Senator Santarsiero, Representative Davis Announce $255,000 for Bristol Township Watershed Restoration

BUCKS COUNTY  September 23, 2022 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and State Representative Tina Davis (D-141) announced today that Bristol Township will receive $255,000 in state funding for a watershed restoration project.

The project will improve the existing swales along Mill Creek near Plumbridge Drive in the township, helping to combat erosion of the existing swales and prevent the flow of sediment into the creek.

“Vegetated bioswales are an environmentally-friendly way to manage stormwater runoff and protect water quality in our local creeks,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “Solutions like what Bristol Township is implementing here will preserve our natural resources while strengthening our infrastructure to combat increasingly severe weather.”

Bristol Township Manager Randee Elton described the project, noting, “With this funding, the Township has the opportunity to implement stormwater projects in an effort to reduce sediment in our waterways.  The focus area is along the wooded section of Mill Creek adjacent to the Plumbridge Drive. The existing swales exhibit signs of severe erosion occurring and lacks vegetation which allows sediment to flow directly into Mill Creek. The proposed installation of vegetated swales will improve Mill Creek to protect water quality, promote groundwater recharge, and provide a reduction of pollutants to the waterways.”

“This state grant award will help implement the Plumbridge BMP Vegetated Bioswales project in Bristol Township whose goal is to reduce runoff and ensure that it is cleaner and better for the environment,” Davis said. “As we are affected by increasingly violent storms due to climate change, we must be innovative and resourceful in our approaches to mitigating their impact on our communities.  This money will help us implement one such innovation in Bristol Township’s infrastructure.”

Council President Craig Bowen said, “The Township of Bristol is committed to preserving its natural resources and with the acceptance of this grant funding we are one step closer to that goal.”

For more information on the Watershed Restoration and Protection Program, visit the DCED website.

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Senator Santarsiero Announces $250,000 for Tot Lot at Broad Commons Park in Doylestown Borough

BUCKS COUNTYSeptember 13, 2022 – Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today that Doylestown Borough was awarded a grant for $250,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for the further development of Broad Commons Park.

The expansion of Broad Commons Park is the second phase of the Borough’s project to develop the park, providing a playground for children ages 5-12, including custom and inclusive play structures.  The project will also include required safety surfacing, fencing, ADA access and landscaping.

“The Broad Commons Park development project has been transformative for Doylestown Borough, remediating the former PennDOT maintenance site and turning it into a green space for our entire community to enjoy,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “The addition of the Tot Lot will make the park a great option for families, provide increased recreational opportunities for area youth, and highlight the legacy of Henry Mercer and the rich history of our region with tilework and artistic design.”

The state grant is through DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnership Program.  Funds from this program had already been awarded for 2022, but an additional grant round was added with funds from this year’s 2022-2023 budget.

Sen. Santarsiero applauded the availability of additional funds saying, “This year’s budget saw historic investments in the outdoors and our park system.  Thank you, Governor Wolf for your continued commitment to conservation and outdoor recreation projects like the Broad Commons Park project.”

In 2019, Senator Santarsiero secured $1.5 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funds to acquire and redevelop the existing PennDOT maintenance facility on the corner of North Broad and Doyle streets to build a new Doylestown Borough Hall, the Central Bucks Regional Police Department and Broad Commons Park.

The second phase of the park project will cost $584,667, with the additional funding provided through a local match.

For more information on the Community Conservation Partnership Program, visit the DCNR website.

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Senator Santarsiero Announces $50 Million for Investigation and Prosecution of Gun Crimes

BUCKS COUNTYAugust 25, 2022 – Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) was joined by state and local officials, prosecutors, and gun violence prevention advocates in Doylestown to announce $50 million in state grant funds for a new program to help law enforcement and District Attorneys investigate and prosecute gun crimes.

The Gun Violence Investigation and Prosecution Grant Program was funded in this year’s budget using American Rescue Plan Funds, thanks to a push by Senator Santarsiero and other Democratic lawmakers and will be administered through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.  Joining Senator Santarsiero at the press conference at the Bucks County Justice Center were the Senate Appropriations Democratic Chair Vince Hughes (D-7), Senator Jimmy Dillon (D-5), Deputy District Attorney for Bucks County David Keightly, Jr., Chair of the Bucks County Commissioners Bob Harvie and Bucks County volunteer leader with CeaseFire PA Aileen Bochanski.

“Keeping our communities safe, in Bucks County and across the Commonwealth, requires supporting our local law enforcement and prosecutors with the resources to do their jobs,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “As we continue to fight the gun violence epidemic we must focus on prosecuting gun crimes, investigating and preventing straw purchases and implementing reasonable gun safety measures to protect children, families and our law enforcement community.”

Grants will be awarded to district attorneys and law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute violations of the firearms act and crimes of violence.  Grant funds may be used to:

  • Improve and enhance coordination between Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies,  
  • To support personnel costs;
  • To purchase technology systems, initiatives that support the tracing of firearms used to commit crimes; and,
  • Any other efforts that aid in the investigation, arrest and prosecution of crimes.

“Finding the solution to the gun violence crisis plaguing our communities is a complex and arduous task; however, it is one we are not giving up on. This historic, new $50 million investment will give district attorneys additional new resources to better investigate gun crimes and to prosecute those making our communities less safe. This is just one of three measures my colleagues and I, with the full support of Governor Tom Wolf, were able to get included in the ’22-’23 state budget to improve public safety and combat gun violence, and we look forward to seeing the impact all three will have on making our commonwealth an even better place to live.” Ten percent of available grant funds will be reserved under the program for county district attorney’s offices and law enforcement agencies serving rural communities.  The remaining funds are available on a schedule based on municipal size and population, which can be found here.

David Keightly, Jr. spoke of the need for additional staff to investigate and build strong cases, saying “We don’t want to be satisfied with working backwards.  We want to be able to work forwards, using this money to figure out purchase trends, suspicious trends among people who keep buying firearms and their guns keep winding up on the street.  We want to be able to tackle that before these guns hit the streets.  A lot of what we need right now is technology and manpower, and that is exactly what this grant money will be used for if we were to receive it.”

Support for the program was echoed by community advocates, including representatives from CeaseFire PA.  “For too long, our communities have faced gun violence without the resources necessary to intervene and prevent it before a life is lost,” said Adam Garber, Executive Director of CeaseFire PA.  “Now, thanks to leaders like Sen. Santarsiero and Senator Hughes, we’re now investing in a safer community.”

The full press conference can be viewed here.

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Senator Santarsiero Secures Grants for Snipes Farms Programs Benefitting Seniors & Youth

BUCKS COUNTY August 1, 2022 − Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) recently secured two state grants to support Snipes Farm & Education Center’s mission to share produce with seniors in the community and provide education to low-income children through its summer camp program.

