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:
Senate Launches Hearings into Train Derailment at Pennsylvania-Ohio Border
The Pennsylvania Senate is holding hearings on the Feb. 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals near the Pennsylvania border.
The derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, near the border with Beaver County, Pennsylvania, was followed by a “controlled burn” of train cars containing vinyl chloride.
Thursday’s hearing in Monaca, Beaver County by the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee focuses on the emergency response to the train derailment and subsequent controlled chemical burn. It will also feature testimony from concerned residents.
On Feb. 27, the Senate Transportation Committee will conduct a hearing on hazardous materials transported by rail in Pennsylvania. The panel will review federal and state laws, regulations and policies covering the safe transport and management of hazardous materials by rail. The public is invited to submit questions here.
Pennsylvania ranks first in the nation with the highest number of operating railroads, 65, and fifth in total track mileage, with more than 5,600 miles.
Pursuing Energy Independence to Lower Costs and Improve Electric Grid Reliability
One of my top priorities this legislative session is pursuing energy independence and increasing electric grid reliability and resiliency.
While this issue isn’t new to me, I am more hopeful than ever that we’ll be successful because of how many people are impacted. Pennsylvanians everywhere face high bills and the threat of their energy demands being unmet.
However, we have a diverse mix of energy sources in our state, including natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind, and more. They hold the key to Pennsylvania’s energy future – specifically, a reduction in electric rates and an increase in grid reliability.
Three years ago, I formed the nation’s first bipartisan, bicameral state legislative caucus focused on the economic and environmental value of a diverse energy portfolio. We talked about nuclear, gas, renewables, and coal with our final report showing energy diversity could protect the commonwealth from the challenges we’re experiencing now.
It’s time to work for bipartisan solutions to boost energy independence and increase grid reliability and resiliency.
Read more here.
Friday Deadline for Business Taxpayers to Sign Up for New Online State Tax-Filing System
Business taxpayers in Pennsylvania are encouraged to sign up for an account on myPATH – the new online system that enables them to register, file and pay their state taxes through the Department of Revenue – before the old system goes offline this Friday.
The myPATH system was created to replace the prior online filing system known as e-TIDES, which the Department of Revenue will retire on Friday, Feb. 24. Taxpayers no longer will be able to use e-TIDES after that day. They will need to use myPATH to file their taxes.
Businesses can migrate their prior account information from e-TIDES into their new myPATH accounts.
An informational website about myPATH features step-by-step instructions and video tutorials on switching over, and an online customer service center can help taxpayers who still need assistance.
Assisting Lancaster County Residents on Their Path to Family-Sustaining Jobs
I recently toured Tec Centro, which is a division of the Spanish American Civic Association (SACA) and the primary provider of bilingual education and skills training in Lancaster.
Tec Centro provides state-of-the-art workforce training programs that reach more than 1,200 individuals annually. The core services provide education and skills training to those who are unemployed, under-employed, and families living in poverty. Learn more here.
Learning About the Latest at Thaddeus Stevens
Special thanks to Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology President Pedro Rivera, Vice President of College Advancement Pam Smith and Dean of Student Success Michael DeGroft.
During my meeting with the leadership team, I heard a college update and learned about an overview of projects underway and planned on campus. Lots of exciting things are happening at Thaddeus Stevens!
Helping Citizens Become Productive Members of Our Community
I was pleased to join Sen. Judy Schwank for a visit with Berks Connections/Pretrial Services in Reading. BCPS is a nonprofit organization that provides pretrial services and reentry programming for individuals involved in the justice system, as well as services for their children and loved ones.
BCSPS’s reentry workforce development, housing, and mentoring programs equip returning citizens with the tools and support necessary to become productive members of their community.
Learn more here.
Resources for Understanding Military Benefits and Tax Filing
If you are a member of the military or veteran, you earned benefits from grateful citizens in honor of your service to our nation. You may find these resources on taxes and their benefits helpful this tax season.
For Pennsylvania state taxes, this U.S. Army site provides information on:
For federal taxes, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides information on how veterans can maximize their tax benefits. It covers what’s taxable and what’s not and includes AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program, which offers free tax help to anyone, with a focus on taxpayers who are 50 and older and have low to moderate incomes.
PA Senate Library Holds 200 Years of History
The Library of the Senate of Pennsylvania has served as the major source of information on the chamber for more than 200 years. It has in-person exhibitions and online exhibits that intrigue and inform to this day.
The current exhibition is Officers of the Pennsylvania Senate, which focuses on the President, President Pro Tempore, Chief Clerk and Secretary of the Pennsylvania State Senate, positions critical to making the chamber function.
The Senate Library includes collections of legislative documents, and historical biographies, as well as sections for educators and children.
The library is located in Room 157 of the Main Capitol Building. Exhibition hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with limited access when the Senate is in session.
Heart Healthy: How to Monitor Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is often called the silent killer. You might not have symptoms, but it’s a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Monitoring your own blood pressure at home can help you keep your blood pressure under control.
Understanding the risks posed by high blood pressure is one step you can take to be heart healthy during American Heart Month.
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