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Gov. Shapiro emphasizes education investments in budget proposal

WILKES-BARRE – Gov. Josh Shapiro and Secretary of Education Khalid Mumin this week highlighted how the governor’s 2024-2025 budget proposal will create opportunity for every child in Pennsylvania and give them the freedom to chart their own path.

The budget proposal includes significant investments to fully fund public schools, support teachers, and provide high-quality, affordable and accessible child care and early learning opportunities for families. It provides basic education across the Commonwealth by building on the dual work of the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC).

Gov. Shapiro has proposed:

• $1.1 billion in new funding for our K-12 education programs. Of this increase, nearly $900 million is proposed as a first-year adequacy investment, as recommended by the BEFC. The remaining $200 million will be distributed through the Basic Education Funding Formula.

• $300 million for repairs to environmental schools.

• A $50 million increase in special education funding.

• A $50 million investment in school safety and security improvements.

• $30 million in Pre-K programs to recruit and retain teachers.

• $15 million for student teacher stipends.

“Ensuring that all Pennsylvania children have the freedom to chart their own path and the opportunity to succeed is critical to the future of our Commonwealth – and since taking office, my administration has worked to create opportunities for every child by investing in our K-12 schools,” Shapiro said. “From achieving the largest increase in K-12 education funding in Pennsylvania history to securing universal free breakfast for 1.7 million K-12 students, we’re giving every student the resources he or she needs has to succeed.”

Shapiro said his budget proposal this year builds on the historic progress made and provides a comprehensive solution for Pennsylvania’s education, with a nearly $1.1 billion increase in K-12 education funding and increased investments in students, teachers and safe and healthy classrooms in Pennsylvania.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to do what is right for our children,” Shapiro said.

Secretary Mumin said giving students the resources they need while they are in school – whether it is new textbooks, expanded course offerings or a nutritious meal – helps them focus on learning today so they can have endless futures tomorrow. opportunities for success.

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Legislation for the future of higher education introduced

Senator Jay Costa and Representative Peter Schweyer this week introduced Governor Josh Shapiro’s plan for higher education as SB 1248 and HB 2398.

Building on the Blueprint for Higher Education proposed by the governor earlier this year, the plan reinvests in publicly funded colleges and universities, improves coordination among higher education institutions, makes college more affordable and closing the labor shortage by helping more Pennsylvanians earn a college degree. , will draw more people to Pennsylvania and keep them here and serve as an economic engine for our Commonwealth for generations to come, according to a news release.

“Pennsylvania has been underinvested in higher education for too long – leading to higher costs and barriers that actually keep students from pursuing higher education,” Shapiro said. “This higher education plan creates real opportunities for our students by reinvesting in higher education, lowering the cost of college, and encouraging colleges and universities to work together to meet the critical needs of America’s workforce our Commonwealth. It provides real freedom for Pennsylvanians to pursue an affordable, high-quality college education at any time in their lives – whether they want to build a skill, earn a degree or earn a degree.”

The plan also increases Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) state grants by $1,000 for students from middle-income families, increasing the maximum award from $5,750 to $6,750 beginning in FY 2025-26.

Rep. Meuser supports legislation to protect, reduce national security dependence on China

U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Dallas, this week co-sponsored H.R. 8631 – the Decoupling from Foreign Adversarial Battery Dependence Act.

The legislation would prohibit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from purchasing batteries from six companies owned and operated in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and would advance efforts to decouple the supply chain from the United States’ adversary States.

Meuser said the People’s Republic of China produces about 80% of the world’s batteries and almost 70% of the world’s lithium-ion batteries.

He said this legislation would ban DHS from purchasing batteries from six Chinese companies closely linked to the CCP, including Contemporary Amperex Technology Company, BYD Company, Envision Energy, EVE Energy Company, Hithium Energy Storage Technology Company and Gotion High- Tech Company.

Regarding security vulnerabilities, Meuser said that Contemporary Amperex Technology Company, for example, could install malware on electric vehicles, which could result in the collection of sensitive information about their owners, as well as shut down EV charging networks, battery energy storage systems or even switch targeted vehicles out via hardware infiltration.

Meuser said it is critical to work proactively to prevent these and other vulnerabilities. Last year, reports indicated that the PRC-focused Contemporary Amperex Technology Company was installing its batteries at facilities in Florida, Virginia, Nevada and California, as well as a solar farm on leased land at the US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Energy storage batteries produced by the company at Camp Lejeune have been retired, amid mounting pressure from Congress.

Pennsylvania is home to some of the nation’s largest battery manufacturers.

“As the use of battery power becomes more common in the United States, especially as the Biden administration pushes electric cars on the American people, we must ensure that we do not leave our citizens, their property, or our infrastructure vulnerable to manipulation by the Chinese . Communist Party,” Meuser said. “This legislation is essential to protecting our national security and is a step in the right direction to reduce our dependence on a foreign adversary. I urge my colleagues to support this important bill, which will help counter the growing malign influence of the CCP.”

H.R. 8631 was referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security, where it awaits further action.

Senator Baker: Judiciary in the Senate The committee proposes six bills

Senator Lisa Baker said this week that the Senate Judiciary Committee has introduced six bills that she says will help make Pennsylvania a safer place to live, ensure the protection of its residents and maintain the integrity of the legal and judicial systems of the state.

“Criminal law and the pursuit of justice are never completely settled topics,” said Baker, R-Lehman Township. “We continually find places where an emerging loophole is being exploited to create new victims. The same goes for technological advances such as artificial intelligence, where bad actors are finding ways to misuse them for purposes that harm lives. These bills are worthy examples of the dedication lawmakers show to solving real and troubling problems.”

• Senate Bill 186 and Senate Bill 187 – Replaces the term “child pornography” with “child sexual abuse material,” which more accurately reflects the true nature of the crime.

• Senate Bill 1213 – Bans AI-generated child sexual abuse material and other AI-generated sexually explicit images.

Legislation was also passed to help homeowners and landlords maintain control of their properties.

• Senate Bill 1236 – Amends the Landlord Tenant Act to codify the common law definition of “tenant” and clarify that persons who possess real property without the owner’s consent are not entitled to the rights and procedures set forth in the law .

The committee also voted to create a Directed Trust Act for Pennsylvania and to conduct a study on veterans’ experiences in the criminal justice system.

• Senate Bill 1231 – Updates the statutory definitions and rules regarding trusts and directed trusts, based on a recommendation from the 2021 report of the Joint State Government Commission Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Law.

• Senate Resolution 196 – Directs the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to conduct a study on the correlation between veterans who have experienced and have been involved in post-traumatic stress disorder, post-traumatic stress injury, military sexual trauma and traumatic brain injury. in the criminal justice system.

Bill O'Boyle
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Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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