Jul. 01, 2024

Capitol Report
The latest news from the State Capitol
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Upcoming District Events

Thursday, July 11 – District Office Open House
Saturday, July 20 – Hard to Read License Plate Event
Tuesday, July 23 – Java with Jeff (Details coming soon!)
Saturday, August 10 - Hard to Read License Plate Event
Friday, September 6 – Senior Expo
Thursday, September 12 – Concealed Carry Seminar
Harrisburg Highlights

Sen. Lisa Baker and I presented Senate and House Citations to Pike County Commissioners Ron Schmalzle and Matt Osterberg. The office was awarded the 2024 Dr. George Moerkirk Memorial Contribution to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Award by the Department of Health, Bureau of EMS, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council. The Pike County Commissioners Office has a strong reputation for the highest quality of service, and this is a richly deserved recognition.

Last week, I offered an amendment to House Bill 2338 to change how the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority board is structured so that operations could be more bipartisan. Though it did not pass, I was grateful for the opportunity to address my colleagues on the floor of the House and look forward to continuing to represent the citizens of the 139th.
District Happenings

I was honored to attend the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Paul Lukas of Troop 102, the 139th newest Eagle Scout! For his project, Paul, the son of Robert and Jessica Lukas, prepared and painted an interior wall, put together 12 shelving units and organized display tables for the Hamlin Public Library, Well done!

Inspirational Story Alert: I recently met with the Cadette Girl Scouts from Troop 51441. The scouts learned about the unique needs of children in foster care from a guidance counselor at their middle school. One of the issues faced by many children in foster care is a lack of dignity caused by having only garbage bags to transport their belongings. The girls discussed this issue at a troop meeting and came up with a plan to donate new duffel bags to children in foster care. They researched online to find quality, cost-effective bags and called on their families to help support their cause.

A total of 72 duffel bags were donated to three foster care organizations in Wayne and Pike counties — KidsPeace, Wayne County Children and Youth, and Pike County Children and Youth. Well done, Scouts!
Time to Advance Holocaust Education Bill

In the face of growing antisemitism across communities and college campuses, a group of lawmakers launched a discharge petition this week to force action on legislation that would require curriculum transparency for Holocaust education in Pennsylvania’s public schools.

A 2023 study by The Economist shows one in five young Americans believe the Holocaust is a myth. It’s more important than ever to educate our children about this dark time in world history. House Bill 1986 aims to address the problem by requiring schools that offer Holocaust education make the curriculum available on their websites. Unfortunately, the House Democrat majority has failed to move the bill since referring it to the House Education Committee at the end of January.

Under the rules of the House, discharge petitions require the signatures of at least 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans to be successful. I was proud to sign the petition and am hopeful we will have the opportunity to advance this important effort to combat antisemitism.
Upgraded PA ABLE Website Highlights Program for Pennsylvanians with Disabilities

The Pennsylvania Treasury recently launched its redesigned PA ABLE Savings Program website, paable.gov.

PA ABLE gives individuals with qualifying disabilities a tax-free way to save and invest without impacting important benefits. All federal benefits are protected, including Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and, with some limitations, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, as are many Pennsylvania state benefits.

The new website makes it easier for individuals to learn about the many benefits of PA ABLE, open a new account and access their existing PA ABLE account. It streamlines navigation and content, integrates frequently asked questions within relevant pages, and includes changes that make it easier and more convenient for account owners and prospective account owners to find the information they need about PA ABLE.

More than 9,000 PA ABLE accounts are currently open with over $120 million in assets.

To learn more, visit paable.gov or call 855-529-2253.
Happy Independence Day!!

Many of us enjoy celebrating our nation’s independence by watching public displays of fireworks, or by setting off our own.

If you choose to set off your own fireworks, be smart, be careful and be considerate of your neighbors. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission offers the following safety tips for using fireworks.

  •   Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  •   Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, even sparklers.
  •   Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  •   Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  •   Never pick up or try to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  •   Never use fireworks after consuming alcohol or other substances that impair judgement or the ability to act quickly.

For details about the state’s fireworks laws, click here.

If you are traveling, check out www.511pa.com. Free and available 24 hours a day, the site provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

PennDOT will close its driver license service centers on Thursday, July 4. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov.

Have a safe and happy July Fourth!
Fish for Free on Independence Day!

On Thursday, July 4, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will host a Fish for Free day to allow anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish on all Pennsylvania waterways. No license is required, but all other fishing regulations still apply. This is a great way to expose the next generation of anglers to the outdoors! More information about fishing in Pennsylvania is available here.
PGC Invites Feedback from License-Buyers

The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) is asking hunters to provide feedback on their antlerless deer license buying experience this summer.

License sales got underway last week, starting with three high-demand Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), including 2G, which has already sold out. As of Thursday, licenses are available in the remaining WMUs, but only for Pennsylvania residents. The goal of the change, according to PGC officials, was to reduce wait times for all license buyers.

To share your license-buying experience with the PGC, go to www.pgc.pa.gov and click on the red “Provide feedback on your antlerless deer license-buying experience” button. Hunters will be asked to respond to a few questions and will be offered the opportunity to provide any additional comments. Participation is confidential, as no identifying questions will be asked.