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New Legislation Could Extend Further Protections to Domestic Violence Victims
Domestic violence has had an enormous impact on local communities, but this serious concern is not limited to our region. Last year, the 60 community centers providing services throughout the Commonwealth assisted almost 90,000 victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Last year, I introduced Tierne’s Law to help keep the most dangerous offenders behind bars, far away from the victims they terrorized. In the near future, I plan to partner with two of my colleagues in the Senate – Senators Art Haywood and Judy Schwank – to introduce another piece of bipartisan legislation to better protect victims of this terrible crime.
Our bill would allow domestic violence victims who live in public housing to be relocated to another apartment if it would be dangerous for them to remain in the current residence. The county housing authority would be responsible for providing assistance to victims and would be prohibited from releasing the new address of the tenant or other information about their relocation without a court order.
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, and the Pennsylvania Housing Alliance each contributed to the development of the bill. More information about the proposal is available here.
Thanks to all the fine folks who stopped by the Washington County Senior Expo of which I was a co-sponsor. The event offered something for everyone, including health screenings, door prizes and a wealth of information for older Pennsylvanians. I hope to see a similar turnout at the Greene County Senior Fair on October 6 at the Greene County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bailey Mine Permit Decision Offers Good News for Furloughed Workers
Mine workers who had been furloughed due to a permitting delay got a welcome piece of good news last week with the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) approval of a new permit allowing for CONSOL to proceed with the Bailey Mine 5L Panel. Ensuring these furloughed employees are able to get back to work as soon as possible has been one of my top priorities, and this DEP decision provides the clarity that these employees need. I applaud all of the stakeholders both in government and the private sector for working together to find a solution to move this project forward.
Maintaining a sensible energy policy is one of the keys to promoting a vibrant economy as well as a healthy environment. I will continue to work with all interested parties to advance an energy agenda that allows for the responsible development of our resources while at the same protecting our environment. This includes ensuring permits are considered in a timely fashion so local workers in the coal industry do not suffer from further furloughs.
Following a news conference in support of individuals with Down syndrome, I had a chance to visit with Chloe Kondrich, the inspiration behind a 2014 law that improved education efforts for parents whose children are diagnosed with the condition.
Statewide Video Competition Encourages Greater Awareness of Addiction Issues
For many people who suffer from addiction, the problems started in high school or even middle school. In order to help raise awareness of the dangers of addiction, I am encouraging local schools to participate in a statewide video competition designed to help young people avoid drug and alcohol use.
The “Talk to Your State Senator” video competition encourages students to submit video entries of no longer than five minutes that highlight ways to combat abuse, help those who suffer from addiction and develop laws to address the current crisis.
The contest is open to Pennsylvania students in grades 6 through 12 and will provide a total of $10,000 in prizes to winning entries that focus on ways to prevent drug and alcohol abuse among young people. Prize money will be awarded through the TAP 529 Account program in the PA Department of Treasury and will be deposited into a college savings account in the winner(s) name.
Schools and students can find more information on the contest, including guidelines on submitting videos, content, judging, and prizes, at www.acommonwealthcrisis.com.
I appreciated the chance to speak at the Eldersville 9/11 Memorial Ceremony and spend time with members of Pittsburgh’s ironworkers union, who spoke about the work completed by their fellow ironworkers following 9/11.
Fire and EMS Grant Application Period Open Through October 20
The Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program offers funding for construction or renovation of a unit’s station, the purchase or repair of equipment, training, debt reduction and other critical needs. Local companies can apply for grants now through October 20.
All fire companies, volunteer ambulance services and volunteer rescue squads are eligible for grant funding. The maximum grant amount is $15,000 for fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. More information, including the online application for grants, is available at www.osfc.pa.gov.
Local Employers Can Apply Now for Job Training Grants
As a small business owner, one thing I have learned is that a company is only as good as its employees. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) offers a grant program designed to provide job training programs for existing employees to help businesses in fostering a higher level of training and expertise in their field.
The Workforce and Economic Development Network (WedNET) provides training for new and existing employees to ensure employee skills remain current and relevant. The program primarily focuses on the manufacturing and technology industries and offers several different assistance paths.
Last year, the program helped 12 businesses in the 46th Senatorial District, providing more than $100,000 in job training grants. More information about the program is available at www.wednetpa.com.
For more information on issues of importance to southwestern Pennsylvania, please visit my website at www.senatorbartolotta.com and connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/senatorbartolotta) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/senbartolotta).
SouthPointe District Office
Greene County Office Building