Senator Santarsiero Secures Grants for Snipes Farms ProgramsA $100,000 grant was used to purchase a refrigerated food delivery vehicle and an electric UTV.  The refrigerated food delivery vehicle is being used to deliver fresh produce, grown on the farm, to senior centers and partners across Bucks County. The electric UTV allows staff to get around the farm and is helping Snipes meet its commitment to sustainable energy.

The second grant of $33,419 was used by Snipes Camp to provide educational programming for 21 children living in the Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter this summer.

“Snipes Farm and the Snipes family have a long and admirable history in Bucks County of giving back to the community and helping those in need,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “I was happy to support these grants for the vehicles and summer camp, both of which help them share the bounty of the farm with more community members.”

“Healthy food should be for everyone, no matter their income level,” said Jonathan Snipes, Executive Director. “And providing enriching, science-based programs in nature for the most vulnerable kids is one of the best things we do at Snipes Farm! This grant support helps our mission come true! We are thrilled!” 

Snipes Farm & Education Center is a 501(c)(3) educational organization located in Morrisville, Pennsylvania.  The Snipes family are 11th generation Bucks County farmers, dating back to 1688, and have operated the present Snipes Farm since 1808.  More information on Snipes Farm & Education Center can be found at www.snipesfarm.org.

Senator Santarsiero Announces $1.2 Million for Traffic Improvements in 10th District 

BUCKS COUNTY July 15, 2022 − Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today the award of $1,248,462 in state funds for five projects in the district as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Green Light-Go grant program.

Four municipalities were awarded grants to complete five projects:

  • Doylestown Township – $469,492 for fiber interconnection of traffic signals at seven intersections along Swamp Road (Route 313);
  • Doylestown Township – $100,000 for safety upgrades including flashing yellow arrow and advance dilemma-zone detection along Route 611 from Edison Furlong Road to Kelly Road;
  • Dublin Borough – $129,360 for upgrades to traffic signals at three intersections along Main Street (Route 313);
  • Falls Township – $244,290 for upgrades to the traffic signal at Trenton Road and North Olds Boulevard; and
  • Lower Makefield Township – $305,320 for upgrades to the traffic signal at Pine Grove Road and Big Oak Road.

“These upgrades will help relieve congestion and improve the flow of traffic on some of our busiest roadways, benefitting residents and travelers,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “Traffic signal upgrades like these projects increase accessibility to our local businesses and ensure safety on our roadways.”

Green Light-Go grants are provided as reimbursement to municipalities for updates to improve the efficiency and operation of existing traffic signals. Grant funding through the Green Light-Go program may be utilized for a range of operational improvements including, but not limited to light-emitting diode (LED) technology installation, traffic signal retiming, developing special event plans and monitoring traffic signals, as well as upgrading traffic signals to the latest technologies.  For more information visit the PennDOT website.

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Senator Santarsiero Reacts to Supreme Court Decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency

BUCKS COUNTY − June 30, 2022 − The following statement is attributable to Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10), in response to the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The Supreme Court’s decision today in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency represents another major departure from established legal precedent and ignores the clear will of Congress in passing the Clean Air Act, which gave discretion to the EPA and its environmental experts to implement reasonable measures to protect our environment.

This politically motivated Supreme Court majority is again out of step with the majority of Pennsylvanians and Americans. We cannot further delay reasonable and scientifically valid regulations to address the imminent and present dangers climate change poses to our economy, our environment, our national security and indeed our way of life.

Here in Pennsylvania, the environmental amendment in our state Constitution is clear: ‘The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come.’

I will continue to work with my colleagues in the General Assembly to ensure those rights are protected and that we do all we can to combat the devastating effects of climate change we feel every day.”

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Senator Santarsiero Introduces Legislation to Require Safety and Violence Education for Students

BUCKS COUNTY − June 29, 2022 − Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today that he has introduced legislation to support student mental health in our public schools.  Senate Bill 1263, the Safety and Violence Education (SAVE) Students Act would require schools to implement at least one hour, or a standard class period, per year of suicide prevention training, violence prevention training, and social inclusion training to students in grades six through twelve.

“As a society, we have an obligation to support our children and keep them safe,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “Experts say childhood depression and anxiety were on the rise for years, but the pandemic’s unrelenting stress and grief exacerbated the problems.  These early-prevention measures empower everyone to keep our schools and communities safe, and effectively teach youth and adults how to prevent school violence, shootings, and other harmful acts.”

In the training, school personnel will also learn how to identify the signs and signals of depression, suicide and self-injury in students, and when and how to refer youth and their families to appropriate mental health services for assessment within the school entity and the community. 

The legislation has support from the Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) in Bucks County, which offers programs like the ones in the legislation to area schools. 

“NOVA supports SB 1263,” said NOVA Executive Director Penny Ettinger. “As the comprehensive victim service organization in Bucks County, the core of our mission is violence prevention. For over 30 years, NOVA has provided school-based programs that not only give students and school personnel the tools to recognize signs of a young person suffering but also deliver an age-appropriate interactive learning experience that advances and creates a culture of empathy, kindness, inclusion, and positive relationship building. The demand for these programs and our suicide prevention training has significantly increased over the past year.”

The effort to mandate this training has been advocated for by Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit group based in Newtown, Connecticut, and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Experience tells us that when students are taught how to contribute to the emergence of an inclusive school environment and how to recognize the signs and signals of someone who may be at risk of harming themselves or others, they do the right thing; they speak up. SB 1263 will ensure all students have access to high-quality violence-prevention training and the opportunity to help others by being Upstanders instead of bystanders,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund.

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Senator Santarsiero Reacts to Supreme Court Decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

BUCKS COUNTY − June 24, 2022 − The following statement is attributable to Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10), in response to the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“Today, and every day, I stand in support of a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions and that includes access to a safe and legal abortion.  

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has thrown out a fundamental constitutional protection for millions of Americans — one that has existed for nearly 50 years.  This is unacceptable.  

The Court’s opinion today to overturn Roe v. Wade is not in line with the majority of Americans who share the view that women should have a right to pregnancy decisions.   

By removing a national framework for women’s access to abortion, every state is left to determine the right to reproductive freedom. While abortion remains legal in Pennsylvania today, Republicans in our legislature will make every effort to overturn women’s reproductive rights here in the Commonwealth.  We have come too far to turn back the clock now.  I will continue to fight to protect women’s healthcare and defend access to abortion in the Commonwealth.”  

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Senate Democrats Support Pres. Biden’s Call for State Gas Tax Holiday

Harrisburg, PA – June 22, 2022 – Today, Pennsylvania Senate Democrats held a press conference shortly after President Joe Biden made a call to federal and state law makers to pause gas taxes.  

“Our stance is simple; we are calling on state Republicans to join us in supporting a suspension to the state gas tax. We know there is concern about a loss of revenue while the pause is in place, but Pennsylvania has billions in surplus funds that can be used to maintain roads and bridges during the gas tax holiday,” said Senator Jay Costa, Senate Democratic Leader. “This is about putting people over corporate profit. We need to implement a gas tax holiday, use Pennsylvania’s budget surplus to ensure our roads and bridges still receive the funding they need, and hold the oil and gas industry accountable to pass the savings to consumers.”

