In this Update:
Join Me at an Upcoming Open House
I hosted the first of three upcoming open houses in Luzerne County on Wednesday at the Salem Township Municipal Building, 38 Bombay Lane, Berwick. Thank you to everyone who joined us at this event. The office’s operating hours are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The second open house will be on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 2-3 p.m. at the Wright Township Municipal Building, 321 S. Mountain Blvd, Mountain Top. The office is open Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Our final open house will take place Friday, Oct. 13, from 1-3 p.m. at the Butler Township Municipal Building, 83 Corporate Drive, Drums. The office’s operating hours are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Attendees will be able to ask me and our staff questions about state government programs, services and issues. They also will learn how my staff and I can expedite issues or problems attendees may be experiencing with state government agencies.
Residents who need help with any state government-related issue, but cannot attend the open houses, are encouraged to visit the offices during operating hours or call 570-387-4267.
Honored to Receive Library Award
I was honored this week to receive the Pennsylvania Library Association’s 2023 Elected Official Award, which was presented to me by Melissa Rowse, director of the Degenstein Community Library. As a committed advocate for libraries in Pennsylvania, I couldn’t be more thankful to receive this award. Libraries are the cornerstones of our communities and have always played an important role in promoting education and bringing people together. Thank you to the Pennsylvania Library Association, the Northumberland County librarians and others in attendance and special thanks to the Degenstein Community Library for hosting this event.
Bloomsburg Fair Ends Saturday
I attended the Bloomsburg Fair this week and spent the day with state Rep. Robert Leadbeter. I had a wonderful time meeting and talking with people and enjoying the attractions. The fair runs through Saturday, so please stop by our tables if you get the chance. We are here to help people with state government-related issues and concerns.
Emergency Alert Test Scheduled for Oct. 4
There will be a national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at approximately 2:20 p.m. The test is to ensure the systems continue to effectively warn the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level.
The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. The EAS portion will be sent to radios and televisions.
In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11.
Fiscal Restraint Means More Good News for PA’s Financial Position
Pennsylvania has been upgraded from stable to positive regarding debts issued, according to S&P Global Ratings. The state maintains its A+ rating on its general obligation bonds.
S&P highlighted the well-established priority of repaying debts and adding to the Rainy Day Fund as reasons for the improved rating. My Republican colleagues in the Senate and I knew these efforts would benefit the state and its residents, which is why we insisted on making the responsible decision even as others wanted to spend the money we had and even take on additional debt.
This promising news follows a similarly encouraging rating improvement by Moody’s Investor Services when it recently revised the state’s financial outlook from stable to positive.
Look Out for Surprise Hotel Fees, Larger Bills
As a way to win business, some hotels have employed practices like “drip pricing,” which is when fees are gradually disclosed to consumers as they go through the online booking process. Customers are lured to the hotel or online travel agency with a competitive rate and don’t know the actual cost until the final page of the online booking process – or not even until they check in at the hotel.
People deserve to have access to accurate pricing upfront so they can make appropriate decisions for their budget. However, Choice Hotels – which owns Quality and Comfort hotels – was making that nearly impossible.
Pennsylvania, as well as a handful of other states, reached a settlement with Choice. The company has now committed, by the end of this year, to prominently disclosing the total price of a hotel stay, including room rate and all other mandatory fees, on the first page of its booking website as part of the total room rate.
Apply Now to Enhance Pennsylvanians’ Safety
Because of legislation the Senate supported, $5 million is available in nonprofit security grants and applications will be accepted until Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 11:45 p.m.
Eligible applicants must be a nonprofit based in Pennsylvania and serve individuals, groups or institutions that are included in a bias motivation category, such as religion, sexual orientation, race, disability and gender.
Grants can be used for the purchase of equipment and security-related technology, trainings, threat assessments and specialty-trained canines. Learn more and apply here.
Men, Take Care of Yourselves with Healthy Habits
The Senate voted to designate September 2023 as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Pennsylvania to raise awareness and encourage men to complete recommended screenings.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for Pennsylvania men. One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
While there is no way to completely prevent prostate cancer, men can reduce their risk by choosing a low-fat diet filled with fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising most days of the week.