In this Update:
Student Government Seminar
My first student government seminar was a success! High school students from Avonworth, Carlynton, Chartiers Valley, Montour, Moon Area, South Fayette, Upper St. Clair, and West Jefferson Hills School Districts came together to be senators for a day and experience the legislative process. A big thank you to South Fayette High School and the government relations professionals who came out to share their experiences in state government with the kids!
Students were divided into committees where they debated and amended bills before bringing them to the “Senate floor” for discussion and a vote. It was so encouraging to see how engaged they all were, and how they jumped right into the process. Their ideas on these legislative issues were thoughtful and interesting, and all-around impressive! I look forward to seeing what else they accomplish in the future!
North Fayette Township VFD Celebrates 50 Years
Congratulations to the North Fayette Township Volunteer Fire Department on celebrating their 50th anniversary! I was thrilled to present them with a proclamation recognizing their decades of incredible service. Thank you for everything you do to protect our community!
Moon Township Annual Veterans Breakfast
I was glad to start my day on Friday at Moon Township’s Annual Veterans Breakfast. I had the pleasure to meet many wonderful veterans, including Flo, a Navy veteran who is 101 years young!
Thank you to Moon Township for honoring our heroes with this annual event, and thank you to these veterans for your service to our country.
IcelandAir To Connect to Pittsburgh in 2024
Pittsburghers will soon have another flight option connecting them directly to Europe! Icelandair will offer four weekly non-stop flights from Pittsburgh to Reykjavik beginning in May 2024.
I am thrilled to see this new service launch at Pittsburgh International Airport, and I look forward to seeing the positive economic impact it will have on our region.
You can read more here.
Commonwealth Court Rules Against RGGI
Pennsylvanians will be shielded from higher electricity bills because the Commonwealth Court ruled against imposing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) carbon tax.
The ruling supported the Senate Republican perspective that RGGI is a tax on energy, and something of this nature must be properly vetted via the legislative process. It says: “Stated simply, to pass constitutional muster, the Commonwealth’s participation in RGGI may only be achieved through legislation duly enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.”
Just last week, I joined my colleagues in supporting the efforts of the Appalachian Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2) which is promising for a cleaner energy future in our Commonwealth. RGGI wouldn’t have been the best solution for cleaner energy, and it would’ve raised already high electricity bills. I’m glad the Court ruled in favor of going through the proper channels and giving Pennsylvania people the voice they deserve.
Robinson Bill Passes Senate to Fight Opioid Epidemic
The Senate recently passed my legislation aimed at keeping up with the rapid introduction of new drugs to commonwealth communities. It would be a significant step toward ensuring dangerous substances don’t slip through the cracks into our communities.
Senate Bill 959 would enable faster, more effective, prosecution by allowing Pennsylvania to automatically follow the federal government’s Drug Enforcement Administration classification for drugs. Drug traffickers constantly update these chemical compounds, and Pennsylvania scheduling has struggled with inefficiency. Automated scheduling will save the lives of our loved ones and more successfully fight the effects the opioid epidemic has on our communities.
As the bill would only apply to new controlled substances, it would not impact Pennsylvania’s scheduling of cannabis or its availability for medical marijuana patients.
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Grants Available to Organizations Benefitting Veteran Employment
To help veterans as they transition from serving our country to resuming civilian life, funding is available for organizations that connect veterans with jobs.
The grant opportunity is designed to assist veterans who have received a discharge other than dishonorable, members of the reserves and guard, and spouses of veterans and service members in securing employment.
Applications for the Veterans Employment Grant Program must be submitted by Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 4 p.m. Learn more and apply online here.
Funding to Improve Local Transportation and Pedestrian Safety
Grants are available to municipalities, businesses and other organizations to improve local transportation and pedestrian safety. The funding aims to ensure a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to Pennsylvania residents.
Funding for priority investments is available through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Transportation Fund. Apply online by Monday, Nov. 13, at 4 p.m.
Paid Government Internships Available for Undergraduates
Paid internship opportunities with state executive agencies are available for undergraduate college students interested in politics and government through the James A. Finnegan Fellowship Foundation.
Students who want to apply for the fellowship need to submit an essay between 1,500 and 2,500 words about their opinions for the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) Program, which would offer students in struggling schools grants to explore other educational opportunities.
Essays and other materials must be submitted to the foundation by Jan. 26, 2024. Find more information and the application here.
Turn Those Clocks Back This Weekend
Daylight saving time will end at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, so Pennsylvania residents should turn their clocks back one hour before going to bed on Saturday night.
Biannual time changes can be a great reminder to check or change the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced every 10 years and located near bedrooms and on each level of the residence.
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