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:
Gov. Wolf Sues to Prevent Voters from Deciding Critical Issues
Recently, the General Assembly approved a measure that would put several proposed amendments to the state constitution on the ballot for voters to decide. Unfortunately, Gov. Tom Wolf has filed a lawsuit to keep these crucial questions off the ballot.
His lawsuit seeks to prevent Pennsylvanians from voting on the following:
Given the people have already overridden Gov. Wolf once – restricting his pandemic emergency powers – it comes as no surprise he would use the courts to bypass the people to achieve his goals.
It’s my hope this irresponsible gambit will fail and, if approved again in the 2023-24 legislative session, these critical questions will go before the voters.
Please Join the Conversation on Aug. 11
I will be holding a telephone town hall meeting on Thursday, Aug. 11, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to provide my constituents the opportunity to ask me questions or share their thoughts on state-related issues. Of course, I will also provide information about important legislation and topics that may affect Commonwealth residents.
The call will enable us to interact just as we would at a traditional town hall meeting – except you don’t have to leave your home.
If you would like to be invited to join my telephone town hall meeting, please click here to sign up. At the time of the event, you will receive a telephone call from me inviting you to participate. Simply stay on the line, and you will be connected to the call. You can also choose to audio stream the event live via your smartphone or PC here.
I look forward to talking with you soon!
Share Your Thoughts on PA’s Energy Policy
Pennsylvania is blessed with a diverse mix of energy sources that not only power our state’s economy and create high-paying jobs for our residents, but also position our Commonwealth to export our excess energy to power other states as well. Our state is home to natural gas, coal, nuclear energy, hydroelectric, solar, wind, and more, all of which contribute in their own way to our way of life in Pennsylvania. At the same time, many cite a negative impact on our environment as a reason to pivot away from certain energy sources in favor of newer, “green” sources.
Considering the significant impact of the energy sector on our Commonwealth and its residents, please click here to choose as many of the following energy-related policies that are important to you:
Click here to participate in this month’s survey about energy policy in Pennsylvania.
Reshaping Our Education System for Long-Term Success
To stay relevant, our education system must adjust with the times. As we’ve all seen, the pandemic hastened the changes that were already happening to our state’s workforce and available jobs. Now, we have no choice but to reshape our education system if we want to be a stronger competitor to neighboring states.
That is why I sponsored legislation that was signed into law earlier this summer to move Pennsylvania into a position of educational and economic competitiveness. Specifically, the bill will task a bipartisan commission with creating a shared, statewide vision for 21st century education that will prepare students to be lifelong learners and compete in a globalized economy.
It will also develop a shared, society-wide understanding of the needs of Pennsylvania’s current and future economy and the context in which its education system operates. My bill will establish the policies and regulations necessary to give all school districts the support and flexibility necessary to build world-class education systems.
Lastly, it will also build the data infrastructure to allow Pennsylvania to track how far it has come in competing in the world economy.
Read more about the bill here.
In-Person Service Resumes for Unemployment Compensation Claimants
In-person services for Unemployment Compensation (UC) claimants are now available by appointment at all PA CareerLink centers throughout the commonwealth, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.
In-person services are designed to assist individuals who do not have online access or technical skills or have limited English proficiency.
To schedule an appointment, please contact the nearest PA CareerLink site, which can be found at the bottom of the homepage.
Avian Influenza Recovery Grants Available
Recovery assistance is now available for poultry farmers and integrators impacted by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
The grant program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, will provide reimbursement to farms, integrators and allied industries directly impacted by HPAI by suffering demonstrable financial losses due to inclusion in a control or quarantine zone.
The number of farms directly impacted by HPAI is currently limited to 17 in Lancaster and Berks counties, which experienced losses of more than 4.2 million birds. Pennsylvania’s $7.1 billion poultry industry employs 26,600 workers.
Congratulations to Three New Local Eagle Scouts
Congratulations to three local young men – all of Troop 57 in Akron – for becoming Eagle Scouts, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America.
Timothy Beard has served his troop as assistant senior patrol leader and senior patrol leader. For his Eagle Scout community service project, Timothy built and installed six owl boxes in Lloyd Roland Memorial Park.
P. William Sensenig has served his troop as patrol leader and assistant senior patrol leader. For his Eagle Scout project, he designed and constructed a storage shed for Akron Elementary School.
Benjamin Eberly served his troop as quartermaster. For his Eagle Scout project, Benjamin painted yellow lines in front of Akron’s roadside fire hydrants for no parking.
I commend all of these young men on their achievement and wish them much success in the future.
Celebrating Mountville Lions Club’s 75 Years of Service
I had the honor of presenting a Senate Citation to the Mountville Lions Club in recognition of their 75th anniversary.
The Mountville Lions Club has developed a strong reputation for the highest quality of service throughout its history. By steady adherence to the principles of fairness, reliability, and integrity, it has become a leader in the community and a model that is worthy of emulation.
Congratulations and best wishes to the Mountville Lions Club!
Visiting an Old European Village in Lancaster County
I recently visited one of Lancaster County’s best kept secrets: Stoudtburg.
In 1996, Edward and Carol Stoudt brought their dream of building an architecturally unique and inspiring community to life in Lancaster County. Designed with his ancestral home of Rothenburg, Germany in mind, Edward re-created a modern-day version of an old European village where homeowners could be both a resident and a merchant. Residents and merchants welcome visitors and enjoy sharing their history, architecture, walking paths, shops, and restaurant. Learn more here.
Business Owners Targeted with Fraudulent Letters
Business owners should be alert for fraudulent letters trying to trick them into turning over their accounting records.
The fraudulent letters include the Department of Revenue’s name and logo and leads recipients to believe that they are under investigation for “alleged violation of delinquent sales tax liability.” The letter includes contact information for a “Resolution Officer” and urges the business owner to provide accounting records prepared by a licensed professional.
You can find tips on avoiding this scam and verifying information from the state here. If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent notice, please visit the department’s Verifying Contact page for a verified phone number and contact information.
One-Time Bonus for People Qualifying for Rent or Property Tax Assistance
Older Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvanians with disabilities who qualify for a rebate on rent or property taxes paid in 2021 will receive a one-time bonus equal to 70% of their original rebate amount. The total amount a claimant will receive could be as much as $1,657.50, up from the previous maximum of $975.
Eligible claimants of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program who have already filed an application for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2021 do not need to take any further action. Those who have not yet filed an application are encouraged to do so.
Bonus rebates will start being mailed and sent via direct deposit in early September. The processing of rebates and bonus rebates will continue through the end of the year as additional applications are received.
Read more here.
New App Connects Students Experiencing Homelessness with Resources
A new mobile and desktop app is available to help connect students and families experiencing homelessness with local services and resources.
Users can search for and request assistance with services and resources in their current location, local communities and throughout Pennsylvania to connect them with help.
Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness program has a network of eight regional offices to ensure that the educational needs of students experiencing homelessness are met.
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