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County Election, Rail Freight, and Environmental Education Funding Opportunity For Your District

(Aug 08, 2022)

STATE PROGRAMS NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS: Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development: Election Integrity Grant Program (Funding Source: General Fund) Who May Apply : Pennsylvania counties. Use : To support the work of county governments and their election offices. Funds : Funding is allocated proportionally based upon the number of registered voters within the county in the previous primary election. Application Deadline : August 15, 2022 More Information : Click on . Pennsylvania Department of Transportation: Rail Freight Assistance Program (Funding Source: Multimodal Transportation Fund) Who May Apply : Freight railroads, freight railroad-served shippers, and economic development entities. Use : To support investment in rail freight infrastructure. Funds : The maximum state funding for a RFAP project is 70 percent of the total project costs, not to exceed $700,000. Application Deadline : September 2, 2022 More Information : Click on . Pennsylvania Department of Transportation: Rail Transportation Assistance Program (Funding Source: General Obligation Debt) Who May Apply : Freight railroads, freight railroad-served Read more

Shusterman supports L&I decision to end waitlist for vocational rehabilitation services

(Aug 08, 2022)

PAOLI, Aug. 8 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, today applauded the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s decision to end waitlists for all significantly disabled and non-significantly disabled individuals seeking vocational rehabilitation services. “As co-chair of the Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Caucus and a member of the state Workforce Development Board, I consistently advocate for removing barriers that people with disabilities face when seeking employment,” Shusterman said. “I am pleased to see an end to the waitlist and am hopeful that it can remain open so more individuals will be able to gain career experiences and receive essential services.” L&I’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation assists Pennsylvanians with disabilities in obtaining and retaining employment while keeping their independence. Since 2016, nearly 370,000 individuals have received services from OVR, including vocational counseling, evaluations, medical diagnostic services, medical restoration services, employment training, placement services and career support services. L&I announced that this change is effective through June 30, 2023. OVR will then review the fiscal outlook and decide whether the services to all groups can remain open without the waitlist. More information on OVR services is available by visiting the local OVR office , or apply for OVR Read more

Guzman demands accountability from Berks County Commissioners in light of recent report describing ‘chaos’ during primary election

(Aug 05, 2022)

READING, Aug. 5 — State Rep. Manny Guzman, D-Berks, today issued the following statement in response to the surge of problems linked to the elections process in Berks County. “The people of Berks County deserve better. From the failures hitting people of color the hardest before the election, to the refusal to obey state law and count legal ballots, to the curious resignation of the person who was in charge for those debacles, it’s clear we have to refocus on what matters: restoring the people’s faith in their democracy,” Guzman said. The lawmaker said he plans to call for public hearings and investigate ways to guarantee an open and truthful process before November’s general election. “I plan on calling for open public hearings to find out how these mistakes happened and, more importantly, how we can make sure the people are never denied their voice again for any reason,” he said, added: “I want to thank the Reading Eagle for this vital journalism and always holding government at every level accountable, especially when our sacred constitutional rights are at stake.” Guzman, who has been on the front lines of election’s issues, also warned the community of irregularities with voting machines during the past primary election. Read more

State programs now open for applications

(Jul 25, 2022)

STATE PROGRAMS NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS: Pennsylvania Office of the Budget: Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) (Funding Source: General Obligation Debt) Who May Apply : Entities that have a project itemized in a Capital Budget Itemization Act from the past 10 years. List of eligible projects can be found here: Itemized Project Eligible for Funding . Use : The acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects that have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs. Funds : Projects must have a $1 million minimum project cost and a 50% match (state funds cannot be used as match). Application Deadline : August 19, 2022 More Information : Click on . UPCOMING APPLICATION DEADLINES: DDAP Pregnancy Support Services Grant: July 29, 2022 (Funding Source: Federal Funding) Any entity that is able to serve pregnant or postpartum women in recovery from SUD. - To provide support services to pregnant women and postpartum women in recovery from Substance Use Disorder Read more

Housing, Public Health Infrastructure, and Clean Energy Funding Opportunities

(Jul 18, 2022)

STATE PROGRAMS NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS: Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs: Pregnancy Support Services Grant (Funding Source: Federal Funding) Who May Apply : Any entity that is able to serve pregnant or postpartum women in recovery from SUD. Use : To provide support services to pregnant women and postpartum women in recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Funds: Awards up to $600,000. Application Deadline : July 29, 2022. More Information : Click on . Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (Funding Source: General Fund) Who May Apply : School districts, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and businesses in Pennsylvania. Use : To assist in a transition to cleaner fuel transportation. Funds : Up to $300,000 per applicant. Application Deadline : There are two application periods. The program will collect and review all applications submitted by August 26, 2022, and again by December 16, 2022. More Information : Click on . Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency: Statewide Victim Witness Training Project 2023 Read more

O’Mara, Shusterman applaud funding for women’s apprenticeship program

(Jul 18, 2022)

