In this Update:
5G Reforms, Authored by Sen. Browne, Signed into Law
Last week, Governor Wolf signed into law legislation that puts Pennsylvania on the forefront in building the latest 5G infrastructure. I was proud to work with Rep. Marshall to author this measure.
This Act creates a uniform, efficient and predictable regulatory environment for small wireless facilities to streamline and accelerate the deployment of 5G, the next generation of high-speed wireless broadband, throughout the Commonwealth.
Small wireless facilities play a critical role in increasing speeds on overloaded networks and are crucial to the evolution to 5G capability. They improve in-building coverage and help meet growing demands for more capacity on networks.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of deploying small wireless facilities, especially in more densely populated areas. Massive migrations from office buildings to home offices challenged the current networks and highlighted the need to ensure reliable and available connectivity for people across the Commonwealth and expand internet connectivity.
Browne’s Criminal Justice Reform Bill Signed by Governor
Pennsylvania took another important step in reforming state government and the criminal justice system last week. The Governor signed Senate Bill 411 into law, which finalizes the merger of The Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole, creating a more efficient and effective criminal justice system while saving taxpayers’ dollars. I am proud to have authored this bill.
The Commonwealth is projected to save a total of $29.6 million through 2023 when this Act is fully implemented by eliminating redundant procedures and sharing of resources and personnel.
South Whitehall Township Police’s Youth Academy Graduation
41 students recently graduated from South Whitehall Township Police Department’s Youth Academy! This comprehensive program gave students an opportunity to see what it’s like to be a police officer, learn valuable lessons and gain a better understanding of what it means to be a good citizen.
Thank you to the Township and the Officers involved for putting together such an incredible program for the local students. My Chief of Staff, Ellen Kern, was on hand at the graduation to give each kid a Senate Certificate, commemorating and congratulating them on their achievement.
Parents have until July 15 to Choose Additional Year of Education for their Child Following Pandemic Disruptions
Parents have until July 15 to take advantage of a new state law empowering them to decide whether their children should advance to the next grade level or be held back a year due to learning disruptions created during COVID-19.
Parents who wish to pursue the additional optional year of education for their children must complete and return a standardized form to their school district by the July 15 deadline. This allows school districts enough time to plan for changes in class sizes for the upcoming school year.
The additional optional year of education was provided by the newly enacted Act 66 of 2021. The option would only apply to the 2021-22 school year to help manage learning loss caused by the pandemic.
Bills of Note Passed by the Senate in 2021
Legislation giving citizens a voice in disaster response and protecting the vulnerable during the pandemic received the most attention this year, but the Senate tackled many more issues in the first six months of the two-year legislative session.
From strengthening schools, to reducing regulatory burdens, improving health care and more, here’s a roundup of notable bills passed by the Senate in 2021.
Bipartisan Task Force Recommends Steps to Improve Juvenile Justice System
The bipartisan Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice Task Force recently released a comprehensive final report with policy recommendations that protect public safety, increase accountability, achieve savings for reinvestment, and improve outcomes for youth, families and communities.
The 30-member task force assessed the state juvenile justice system and reviewed data from court and state agencies and examined how practices can better align with what research says works to improve outcomes for youth and families. The task force received input from more than 500 stakeholders.
If adopted, the policy recommendations are expected to safely reduce the population of young people in out-of-home facilities by 39% by 2026, freeing up nearly $81 million for reinvestment.
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