Aug. 19, 2019 / Email Archives

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Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
The Issues Facing Property Tax Reform

Click here to view video.

For years, if not decades, people have been urging the General Assembly to come up with a viable solution to high school property taxes that are forcing senior citizens out of their homes. But their appeals appear to fall on deaf ears. Believe me. I know the frustration as I was one of those people asking my elected officials to fix this problem.

Since becoming a member of the House, I have been working closely with my colleagues to come up with a real solution that would be appealing to the majority of representatives and senators so we can actually pass comprehensive property tax relief. I will vote in any relief for the name of progress.

That said, any sort of relief would be a tax shift. While property taxes could be eliminated through legislation, taxes elsewhere would go up. That is the reality of the situation.
Working to Find Property Tax Relief

I had a great time working with colleagues from both sides of the aisle during a bi-partisan, bi-cameral property tax working group on Monday (below photo), followed by a Senate Majority Policy Committee public workshop held in York on Tuesday (above photo). Property tax is an issue that needs wide-spread support from legislators in order to fix the problem. I believe these initiatives to address the issue in a unified manner will move us in the right direction.
Fire, EMS Grant Program to Open First Week of September

Fire companies and ambulance services throughout Pennsylvania are encouraged to apply for the 2019-20 Fire Company, Emergency Medical Services Companies Grant Program from the Office of State Fire Commissioner.

The application period will open the first week of September and remain open for 45 days. Exact dates will be listed at closer to the grant application period opening.

Organizations may apply for a grant in up to two of six eligible funding categories. Those categories include: construction or renovation of a unit’s facility and purchase or repair of necessary fixtures and furnishings; purchase or repair of firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment, including fuel for company vehicles; debt reduction related to the above categories; training and certification of members; training and education materials about fire prevention for the general public; and, for career fire departments only, overtime costs associated with backfilling positions while firefighters are attending training.

The maximum grant amount is $15,000 for fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. A total of $30 million will be awarded through the program, which is funded by state gaming proceeds.

For more information about the program, click here.
Hotline to Assist Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

A new hotline to help connect thousands of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren to the resources and programs available to them is now live.

The KinConnector hotline was established through Act 89 of 2018 to address the growing number of grandparents who have become primary caregivers to their grandchildren in the Commonwealth. It is a situation that has skyrocketed in recent years as a result of the state’s opioid epidemic. An estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania.

KinConnector can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). The KinConnector helpline is staffed by social service professionals prepared to help families understand and access local, state and federal resources. A website of resources will also be available in the near future.
Section of I-83 to be Repaved

Starting at 9 p.m. today, Monday, Aug. 19, PennDOT's contractor will begin nighttime roadway base and bridge deck repair work in the northbound lanes of Interstate 83, marking the start of a project to repair and resurface a 3.4-mile section of the highway from just north of Exit 18 for Route 124 (Mt. Rose Avenue) in Springettsbury Township to Exit 22 for Route 181 (North George Street) in Manchester Township.

The $5.4 million contract was awarded to Kinsley Construction and includes road base repair, bridge deck patching, milling the top layer of asphalt, resurfacing with a 2.5-inch Superpave warm-mix asphalt overlay and new pavement markings. Work is scheduled to be completed by the end of June 2020. PennDOT advises travelers they may encounter short-term single-lane closures in either direction through the work zone five or six nights a week from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Eventually, it may be necessary to temporarily detour on and off ramp traffic when overnight work is scheduled to repair and resurface ramps within the interchanges. These restrictions will not be scheduled over the busy Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, or Memorial Day holiday weekends.
Meeting with Electricity Co-Ops

I recently met with directors of local electricity co-ops at their annual meeting in Harrisburg to discuss challenges co-ops and under-served areas of our Commonwealth are facing and how they can be effective voices for the citizens they serve throughout the Commonwealth. Co-ops have filled an energy gap in our state and are looking to apply that same concept to fill voids in broadband cable services. This was a great conversation and I look forward to working with them to navigate and remove the obstacles stalling potential progress.                                    
Hunter-Trapper Education Courses Available

State law requires all first-time hunters and trappers, regardless of age, to successfully complete Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE) training before they can buy a Pennsylvania hunting or trapping license.

Prospective hunters age 16 years or older may complete the study course entirely online. Or you may sign up for one of the classes being offered near you.

For a searchable database of classes currently scheduled, click here.
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