Several Democratic Senators joined Sen. Costa, including Sen. Hughes, Sen. Boscola, Sen. Cappelletti, Sen. Flynn, Sen. Haywood, Sen. Santarsiero, Sen. Schwank, and Sen. Street. All expressing their support for President’s call to states to pause the gas tax and make sure those savings were felt by consumers and not absorbed by the oil and gas industry.

“We have the money to support a gas tax holiday. We can give hardworking families some relief at the gas pump and still make sure our roads and bridges receive funding,” said Senator Vincent Hughes. “And when we do this tax reduction, the oil and gas industry need to leave those savings for consumers. We’re stepping up. We’re responding to the President’s call. It’s time for state Republicans and the oil and gas industry to step up too.”

Senator Lisa Boscola and Senator Marty Flynn recently introduced bills that would temporarily pause the gas tax in Pennsylvania. A statewide gas tax holiday could amount to an average of thirty cents a gallon in savings to consumers.

“I applaud President Biden’s call for a gas tax holiday,” said Sen. Marty Flynn. “Right now, Pennsylvania families are paying triple the price for gas compared to what they paid last year. This is one of the most pressing issues for families, and we have money in the bank to help them. I’m done naming bridges, it’s time we do something for the people.”

“Gas tax relief is something we can do immediately in this inflation storm,” said Senator Lisa Boscola. “The billions in surplus we have is taxpayer money, and taxpayers deserve some of this money back. Combined with the federal plan, a state gas tax holiday would give real savings to families.”

Sen. Collett, Sen. Dillon, Sen. Fontana, Sen. Kearney, and Sen. Lindsey Williams also attended the press conference to show support for a proposed state gas tax holiday.

A full video of the press conference and remarks from all speakers from the Democratic Senate Caucus is available online.

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Senator Santarsiero Secures $1 Million for Doylestown Rec Center 

BUCKS COUNTY – June 22, 2022 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced $1 million in state funds he has secured from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) for the Doylestown Township Community Recreation Center.

“I’d like to thank Governor Wolf for supporting my request to dedicate RACP funds for the Doylestown Township Community Recreation Center project, which will provide a place for residents and community groups to meet and will offer a variety of programs to keep people of all ages physically fit and active,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “The community center will not only benefit Doylestown Township residents, but the broader central Bucks region.”

The project will include construction of a multi-use, public community recreation center on the municipal campus in Doylestown Township.  The recreation center will also include an indoor multi-function gym and classrooms.

“I am very excited for the township and very appreciative of Senator Santarsiero’s efforts,” said Doylestown Township Supervisor Barbara Lyons.  “The community center will serve not only Doylestown Township but the greater central Bucks community.  We believe in Doylestown Township that a hearty parks and recreation system results in a hearty and healthier community overall.”

Doylestown Township Supervisor Jennifer Herring also voiced enthusiasm for the funding, saying “Doylestown Township takes pride in providing excellent service to our community. With the $1 million RACP grant funding we will receive through the support of Senator Santarsiero and the hard work of our staff, we will be able to fund our Doylestown Township Community Center further. This community center will be home to programs designed to enhance the lives of people of all ages with sporting events, educational opportunities, and entertainment.”

RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs. 

To learn more about RACP projects and grants, visit the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget website

 

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Senators Santarsiero, Martin & Cappelletti Introduce Legislation to Help Counties in Collection of Household Hazardous Waste 

BUCKS COUNTY − June 15, 2022 − Senators Steve Santarsiero (D-10), Scott Martin (R-13) and Amanda Cappelletti (D-17) have introduced legislation to help counties with the collection of household hazardous waste.  Senate Bill 1220 would increase the limit on matching funds that each county may receive from $100,000 to $250,000. 

“Our counties are taking the lead on collecting millions of pounds of household hazardous waste annually, but some counties, like Bucks County, are only receiving a fraction of the cost back,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “It is in the best interest of our communities to dispose household hazardous waste properly to protect our environment. Raising the cap on the reimbursement will allow the counties spending the most to offer more services to their residents.”

“Bucks County has been calling on the state for years to better fund these types of programs, so we applaud Sen. Santarsiero and this bipartisan effort,” said Bob Harvie, Chair of the Bucks County Commissioners. “Household Hazardous Waste collections are among the most popular programs we provide at the county level, because Bucks County residents know proper disposal of these items is critical to protecting our environment. Additional resources that help us continue providing this resource to our residents would be immensely helpful.”

Under Act 190 of 1996, counties currently receive a state funding match of up to $100,000 to help with the cost of collecting household hazardous waste.  Despite this proposed 150% cap increase to $250,000 there would be no need to increase the funding allocated by Act 190, given recent annual expenditures by counties on this program. 

“This legislation recognizes the important work counties do to ensure hazardous waste is disposed of safely and it will compensate them fairly for continuing to do so, without any additional cost to taxpayers,” Sen. Martin said. “It’s a common sense update to a vital service that counties have offered for more than 25 years, despite dramatically increasing disposal costs.”

Household hazardous waste includes unused household products that may explode, catch fire, or be generally harmful to the environment if not properly disposed, such as oil-based paint, pesticides, pool chemicals, drain cleaners, batteries, and motor oil.

Sen. Cappelletti added, “Pennsylvania households struggle to safely dispose their household hazard waste on their own. Counties fill the need by holding events where residents can dispose of these items, but are in need of assistance to sustain the programs. By aiding counties in funding these initiatives through this legislation, our communities will have the resources necessary to safely dispose of hazardous waste, and keep our environment clean and protected.” 

Information on SB 1220 can be found here.

Senate Democrats Call on Republicans to Immediately Prioritize Gun Violence Prevention Legislation and Appropriations

HARRISBURG – May 25, 2022 – Today, Pennsylvania Senate Democrats wrote the following letter to Republican leaders in response to rampant gun violence and mass shootings that have become too common in the United States. Just this year, 215 mass shootings have taken place in the country, with the devastating shooting that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022, being the 215th

In the letter, the caucus calls on the Republican majority to act on “reasonable and responsible legislation and appropriations” that does not infringe on Second Amendment rights but will help keep guns away from bad actors and support gun violence prevention. Senate Democrats list seven bills that have been introduced to mitigate gun violence but have sat in committee with no discussion or votes. They also highlight how American Rescue Plan dollars and Pennsylvania’s current budget surplus can be used to help communities prevent horrific violence.

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Senators Push Bi-Partisan Juvenile Justice Reforms

HARRISBURG May 12, 2022 – Legislation to strengthen Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system is set for action according to Senator Lisa Baker (R-20), Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Senator Jay Costa (D-43), who have been working to implement reforms needed to improve outcomes for youth, families, and communities, with a continued focus on protecting public safety.

