HARRISBURG – The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness (VAEP) Committee unanimously supported legislation drafted by Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) that would establish the Keystone State Challenge Academy Fund in the state Treasury, making it eligible to receive state funding.
The Keystone State Challenge Academy is a community-based program under our Pennsylvania National Guard that will lead, train and mentor 16- to 18-year-old high school dropouts so they may become more productive citizens. The program has been recognized in other participating states as one of the nation’s most effective and cost-efficient programs for targeting youth who are at the greatest risk for substance abuse, teen pregnancy, delinquency and criminal activity.
With the hopes of including the program in the 2019-20 budget, the bill was amended to make the effective date immediate.
The committee also passed three other bills. The first, also as amended, would allow military dependents to lock in their college admissions status when they register or enroll for the semester. This would help military families preserve their in-state rates in the event that they are required to relocate through no fault of their own.
Secondly, House Bill 630
would extend the same employment protections already in place for Pennsylvanians who serve in the PA National Guard or military reserve to Pennsylvanians who serve in another state’s national guard or military reserve. This bill was drafted in response to a recommendation made by Military Community and Family Policy Office, located in the United States Department of Defense.
Finally, Senate Bill 128 would amend Title 51 by placing the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol under the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to make it eligible to receive state funding. The committee passed the House’s companion bill in March.
After receiving unanimous support from the VAEP Committee, all bills move to the full House for consideration.
To view footage of the House Veterans’ Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee’s meeting, click here
Representative Stephen E. Barrar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans