In this Update:
Office Hours Next Week in Herndon
My staff will be available to help residents with state government-related programs, services and issues on Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Herndon Adult Community Center, 5089 State Route 147, Herndon.
We host regular office hours on the second Tuesday of each month in Herndon.
We provide the same services at Herndon Adult Community Center that are available at our other offices, including assistance with Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program applications, unemployment compensation claims and PennDOT paperwork. Staff also will offer complimentary notary services, provide information about state legislation and make referrals to agencies to resolve state-related matters.
Residents should call the Shamokin Dam District Office at 570-743-1918 to reserve time with staff during the Herndon outreach hours.
State Fire Commissioner Visits Our District
I toured Washington Fire and Hose Co. this week in Montour County with Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Thomas Cook. It was an honor to have Commissioner Cook join us in the 27th District and see the amazing work our local firefighters are doing to keep our communities safe. Thank you, Commissioner Cook!
Kristen Moyer Honored with Citation
I presented a citation this week to Kristen Moyer of SEDA-COG for her upcoming retirement. Kristen’s work over the years has impacted so many lives of citizens living in the central Pennsylvania region. We thank her for her hard work and wish her well on her retirement. I was joined by my colleagues, Rep. David Rowe and Rep. Michael Stender, who also presented her with a citation.
Decorate Safely This Year
Many people celebrate the holidays by decorating the inside and outside of their homes. While decorating can add to the enjoyment of the season, it also can pose its own special safety risks. PPL Electric Utilities published this blog post with decorating safety tips to protect you and your family this holiday season.
Smart Saving Upgrades Pennsylvania’s Financial Standing
Because of sound financial management and strong budgetary reserves, one of the nation’s leading credit rating agencies – Fitch Ratings – upgraded the state’s bond rating from AA- to AA. The state hasn’t held the improved rating since 2014.
The upgrade is expected to lead to lower debt service costs, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. This is one of the reasons we have led the efforts to build the state’s Rainy Day Fund to historic highs and resist new recurring spending the state cannot afford.
Earlier this fall, Moody’s Investor Services and S&P Global Ratings both upgraded Pennsylvania’s long-term financial outlook from “stable” to “positive.”
Senate Approves Bill Enabling Better Service in Long-Term Care Facilities
The Senate approved a bill to enhance the availability and quality of service at long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 668 would address the workforce shortage in nursing homes that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and has grown in recent years as health care professionals left the field due to burnout. It would enable certified nurse aides (CNAs) to train to become certified medication aides (CMAs) and deliver common, minimally invasive prescribed medications to residents of nursing facilities. Currently, only registered nurses and licensed practical nurses can administer medications to nursing home residents.
CNAs would be able to complete a certified medication administration program established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. CNAs who complete the program would be registered as CMAs and would be authorized to administer certain prescribed medications in health care facilities.
Tuition and Loan Assistance for First Responders
Because of legislation passed in the Senate, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency established a Tuition and Loan Assistance Program for active volunteer fire and emergency medical service providers.
After a year of service, volunteers are eligible for up to $1,000 of financial assistance per academic year. Volunteers must commit to five years of service following college graduation.
The legislation is designed to combat Pennsylvania’s crisis in attracting volunteer first responders, which has led to many fire and emergency medical service companies reducing services.
Comment Period Open on Plan to Expand PA Internet Access
A strong internet connection powers our economy and supports education, health care and more. Many Pennsylvania communities lack access to high-speed internet.
Development of Pennsylvania’s Digital Equity Plan was funded by federal dollars and aims to make high-speed internet available to more Pennsylvanians. You can review the plan and, until Jan. 8, 2024, take advantage of the public comment period to offer feedback.
The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) offers three ways to comment:
The PBDA will also host in-person and virtual Public Comment Sessions on the following dates:
Clearfield County: Dec. 7
Washington County: Dec. 14
Philadelphia: Dec. 16
Deadline for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31
The deadline to apply for the state’s 2022 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31. Applications and no-cost assistance are available from my district offices. Please call one of our offices to schedule an appointment.
Eligible participants can receive a maximum standard rebate of $650, but supplemental rebates can boost rebates to $975. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities.
Claimants who already applied for their rebates may check the status of claims online or by calling 1-888-222-9190.
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival that celebrates the ancient miracle of the oil burning a candle for eight nights, runs from Dec. 7-15. In honor of the holiday, people of the Jewish faith light a candle on their menorahs each evening for eight nights.
As our friends celebrate the rededication of the Holy Temple, we wish them Chag sameach!
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