In this Update:
Visit to Allegheny Spay and Neuter Clinic
I would like to thank Allegheny Spay and Neuter Clinic/Animal Welfare Council of the Alleghenies in Clearfield for the tour and conversation. Special thanks to Kim McKenrick and staff for their hospitality and getting to hold the cutest puppy!
If you are looking for a way to help those in need in our community, you’re in luck. My office is collecting donations of toiletries, socks, gloves hats, and blankets to help those less fortunate. The cold weather is upon us, so together we can help make a difference.
Donations can be dropped off at my Richland District office, 999 Eisenhower Blvd., Suite E. The donations will then be taken down to the Johnstown Soup Kitchen – SVDP before Christmas.
Visit at The Learning Lamp
I would like to thank The Learning Lamp for the invitation. I enjoyed reading “How to Catch a Snowman” to their preschool class at the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center.
Tour of Penn Highlands Healthcare DuBois
I would like thank Penn Highlands Healthcare for the conversation and tour. Penn Highlands DuBois is accredited as a Level II Trauma Center and is the only Level II in Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Recognizing Clearly Ahead Development
I was joined by Representatives Armanini and Kephart at the Clearly Ahead Development’s 24th Annual Membership Mixer at River Landing Event Center.
I would also like to congratulate Clearly Ahead Development for being honored with the Project of the Year Award by the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association. They were selected to receive this award for the completion of the Clearfield River Walk Project. Congratulations on a job well done!
New Law Makes It Easier for Students of Military Families to Enroll in School
Recently signed into law, Act 24 of 2023 makes it easier for an estimated 185,000 students of relocating military families to enroll in school.
Previously, students of military families that transferred on official military permanent change of station orders were not eligible to register in classes, enroll in specialized academic programs, or participate in lotteries for charter or magnet schools until they were physically located within the district boundaries. The delay caused students to miss deadlines, requiring them to shift their planned courses of study, which forced some to take summer classes, or even graduate later than expected.
The new law allows such families to establish residency for purposes of enrollment in the school district in which they will be residing by providing the school district with a copy of their military transfer order. This enables them to access registration and enrollment at the same time it is open to the general population.
Bill to Punish Looters Wins Bipartisan Senate Approval
In the aftermath of widespread looting in Philadelphia and many other cities, the Senate approved legislation to prevent these crimes by a bipartisan vote.
According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, organized retail theft has resulted in the loss of almost 700,000 jobs nationwide due to more than $125 billion in economic losses. While large retail stores have been the primary target, 54% of the state’s small business owners said they have seen an increase in shoplifting in the past year. These hardworking Pennsylvanians who are trying to provide for themselves and their families rightly deserve our support.
Senate Bill 596 would create a first-degree felony offense, which can result in up to 20 years in prison, for thieves who steal $20,000 worth of goods and intend to resell them. The bill would also create the Office of Deputy Attorney General for Organized Retail Crime Theft to pursue the leaders of these criminal rings.
Babies Receive Life-Saving Care with New Law
Legislation approved by the Senate to provide critical nourishment for medically fragile babies is now law.
In very low birth-weight babies and other medically compromised infants, human donor milk protects against serious health complications that can lead to longer hospital stays, multiple medical and surgical procedures, readmissions, lifelong disability or even death.
The law grants children who are less than a year old access to medically prescribed pasteurized human donor milk by requiring Medical Assistance coverage in inpatient and outpatient settings. To qualify for coverage, the child must meet medical necessity requirements or the child’s mother must be medically or physically unable to produce breast milk in an amount needed to meet the child’s needs.
High Schoolers: Can You Fix These Transportation Issues?
High school students are invited to participate in the seventh annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge. The statewide competition pushes teams of students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges.
Regional winners will be selected by PennDOT’s Engineering Districts. Those winners will move on to a statewide competition where an overall winner will be selected.
Students can find the details of the 2023-24 Challenge and project guidelines here. All submissions must be received by Jan. 26, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.
Safely Discard Your Unwanted Prescription Drugs
Help keep your loved ones and community safe by discarding old and unwanted prescription medications through Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Program.
Items that can be accepted include over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, prescription patches, prescription ointments, vitamins and pet medicines. Hydrogen peroxide, thermometers, iodine-containing medications, compressed cylinders or aerosols, alcohol and illicit drugs cannot be accepted.
There are nearly 900 locations statewide. Find one near you here.
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 aids (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 by Senate Republicans, 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 office.
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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