March 29, 2018
Enjoying the Renewal of the Spring Season
Spring is a time of year that for many represents renewal – we leave behind the cold, dark days of winter, the ground thaws, flowers bloom, birds return from their migration, and trees sprout leaves again.
In many households, spring cleaning commences as we attempt to rid our homes of everything we have accumulated over the winter months that we don’t need anymore, creating that light, decluttered feeling we all appreciate once the cleaning is completed.
For some families, spring sports seasons begin, bringing parents, children, and coaches outside to enjoy the new warm weather and fellowship at games and practices alike.
Here in the State Capitol, spring marks the kickoff of budget season, as we undergo appropriations hearings, constituent meetings, and negotiations in preparation for the June 30th deadline.
For Christians, spring renewal takes on a different meaning entirely, as families flock to church for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and, finally, Easter Sunday to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whatever your reason, spring is a time to rejoice, refresh, and prepare ourselves for the year ahead. As you go about your daily routine, I encourage you to reflect on the promise that the spring season brings, and how the blessings of renewal can and has manifested in your own lives.
However you celebrate the coming of spring, I wish you and your family an enjoyable season filled with blessings, reflection, and renewal.
Tougher Penalties Sought for SNAP Fraud
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a critical source of support for many low-income families. Unfortunately, a number of unscrupulous individuals and merchants are defrauding the system and taking advantage of needy Pennsylvanians by trafficking SNAP benefits. Buying and selling SNAP benefits creates a serious strain on the system and only hurts the people who need the help most.
Last year, the Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) uncovered a scheme involving a Harrisburg restaurant trading drugs for EBT cards and buying thousands of dollars of supplies from a food wholesale club to be resold for profit. The plot involved the fraudulent use of nearly 60 different SNAP recipients’ benefits.
In the near future, I will introduce bipartisan legislation along with my Democrat colleague Senator Judy Schwank that would create strong penalties against SNAP traffickers. The bill would make it a second-degree felony to fraudulently traffic SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500 and would force offenders to pay restitution of up to three times the amount of the fraud they committed.
More information about our bill is available here.
I enjoyed visiting with these students from Conestoga Christian School at our State Capitol this week.
Senate Approves New Protections for Crime Victims
State and federal law includes a number of protections for individuals who are accused of committing a crime, but the rights of crime victims are often overlooked. Last week, I supported a package of bills to protect crime victims and their families – especially victims of domestic violence.
More information about these bills is available here.
Town Hall Meetings Rescheduled
I always look forward to hosting community outreach events and hearing the perspectives of local residents, especially during town hall meetings where participants can discuss a wide range of state and local issues. Unfortunately, inclement weather postponed two of my scheduled town hall events. I have rescheduled both events to ensure more people can participate without creating a public safety hazard by traveling in dangerous wintry conditions.
My next town hall will be held on Tuesday, April 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ephrata Borough Hall. The next town hall has been rescheduled for Thursday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. at Garden Spot Village in New Holland. I hope to see you there.
Several Lancaster County FFA students dropped by my office in Harrisburg recently. I enjoyed their visit!
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