Senator Laughlin E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Veterans Appreciation Breakfast
  • Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll Visits Erie County
  • Sunday Hunting Legislation Reported from Committee
  • PA Housing Choices Coalition Press Conference
  • Calling on Shapiro to Send PA National Guard to Defend Texas Border
  • New Option for Contacting my Office
  • Senate Passes Public Safety Bills Targeting Opioid Overdoses, Human Trafficking
  • Struggling Homeowners Can Apply for Assistance
  • Help Available for High-Priority Specialty Crop Farmers
  • Recognizing Agriculture’s Impact on Our Lives

Veterans Appreciation Breakfast

Attention Veterans! You’re invited to my Veterans Appreciation Breakfast with special guest Major General Mark J. Schindler. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with fellow servicemen and women and be recognized for your service. This is a FREE event for all veterans, but seating is limited, and preregistration is required. Sign up today at or by calling 814-453-2515.

Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll Visits Erie County

Last week, Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll joined me in Erie to discuss several projects that affect my constituents. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is responsible for maintaining nearly 40,000 miles of highways and around 25,400 bridges in the state. Fixing all the issues on the roads in Erie County, and throughout Pennsylvania, is a complex and time-consuming task. However, I intend to continue advocating for the needs of my district and ensuring that they are not ignored or placed at the bottom of the to-do list.

Sunday Hunting Legislation Reported from Committee

This past week, the state Senate Game and Fisheries Committee reported to the full Senate my legislation, Senate Bill 67, that would remove the prohibition on hunting on Sundays and provide additional opportunities to hunters.

Ever since the 18th century, Pennsylvania has mostly banned hunting on Sundays. The Sunday hunting prohibition is one of the last vestiges of our commonwealth’s antiquated “Blue Laws,” which were created a very long time ago, some dating back to colonial times, to prevent certain activities deemed inappropriate for a Sunday. It is time that we completely remove this prohibition. Pennsylvanians should have the right to hunt on a Sunday.

Since 2018, I sponsored legislation to repeal this prohibition. Through numerous meetings and compromise, the addition of three Sundays was achieved in Senate Bill 147, now Act 107 of 2019. Although hunters can hunt on three Sundays, I vowed to advocate to end the Sunday hunting prohibition.

The top reason hunters cite for no longer showing an interest in the sport is the lack of time. Removing this antiquated “Blue Law” will provide our sportsmen and women an opportunity to enjoy hunting during their free time. This will also provide a chance for our youth who enjoy or have an interest in the sport, but have busy schedules, to learn and spend time in the woods.

SB 67 seeks to give the needed latitude to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to increase hunting and trapping opportunities, and continue to rebuild interest in hunting, which will end up benefiting all of Pennsylvania.

PA Housing Choices Coalition Press Conference

A press conference was held this past week to learn about bipartisan efforts to create more attainable housing across Pennsylvania. 

According to the 2022 ‘Housing Underproduction’ report from Up for Growth, Pennsylvania has a housing gap of around 98,000 housing units, due to cumulative underproduction since 2012. This housing shortage is causing gridlock throughout the housing landscape, creating cascading social problems for Pennsylvania residents, and requiring urgent action from state elected officials.

Rising housing costs are eating up workers’ wages as they spend more and more of their paychecks on mortgage payments and rents. Seniors can’t find quality housing that meets their needs for aging in place in their communities. Empty nesters can’t find housing in their communities to downsize from larger family homes. Young families can’t find housing close to their parents and grandparents. Young adults can’t move out of their parents’ homes and delay starting their independent lives. Even the cheapest housing available is becoming too expensive for the lowest earners, contributing to rising homelessness. 

State action is urgently needed to address these problems through state policy changes that will unlock more housing construction throughout Pennsylvania.

New Option for Contacting my Office

Good news! My constituents now have another option to contact my office when they’re looking for information or assistance. In addition to phone, email, or the contact form on my website, constituents can now send a text message to my office at (814) 900-4527.

Calling on Shapiro to Send PA National Guard to Defend Texas Border

The Senate approved a measure calling on Gov. Josh Shapiro to protect Pennsylvania communities by supporting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s request to respond to America’s illegal immigration crisis.

Senate Resolution 251 implores Shapiro to reverse course and deploy the Pennsylvania National Guard along Texas’s southern border with Mexico as part of Operation Lone Star. The border security initiative has led to more than 500,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions, more than 40,000 criminal arrests and the seizure of more than 468 million lethal doses of fentanyl, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A 2023 report indicates at least 251,000 illegal immigrants reside in Pennsylvania with an annual burden of more than $1.6 billion on taxpayers. That equates to a cost of approximately $318 per Pennsylvania household annually, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Senate Passes Public Safety Bills Targeting Opioid Overdoses, Human Trafficking

The Pennsylvania Senate approved two measures this week boosting community safety by targeting opioid overdoses and human trafficking. Both bills, which head to the House of Representatives for consideration, are part of the Senate Republican effort to improve community safety across Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1054 strengthens the Overdose Information Network (ODIN) law, which requires all law enforcement in Pennsylvania to input reports of an overdose within 72 hours of the incident into the ODIN system. The ODIN database enables law enforcement agencies to quickly record, analyze and share information concerning fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses and naloxone administrations. The bill would ensure overdose reporting by EMS providers is incorporated into the statewide mapping system. EMS providers are responsible for handling more than 80% of overdoses annually in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1111 would ensure that individuals who are convicted of certain human trafficking offenses – as well as attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit those offenses – are subject to the same Megan’s Law reporting and evaluation requirements as other sexual offenders.

Struggling Homeowners Can Apply for Assistance

To help homeowners struggling as a result of pandemic-related financial hardships, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) reopened a program that had been paused to address a backlog of applicants.

The majority of pending applications has been processed and an assessment of remaining American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds has been made, so PHFA is accepting additional applicants until the remaining monies are exhausted.

New applicants can use the funds for pandemic-related mortgage reinstatement, forward mortgage assistance, tax assistance and delinquent utility bills. Interested Pennsylvania homeowners can find more information, eligibility requirements and instructions about how to submit an application here.

Help Available for High-Priority Specialty Crop Farmers

To stimulate market growth or boost the competitive position for high-priority crops, grants are available for projects that benefit Pennsylvania’s growers as a whole, rather than an individual grower.

Specialty crops eligible for Pennsylvania’s grant program and deemed high priority include hardwoods; honey; hemp and flax for fiber; and hops, barley, rye and wheat for brewing, distilling and malting.

Proposals must be submitted through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Electronic Single Application by Friday, April 19, at 5 p.m. Full grant guidelines are available here.

Recognizing Agriculture’s Impact on Our Lives

In Pennsylvania, we are blessed that agriculture is one of our top industries as it helps to provide us with food security without having to rely as much on other states or even other countries.

National Agriculture Week, observed March 17-24, encourages every American to understand how food products are produced; appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant, and affordable products; value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy; and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, and fiber industries.


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