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Senate to Review Governor’s FY 2015-16 Budget
Beginning with Governor Tom Wolf’s budget address on March 3, the Senate begins the extensive process leading to the finalization of a state budget for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year, which runs from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a three-week series of budget hearings beginning on March 16. The hearings provide an opportunity for the Appropriations Committee to hear Administration officials detail their plans for the upcoming fiscal year.
All hearings will be held in Hearing Room 1 of the Capitol North Office Building. Live coverage of the hearings will be available online at www.pasenategop.com. The hearing schedule, which is subject to change, is as follows:
MONDAY, MARCH 16
TUESDAY, MARCH 17
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18
THURSDAY, MARCH 19
MONDAY, MARCH 23
TUESDAY, MARCH 24
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25
THURSDAY, MARCH 26
TUESDAY, MARCH 31
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1
Attorney General Office Establishes Office of Military and Veterans Affairs
The State Attorney General’s Office recently established an Office of Military and Veterans Affairs. The office's primary focus is consumer outreach and education, but it also has the authority to investigate and prosecute certain offenses against veterans. Resources are available at www.attorneygeneral.gov and include consumer guides related to specific military and veterans' issues, such as pension poaching and ID theft, and a transition guide for education and civilian employment.
The Office of Attorney General is also a member of the Pennsylvania Military Finance Alliance, which conducts workshops and training sessions for service members, veterans and their families on financial security and planning. Veterans and service members who need assistance can contact the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs at (717) 783-1944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
State System Universities Offer Programs for Veterans
Virtually all of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities, including Clarion and Slippery Rock, provide a variety of services to military members, veterans and their families. Many have dedicated student veterans’ centers that serve as “one-stop shops” for those making the transition from military to college life.
Eleven state system universities were named “Military Friendly Schools” this year by Victory Media, a designation awarded annually to only the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country in recognition of their efforts to ensure the academic success of military service members, veterans and spouses. Several of the universities have qualified for this select honor roll for multiple years in a row.
The Military Friendly Schools are Bloomsburg, California, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Millersville, Slippery Rock and West Chester.
Five State System universities (East Stroudsburg, Indiana, Kutztown, Mansfield and West Chester) participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that allows colleges to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Veterans Administration to provide special tuition assistance to military veterans.
All 14 state system universities provide military veterans with preference in course scheduling, in accordance with recently passed legislation. The universities also are working to meet the July 1 date for offering in-state tuition rates to qualified veterans and their dependents regardless of state residency status under the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act.
Locally, Slippery Rock University last spring opened its new Student Veterans’ Center, providing veterans, veteran-dependents, active duty personnel, reserve and National Guard members and ROTC cadets a place to gather, share information and relax. The center is located in the Smith Student Center.
SRU received a $54,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for an equine-assisted recreation program, which provides recreational therapy to veterans at the university’s Storm Harbor Equestrian Center.
SRU was the first university in the country to participate in the Veterans Administration’s Tele-Health system. Working in conjunction with the Butler Veterans Hospital, SRU established space both in the Smith Student Center and the McLachlan Student Health Center that allows veterans to confidentially link to the VA’s Tele-Health system and Veterans Administration health benefits system online. The program allows for online counseling and other services needed by student-veterans.
Slippery Rock recently teamed with VA Butler, the regional Veterans Administration Hospital, to connect volunteer students and veterans for both lunch and dinner. The events allow the students to hear firsthand from the veterans and to offer friendship and thanks for their service. Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or addiction issues participate in the Slippery Rock University TRAIL to Wellness program. Veterans are assisted by SRU students majoring in therapeutic recreation.
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Here to Serve You
Senate Box 203021
170 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
FAX: (717) 787-6088
TTY: (877) 659-4483
22045 Route 6
Warren, PA 16365-7952
FAX: (814) 728-2102
110 East Diamond Street
Butler, PA 16001
FAX: (724) 282-6852
302 Seneca Street
Oil City, PA 16301
FAX: (814) 677-6331