HARRISBURG, July 15 – State Reps. Jennifer O’Mara and Melissa Shusterman today announced Apprentice Training for the Electrical Industry was awarded $394,383 for a program introducing young women to the electrical trade. “More women are entering the electrical trade than ever before,” O’Mara said. “It can be a great career path, and I am pleased we were able to help secure this important funding. Having more women learn this important trade will help break down old, incorrect stereotypes.” The program, “Rosie’s Girls,” is designed to familiarize young women with safety, tools, theoretical basics of electrical and telecommunications installation, and jobsite conditions, as well as an introduction to other career paths in the building and construction trades. This is a partnership with ATEI and the public-school districts in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. “This program is a great way to give the young women in Southeastern Pennsylvania hands-on training in a career field once dominated by men,” Shusterman said. “I applaud the effort by Apprentice Training for the Electrical Industry to recruit women into the trades workforce. I am happy to see the state invest in a program that will help give young women more professional opportunities.” The grants, offered through the Pennsylvania Department of Labor Read more

Ciresi, James applaud the inclusion of dance teacher certification legislation in 2022-23 state budget

(Jul 14, 2022)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – Legislation authored by state Reps. Joe Ciresi and R. Lee James to create a direct path for dance teacher certification, H.B. 2678, was included in the 2022-23 state budget. Due to Ciresi and James’ legislative push, the Public School Code now includes a provision directing the Pennsylvania Department of Education to develop an instructional certificate in pre-K through grade 12 dance, with exceptions for current dance teachers and those in the process of obtaining a dance teaching certificate. “I am proud that this year’s budget has incorporated Representative James’ and my legislation to create a direct path for dance certification,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “Our legislation sought to improve Pennsylvania’s dance programs by requiring discipline-specific education in dance for new teachers. Now, there will be a clear path to certification for dance teachers, which will improve the quality of Pennsylvania’s dance programs, benefitting the thousands of Pennsylvania students in K-12 schools.” Previously, Pennsylvania dance teachers could not be directly certified in dance and, instead, were certified in communications or physical or vocational education. According to the legislators, the certification process had a negative impact on dance teacher preparedness, continuing education and Pennsylvania school districts’ dance programs. “We had introduced this Read more

Ciresi and Tomlinson highlight budget increase for film production tax credit

(Jul 13, 2022)

HARRISBURG, July 13 – The co-chairs of the bipartisan Film Industry Caucus, state Reps. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, and K.C. Tomlinson, R-Bucks, highlighted the successful increase of the cap for the film production tax credit to $100 million in the 2022-23 budget. “Last year, Rep. Tomlinson and I introduced HB 1432 to expand the film production tax credit’s cap because Pennsylvania was losing out on film productions to other states due to our program’s limitations,” Ciresi said “Thanks to our legislative push, the budget increased the cap from $70 million to $100 million, making Pennsylvania a more attractive place for television productions in which to film. Fostering the film industry in Pennsylvania will have a tremendous positive economic impact on the commonwealth through job creation and by generating economic activity in host communities, bringing local and state benefits.” According to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s 2019-20 Film Production Tax Credit Program Report, since the program’s inception in 2007 through the end of FY 2019-20, approximately 860 applicants have applied to the program and 509 productions have been approved/awarded tax credits. These film productions have directly injected nearly $3.3 billion into the state’s economy; generated an estimated $5.2 billion in total economic activity and $785 million in total state and local taxes; and supported an Read more

Hanbidge selected to be Toll Fellow

(Jul 12, 2022)

HARRISBURG, July 12 – The Council of State Governments has announced that state Rep. Liz Hanbidge has been selected to participate in the 2022 CSG Henry Toll Fellowship. Hanbidge is the only Pennsylvanian included in this year's cohort and the first Pennsylvanian selected since 2019. Bringing together 48 individuals representing 32 states from several sectors of state government, the Henry Toll Fellowship is the nation’s premier leadership development program for state government officials. “While the CSG Henry Toll Fellows come from every region of our nation, from both political parties and all three branches of state government, they share one thing in common — they are all people of purpose with a passion for public service,” said CSG Executive Director/CEO David Adkins, a former Kansas state senator and 1993 Toll Fellowship alumnus. “Toll Fellows are selected based on their demonstrated commitment to solve problems, to work collaboratively to get things done, and their belief that state government can and must be a force for good.” "I’m honored to have been selected as a Toll Fellow,” said Hanbidge, D-Montgomery. “I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from and with other equally dedicated public servants from across the country. I am looking forward to the challenge and to expanding my skillset for the betterment of my constituents and commonwealth.” Each year, the CSG Henry Read more

Rep. Otten’s Budget Statement

(Jul 11, 2022)

Last week, the General Assembly approved, and Governor Wolf signed, a $45.2 billion budget. This deal comes a week after the deadline to pass a balanced budget. While no budget is perfect, this year’s plan makes meaningful investments in child care, mental health (both K-12 and adult), long term care, and support for individuals with disabilities and the workers who provide their care. For these reasons and others, I voted YES. I wanted to provide an overview of the budget broken down by some of the key issues in our legislative district based on feedback we’ve received from constituents. Investments in Education: This year’s budget makes historic investments in public education, with an increase of $850 million for basic and special education. This funding increase includes a $525 million bump to basic education, $100 million increase for special education, and adds $100 million to the state’s school safety and security grant program as well as a new school mental health initiative. These historic investments will directly impact our communities with Chester County schools receiving $15.9 million in additional funding. As part of this increase, the Downingtown Area School District will receive an additional $1.8 million, an 8.4% increase over last year, and the Coatesville Area School District will receive an additional $4.5 million, a 13.6% increase over last year. My Democratic colleagues and I fought hard for this Read more