Delgado legislation, Keystone Exams, doghouse fight in Texas Township, high-speed internet funding

Posted 7/17/19

Delgado supports Heroes Act WASHINGTON, DC — On July 12, the House passed Delgado-backed H.R. 1327, the bipartisan Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez Permanent …

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Delgado legislation, Keystone Exams, doghouse fight in Texas Township, high-speed internet funding

Posted

Delgado supports Heroes Act


WASHINGTON, DC — On July 12, the House passed Delgado-backed H.R. 1327, the bipartisan Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund Act. The act will provide funding for first responders and others sickened due to exposure to toxins caused by the 9/11 attacks.

“Our nation will never be able to truly repay our first responders for their sacrifice to run towards danger to save lives on September 11,” Rep. Delgado said. “Today, the House voted to take the long overdue step to permanently authorize the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund and ensure families who have seen reduced compensation payments are made whole again. The least we can do is give our heroes peace of mind that our grateful nation will be here to support and honor their service and sacrifice. I encourage the Senate to take up this legislation immediately to give these brave men and women the support they deserve.”

H.R. 1327 extends the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) until 2092, similar to the timeline of the World Trade Center Health Program.

Taxpayers paying for Keystone exams

HARRISBURG, PA — In a report released July 10, auditor general Eugene DePasquale said Pennsylvania taxpayers are still spending tens of millions of dollars every year on the Keystone Exams, which have not been federally required for four years.

“Pennsylvania should aggressively explore using a nationally recognized test that can open new doors for students rather than continuing to spend money on an exam that is no longer required,” DePasquale said. “For less than what Pennsylvania spends on the Keystone Exams, it could instead pick up the tab for every high school student to take the PSAT or SAT.”


Federal law requires that all states administer a secondary-level standardized test. However, since 2015, when the No Child Left Behind Act was replaced, the state-specific Keystone Exams were no longer required.


Rather than phase out the state-specific tests—which at least 12 other states have done—the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is still paying the tests’ creator, Minnesota-based Data Recognition Corp. to administer and score the Keystone Exams.

Between 2015 and 2021, Pennsylvania will have spent nearly $100 million on the Keystone Exams.

Another heated argument in Texas Township

TEXAS TWP, PA — At the Texas Township meeting on July 15, an ongoing dispute was rehashed between zoning officer Jeff DeYoung and property owners Dave and Natalie Rickert. The couple announced that they were turning in their conditional-use form for a dog park they plan to operate on their property. They then asked that in return, DeYoung stop conducting his “intimidating drivebys” past their property. DeYoung objected to this phrase, shaking his head and laughing in apparent disbelief, and saying several times that he is allowed to drive down that road as much as he wants.

Similarly to last month’s meeting, the dog park owners accused the zoning officer of harassment and intimidation. “We are scared of this man,” Rickert said. At this meeting, however, some of Rickert’s anger was also directed toward Supervisor Don Doney, saying that he should be doing something about DeYoung’s behavior and use of foul language, an accusation DeYoung also denies. Doney eventually put a stop to the back-and-forth, which was getting increasingly heated, “We’re going to put an end to this right now.” The meeting was adjourned soon after, without a clear resolution.

Funding for high-speed internet

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced on July 15 that $39.2 million in federal funding will be used to expand access to high-speed, broadband internet across upstate NY. The funding was allocated through the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Connect America Fund (CAF) and will be used to bring broadband internet access to over 15,000 rural properties, homes and businesses throughout Upstate NY.

The funding will be used to bring broadband high speed internet to 286 locations in Delaware County, 24 locations in Sullivan County and 126 locations in Ulster County.

Schumer explained that the $39.2 million in funding is part of a $170 million pot for New York State that he previously fought to secure in 2017, after the FCC attempted to shuttle the funds to other states.

“This federal funding is a major victory for rural communities across the state,” said Sen. Schumer. “With this multimillion-dollar investment, rural counties Upstate will finally have the resources needed to close the far-too-large digital gap.”

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