjoy for years to come!
Wednesday, Adrienne Fors and Joe Statile from Waste Management’s Grand Central Landfill joined me in Harrisburg to talk some trash! Look for a future Legislative Report with Waste Management. It was a great interview and Joe and Adrienne share some great information.
Earlier this week, I spoke on the Senate floor to welcome the Hefton family to the Capitol. The Hefton family, are personal close friends of my daughter Melissa, from Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Crystal and Brent Hefton’s 4-year-old daughter Brooklyn has been diagnosed with Pitt Hopkins Syndrome. I was proud to honor the Hefton family for their tireless work to raise awareness and educate others about this rare disease. Brooklyn is a strong and happy girl. Crystal and Brent are amazing parents raising five children while also fighting for inclusion and equality for their daughter and others with rare diseases.
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