In this Update:
Congratulations to Emma Fetterman
Congratulations to Emma Fetterman, a 2023 Shikellamy High School senior, who received a Senate citation in recognition of winning the 2023 singles title at the U.S. High School Bowling National Championship. This year, she and the Shikellamy girls bowling team won both the regional and state team championships and placed second in the national team championship. Emma was also the runner up in the state singles tournament before going on to become the national singles champion where she defeated Malaya Chavez of Illinois with a match score of 258-213. She had the high girls average in the PHAC conference and was valedictorian of her graduating class. Along with Emma Fetterman, the Shikellamy girls bowling team included Makayla Grenell, Ariana Woodcock, Kennedy Rudy, Shanna Kimball, and Sarah Malick and were coached by Mark Derr and Shelby Derr.
Meeting on Aug. 14 to Help Residents Understand the Permit Application Process
My staff and I often hear from local residents and business owners who have questions about various state permitting processes.
I’m co-hosting with Rep. Michael Stender (R-108) an educational meeting about the permitting application process on Monday, Aug. 14, at 6 p.m., in the Shikellamy High School Auditorium, located at 600 Walnut St., Sunbury.
Attendees will learn about the regulatory and permitting procedures required for local businesses and projects.
Representatives from the following organizations will give informational presentations and be available at tables before and after the public meeting to answer questions:
This meeting is free to attend and open to the public. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the agencies’ staff being available to answer questions prior to the start of the public meeting at 6 p.m. and also after the meeting from 7-8p.m.
Luzerne County Farm Bureau’s Annual Legislative Day Visits Haz-Wald Farms
I visited Haz-Wald Farms in Sugarloaf Township last week as part of the Luzerne County Farm Bureau’s annual legislative day at the farm. Thanks to Spike Frederick for hosting us, Raleigh Masters for leading a tour of farming operations, and Luzerne County Farm Bureau President Martin Smith.
Touring American Hose and Chemical Fire Company
I visited and toured the American Hose and Chemical Fire Company in Mount Carmel this week. Pictured with me are Paula Amarose, her husband, Frank Amarose, and David Tamburro. Thank you to the American Hose and Chemical Fire Company for inviting me to tour the station and discuss issues that are important to the organization.
Expanding the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
In an effort to provide more financial relief for low-income seniors, the Senate passed legislation that was signed into law by the governor to increase the income eligibility and amount of rebates for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. I’m very pleased this bipartisan bill will put money back in the pockets of those who need it most.
The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. Act No. 7 (formerly House Bill 1100) expands this program to help homeowners and renters with household income of up to $45,000. Previously, the income limit was $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.
In addition, as part of the legislation, the household income limit is required to be adjusted each July equal to a percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), with any changes rounded to the nearest $10. If the CPI declines, the income limits will remain unchanged.
The changes will begin for rebates on 2023 property taxes that will be filed next year.
Free Tool to Relate Military Experience to Civilian Job Requirements
The Department of State has an innovative tool to help veterans and service members translate their military experience into civilian career opportunities. The military occupational crosswalk is a series of charts for each occupation licensed by the department that compare licensing requirements with typical duties, training, qualifications and related credentials with military occupations.
Created after Act 35 of 2022 received unanimous support from the General Assembly, the crosswalk defines a military applicant as a service member, veteran or military spouse; provides initial licensure fee waivers for military spouses who must relocate because of a service member’s military orders; allows service members to reactivate an expired professional or occupational license without penalty if the reactivation coincides with a deployment and is completed within one month of returning from the deployment; and more.
Read more here about professional and occupational licensing in the commonwealth.
Submit or Search for a Veteran Job
The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs offers a job listing as a service to individuals and organizations to promote their veteran and military-oriented events being held in Pennsylvania. It is a comprehensive resource for the state’s more than 700,000 veterans as they consider new employment opportunities.
Submit a job or view the current listings – which include roles for nurses, police officers, recovery specialists and more – here.
Supporting Children Who Faced Trauma
This week, the Senate Aging and Youth Committee held a hearing to gather information about the critical roles played by children’s advocacy centers across Pennsylvania.
Children’s advocacy centers (CACs) coordinate the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases by utilizing teams of professionals involved in child protective and victim advocacy services, law enforcement and prosecution, and physical and mental health.
Without CACs, children who already had traumatic experiences – like sexual abuse – are revictimized when they are forced to repeatedly relive their horror by describing it separately for people representing county agencies, law enforcement and health care. At CACs, everyone gathers at one time in a way that is comfortable for the child.
Pennsylvania has 41 CACs, which provided services to 15,735 children in 2022. Types of cases include sexual abuse, physical abuse, child witness to violence, drug endangered children and others. Learn more about the hearing and access video here.
Save Your Child from Preventable Death
Since 1998, more than 900 children have died from vehicular heatstroke – a tragedy we never want to experience. Luckily, it is preventable.
The National Safety Council offers a free online course about the danger of vehicular heatstroke and children, the three primary circumstances that have led to children dying and what we can do to prevent these deaths.
Keep in mind that even on mild or cloudy days, temperatures inside vehicles can reach life-threatening levels. Leaving windows slightly open doesn’t help, and children should never be left unattended or be able to get inside a vehicle. Learn more here.
Watch Out for Heat-Related Illnesses
When it’s extremely warm outside, there are several heat-related illnesses that can impact you and your loved ones. While many of us have experienced sunburn before, you should also be aware of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash.
In an effort to avoid these illnesses, stay hydrated and be careful with how long you’re exposed to the heat – even if you’re not in the sun.
Read more here about the signs of heat-related illnesses and what to do if you have one.
Smart Money Management Leads to Financial Independence
To become financially independent and create the foundation for a secure life, thoughtfully considering financial decisions and their implications is key.
Monday, Aug. 14, is National Financial Awareness Day, which reminds all of us to plan for a more financially successful future. Of course, in addition to a willingness to plan, we must also have the knowledge about positive versus negative money management practices.
Senate Republicans passed a bill to improve personal financial literacy by requiring completion of a high school course that would advise on basic money matters like credit and credit scores; savings and investments; and college, home and auto loans. By teaching high school students the basics, they will be able to make better decisions to position themselves for a lifetime of financial independence.
As you take an active role in managing your money, you may come up with a question, concern or complaint about Pennsylvania financial institutions, services or products. Call the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities at 1-800-722-2657 or fill out the online complaint form here.
Searching for High School Students to Keep PA Clean
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful are inviting 10th -12th grade students from around the state to help keep Pennsylvania clean and beautiful through the Young Ambassadors program.
The program provides opportunities for high school students to train and network with industry leaders, state agencies, local media and the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful network to increase leadership and problem-solving skills.
Learn more about ambassadors’ responsibilities and apply for the program by Sept. 14 here.
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