Senator Culver E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Join Me at Upcoming Events
  • Veterans Exposed to Toxins Eligible for New Benefits
  • Celebrating National FFA Week
  • In Local Firefighter News
  • Senate Continues Detailed Review of the Governor’s Budget
  • Scholarship Grants Available for EMS Professionals
  • Find Lost Life Insurance Policies and Annuity Contracts
  • Supporting Agriculture, PA’s Top Industry
  • Celebrating “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Join Me at Upcoming Events

You’re invited to join me at several upcoming events I have scheduled in our district in Luzerne County.

I have two upcoming Coffee and Conversation events scheduled, with one in March and another in April. I am co-hosting these events with Rep. Mike Cabell. Coffee and Conversation events are an opportunity for you to share your thoughts and ideas about state government in a casual setting with light refreshments. Please R.S.V.P. if you would like to attend one of these events.

Butler Township Coffee and Conversation 
Tuesday, March 12, 1-2 p.m.
Butler Township Community Center
411 W. Butler Drive, Drums
R.S.V.P. by March 8 by emailing Terri Campbell or calling 570-743-1918.

Salem Township Coffee and Conversation
Thursday, April 11, 9-10 a.m.
Salem Township Building
38 Bombay Lane, Berwick
R.S.V.P. by April 8 by emailing Terri Campbell or calling 570-743-1918.

In addition to our Coffee and Conversation events, I also am co-hosting with Rep. Cabell a license plate replacement event. Stop by this event to check if your license plate is damaged and eligible for a free replacement. Damaged license plates include those that have lost some or all of their reflectivity; are peeling, blistering or discolored; and are unreadable from 50 feet away.

Damaged License Plate Replacement Event
Thursday, April 4, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Salem Township Police Department
38 Bombay Lane, Berwick
R.S.V.P. by emailing Marla Conklin or calling 570-387-4267.

The police will determine if the license plate is damaged and needs to be replaced. There is no fee for this service and those who need a new license plate can receive help filling out the necessary paperwork. Once the forms are submitted to PennDOT, the new replacement license plate will arrive by mail to the applicant’s home address.

Veterans Exposed to Toxins Eligible for New Benefits

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced all veterans who were exposed to toxins and other hazards while serving in the military — at home or abroad — will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care beginning March 5, 2024.

This means that all Veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, or any other combat zone after 9/11 will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits. Additionally, Veterans who never deployed but were exposed to toxins or hazards while training or on active duty in the United States will also be eligible to enroll.

More information is available by reading this article on the VA website.

Celebrating National FFA Week

Last week was National FFA Week, and I spent part of it celebrating local members for all their accomplishments. Pictured are members of the Danville FFA. Thank you for continuing the proud agricultural heritage of the 27th Senatorial District.

In Local Firefighter News

This week was an exciting week for local fire companies. State Representative Michael Stender and I joined the firefighters from East End Hose Co. No. 1 of Sunbury to celebrate their brand-new fire engine.

I also presented a Senate citation and Rep. Stender presented a House citation recognizing the achievements of Chief Leslie Young of East End Fire Co. in Montour County.

Thank you to all the men and women who serve with fire companies across the commonwealth for your commitment to keeping our communities safe.

Senate Continues Detailed Review of the Governor’s Budget

Officials struggled to answer questions about the governor’s broad higher education concepts and wide discrepancies in K-12 education funding during the Department of Education hearing with the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. He proposes increasing Basic Education spending by nearly $1.1 billion in his 2024-25 spending plan, but his proposed budget shows no increases in Basic Education funding after this year – raising concerns that the administration cannot pay for the billions of dollars in promised new education spending without raising taxes.

The hearing was one of a series held by the committee to analyze the governor’s proposed $48.3 billion 2024-25 state budget. His plan would boost state spending by more than $3.3 billion above the current year’s budget. It requires thoughtful consideration so tax dollars are spent wisely without eliminating the state’s Rainy Day Fund in five years as projections indicate would happen with Shapiro’s budget.

At the Department of Agriculture budget hearing, discussion included state efforts to combat avian influenza, farming education initiatives and the performance of tax credit programs for PA farmers. Concerns were also raised about the governor’s plan to legalize adult-use marijuana.

At the hearing for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), members discussed how to make the most efficient use of existing resources as both agencies have considerable reserves and the PGC’s budget increased from approximately $130 million in 2019-20 to approximately $350 million in 2024-25.

Thursday’s hearings included the Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Find the hearings schedule, livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at

Scholarship Grants Available for EMS Professionals

To recruit and retain emergency medical services (EMS) professionals, a tuition assistance program offers up to $5,000 for reimbursement of EMS state certification training for permanent Pennsylvania residents.

Up to $300 is available for emergency medical responders, up to $800 for emergency medical technicians, up to $1,000 for advanced emergency medical technicians and up to $5,000 for paramedics.

Pennsylvania-licensed EMS agencies are eligible to receive up to $1,250 of recruitment and retention expenses per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Reimbursement will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted. Learn more.

Find Lost Life Insurance Policies and Annuity Contracts

Individuals who believe they are beneficiaries, executors or legal representatives of a family member or friend can locate lost life insurance policies and annuity contracts through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

When a request is received, the NAIC will give participating companies that have policy information access to respond to you as the designated beneficiary or if you are authorized to receive information. It will also allow participating companies to search their records to determine whether they have a life insurance policy or annuity contract in the name of the deceased person.

Access NAIC’s life insurance policy locator.

Supporting Agriculture, PA’s Top Industry

To bolster agriculture – the state’s top industry – $500,000 in grants is available to help Pennsylvania farms pursue growth opportunities. Funding will be used to benefit economic development, job creation and innovation.

The Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program will help fund professional services for those planning for the future of a farm. The program is designed to enhance the long-term vitality of Pennsylvania’s farms through sound business planning, efficient transitions of farm ownership, strategic farm expansion, diversification of agricultural production and building a team of financial and technical experts as a resource for the state’s farmers.

The maximum grant amount is $7,500 and is limited to 75% of project costs. Learn more about guidelines and how to apply.

Celebrating “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Sunday, March 3, is National Anthem Day. “The Star-Spangled Banner” shares a message of endurance and perseverance. Francis Scott Key originally wrote his poem during a naval attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. That battle was nearly lost.

It wasn’t until March 3, 1931, that President Herbert Hoover signed a law officially making “The Star-Spangled Banner” our country’s national anthem.

Rather than commemorating victory, our national anthem highlights our ability to withstand attack. Today, we continue to raise our flag and refuse to be defeated.


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