The Senators are advancing a package of bills intended to achieve taxpayer savings that can then be reinvested to implement more effective research-based policies. The effort includes changes to standardize the expungement process and shorten the timeline for eligibility in certain cases, and provide funding for alternative sentencing and juvenile defense expenses.

“Making substantial and impactful changes to long-held policies requires comprehensive examination and focus,” Senator Lisa Baker said.  “It is critical that we hold juveniles accountable for their actions, but also put in place policies that offer the chance for positive growth. From the beginning, the issue of reforming Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system has been a joint, bi-partisan effort. No matter if young people live in rural, suburban, or urban areas of our state, the system and processes in place should be fair and equipped with the tools to strengthen families and reduce recidivism rates.”

Last year, Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice Task Force issued its Juvenile Justice Task Force Report containing 35 policy recommendations following a comprehensive review of current practices. The 30-member panel assessed the state’s juvenile justice system and reviewed data from court and state agencies and examined how current practices can better align with what research says works best. 

Senator Lisa Baker, who leads the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-chaired the Juvenile Justice Task Force, said a public hearing will be held on May 23 to give proponents and opponents a final chance to comment on the reforms before full committee action.

“These bills will help ensure that all juveniles are treated fairly during all stages of their interactions with the justice system,” Senator Steve Santarsiero said. “The justice system should not create a permanent impediment to the success of the juvenile offender after their debt to society has been paid.  Together, this package of bills will help youth in the juvenile justice system move smoothly and justly through the process and give them a chance at success in the future.”

“I am proud to join my senate colleagues on the introduction of these bills as well as other recommendations of the task force being introduced,” said Juvenile Justice Task Force co-chair Senator Jay Costa. “It is the beginning of a process that will include the review of the proposals by several committees as well as both houses of the General Assembly.  I look forward to working with all of the sponsors, task force members and other stakeholders on improving our juvenile justice system.”

The specific bills introduced in this package are:

  • Senate Bill 1227 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 2, by amending the Human Services Code to include both juvenile justice and child welfare funding goals.
  • Senate Bill 1229 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 5, by amending the Human Services Code to provide funding for indigent juvenile defense services.
  • Senate Bill 1228 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 16, by keeping youth in out-of-home placement no longer than the timeframe supported by research.
  • Senate Bill 1226 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 23, by creating a standardized statewide expungement process.

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Senator Santarsiero, Representative Warren Announces $873,000 for Newtown Township to Improve Sidewalks in Business Commons 

BUCKS COUNTY April 21, 2022 − State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and state Representative Perry Warren (D-31) announced $873,000 in state funds for Newtown Township to improve pedestrian safety and access in the Newtown Business Commons.  The funding comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Multimodal Transportation Fund.

“State investments in our transportation keep our community connected and our economy thriving,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “This project will help the Newtown Business Commons close existing trail and sidewalk gaps and improve pedestrian access while better connecting the Business Commons to the community.  My Newtown office is on the edge of the Commons, so I have seen firsthand how bustling the area is and the need for these improvements.”

“Like many of our residents I regularly walk and run in the Newtown Business Commons,” said Rep. Warren.  “This project will improve pedestrian safety and expand connectivity in and between our communities. It will close existing trail and sidewalk gaps and will help residents and visitors experience all Newtown has to offer.”

The project includes construction of 0.5 mile of five-foot wide concrete sidewalks, stormwater management improvements, construction of ADA curb ramps, improved striping and signage, installation of benches, and landscaping.  The Newtown Business Commons sits on 300 acres in Newtown Township, just off the Newtown Bypass, and is home to more than 200 companies, including aeronautical, biomed, biotech, engineering, medical and general office organizations. It also includes a hotel and conference center, the Newtown Post office, and restaurants.

“We are excited and thrilled to learn the township was awarded this multimodal grant from PennDOT,” said Dennis Fisher, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors Chairman.  “It will not only help us provide interconnections and link neighborhoods together, but it will also provide us with sidewalks and other infrastructure improvements to revitalize our Business Commons.”

Multimodal transportation fund grants encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of the commonwealth. For more information about the Multimodal Transportation Fund Grants, visit the PennDOT website.

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Senator Santarsiero Announces $25,000 for Salem United Church of Christ Security Improvements

BUCKS COUNTYApril 14, 2022 — State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced $25,000 in funding will go to Salem United Church of Christ in Doylestown Borough for security improvements.  The funding comes from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) Non-Profit Security Grant Program.

“These Non-Profit Security Grant funds will allow Salem United Church of Christ to continue its service to the community, while better ensuring the safety of congregants and all who use the building,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “Freedom of religion means no one should fear for his or her safety while observing their faith.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case, which is why these funds are so important to our community.”

The grant funds will be used to help offset the cost of replacing and repairing older doors and windows in the historic church building.

“Salem United Church of Christ is excited to learn of being the recipient of a PCCD Non-Profit Security Grant in the amount of $25,000,” said Pastor David Green.  “This will enable our congregation to repair and upgrade timeworn entry doors, windows, and lock hardware in our historic building in Doylestown. Security is an important need, particularly for a church like Salem which hosts diverse groups and events, including programs for LGBTQ+ youth and families. In the truest sense, Salem is a sanctuary from bigotry and hatred, and this grant will make our safe space even safer. We are most grateful for the support and advocacy of Senator Steve Santarsiero and his staff in the grant application process, and thankful for his dedication to ensure the safety of every citizen of the 10th District.”

Salem United Church of Christ provides a safe space to many diverse groups, including a dedicated space for The Rainbow Room, a local LGBTQIA group.

The Non-Profit Security Grant Program administers funds to nonprofit organizations who principally serve individuals, groups or institutions that are included within a bias motivation category for single bias hate crime incidents.  For more information, visit the PCCD website.  

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Senators Baker, Santarsiero Applaud Passage of Violence Against Women’s Act, Resume Work on Kayden’s Law

HARRISBURG −March 16, 2022 − Pennsylvania could soon receive $25 million in federal funding to keep children safe through the passage of Senate Bill 78, also known as Kayden’s Law.  Last week, the United States Congress passed the 2022 Reauthorization of Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), which makes $25 million in new federal grants available to states that modernize and reform their child custody laws.

“We applaud Congress for funding state efforts to reform their child custody laws,” said Senators Lisa Baker (R-20) and Steve Santarsiero (D-10).  “We were proud to see our bill, Kayden’s Law, pass the state Senate and hope Pennsylvania can soon take advantage of this new federal funding to protect children.”

Specifically, to be eligible for the additional grant funding, states must have child custody laws in effect that:

     (1) govern how courts handle evidence of domestic violence and child abuse, including past allegations of abuse and expert testimony,

     (2) limit a court’s ability to force a child to be placed into the custody of a parent with a history of violent and abusive behavior, and

     (3) require judges and other court personnel involved in child custody proceedings to complete 20 hours of initial training as well as continuing education in various aspects of domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse. 

