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School Safety Takes Center Stage in General Assembly
Going into this year’s state budget negotiations, one of my highest priorities was providing new resources to help protect students against the threat of violence. I am extremely pleased that my colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives heeded my call for new funding for school safety and approved more than $50 million in new money to help keep students safe.
As part of the state budget – which was balanced without the need for a tax increase – lawmakers created a new program that will fund grants for school districts to hire security staff and counselors, train existing staff, purchase security equipment, create violence prevention programs and take other steps to safeguard schools. The program will provide flexibility, allowing school districts to determine the best ways to protect students based on their own unique needs and circumstances.
Guidelines for the new grant program are being developed by a special panel of education and safety experts, and the funding is expected to be available sometime during the second half of the 2018-19 school year. I am hopeful that all of our local school districts will apply for funding to help reduce the risk of violence against students and school personnel in the years to come.
Lyme Disease Continues to Plague Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of reported cases of Lyme disease. The summer and early fall seasons bring some of the greatest risks for this tick-borne illness, which can cause long-term damage to the heart and central nervous system if left untreated.
This year’s budget included additional funding to help combat the spread of this potentially devastating disease. The new funding will help implement recommendations of the Lyme Disease Task Force, including better surveillance and education programs.
There are a number of steps that every Pennsylvanian can take to minimize the dangers posed by this illness. Two keys to reducing Lyme disease risk are early detection and prevention. Protective clothing and the use of tick repellents are encouraged, as well as inspecting your body for ticks following any outdoor activity.
More information about Lyme disease risks, symptoms and prevention measures is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov.
Libre’s Law – One Year Later
This week marks the one-year anniversary of Libre’s Law going into effect in Pennsylvania. The comprehensive animal abuse law ensures animal abusers face tougher penalties, including felony offenses for the worst perpetrators.
Earlier this summer, I joined representatives of the Humane Society of the United States and Adams County SPCA in Gettysburg to celebrate the anniversary of the bill being signed into law. The event also helped generate donations to support local animal rescues.
Student Government Seminar Scheduled for November
Student government seminars offer a great opportunity for young people to learn more about the legislative process and get more involved in state government. I recently scheduled my eighth annual “Senator For A Day” program for junior and senior high school students in the 33rd Senatorial District to be held later this fall.
The event will be held at the Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg on November 15 from 8:15 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. It is open to students at any school in the 33rd District, including private and charter schools and students who are homeschooled. Students can register through their school district. More details on the event will be available on my website at www.senatoralloway.com.
The educational seminar allows students to debate mock bills that mirror many proposals that have been introduced in the General Assembly. Students can discuss bills and amendments in committees before casting a final vote on the bills as a group. I look forward to meeting our local students and discussing their views on some of the most important issues facing our communities and our Commonwealth.
One in 10 Pennsylvanians Has Unclaimed Property
Each year, the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury receives millions of dollars in unclaimed property, including forgotten stocks, uncashed checks and old insurance policies. Currently, the Pennsylvania Treasury is working to return more than $1.5 billion in unclaimed property to its rightful owners. It is estimated that approximately one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property.
The Department of Treasury has set up a database of all unclaimed property to help return this property free of charge. I encourage community residents to search the Treasury’s Unclaimed Property database at www.patreasury.org or contact the Unclaimed Property call center at 1-800-222-2046.