WILKES-BARRE — Gov. Tom Wolf has signed legislation — Senate Bill 635 — sponsored by State Sen. John Yudichak, I=Swoyersville, and State Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-122, that will expand the Pennsylvania Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (C-PACE).
As part of Senate Bill 635, the C-PACE program will create greater opportunities for property owners to access private capital and long-term financing to implement energy efficiency, water conservation, and clean energy for agricultural, commercial and industrial properties.
Nationwide, C-PACE programs have leveraged over $2 billion in private investments and created more than 24,000 new jobs.
Senate Bill 635 expands the C-PACE program to multi-family commercial building and broadens the scope of projects covered by the program to include upgrades to ventilation systems to improve indoor air quality and reduce COVID-19 transmission and weather resiliency improvements.
“The C-PACE program has proven to be a valuable tool for property owners seeking to upgrade their properties with clean energy and energy efficiency projects,” Yudichak said. “Senate Bill 635 is a strong example of how public-private partnerships can marry good public policy with private financing to improve quality of life in our communities.”
Similarly, indoor air quality enhancements include ventilation projects that reduce exposure to indoor contaminants, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boback’s Purple Star School
bill sent to governor’s desk
Legislation to establish the Purple Star School Program in Pennsylvania, sponsored by Rep. Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake, this week was sent to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature after a concurrence vote in the House of Representatives.
The Purple Star School Program supports military-connected children as they relocate to new schools due to a parent’s change in duty station. Military-connected children include those of service members on active duty, and in the National Guard and Reserves.
“The Purple Star designation indicates that a school is working to support the social and emotional well-being of children in military families who are adjusting to new schools,” said Boback. “These students have unique needs as they contend with frequent moves and new classmates.”
Under House Bill 1867, Pennsylvania public and non-public schools would be designated as Purple Star campuses if they demonstrate military-friendly practices and meet certain requirements such as: having a military liaison staff member; a web page that includes resources for military students and families; and professional development training opportunities for staff members on issues relating to military students.
State Police marks 50 years
since first female troopers
Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) celebrated 50 years of women in its ranks today by honoring the trailblazers who broke through its all-male barrier and made history as the first female state troopers.
Fourteen women graduated from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy with the 31st Cadet Class, the first to admit female cadets, July 7, 1972. Surviving members of the group were invited to a ceremony in their honor at the academy in Hershey.
“These women were motivated to enlist by a sense of duty and a genuine interest in police work,” said Colonel Robert Evanchick, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “We owe them a debt of gratitude for their roles in breaking barriers and blazing trails that have helped make this Department what it is today.”
PSP was the nation’s first state police agency to fully integrate female troopers into the regular command structure. Thus, the women of the 31st Cadet Class took on jobs exclusive to men throughout the department’s 67-year history, setting a high bar for female troopers who followed in their footsteps.
Kathryn (Hosmer) Doutt became the first woman in the department’s history to head a bureau when, in 1995, she was promoted to major and assigned to serve as director of the Bureau of Patrol. Five years earlier, Doutt became PSP’s first female troop commander when she was assigned to head Troop K, Philadelphia.
Lucinda Hammond (Hawkins) in 1989 became the first female trooper to receive the Pennsylvania State Police Commendation Medal, one of the department’s highest awards. Hammond and another trooper risked their lives after a fiery tractor-trailer crash near Harrisburg, pulling a trapped occupant out of the truck just before it exploded.
The other women of the 31st Cadet Class are Regina Adams, Jill Bairhalter, Romaine Engle, Judith Galloway, Nancy Lightner, Judith McCarr, Ann Metcalf, Patricia Moe, Kathryn Neville, Mary Connie Rossetti, Doris Sott, and Barbara Wharrey.
State seeks to expand sales,
export markets for Pa. products
Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding this week called for proposals for projects designed to expand sales of Pennsylvania agricultural products.
The department will award up to $303,000 in matching funds to PA nonprofits to reimburse up to 50% of costs for promotional and educational projects intended to increase consumer awareness and sales or grow export markets.
“Pennsylvania food, fiber, and hardwood products are the finest in the world and nonprofit associations are key partners in telling that story,” Redding said. “These grants are ultimately a win-win-win for our agriculture businesses, the more than 593,000 Pennsylvanians whose jobs depend on them, and for our economy.”
Grants will be awarded to PA nonprofit agricultural promotion and marketing organizations.
Meuser supports legislation to
address youth mental health crisis
Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Dallas, recently voted in favor of legislation that improves focus on mental and behavioral health in the aftermath of lock-downs and school closures due to the pandemic.
The “Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well Being Act” — HR 7666 — contains many bipartisan bills and re authorizations of grants that address mental health problems, substance abuse disorders, and suicide prevention, especially among children and young adults who continue to struggle with stress and anxiety.
“We have a mental health crisis in America that was made even more evident by the lock downs that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Meuser stated. “This package makes concrete improvement to mental health and substance abuse programs currently offered to children and young adults.”
• Addresses the youth mental health crisis through the re-authorization of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances (System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Grants) and the Youth and Family TREE treatment and recovery services programs.
• Establishes a Behavioral Health Crisis Coordinating Office within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and requires the office to convene partners and provide technical assistance to enhance access to crisis care annually.
• Reauthorizes critical public health programs to address the nation’s mental health needs, prevent suicide, and support substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery support services, including:
• The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Suicide Prevention program to provide resources to states, tribes, and campuses to help prevent suicide, focusing on youth and young adults.
• The Maternal Mental Health Screening and Treatment grant program to enhance maternal mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
• The Pediatric Mental Health Care Access grant program to improve the integration of pediatric primary care providers with behavioral health providers via telehealth.
The spending in the bill is fully offset, and reduces the deficit by $200 million, through savings from a pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) transparency provision.
Benninghoff: State budget reflects
realities of today and tomorrow
Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre/Mifflin, this week said the 2022-23 state budget reflects the realities of today and tomorrow by saving for future economic uncertainty; returning taxpayer investment in the Commonwealth; and investing in Pennsylvania’s students, families and communities to create a better future.
“This budget avoids the irresponsible temptation to go on an unmitigated spending spree, but instead continues to reflect prudent budgeting practices that, with combined state appropriations and the expenditure of remaining American Rescue Plan dollars, continues to keep spending in line with growth,” Benninghoff said. “This budget also plans for our future by increasing our Rainy Day Fund to never-before-seen levels and preserves surplus dollars to mitigate against tax increases or budget cuts in the event a forecasted economic downturn and projected budget deficits become realities.”
Benninghoff said the state budget and related legislation also includes major policy advancements for Pennsylvanians like a historic reduction in taxes on job creators, tax fairness and simplification for small businesses, and funding for election integrity initiatives.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.