“Children need the law to protect their interest in custody proceedings, especially those cases in which there are allegations of domestic violence or child sexual abuse,” said Senator Baker. “These dollars can be used to improve existing education and training for judges, and to create a separate, custom-tailored program for guardians ad litem, appointed counsel for children, masters, and mediators.”

Kayden’s Law will provide urgently needed reform to Pennsylvania’s child custody statute that fits within the federal framework for funding eligibility under VAWA.  The legislation would help protect children by making their safety and welfare the principle focus in any custody dispute.  It does that by imposing safety conditions and restrictions on visitation in cases of abuse; modifying the factors that a judge must consider in making a custody award to put the focus on the health and safety of the child; and recommending better training of all court personnel involved in custody cases.

“If Senate Bill 78 is signed into law, Pennsylvania would become one of the first states eligible for the new grant funds provided in the Violence Against Women’s Act,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “The circumstances that led to writing Kayden’s Law were tragic but passing this legislation in her memory will help keep children safe and make sure no child faces that same fate.”

Kayden Mancuso, in whose memory the bill was named, was a seven-year-old from Lower Makefield Township.  In August 2018, her biological father brutally murdered her during an unsupervised weekend visit.  The visit had been ordered by the court in the custody case between the father and Kayden’s mom, Kathy Sherlock, despite evidence of abusive and violent behavior by the father. 

Kayden’s Law passed the Pennsylvania Senate earlier this session and is currently being considered by the House Judiciary Committee.

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Senate Judiciary Committee Unanimously Moves Fentanyl Test Strip Bill to Full Senate

HARRISBURG −February 10, 2022 − The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Lisa Baker (R-20) and co-chaired by Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10), advanced a bill legalizing the personal use and possession of fentanyl test strips to the full Senate for consideration.

Senate Bill 845, sponsored by Senator Tim Kearney (D-26) amends the definition of drug paraphernalia contained in the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act to specifically exclude fentanyl test strips utilized for personal use.

Fentanyl is a strong synthetic opioid that can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine.  Fentanyl is inexpensive to make and is easily cut into drugs, including heroin and cocaine.  According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2019 fentanyl was found in 51 percent of the total overdose deaths in the United States.

“The prevalence of fentanyl in street drugs has dramatically increased opioid deaths in every community,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “If we can do everything that we can do to save lives, while we are doing all the other things to stop this opioid epidemic and help people, then that’s what we ought to be doing.”

Fentanyl test strips can identify the presence of fentanyl in unregulated drugs. They can be used to test injectable drugs, powders, and pills, allowing for harm-reducing decision making by the user.  To date, 14 states have passed similar legislation.

“I have heard from families in Bucks County who support this legislation because it will prevent fatal overdoses. With strong, bi-partisan support, I was pleased to see this legislation voted unanimously out of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Santarsiero continued.  “If SB 845 is enacted into law, Pennsylvania would join 18 other states and Washington DC for providing greater access for personal use of fentanyl test strips to prevent overdoses and save lives.”

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Senator Santarsiero Reacts on One-Year Anniversary of Insurrection at U.S. Capitol

BUCKS COUNTY – January 6, 2022 – The following statement is attributable to State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) on the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol:

“January 6, 2021, a date, like a handful of others in American History, that will live in infamy. On that day, a mob of right-wing radicals stormed the United States Capitol, breeched its doors, desecrated the seat of our Republic and tried, but thankfully failed, to overturn the free and fair presidential election of 2020 by use of force. It has been called an insurrection. It could also be called an attempted coup. It was one of the darkest days in our history and today, on its first anniversary, we should mark it as such. In doing so, we should use the occasion to resolve that we will never allow it to happen again.

I wrote at the time, and I still believe today, that the key to preventing our democracy from slipping away from us is to tell the truth. The truth is that Joe Biden was freely and fairly elected the 46th President of the United States. The truth is that the insurrectionists were a motley collection of violent, right-wing extremists, who did not, as one congressman later brazenly asserted, behave like ordinary tourists that day. The truth is that the mob included racist groups that espouse white nationalism, not leftist radicals in disguise. The truth is that violent attacks on our government – a government of the people, by the people, for the people – is not justified, as some people with extreme views would appear to believe, according to recent polling.

This is the truth. There are no “alternative facts” no matter what some well-paid commentators on cable channels may wish to assert in a transparent effort to boost ratings, or what some social media companies may allow to be posted on their platforms by questionable sources on the specious claim that they do not have the ability to monitor content.

We all have a stake in making sure that another January 6 does not happen. Nothing less than whether our children and their children will grow up in a democracy hangs in the balance. This is not hyperbole. The world’s oldest and largest democracy, that only 80 years ago led the global fight to defeat fascism, is at risk from within. It does not matter whether we are Democrats, Republicans or Independents. It does not matter whether we consider ourselves conservative, progressive, or moderate in our political views. We are all Americans, first and foremost, and we all have an obligation to stand up for the truth. In every generation, but particularly now, let January 6 be the annual reminder of that fact.”

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Senator Santarsiero Highlights 2021 Service to District, Local and Legislative Achievements

BUCKS COUNTY – December 30, 2021 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) today shared a year-end recap of the 10th Senate District, highlighting his office’s commitment to supporting local businesses and municipalities, providing quality constituent services, resources and events to the community, and standing up in Harrisburg for the issues most important to his constituents.

“The last two years have been challenging, but we have seen the people of our community come together and support one another,” said Sen. Steve Santarsiero.  “It has been heartening to see the support for nurses, frontline workers and small businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and to see neighbors rally around those who had damage from Hurricane Ida.  As a community, we have begun to pick up the pieces of some tough times and are ready to rebuild together.  I am proud of the work my office has done this year and look forward to continuing to serve the 10th Senate District in 2022.”

2021 By the NumbersEvents & Townhalls

Sen. Santarsiero hosted 39 town halls and events in 2021, engaging with tens of thousands of constituents across the 10th Senate District. A few of the highlights were:

  • More than 100 constituents received their flu shots, and dozens received COVID-19 vaccine shots at an October flu shot clinic in Lower Makefield Township.
  • Tens of thousands of constituents tuned in for telephone, Zoom and Facebook town halls.
  • In late October, 50 veterans were honored at a luncheon, celebrating their service to our country.
  • Free shredding events in Buckingham and Newtown townships drew hundreds of constituents while also collecting toys and food donations for those in need.
  • Children and families enjoyed KidsFest in September, bringing together resources and information for kids, along with exciting entertainment.

Additionally, at community events across the district Sen. Santarsiero honored the contributions of 178 community members and organizations this year, including Eagle Scouts and Gold Award recipients, non-profit groups and distinguished community leaders.

