In This Issue
From my family to yours, here is wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday full of quality time with family, great food and, of course, football.
Upper Macungie Celebrates Local Heroes
Upper Macungie Township honored First Responders from Berks, Lehigh and Montgomery counties who took part in the successful Heather Glen Senior Living Home rescue operation in the early morning hours of Sunday, September 22nd.
Because of the heroic and highly coordinated efforts of numerous local police departments, ambulance companies, the Pennsylvania State Police and volunteer fire companies – 82 seniors were rescued along with five facility staff members with no loss of life.
My office recognized the 46 emergency response organizations involved and the 28 individual First Responders who received Medals of Valor from Upper Macungie Township with Senate of Pennsylvania Certificates of Achievement.
Without these men and women, the fire at Heather Glen could have resulted in tragedy. They remind us how much our communities depend on their courage, dedication and skill. On behalf of the people of the 16th Senate District – thank you!
Transportation Funding Secured for Alburtis, Macungie and Upper Saucon Township
Proud to announce that multiple transportation projects within the 16th Senatorial District will receive funding through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s multimodal grant program. The projects include:
I worked with Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (Alburtis and Macungie) and Rep. Justin Simmons (Upper Saucon) to secure these grants . We’re pleased that these municipalities will have additional resources to improve the transportation systems that our residents use every day.
The Browne Report Visits the Lehigh Valley International Airport
On the latest edition of the Browne Report TV Show, I take viewers on a behind the scenes tour of the Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA), with Executive Director Tom Stoudt! The first part of a two-part series, we explore the inner-workings of LVIA and the 24/7 effort of a modern airport to ensure that travelers have safe and positive experiences.
Senator Browne Hosts “Senator for a Day” Program
Last Friday, I hosted my 12th annual Senator for a Day program at Muhlenberg College with local high school students.
Senator for a Day gives young leaders the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a decision maker in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Students are given first hand experiences in government by participating in a mock law making process. After hearing from several speakers, the student senators break into assigned committees, where they debate, amend, and vote on real bills and issues before the state legislature. Bills that make it out of committee are then considered by all of the students during a mock senate general session.
This year, after much creative and passionate debate, the students amended and passed six of the proposed eight bills, including:
Over 130 students participated in this year’s program from the following high schools:
Allentown Central Catholic High School, Building 21 Allentown, Dieruff High School, Emmaus High School, Executive Education Academy Charter School, Lincoln Leadership Academy, Northwestern Lehigh High School, Parkland High School, Roberto Clemente Charter School, Southern Lehigh High School and William Allen High School.
A special thank you to Muhlenberg College for again hosting this event. We’re already looking forward to next year.
More pictures of the event can be found on MY WEBSITE:
Senate Approves Bill to Make Online Training Available to Firefighters
The Senate gave final approval Monday on a measure to make firefighter training more accessible and affordable through online courses.
Senate Bill 146 ensures that online training would be voluntary and free to both career and volunteer firefighters. All available courses would be listed online and developed under the leadership of the state Fire Commissioner.
Training requirements are often cited as a barrier to recruitment and retention, particularly for volunteers, because they can be costly and time-consuming, often demanding travel and time away from work and family. Senate Bill 146 was sent to the governor to be signed into law.
Legislation Cracking Down on Human Trafficking Approved by Senate
The Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that will combat human trafficking by enacting stronger penalties against all individuals who support the exploitation of victims.
Senate Bill 60 would increase penalties against any individual who patronizes a victim of human trafficking, including any individual who recruits, solicits, advertises, transports, or profits off a human trafficking victim. Tougher penalties are also levied for offenses committed against minors.
Human trafficking includes the abhorrent crime of “sex slavery.” The average age a child is forced into sex slavery is 12-years old.
Under the bill, the most serious offenders who directly participate in the trafficking of minors for prostitution and related crimes could face imprisonment of 40-years or more. Fines and penalties of up to $50,000 would be deposited into a special fund to prevent human trafficking and support sexually-exploited children. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senator Browne Tours Via of the Lehigh Valley
Recently, I had the opportunity to tour Via of the Lehigh Valley’s group employment site at Cigars International.
Via of the Lehigh Valley is a non-profit agency that provides services for children and adults with disabilities in Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Bucks and Berks counties.
Via helps adults find and sustain employment within multiple industries and service sectors. Early Intervention therapists offer physical, occupational and speech therapy to children to advance competencies and reach developmental milestones. Programs for young adults focus on networking with peers and gaining vocational skills in preparation for life after graduation. Their staff help individuals of all ages gain life skills, develop friendships, and learn how to take advantage of all the community has to offer. In addition to providing a variety of high-quality programs, Via also advocates for inclusion and equal access to community activities.
Each year, Via provides employment to more than 1,200 children, teens and adults with disabilities in the Lehigh Valley.
For more information on Via, visit their website: https://www.vianet.org/
State Heating Assistance is Now Available
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is now accepting applications for this season’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The program helps low income families pay their heating bills. You can apply and check the status of your application on the state’s COMPASS website (www.compass.state.pa.us). You can also pick up and drop off applications in my district offices.
Funding for LIHEAP is provided by the federal government and eligibility is based on the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. The income limits for this season’s program are as follows:
After your application is received, you will receive written notification explaining your eligibility and the amount of assistance you will receive. Payments are generally sent directly to a utility company or fuel provider and will be credited to your heating account.
Crisis grants may also be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your heat. For more information, please contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095 or contact any of my district offices.
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