Senator Aument E-Newsletter

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Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 36th Senatorial District and look forward to working with you toward building a stronger Pennsylvania. This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout  Lancaster County and what I am doing as your State Senator in Harrisburg – I hope that you find it helpful! Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please DO NOT reply to this email; instead, please feel free to contact me here.


In this Update:

  • My Bill to Improve Child Literacy in PA Advances from Senate Education Committee
  • Shielding Pennsylvanians from Cybersecurity Attacks
  • Budget Hearings Begin Next Week to Examine Massive Shapiro Spending Plan
  • 2023 Accomplishments: Public Safety
  • Celebrating New Lancaster County Project
  • Congratulations to Farm Show Scholarship Recipient
  • PA Parks Offer Free Events for People of All Ages
  • Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Now Serves More People
  • Protect Your Money by Investing Wisely
  • Student Art Contest Raises Lyme Disease Awareness
  • Happy Presidents Day!

My Bill to Improve Child Literacy in PA Advances from Senate Education Committee

ICYMI – Last week, my bill to improve early literacy in Pennsylvania passed out of the Senate Education Committee. I am grateful to Sen. Dave Argall, the committee’s chairman, for bringing our Commonwealth one step closer to ensuring all students can read proficiently by the third grade!

Read more about the bill and our bipartisan movement to boost literacy for Pennsylvania kids here.

Shielding Pennsylvanians from Cybersecurity Attacks

The Senate approved legislation to improve Pennsylvania’s cybersecurity defenses by setting cybersecurity standards for state government-purchased technology.

Cyberattacks and data breaches – which have been experienced by multiple state agencies – highlight the need for increased cybersecurity measures to protect the valuable data of every Pennsylvanian.

The bill would require any acquisition of computer hardware by the state to adhere to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines for computer security. NIST’s comprehensive approach includes standards, guidelines, and best practices to effectively manage cybersecurity-related risks.

Budget Hearings Begin Next Week Examining Massive Shapiro Spending Plan

State spending would increase by more than $3.2 billion, or about 7.1%, under Gov. Josh Shapiro’s new budget plan. This level of increase will make it virtually impossible to balance future budgets without deep spending cuts and massive tax increases on hardworking Pennsylvanians within the five-year planning period.

The process of finding ways to rein in this spending includes three weeks of budget hearings held by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Hearings begin Tuesday with appearances by the Independent Fiscal Office, Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Parole Board, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Department of Community and Economic Development, Department of Labor and Industry, and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Livestreams of the hearings and daily recaps will be available here, and I will share updates on this important process each week.

The hearings will be used to review Gov. Josh Shapiro’s spending plan and ask administration officials about the need for any proposed expenses. From there, a budget that more appropriately reflects the needs of taxpayers can be developed before the constitutional deadline of June 30.

2023 Accomplishments: Public Safety

The men and women of law enforcement and emergency response work hard to keep us safe. As their jobs become even more difficult, they need our support.

Last year, we passed legislation to combat different forms of theft. We have new laws that target looting and organized retail theft by increasing penalties and crack down on “porch pirating” by setting penalties for theft of mail, which includes a package, bag or letter.

We also passed measures to prevent the exploitation of older Pennsylvanians and update 911 funding to meet the expanding cost of services so help is available when Pennsylvanians face emergencies. We also provided an additional $20 million for county mental health programs. Ensuring safe communities is among the Senate Republican priorities to protect jobs, empower families, and defend freedoms.

Celebrating New Lancaster County Project

I was pleased to join Rep. Mindy Fee and the JURA team for a groundbreaking event to begin construction of a state-of-the-art JURA Hospitality and Service Center in Rapho Township. It was an honor to welcome JURA International Chief Executive Officer Emanuel Probst and Consulate General of Switzerland in New York, Ambassador Niculin Jager to Lancaster County.

Click here to learn more about JURA and their mission to, “bring new sophistication, quality, versatility, and ease of use to brewing espresso-based beverages at home.” For more photos from the groundbreaking ceremony, check out my Instagram post here.

Congratulations to Farm Show Scholarship Recipient

Last month, I visited the Farm Show and joined Rep. Tom Jones to recognize Farm Show Scholarship recipient Caleb Miller of East Donegal Township.
Caleb, the son of Brian and Amy Miller, is a sophomore at Thaddeus Stevens College majoring in electro-mechanical technology. He aspires to develop unique automated farming solutions. He took 4-H projects in beef and sheep, earning many champion and showmanship awards, in addition to calligraphy, rocketry, and woodworking. Caleb exhibited market beef for one year at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Congratulations to Caleb and his family! To view more photos from Caleb’s award ceremony, check out my Instagram post here.

PA Parks Offer Free Events for People of All Ages

As people start to feel a bit of cabin fever this time of year, it can be a great time to take advantage of recreational opportunities offered at Pennsylvania state parks.

There are free or low-cost seminars to interest people of all ages. Some examples include a winter photography walk, an introduction to cross country skiing, make and take tree cookie crafts, a cast iron cooking lesson, and even a full moon hike.

Find a full calendar of events, including some that are virtual, and sign up here.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Now Serves More People

Financial relief is available to more people than ever through the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate (PTRR) Program, which supports homeowners and renters across the commonwealth using gaming and Pennsylvania Lottery proceeds.

New this year, the income cap increased to $45,000 for both homeowners and renters. Only half of an applicant’s Social Security income is included in the calculations for eligibility. Starting this year, income caps are tied to the annual cost-of-living increases. Additionally, the maximum standard rebate on property taxes or rent paid increased to $1,000. The program is open to state residents 65 and older, widows and widowers 50 or older, or anyone age 18 and over who is 100% disabled.

My office can provide free PTRR application assistance to residents. If interested, please call my office (information at the bottom of this email) and bring all proof of income, your ID, and a voided check if you wish to have the rebate direct deposited. In addition, property owners must have paid property taxes stamped or signed by the tax collector. Renters must have a rent certificate filled out and signed by their landlord.

Protect Your Money by Investing Wisely

Trying to research financial services, products, or companies can be confusing, but investing without first investigating can be a costly mistake.

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) offers free information about how to research people, companies, and investments. If you’re not sure where to start, call the department at 1-800-600-0007.

Learn more about the free and confidential help DoBS provides.

Student Art Contest Raises Lyme Disease Awareness

Pennsylvania has one of the highest counts of Lyme disease cases in the nation. Symptoms often initially include fever, headache, and extreme tiredness. If the disease is untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.

First- through sixth-graders can help spread the word about preventing this tick-borne illness by entering the Pennsylvania Department of Health Lyme Art Contest. They are encouraged to submit a poster or video showing how to avoid exposure to ticks, check for ticks and/or remove ticks safely by March 15 at 5 p.m.

Find more information, including how to apply, here.

Happy Presidents Day!

On Monday, Feb. 19, we recognize Presidents Day and reflect on the effort it takes to guide our country in the right direction. Originally, the holiday was to honor our first president – George Washington – but it has since been expanded.

Because of the holiday, my offices will be closed with normal business hours resuming on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Additionally, all driver license and photo centers, including PennDOT’s full-service center in Harrisburg, will be closed Saturday, February 17, 2024, through Monday, February 19, 2024, in observance of Presidents Day. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website.


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