Investments in Businesses, Jobs & Community

In 2021, Sen. Santarsiero secured $18.6 million in state funds to support economic development and job growth in the 10th Senate District.  Some of the key investments were:

  • $2M to rebuild Children’s Village at Doylestown Hospital, which was destroyed during an August 2020 tornado,
  • $1.5M for the continued expansion and growth of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Buckingham, along with $750,000 for FlowMetric, Life Sciences Inc., one of the companies at the Biotech Center involved in vaccine testing and research, and
  • $8.7M for revitalization and repairs at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Upper Makefield Township.

He also brought in $7.1 million for local community investments, including parks and green space, schools, public safety, and the arts.  Local law enforcement benefitted from nearly $400,000 of these grant funds.

Kayden’s Law Passed the Senate

In June, the State Senate passed landmark legislation that will save children’s lives.  Senate Bill 78, also known as Kayden’s Law, is legislation that will provide urgently needed reform to Pennsylvania’s child custody statute.  Senate Bill 78 is a bi-partisan effort by Senator Lisa Baker and Sen. Santarsiero, serving as the Republican and Democratic chairs, respectively, of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  State Representatives Tina Davis and Perry Warren have been working with Senator Santarsiero on this issue for the last three years and are introducing a companion bill in the House.

The legislation would help protect children by making their safety and welfare the principle focus in any custody dispute.  It does that by imposing safety conditions and restrictions on visitation in cases of abuse; modifying the factors that a judge must consider in making a custody award to put the focus on the health and safety of the child; and recommending better training of all court personnel involved in custody cases.

Sen. Santarsiero continues to credit Kathy Sherlock, Kayden’s mother, for her strength and dedication to this effort.  As he said on the floor of the Senate, “Kathy has been a tireless advocate for the children of our state.  Her strength and dedication to this cause has inspired me time and again not to give up.”

Protecting Our Environment

Sen. Santarsiero proposed and led the effort of 15 of his Democratic colleagues to intervene in a lawsuit this spring challenging the authority of the Delaware River Basin Commission to ban fracking in the Delaware River Basin. By intervening, the Democratic member’s lawsuit seeks to protect the drinking water of more than 13 million people.

In June, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed, with prejudice, the claims of the Senate Republican Caucus based on lack of standing to bring the lawsuit. This matter is still on appeal, but Sen. Santarsiero has vowed to continue to do what is necessary to protect this vital resource.

Protecting Voter Freedom & Safeguarding Personal Information

Sen. Santarsiero has continued to advocate for secure measures that will increase access to the ballot.  He was selected at the start of the year to serve on the Special Committee for Election Reform & Integrity, which heard testimony from elections officials across the country and Commonwealth confirming the accuracy and security of the 2020 election.

In April, he introduced two pieces of legislation that will improve our election process.  The first, the Safe Drop Act, would require all counties to provide one ballot drop box for every 20,000 residents.  This requirement will make it easier for people to drop off their mail-in ballots without fear that the Board of Elections will not receive them in time to be counted.

The second bill would give counties at least 21 days prior to Election Day to pre-canvass mail-in ballots – that’s the process by which counties scan, but do not tabulate, ballots so that they are in a position to count them quickly after the polls close on election night.

At the same time, Sen. Santarsiero has challenged dangerous rhetoric and actions that threaten our voting systems.  During two Intergovernmental Operations Committee Hearings on September 9th and September 15th Sen. Santarsiero pushed back against the brazen attempts by my Republican colleagues to use public taxpayer dollars to fund a partisan effort to contest the 2020 election.  When Senate Republicans issued a subpoena to the Pennsylvania Department of State, requesting the social security numbers, driver’s license numbers and other personal data of nearly 7 million Pennsylvanian voters, Sen. Santarsiero and his colleagues in the Democratic Caucus filed an injunction to ask the courts to keep this data private and protected.

Hurricane Ida Relief

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, which caused widespread flooding and road closures, Sen. Santarsiero has been working to connect affected constituents, businesses and communities with aid and assistance.  He has also worked with impacted communities, such as Carversville, on flood mitigation projects.

Sen. Santarsiero has worked closely with PennDOT to monitor the road closures caused by the storm, and the related repair projects.  Through his continued advocacy to prioritize high traffic areas, dozens of closures were repaired quickly, while ongoing large-scale projects are all underway, with completion expected this spring.

Rockhill Quarry

Sen. Santarsiero has continued to call for the permanent closure of Rockhill Quarry.  While quarry operations have been ceased for the past 3 years, ongoing applications make the future of activity at the site uncertain.  Most recently, in December Sen. Santarsiero sent a letter to Secretary McDonnell of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection requesting no additional extensions be granted to Hansen in the permit application process, and that due to the presence of naturally occurring asbestos, the quarry be closed for good.

Constituent Service

Throughout 2021, Sen. Santarsiero and his office engaged in more than 11,440 constituent service interactions, providing assistance with state agencies, handling 952 unemployment requests, distributing vaccine information, and more.

“I encourage constituents to contact my office with state related issues, ideas and concerns.  My staff is always ready and happy to provide assistance,” Sen. Santarsiero noted.

The 10th Senatorial District includes: Bedminster Township, Buckingham Township, Chalfont, Doylestown, Doylestown Township, Dublin, East Rockhill Township, Falls Township, Haycock Township, Hilltown Township, Lower Makefield Township, Morrisville, New Britain, New Britain Township, New Hope, Newtown, Newtown Township, Perkasie, Plumstead Township, Sellersville, Silverdale, Solebury Township, Telford, Tullytown, Upper Makefield Township, West Rockhill Township, and Yardley.

Sen. Santarsiero has district offices in Newtown (215-497-9490) and Doylestown (215-489-5000) and can be reached via email at SenatorSantarsiero@pasenate.com, and on social media at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Senator Santarsiero and Representative Galloway Announce $756,881 for Falls Township Traffic and Safety Improvements

BUCKS COUNTY – December 27, 2021 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Representative John Galloway (D-140) announced today Falls Township will receive $756,881 from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for traffic and safety improvements.  The funds will be used for upgrades at 7 intersections in Falls Township, which include:

  • Trenton Road and Andover Road,
  • S. Olds Boulevard and Queen Anne Drive,
  • N. Olds Boulevard and Trenton Road,
  • Lincoln Circle and Lincoln Highway,
  • W. Trenton Avenue and Woolston Drive,
  • W. Trenton Avenue and Alden Avenue, and
  • W. Trenton Avenue and Big Oak Road

“These traffic safety improvements will help keep drivers and pedestrians safe at busy intersections across Falls Township,” said Senator Steve Santarsiero.  “These upgrades will improve pedestrian access to shopping, schools and community attractions, while providing emergency response vehicles safer access to respond to emergencies.”

The safety improvements will include the installation of pedestrian signals at each intersection to alert vehicles and allow pedestrians the needed time to safely cross the roadway, as well as the addition of new ADA curb ramps. The township will also install preemption devices on all traffic signals at the intersections, aiding the safe passage of emergency vehicles regardless of existing traffic.

