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Hi folks,

Welcome back to my E-Blast Newsletter where I’ll keep you updated with what I’m doing in Harrisburg and back in the district. Look out for one of these to hit your inbox every month!

Police Training & Community Relations

After the tragic, officer-involved shooting death of Antwon Rose, Jr., our community spoke out about the changes that they want and need in order to prevent incidents of this kind in the future. From those conversations came several items that I believe can improve the training our officers receive, and repair their relationship with communities around the Commonwealth. I’ll be introducing legislation soon that will require local police departments to adopt a uniform policy on the use of force and deadly force; to create units to provide mental health counseling to officers and the community; and - most importantly - to improve municipal police officer training by including cultural awareness, recertification, and counseling for officers who may be suffering from PTSD.

I also support legislative efforts to move review and prosecution of incidents in which police officers use force and deadly force out of the jurisdiction of the local district attorney and into the hands of a special prosecutor. This is a change that will prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest in any investigation.

Another issue that has been the subject of conversation is the small police departments that are prevalent in my District and in other areas of the Commonwealth. The small, local police departments common in our area often employ officers who are overworked and underpaid. This can create high pressure situations that are potentially avoided by employing a more regional approach that could result in better service for our communities, better funding for public safety needs and better strategies for safer communities for all of us. We should talk about this issue and how we can help these departments and municipalities to adopt standards, procedures and policies set forth by training agencies that set best practices.

2018-19 State Budget

As you might have heard, the General Assembly passed the state budget eight days ahead of our June 30th deadline and it was signed by the Governor. I’m pleased to say that it included many of the priorities that my colleagues and I started pushing for in January. Some of the major new investments include:

In education:

  • $100 million increase in basic education (K-12 public schools)
  • $20 million increase in Pre-K Counts program, including $5 million to Head Start
  • $30 million increase in career and technical education as part of the PA SMART Initiative
  • $15 million increase in special education
  • $21.6 million increase in Early Intervention
  • Nearly $7 million increase to community colleges
  • $15 million to the state-owned universities of the PASSHE schools

In jobs and workforce training:

  • A new $7 million apprenticeship training program through PA SMART
  • $3 million increase to industry partnerships through PA SMART

In social and equality programs:

  • $1.3 million to the Human Relations Commission to provide the resources necessary to investigate claims
  • $1 million for It’s On Us grants to address campus sexual assault

In health care and addiction treatment:

  • Funding to get 100 persons off the emergency waiting list for intellectual disabilities (ID) and 800 high school graduates aging into the ID waiver program
  • Funding to move 40 adults off of the Autism Intervention and Services waiting list
  • Provides funding to expand home visitation programs for parents and young children
  • $2.5 million to fight Lyme disease

Coming Soon!

Through the rest of summer and into the fall, be on the lookout for invitations to some meetings my office has planned. We plan to host a community forum on water in Pittsburgh, a free shredding event, and some mobile office hours.

For more information on anything you read here, please check out my website, Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook/Twitter Facebook Twitter Instagram Stay Connected

If you haven’t visited my Facebook page, join the conversation by ‘liking’ the page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Plenty of information is available on these pages about community events and issues affecting our friends and neighbors.  If you have questions or concerns, send me a direct message or post you thoughts.

Offices to Serve You

  Forest Hills
1501 Ardmore Blvd. | Suite 403
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Phone: (412) 241-6690
Fax: (412) 731-2332
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
2306 Brownsville Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
Phone: (412) 884-8308
Fax: (412) 886-2080
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
314 E. Eighth Ave.
Homestead, PA 15120
Phone: (412) 462-4204
Fax: (412) 462-4543
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203043
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: (717) 787-7683
Fax: (717) 783-5976
8:30 am – 5:00 pm