The latest news from the State Capitol
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Fun at Local Fall Festivals
Over the weekend, I set up a legislative table at Upper Allen Fall Fest! It was a great time catching up with constituents and providing state resources to the community. There was great turnout and lots of activities for all ages!
Following, Camden and I set up at Silver Spring’s Fall Fest. It was a great weekend of fun, games, good food and music to usher in the new season. Thanks to all who stopped by to chat and check out our tables!
Welcoming Mechanicsburg Student to Harrisburg this Week
On Monday, I hosted Olivia Rengen at the Capitol. Olivia is a senior at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School and a resident of Upper Allen Township. It was great to show her around our historic Capitol complex and to tell her about my role as a state representative!
Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Events
First Responders Dinner
Town Hall Meeting
To RSVP to the dinner or breakfast, please call 717-975-2235 or visit www.RepKutz.com/Events. RSVPs are not required for the town hall meeting.
House Rejects Midnight Amendment to Change Election Law
Late Wednesday evening, just before midnight, the Democrat-led House Appropriations Committee adopted a never-before-seen amendment to an Election Code bill.
Rather than make the proposals available to the public for review, members of the committee received the amendment just minutes prior to the vote. Additionally, the meeting was held after 11 p.m., despite the rules of the House, which prohibit session from being held prior to 8 a.m. or after 11 p.m.
Elections must be free, fair, safe and secure; and election reforms are necessary to safeguard the democratic process. However, changes to our election code deserve thoughtful vetting, public input and discussion, not to be rushed through at midnight the day before consideration by the full House. We must be more intentional when making decisions like those laid out in Senate Bill 224. For these reasons, I voted against the bill which failed in the House on Thursday.
To listen to my comments on the floor of the House, please click here.
Bill to Hold State-Related Universities Accountable for Use of Tax Dollars Advances
Continuing our efforts to boost transparency and accountability in the use of taxpayer dollars, the House State Government Committee this week unanimously approved legislation that would make the Commonwealth’s four state-related universities subject to the state’s Right-to-Know Law.
Currently, universities within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, community colleges and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency fall under the Right-to-Know Law. The state-related universities – University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln – are exempt from certain provisions of the law, even though they receive annual appropriations from the state. Last year’s funding for the four institutions exceeded $600 million.
While university leaders have claimed state funding is necessary to keep down the cost of in-state tuition, the heads of Pitt, Penn State and Temple testified during state budget hearings earlier this year that tuition rates would go up, regardless of how much money they get from the state. Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent by these institutions.
House Bill 1556 is awaiting consideration by the full House.
Tuition, Loan Assistance Available for Volunteer First Responders
Working to help our communities recruit and retain vital first responders, the General Assembly last year established the Active Volunteer Tuition and Loan Assistance Program.
Now accepting applications, the program is available to volunteers who reside in the Commonwealth and have been active volunteers in good standing for at least one year prior to applying. Applicants must also meet participation requirements and commit to serving as an active volunteer for at least five years after completing their education. The program provides up to $1,000 per academic year for full-time students and $500 for part-time students.
For additional details or to apply for the program, click here.
Grants Aim to Combat Drug, Alcohol Abuse
The Office of Attorney General is inviting local governments, nonprofit organizations, and community or parent groups to apply for funding through its Community Drug Abuse Prevention Grant Program.
Projects should involve neighborhood-based events that provide education, prevention and/or intervention related to drug and alcohol abuse, including the violence and other consequences these substances can cause. For more information or to apply for a grant, click here.
PennDOT Seeks Feedback on Construction, Maintenance Services
PennDOT is hosting an online survey to gather feedback on its construction and maintenance services.
The 24-question survey asks respondents how they receive PennDOT roadway information and how often PennDOT meets or exceeds expectations in construction and maintenance activities. Respondents are also asked about their experiences with reporting concerns to the department, and whether or how they use the state's 511PA traveler information services.
The survey is available through Oct. 20. Click here to begin.
Farmers: Apply Now to Receive Free Legal Services
The Penn State Law Rural Economic Development Clinic is now accepting applications for its fall 2023 semester and is looking to assist farmers and agricultural businesses that are engaged in agritourism operations or the direct sale of agricultural products.
To take advantage of this opportunity, interested individuals and organizations should send an email to Ross Pifer at email@example.com, providing a detailed explanation of the specific legal services desired along with appropriate background information. Priority will be given to those applications received by Oct. 10. The clinic may not be able to provide services to all who request them but will do its best to serve the greatest number of clients possible.
The clinic provides law students with practical legal experience in the food and agricultural sectors. Working under the close supervision of law faculty and staff attorneys who are licensed Pennsylvania attorneys, student attorneys can assist farmers and agricultural businesses in a variety of legal matters.