“These funds will help Falls Township make important upgrades at seven local intersections, improving traffic signals for drivers and helping pedestrians get around safely,” said Rep. John Galloway.  “Projects like these keep our community safe and improve access to businesses.”

Pennsylvania’s Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) program aims to improve safety at signalized intersections by providing automated enforcement at locations where data shows red-light running has been an issue.  For more information on the ARLE program, visit the PennDOT website.

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State to Provide Big Savings to Many Workers by Not Taxing Student Loan Forgiveness

Applies to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program and the Pennsylvania Student Loan Relief for Nurses (SLRN)

Harrisburg, Pa. – December 17, 2021 –  Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Pennsylvanians will not have to pay state income tax on the student loan debt relief they get from the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program and the Pennsylvania Student Loan Relief for Nurses (SLRN) Program. The decision by the Wolf Administration will save people eligible for those programs potentially thousands of dollars in state tax.

“The point of student loan forgiveness programs for public servants is that these are people who have chosen jobs, often in lower paying fields, because they want to make a difference,” said Gov. Wolf. “It’s wrong to take what should be a blessing and turn it into just another burden.

“As a commonwealth and as a nation, we can’t afford for astronomical student loan debt to keep talented people from choosing to serve as teachers, firefighters, or nurses. We need to make sure that financial burdens don’t keep our best and brightest from taking on some of our most important jobs. Ensuring that student loan forgiveness through the PSLF and SLRN programs is not considered taxable income will remove one more barrier for Pennsylvanians who are working to make a difference in our communities.”

Student loan forgiveness is not considered taxable income at the federal level, and the decision announced by the governor brings Pennsylvania in line with the majority of other states. It also removes an immense burden from student borrowers who receive loan forgiveness in Pennsylvania by ensuring that they aren’t surprised by a large tax bill the year they receive their loan forgiveness.

The SLRN Program was established to help nurses in Pennsylvania who have worked tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic continue in the nursing profession by relieving some of the burden of student loans.

The PSLF Program is a federal program that permits Direct Loan borrowers who make 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer to have the remainder of their student loan balance forgiven. Qualifying employers include federal, state, local and tribal governments, as well as 501(c)(3) non-profits.

As an example, a Pennsylvanian with $50,000 in student loans forgiven through PSLF will avoid the unpleasant surprise of a $1,535 state income tax bill.

“I want to thank Senator Bob Casey and state Senators ​Katie Muth, ​Steve Santarsiero and ​Lindsey Williams for bringing this issue to my attention,” said Gov. Wolf. “Their advocacy helped my administration bring about a crucial change to better support hard-working Pennsylvanians trying to build a life while making life better for their neighbors.”

Gov. Wolf took action by encouraging the Department of Revenue to revisit prior guidance on loan forgiveness to make sure that Pennsylvania residents benefitting from student loan forgiveness programs such as PSLF and SLRN are not surprised by a tax bill from the state.

“Pennsylvanians have some of the highest student loan debt in the country – and when these students are finally eligible to see some of their loan forgiven through public service, they should not be burdened with a surprise tax bill,” Sen. Muth said. “I appreciate that the Administration and Department of Revenue took swift action to make this vital change to our state tax regulations. Thank you to Senator Lindsey Williams for leading on this important issue for the many of us with outstanding student loans, and to all of the staff who worked hard to make this happen.”

“Our public school teachers, nurses, counselors and other public service employees shoulder the demanding work of preparing our children for successful and enriching lives,” Sen Santarsiero said. “This fix to the tax bulletin will support these employees to focus on their careers serving our communities without being saddled with an unexpected state tax burden.”

“I’m grateful for the swift action by the Governor’s Administration after my colleagues and I raised this issue on behalf of our constituents,” said Sen. Williams. “Student loan debt is a massive hurdle that prevents many Americans from investing in their communities and local economies. I’m overjoyed that those who qualify for these loan forgiveness programs, like teachers and nurses, will no longer face a surprise tax bill just because they live in Pennsylvania.”

The Department of Revenue issued a revised tax bulletin today to clarify the language around student loan forgiveness and make clear that loan forgiveness through PSLF and SLRN is not considered taxable income.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Rementer, ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov

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Senator Santarsiero Introduces Legislation to Help Young Pennsylvanians and Their Families Combat Eating Disorders

BUCKS COUNTY – December 15, 2021 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) has introduced SB 988, a bill to raise awareness of the devastating mental and physical effects of eating disorders.  The bill would require schools to annually provide educational information to parents with children in 6th-12th grades about eating disorders and resources to help overcome them.

“Eating disorders exist across the broad spectrum of age, race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomics affecting more than 30 million Americans,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “As we see younger children expressing dissatisfaction with their bodies and worries of weight gain, it’s important to equip parents early with up-to-date information and local resources on this condition.”

The bill would also direct the Department of Education, in conjunction with the Department of Health, to develop a task force, which would develop guidelines for providing parent educational information regarding eating disorders.

“Eating disorders often present themselves in children and adolescents, with the best hope for recovery attached to early identification and intervention”, said Martha Watson, Pennsylvania resident and advocate in memory of her daughter. “By providing parents and schools with tools to identify an eating disorder early and resources to help intervene, this bill will definitely save lives. I am passionate about raising awareness and understanding of eating disorders, as I lost my own daughter to an eating disorder. She was diagnosed at the age of 11, but sadly the eating disorder was already entrenched and though we fought a valiant 10 year battle, we lost her. I don’t want other families to have the same outcome, so I have become a passionate advocate for raising awareness and understanding about eating disorders.”

Representative Jason Ortitay (R-46) has introduced a similar bill in the House, HB 2158.

“Data, especially in recent months, has shown that social media has a negative effect on young people and contributes to increased body dissatisfaction and eating disorders,” Rep. Ortitay said. “With the growing use of social media, we need to take steps to bring attention to this issue. Many parents may not recognize the warning signs of an eating disorder. I’m hopeful this legislation will give parents the information they need and also help them recognize negative body image messages in society today.”

“Eating disorders wreak havoc on Pennsylvania families, the local economy, and the already-overburdened medical system. With this legislation, parents and school leadership will be better equipped to recognize when eating disorders present themselves and to refer youth for appropriate care”, stated Johanna Kandel, National Alliance for Eating Disorders’ Founder/CEO. “Not one more life should be stolen by this insidious disease. The National Alliance for Eating Disorders strongly urges the Pennsylvania legislature to swiftly pass SB 988/HB 2158 because students deserve better.”

“I have been passionately working with PA legislators on this bill over the years to raise awareness of the serious nature of eating disorders, said Emily Rosenberg, Pennsylvania resident, advocate and eating disorder survivor.  “My hope is for parents and guardians to become educated on eating disorders to help with early identification and prevent long-term suffering. As a survivor, I use my voice and lived experience to educate and bring hope to those struggling by sharing the message that recovery is possible. Eating disorders are not a choice and nobody deserves a life with one.  I did not give up on my recovery and I will not give up the fight to pass this needed legislation.”

