In this Update:
Senate Accomplishments: Helping Crime Victims
As lawmakers, we work to implement legislation to help communities prevent crime. But when crime does occur, we need to make sure the laws stand behind victims.
Three bills recently signed into law will help protect crime victims from being targeted again, give them a greater say in criminal proceedings and help them recover restitution from offenders.
Act 50 of 2022 extends the Domestic and Sexual Violence Victim Address Confidentiality Act to give victims of child abduction and human trafficking access to substitute mailing addresses. This approach has been successful in preventing assailants from using such information to locate victims. The new law also allows requests for address confidentiality to be submitted electronically. Previously, requests had to be made in writing, impeding access and slowing the process.
Act 71 of 2022 requires that a victim of a violent crime be notified of any proceeding in which conditions for bail can be modified. This affords the victim the right to offer comment regarding a defendant’s bail conditions when they’re imposed or later modified.
Act 134 of 2022 makes it easier for crime victims to obtain relevant information learned by law enforcement during the investigation of the crime. Crime victims can then use that information in civil legal actions to recover damages for their injuries. The meager restitution obtained through criminal cases often does not fully compensate victims.
I look forward to continuing to work in the next legislative session to reduce crime and support those impacted by offenders.
Utilities Set to Adjust Seasonal Energy Supply Prices Dec. 1
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) reports that Pennsylvania electric and natural gas utilities will adjust their prices on Dec. 1 for customers who do not shop around for energy suppliers.
All regulated utility companies will adjust their “price to compare” (PTC) rates in the coming weeks, but Pennsylvania’s electricity marketplace gives consumers the option to select a different supplier to find the most competitive pricing.
The two major parts of monthly electric or natural gas bills are the delivery/distribution charge and the generation/supply charge. Consumers can shop for and contract with a competitive supplier or for consumers who do not shop, the utility provides energy supply at the PTC. The PTC averages 40% to 60% of the customer’s total utility bill and will be adjusted at the end of this month.
The PUC urges consumers currently struggling to pay monthly bills to act now and seek assistance by contacting their utilities. State assistance is also available. You can see what price increases utilities are reporting, and how to reduce energy costs, here.
Support Available for Nursing Apprenticeships
Local workforce development boards have until Nov. 30 to apply for state assistance to develop nursing apprenticeship programs in low- or moderate-income communities.
Distributed by the Department of Labor and Industry, Nursing Pathway Apprenticeship Industry Partnership grant funding will award local workforce development boards up to $260,000 to collaborate with community partners, organizations, sponsors and regional industry partnerships to register, maintain and manage nursing apprenticeship programs, as well as recruit and retain qualified health care professionals.
The initiative aims to prepare individuals for a range of nursing positions, including home health aides, certified nursing assistants, and licensed practical nurses.
Pre-Application Period Begins for Traffic Signal Improvement Grants
Green Light-Go is a competitive state grant program designed to improve the efficiency and operation of traffic signals in Pennsylvania communities, reducing congestion and increasing safety at intersections.
Prior to applying for this assistance, municipalities, counties and planning organizations must pre-apply by Dec. 23. Full applications must be submitted electronically through the DCED Single Application for Assistance between Jan. 3, 2023 and Jan. 31, 2023.
It is anticipated awards from this application round will be announced in summer 2023 and the projects must be completed by spring 2026.
National Guard Academy for At-Risk Youth Taking Applications
Applications are being accepted for youth to take part in the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy class beginning in January 2023. If selected, students will attend the 22-week residential phase at Fort Indiantown Gap in Annville, Lebanon County.
The academy provides a positive learning environment designed to guide at-risk teenagers in furthering their education and setting a path to a brighter future. Cadets will experience a structured and disciplined residential program built upon a military-based training model.
There is no tuition cost to attend. Meals, housing, uniforms and school supplies are provided at no charge. There is no military obligation requirement after completing the program. Find out more and apply here.
Help for Pennsylvanians Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease
There are an estimated 280,000 Pennsylvanians living with Alzheimer’s disease. This type of dementia is the seventh leading cause of death among all adults.
Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month is a reminder that while there is no cure for this disease, there is a wide range of support available for patients and families.