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Friday, October 11, 2013

The Scarnati Update--Pennsylvania Senator

Senate Hearing Focuses on Rural Community College Initiative

The Senate Education Committee recently held a public hearing on legislation I have introduced to increase post-secondary educational opportunities to underserved counties in the Commonwealth.  Senate Bill 1000 would create a Rural Community College Initiative and help set the foundation for establishing rural public community college opportunities in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 1000 is a bipartisan measure based largely on the recommendations of a 2011 Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) study.
The LBFC study concluded that there is a significant need for public community college programs in rural Pennsylvania.  According to the report, by 2018 most jobs will require post-secondary education training, however 25 of the 26 rural counties in Pennsylvania have no community college programs.
Testifiers at the October 2nd hearing included the North Central Workforce Investment Board, American Refining Group Inc., Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Rural Community College Alliance.
Providing rural communities with access to affordable higher education is critical to creating new career opportunities for students and improving the economy. In the current job market higher education in the form of skilled training, certificate courses, two-year and four-year degree programs are all crucial to preparing students for future employment opportunities or to retrain them for new jobs.

Senate Passes Sweeping Update of Child Protection Laws 

Senator Scarnati
The state Senate recently approved a series of bills which I strongly supported to provide significant improvements to Pennsylvania’s child protection laws.   The bipartisan package is based on recommendations of the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection, created by the passage of Senate Resolution 250 in December 2011. The panel held a series of public meetings and released its report in November 2012.
These bills will help to make our child protection laws stronger and more effective, ensuring that we are doing everything we can to protect children from abuse and neglect. Members of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee have worked diligently on the package of bills that will provide needed updates to many of Pennsylvania’s child protection laws. (Audio remarks by Senator Scarnati.)
The Senate unanimously approved six child protection bills.  The legislation enjoyed broad support from child advocates across Pennsylvania.  Additional bills in the child protection package are still advancing in the Senate and are expected to be considered in the near future.

Bills Would Provide Reduced-Fee Hunting & Fishing Licenses to Disabled Vets

Senator ScarnatiDisabled Pennsylvania veterans would be eligible for reduced-fee hunting & fishing licenses, under legislation that I have sponsored in the Senate.
My legislation, Senate Bill 1101 and Senate Bill 1102, would reduce the cost of annual hunting & fishing licenses, to a cost of $1 each, for all disabled veterans in the Commonwealth. Currently, Pennsylvania law allows for free hunting and fishing licenses only for veterans who are either certified as 100 percent disabled, or who have lost the use of one or more limbs.
Any Pennsylvania veteran eligible for disability compensation as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs would qualify for the $1 licenses.  Veterans certified as having a total disability would continue to qualify for free licenses.  Pennsylvania currently offers $1 hunting and fishing licenses to certain active duty military personnel as well.
Disabled veterans have made a tremendous sacrifice for our country.  Offering them the opportunity to participate in hunting and fishing activities at a reduced fee is a small but important measure to honor their bravery and express our gratitude for their service.

Fifth Annual Scarnati/Cawley Charity Bike Ride Raises $132,670 to Benefit Children’s Hospitals

September 13-15, I co-hosted the 5th annual “Scarnati/Cawley 100? with Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley. This three-day, 100-mile charity bike ride from Gettysburg to Annville benefited three outstanding children’s hospitals in Pennsylvania.
Over 40 riders took part in the Scarnati/Cawley 100, which raised $132,670 for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.  Over the last five years, this event has raised approximately $690,000.
My family has experienced first-hand the dedicated and compassionate care provided by children’s hospitals. We have some of the top pediatric institutions in the country and it is an honor to ride for them and the many children and families they provide with care.
I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the ride and the many generous individuals and organizations that contributed to making this year’s ride such a success. *Click here for additional photos and information on the bike ride.

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