Hello! Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 23rd Senate District and look forward to working with you toward building a better future for Pennsylvania!
This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Tioga and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
In the News…
Joint Public Hearing on Power Generation, Grid Reliability and Winter Storm Elliot Set for Feb. 27.
PA Senate Launches Hearings into Train Derailment at Pennsylvania-Ohio Border.
GTP tour features Yaw, Pickett, Garrity.
DMVA Mobile Outreach Van Teams Can Help Veterans Across the Commonwealth Apply for Benefits at No Cost.
GTP Tour Offers Insight into Critical Mineral Processing
On Thursday, I joined PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity and state Rep. Tina Pickett for a tour of Global Tungsten & Powders in Towanda.
A leading Western manufacturer and supplier of tungsten powders and semi-finished parts, GTP has roots dating back to 1916. The Towanda manufacturing facility has more than 500 dedicated employees and annual sales in excess of $300 million. Treasurer Garrity is a former vice president at GTP.
The company “produces ammonium paratungstate (APT), tungsten oxide, tungsten metal powder (WMP), Tungsten Carbide (WC), ready-to-press grade powder (RTP), and semi-finished parts.
The company is planning a construction project that will entail demolishing the three old buildings and replacing them with a new modern plant. All three products will be made within the new plant.
Woodward Township Fire Company Celebrates 130th Anniversary
Congratulations to the Woodward Township Volunteer Fire Company in Lycoming County for celebrating their 75th Anniversary. It was truly an honor to stand with you all in recognizing so many selfless men and women, both past and present, who have made their community a better place.
They even had their original fire engine from 1949 on display, which had a brand new price tag of $10,000 (compared to a nearly million dollar price tag for a new engine today).
Thank you to Chief Richard Whalen, Assistant Chief Dean Burkholder, and company President Joseph Bertin for extending an invitation to celebrate with you. Special thanks to you and your members for your service to us.
Low-Income Poverty Simulation Program Held at South Williamsport School District
Pictured L to R: Back Row – Commissioner Tony Mussare, Commissioner Scott Metzger, Representative Jamie Flick, Olivia Wilson; Front Row – Matt Wise, Liz Vollman
On Friday, February 17, Matt Wise, Liz Vollman, and Olivia Wilson, of my staff, participated in a Poverty Simulation hosted by the South Williamsport Area School District. The simulation, facilitated by BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, was designed to help participants and staff at SWASD to understand what it is like to live in a typical low-income family. Thank you to Dr. Eric Briggs and BLaST for hosting this important event!
Resources Available to Help Pennsylvanians with Rising Energy Costs
As energy costs continue to pose financial hardship for some households, please be aware that resources are available to minimize the financial burden and to assist with payments already owed.
Ratepayers can immediately lower their energy bills by switching to a competing electric and natural gas supplier using PAPowerSwitch.com and PAGasSwitch.com. Read all terms thoroughly to understand if the contract includes a fixed or variable rate before making a decision.
Those who are having difficulty paying bills currently should call the utility company to work out a payment plan to avoid additional fees associated with the reconnection of service. Financial assistance is also available for many ratepayers through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). New applicants can apply for the program at www.compass.state.pa.us.
Of course, the most effective way for Pennsylvania to combat rising energy costs is for lawmakers to unleash our state’s energy potential, which is why Senate Republicans are prioritizing the advancement of policies that create greater energy independence.
In addition, the Senate advanced Senate Bill 1, which included a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent the executive branch from imposing onerous regulations like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a regulation that will not only cost 22,000 jobs, but also could nearly quadruple new electricity costs for consumers. While the General Assembly can’t undo this already imposed, costly executive action, it can prevent Pennsylvania from being saddled with similar regulations in the future.
Important Message for Unemployment Compensation Recipients
Several important changes are being made to the way Unemployment Compensation benefits are paid onto prepaid debit cards.
Beginning on or about March 6, Money Network prepaid debit cards will be mailed to UC recipients who receive benefit payments via prepaid debit card. The Money Network prepaid debit card will replace the U.S. Bank card currently in use.
Recipients will need to learn how to activate the new money network prepaid debit card and ensure their address is correct, among other steps. PA Treasury explains the process here and provides an extensive Frequently Asked Questions page here.
Medical Assistance and CHIP Recipients Must Submit for Renewal
Starting April 1, Pennsylvania is required by federal law to review the eligibility of Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) recipients every year, which means recipients must submit a renewal. Important information is posted here.
While the Department of Human Services (DHS) still sent renewal notices during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, most people were not disenrolled from Medicaid or CHIP because of a change in eligibility. DHS is returning to the normal eligibility processes.
No one will lose their health coverage without having an opportunity to complete a renewal, and renewals will be completed over 12 months. Renewals due in March 2023 will be the first affected by the end of continuous coverage. If a person is found ineligible for their current coverage or does not complete their renewal on time, their coverage will end.
Information about when a person’s annual renewal is scheduled can be found on COMPASS or on the myCOMPASS PA mobile app. Anyone can set up a COMPASS account at www.dhs.pa.gov/compass and, if they have a mobile device, can download the myCOMPASS PA mobile app for free.
Scam Warning: “Final Demand for Payment” Letters
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has issued a warning about scams designed to trick people into turning over sensitive data and personal information.
One recurring scam involves phony letters sent to taxpayers through the mail. The “Final Demand for Payment” letters threaten wage garnishment and the seizure of property or assets unless the recipient calls a phone number to satisfy a lien.
If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent notice, visit the department’s webpage for verified contact information. This will help you ensure that you are speaking with a legitimate representative of the department.
And if you believe you are a victim of tax fraud or tax-related identity theft, contact the department’s Bureau of Fraud Detection and Analysis by emailing Rafirstname.lastname@example.org or calling 717-772-9297.
Monthly Appropriations Update Details Lagging PIT Payments, Improving Rainy Day Fund
Each month, the Senate Appropriations Committee prepares a monthly update on the financial health of the Commonwealth. The most recent report includes information on:
The full update, including the full monthly revenue report, is available here.
National Cancer Prevention Month: Information on Risk and Research
National Cancer Prevention Month is a good time to consider information that could help prevent heartache.
The National Cancer Institute has comprehensive information on cancer prevention, risk factors, the role of genetics, and the latest research into causes and prevention.