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, Susquehanna 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.
Senate Republicans Blast Attorney General for Failing to Stand Up for Pennsylvania Energy Jobs
I joined with Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and Senator Joe Pittman on Thursday to issue a statement in response to Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s failure to stand up to Governor Wolf on his job-killing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) plan:
Just a few short weeks ago at a campaign stop in Indiana County, Josh Shapiro said he had real concerns that RGGI would hurt families at a time when many are struggling to put food on the table. Speaking to a pro-energy community, he pledged to protect energy jobs. However, when he had an opportunity last month to keep his promise to those working families, he completely failed them. READ MORE
Tiadaghton State Forest ATV Connector Pilot Shows Promise
On Wednesday, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee fielded comments in Williamsport on a proposed ATV connector trail in the Tiadaghton State Forest.
The expansion of the ATV Regional Trail Connector Pilot in Lycoming and Clinton counties offers a unique opportunity to boost the economic vibrancy of our region and improve access to our greatest natural asset, the beautiful forests that blanket northcentral Pennsylvania. I thank all of our presenters for their valuable insight on this proposal. READ MORE
State Grants Support Local Hospital Enhancements; Patient Care Across Region
This is good news for the region!
Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau Annual Elected Officials Breakfast Held
On Friday, I attended the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau annual elected officials breakfast in Lewisburg. I continue to be amazed at how many opportunities there are in our region, and there is no better place to celebrate the holiday season than in Central Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna River Valley has a calendar chock full of activities the whole family can enjoy. Explore here
Funding Available to Improve High-Speed Internet Access in Rural PA
Applications will be accepted until Feb. 22, 2022 for up to $1.15 billion in loans and grants to help people in rural areas get access to high-speed internet.
Those eligible for the funding, which is being made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program, include state and local governments, corporations, limited liability companies and cooperative organizations.
The funding is available for projects that serve rural areas where at least 90% of the households lack broadband service at speeds of 100/20 Mbps. Priority is given to projects that will serve people in low-density rural areas and areas lacking internet access services at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps.
You Can Give the Gift of Education
More than 80% of parents would welcome contributions to a 529 college savings plan for their children, but less than half will ask family members and friends for such gifts, according to a survey from the College Savings Foundation.
Anyone can contribute to a child’s PA 529 account with a Ugift code, and gift contributions may be deductible from PA state income taxes. If you already have a PA 529 account for your child, you can share your Ugift code by email with family and friends who wish to contribute to your child’s education savings.
You can learn more about starting to save with PA 529 accounts at pa529.com. There are two plans to help families save, including the PA 529 Investment Plan, with earnings tied to financial markets, and the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan, where earnings are tied to tuition inflation. Families can choose the plan that best meets their savings goals.
VA Alerts Veterans About Printing and Mailing Delays Affecting Claims
Many veterans have been experiencing long delays with receiving correspondence from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The VA announced that due to supply chain issues and staffing shortages, the vendor contracted to provide printing services for the VA is experiencing delays in printing and mailing notification letters to veterans and claimants, with the disruption potentially impacting the ability of some claimants to meet required deadlines via written correspondence with the VA.
In response to the mailing delays and to protect the best interest of claimants, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is extending its response period by 90 calendar days for claimants with letters dated between July 13, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2021.
If a claimant does not reply to a time-limited notification, such as making an election of benefits or services or reporting for a scheduled compensation and pension examination, VBA will not take adverse action to deny, reduce or terminate benefits and services unless: 1) the claimant is contacted and there is documentation of his or her right to respond; 2) the requested information has been received; or 3) the response period has lapsed.
Veterans and claimants with questions can contact the VA at 800-827-1000.
Reaction Time and Driving
By Kimberly A. Smith | Safety Press Officer
As the years go by, our abilities change. Some things improve, as we learn from experience. Others don’t come as easily as they used to. Our eyes aren’t as sharp, our reactions aren’t as quick, and we can’t concentrate as well as we once could.
Driving a car uses a lot of different skills, and when you first learned how to drive, those skills were at their peak. But mature drivers may have noticed a change in how they handle the car or react to traffic situations.
Driver reaction time is the length of time it takes for a person to respond to a given event. As we age, reaction time can increase and while driving, a delay of even a fraction of a second in reaction time may result in a crash.
AAA offers these tips to mature drivers on improving reaction times and managing slower reaction times to maintain safe driving:
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