Both SB 988 and HB 2158 have been referred to their chamber’s respective Education Committee for consideration.

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Senator Santarsiero Announces $188,437 in State Funds to Support Local Police Departments

BUCKS COUNTY – December 8, 2021 − State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced four local police departments will receive a total of $188,437 in state funding through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).  The breakdown of awards is as follows:

  • Central Bucks Regional Police Department: $59,597
  • Solebury Township: $57,940
  • Lower Makefield Township: $36,000
  • New Britain Township: $34,900

“Keeping our communities safe requires ensuring our local police have adequate resources to do their jobs,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “Each of our municipal and area police departments show incredible dedication to protecting the community, which is why I am so pleased to advocate for these awards to support our police as they serve residents across my district.”

The funding for Central Bucks Regional Police Department will be used to build a new evidence impound yard.  Following several security breaches at their previous impound yard on the Doylestown Borough public works site, Central Bucks Regional Police Department began using a neighboring police department’s facility to temporarily house evidence.  With the addition of the evidence impound yard, the department will be able to apply to become a state accredited entity.

“The new yard and accompanying security features will bolster the ability of Central Bucks Regional Police Department to properly secure evidence and maintain chain of custody, which is vital to fair and timely prosecution in criminal matters,” said Sen. Santarsiero.

“This project will allow CBRPD to negate ongoing criminal activity and protection of evidentiary materials at the police impound yard,” said Central Bucks Regional Police Chief Karl Knott. “The new impound yard will allow for the final step in becoming a PA Accredited Law Enforcement Agency by meeting PLEAC standards on evidence integrity and chain of custody.”

Solebury Township will be using the funds to enhance their technological capabilities and improve their police department records management system.

“Technology is an incredible aid to support the work of our police,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “Upgrading the technology and record management system used by Solebury Township Police Department will streamline the system and improve efficiency for the department.”

“This is great news for Solebury Township and the Police Department,” said Solebury Township Police Chief Dominick Bellizzie. “We are currently using an antiquated system with limited support and it will be great for the Department to move to a state-of-the-art records management system. This will be a tremendous asset.”

Lower Makefield Township Police Department will use the awarded funds to implement innovative training for officers on a variety of subjects.

“Continued and diversified training of police officers ensures our officers have the knowledge and ability to effectively diffuse challenging situations,” said Sen. Santarsiero. “These funds will help the Lower Makefield Township Police Department implement trainings related to bias policing, officer’s duty to intervene, use of force and how to effectively work with mentally ill individuals, helping to better serve the community.”

Lower Makefield Township Police Chief Kenneth Coluzzi believes, “This grant will help foster police community trust and continue to build upon the high standards of our department.”

The funds for New Britain Township will help the police department fulfill its quest to become an accredited law enforcement agency and develop new policies for community policing.

“Our police are constantly working to protect us and ensure best practices and policies are used when interacting with the community,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “New Britain Township police officers will be better able to serve the community as they build on their work and develop new, safe ways of resolving issues that arise.”

“As a new chief I recognize the importance of innovative and evidence based policing initiatives such as policy development and accreditation,” said New Britain Township Police Chief Richard Clowser.  “This grant will help New Britain Township Police Department professionalize their services and increase our accountability to the New Britain Township Community.  We are excited to join the over 134 professional law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania in achieving Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation.”

The mission of the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee (CJAC) is to support a comprehensive strategy to reduce crime that prioritizes evidence-based policy and practice at every stage of the Commonwealth’s justice system.  For more information, visit the PCCD website.

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Senator Santarsiero Secures $1.57 million for Biotech Investment in Bucks County

BUCKS COUNTY  – December 6, 2021 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today that he has secured $1,577,500 in state funds from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) for the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, the life sciences incubator in Buckingham Township.

“I’d like to thank Governor Wolf for supporting my request to dedicate RACP funds for the continued growth and expansion of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “We have the potential right here in Bucks County to build a biotechnology corridor that will lead the way in scientific discovery and boost our local economy.  The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center is a shining example of this potential, serving as an incubator for more than 40 companies on the cutting edge of research and scientific advancement.”

Named one of the most successful biotech incubators in the United States, the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center is dedicated to advancing biotechnology in Bucks County and the region by maximizing synergies between nonprofit scientists and their commercial colleagues, and launching new ideas and discoveries.

“We are ecstatic about this investment to nurture new life sciences companies and create scores of new jobs here in Bucks County,” said Timothy Block, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center.  “It has been Senator Santarsiero’s steadfast support and commitment to our shared vision for a bio-tech corridor here in Bucks County that is allowing us to compete with the major life sciences clusters in California, Massachusetts, North Carolina and other states.”

Biotechnology is currently a nearly $500B industry globally and growing, with new research and development opportunities each year.

“This grant will help accommodate a waiting list of companies looking to grow at the PA Biotech Center here in Buckingham Township,” added Louis Kassa, Chief Operating Officer of the center. “We are grateful to Senator Santarsiero and Governor Wolf for their partnership in this effort to expand our local economy.”

RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs.

To learn more about RACP projects and grants, visit the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget website.

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Senator Santarsiero Secures $2 Million in RACP Grant Funding for Children’s Village at Doylestown Hospital

BUCKS COUNTY – December 3, 2021 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today that he has secured $2 million in state grant funds from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) to help rebuild Children’s Village, a daycare facility located on the Doylestown Hospital campus. Children’s Village was damaged beyond repair on August 4, 2020 when an EF2 tornado touched down in Doylestown.

“I want to thank Governor Wolf for agreeing to my request to dedicate RACP funds to rebuild an important part of the Doylestown Hospital campus that was devastated when a violent tornado struck in the middle of the day with the center full of children and staff,” said Sen. Santarsiero.  “We were so fortunate there were no serious injuries to the children or staff of the center thanks to the heroism of everyone who helped evacuate the building.  The project to rebuild the center will serve to strengthen both the Doylestown Hospital campus and our community.”

The project will construct a new multi-use facility for the Children’s Village Child Care Center at the site of the old center. At approximately 42,000 square feet, there will be rooms for infants through kindergarteners, multipurpose area, library, playground and outdoors learning space, and a secure entrance to the center.

Sen. Santarsiero continued, “The sooner children are exposed to early learning and education, the brighter the potential for their future outcomes.  The services provided at Children’s Village extends far beyond the Doylestown Hospital campus, benefitting children of hospital employees, and our broader Doylestown families.”

“Doylestown Health is honored to be awarded $2 million from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program,” says Jim Brexler, President and Chief Executive Officer, Doylestown Health. “This significant funding will allow us to rebuild Children’s Village and renew our commitment to serving the families of our community, as we have since our founding by the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown. We would like to thank Sen. Santarsiero and the Governor’s office for their support of this important capital initiative, and for empowering Doylestown Health to rebuild our early childhood education center to serve the children of this community.”

RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs.

To learn more about RACP projects and grants, visit the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget website.

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