Senator Aument E-Newsletter

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Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 36th Senatorial District and look forward to working with you toward building a stronger Pennsylvania. This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout  Lancaster County and what I am doing as your State Senator in Harrisburg – I hope that you find it helpful! Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please DO NOT reply to this email; instead, please feel free to contact me here.


In this Update:

  • Should Taxpayers Know Government Advertising Costs?
  • Connecting with Constituents at Pizza & Policy Event
  • Students Come to Harrisburg for ‘Senator for a Day’
  • School Safety Grants Awarded
  • New Deadline for Interest-Free Student Loans for Lancaster County Residents
  • Free, Fresh Produce for Eligible Seniors
  • Training PA’s Workforce for Available Positions
  • Increasing the Number of Firefighters in Pennsylvania
  • Recognizing Great Work During Conservation District Week
  • Spring Gobbler Season Begins April 27
  • April is National Donate Life Month

Should Taxpayers Know Government Advertising Costs?

An archaic mandate in Pennsylvania law requires local government entities like school boards and municipal governments to advertise any upcoming public meeting in a newspaper of general circulation. Most taxpayers are unaware the mandate even exists, let alone that it costs them an average of $28 million annually. Unfortunately, there’s currently no easy way for the public to see the amount of taxpayer dollars being spent on these mandated advertisements.

Not to mention, newspaper circulations have dropped by more than 50% during the last 17 years.

I’m interested in knowing if you support legislation to increase transparency in this process. Submit your feedback using this brief two-question survey by Monday, April 29, at 9 a.m.

Connecting with Constituents at Pizza & Policy Event

Thank you to everyone who came out for my recent Pizza & Policy event in Lititz. We had more than 90 in attendance and covered topics from energy to education to election integrity to economic competitiveness.

For those who couldn’t make it, check my website for updates on future outreach events. The next one will be a Coffee & Conversation on Monday, May 20, from 9-10:30 a.m. at Columbia Market House, 15 S. Third St., Columbia.

Students Come to Harrisburg for ‘Senator for a Day’

High school students from across the 36th Senatorial District recently traveled to our state Capitol to participate in my annual Senator for a Day event, which is always one of my favorite events of the year. During the event, students were assigned to mock committees to debate policy ideas and work with legislative staff to advance their legislation to a general session.

Check out more photos from the 2024 Senator for a Day event on my Instagram page here and here.

School Safety Grants Awarded

More than $150 million in School Safety Grants have been approved this week for students across the commonwealth. Pennsylvania’s School Safety & Security Grant Program was originally established in 2018, providing for school entities to be safer places for students, staff, and visitors. Most recently through Act 33 of 2023, changes were made to strengthen and expand the program, which is overseen by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, School Safety and Security Committee.

Meritorious Grants ranging from $30,000 to $45,000 were awarded to each of the 497 applicants from all 67 counties that applied. The award amount is based on the school size. Funding can be used to address safety and security through security assessments, violence prevention, and all-hazards plans.

Mental Health Grants ranging from $70,000 to $100,000 were awarded to each of the 719 applicants from all 67 counties that applied. These applicants included school districts, area career and technical schools, intermediate units, charter schools, regional charter schools, and cyber charter schools. School districts received a base of $100,000 plus a formula amount depending on their school size. The intermediate unit, area career and technical school, charter school, regional charter school, or cyber charter school applicants each received $70,000. The funding can be used for school mental health services, training, and programs for students and staff.

Additionally, grants were approved through the Competitive School Safety and Security Grant Funding, and Targeted School Safety and Security Grant Programs. Learn more.

New Deadline for Interest-Free Student Loans for Lancaster County Residents

Because of the delay of the FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS), Lancaster Dollars for Higher Learning will accept applications until Friday, May 10, for interest-free student loans.

Learn more and apply here. After the FAFSA has been processed, you may upload the FSS and submit the application.

Lancaster Dollars was created in 1961 when a group of Lancastrians wanted to help motivated and qualified students who couldn’t afford to attend college realize their dream of earning a degree. They chose to offer interest-free loans instead of grants that don’t require repayment as a hand up instead of a handout.

Free, Fresh Produce for Eligible Seniors

Through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, eligible participants will receive $50 in vouchers to be used at approved farmers markets to purchase Pennsylvania-grown fruits and vegetables. Vouchers may be used until Nov. 30.

To be eligible, seniors must be age 60 by Dec. 31, 2024, live in Lancaster County, and have household income less than $27,861 for one person or less than $37,814 for two people. Seniors living in personal care or nursing homes are not eligible.

Vouchers will not be distributed in person at senior centers as was done in the past. Seniors must mail completed applications to Lancaster County Office of Aging where they will be processed by staff and returned by mail beginning June 1. After that, please allow two weeks for staff to process applications before calling the agency.

Download the application here and print at home or call my office at 717-627-0036 for assistance.

Training PA’s Workforce for Available Positions

Complementing Senate Republicans’ efforts to protect Pennsylvania jobs, support is available for community colleges, trade or tech schools, school districts, and nonprofits through the Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Grant Program.

The program is designed to help companies identify and train a skilled workforce for existing positions or ones that will be open soon. It is also designed to advance capacity for local and regional manufacturers and increase awareness of manufacturing career opportunities for youth or those with barriers.

Grants may be used for professional services/consultants, internships, equipment purchases, shop modifications, program development, marketing, domestic travel, and salaries. Learn more and apply online.

Increasing the Number of Firefighters in Pennsylvania

The Senate approved a bill aimed at increasing the number of volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania by reforming the certification process without sacrificing quality or safety.

Current firefighter applicants must complete four training modules totaling 188 hours. They then must pass a cumulative test covering all four modules. I voted in favor of passing Senate Bill 1101, which would enable applicants to be tested following each of the four modules.

In the 1970s, the commonwealth had as many as 300,000 volunteer firefighters. There currently are fewer than 38,000 volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania, so efforts to bolster our firefighting forces are necessary.

Recognizing Great Work During Conservation District Week

As we celebrate Conservation District Week from April 28 to May 4, I would like to recognize the impressive work of the Lancaster County Conservation District. For more than 70 years, the district has worked to raise awareness of the relationship between human activities and our natural environment. It focuses attention on the wise use of land, water and related natural resources.

Most notably, our conservation district brought more than $13.3 million in grants to the county in 2023 to protect our natural resources and educate others about the importance of such actions.

Learn more about specific accomplishments of the district in 2023 here.

Spring Gobbler Season Begins April 27

On Saturday, April 27, spring gobbler season opens with a half-day hunt for junior hunters and mentored hunters 16 and under. All participants must be accompanied by adults, and hunting hours run from 30 minutes before sunrise until noon.

The regular season runs from May 4-31. Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon from May 4-18 and 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset from May 20-31.

Approximately 172,000 people hunt spring turkeys in Pennsylvania every year. Last season, hunters harvested about 39,500 gobblers – an increase from 35,700 in 2022 and 28,100 in 2021. Information about spring turkey hunting rules and regulations, for youth and regular hunts, is available here.

April is National Donate Life Month

Making a difference in the lives of others might be easier than you think. With nearly 7,000 Pennsylvanians awaiting organ transplants, donors can save up to eight lives. People donating tissue can enhance the lives of 75 others by helping them recover from trauma, spinal injuries, burns, and vision loss.

If you aren’t an organ or tissue donor yet but would like to be, there’s no need to wait until you get or renew your driver’s license, learner’s permit, or photo ID. It’s easy to register online to donate.

Misconceptions about organ and tissue donation can discourage people from taking the important step to save lives. Find myths and facts here.


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