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.
JUST IN! Local Projects Receive State Investments
I am pleased to announce $5,193,728 in state funding has been awarded to 15 various projects across Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Tioga, and Union Counties through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).
Read more HERE.
On the Issues…
The State Senate on Wednesday finalized the 2023-24 state budget by approving two major bipartisan budget implementation bills, which have now been enacted into law.
A large portion of the state budget was completed in August with enactment of the General Appropriations Act. However, several important components still required additional budget implementation language to be passed by both the Senate and House and signed by the governor.
House Bill 1300 (Fiscal Code amendments) and House Bill 301 (School Code amendments) make major investments in the future of Pennsylvania and achieve many of the principles and priorities identified by Senate Republicans as a focus in March.
House Bill 1300 includes several important and time-sensitive measures, including reauthorization of funding for county 911 systems, expansion of a tax credit helping parents seek and maintain employment and allocation of funding for an additional 100 Pennsylvania State Police troopers to help make our communities safer. House Bill 301 includes many provisions to expand education empowerment and access and increase school safety. Read more.
Also last week, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, which I chair, approved legislation to establish an Independent Energy Office (IEO) within the Commonwealth.
Pennsylvania has one of the most diverse energy portfolios in the United States. There is no question we can capitalize on our state’s energy richness, but first we must stop apologizing for it. I believe an Independent Energy Office can provide impartial, timely, and data driven analysis to guide our state in determining and meeting future energy needs.
The IEO would be modeled after Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), which was created by Act 120 of 2010, and Act 100 of 2016. The IFO does not support or oppose any policy it analyzes, and discloses the methodologies, data sources and assumptions used in published reports and estimates.
This legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
On the Horizon…
There is still plenty of time for last minute holiday shopping on Main Street in Williamsport! More information on sales, store hours, and the best places to shop local HERE.
Eligible organizations can apply for vital grant funding through the Commonwealth’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) now through January 12, 2024. Funding can be used for the design, acquisition, and construction of a regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement program. More information HERE.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that all driver license and photo centers will be closed Saturday, December 23 through Monday, December 25 in observance of the Christmas Holiday.
On the Road…
I had a great evening with the Center for Rural Pennsylvania Board of Directors, which I chair, at the 34th annual Christkindl Market in Mifflinburg – The oldest outdoor Christmas market in the United States!
Each December, Mifflinburg’s version of this German tradition brings together fantastic food, entertainment, unique gifts, a live nativity, lantern parade and a chance to see St. Nicholas.
It was great to visit with so many vendors, shoppers, and community volunteers who make this event great.
During their trip to Mifflinburg, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania Board of Directors also visited the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum.
Once known as “Buggy Town USA”, Mifflinburg was home to more than 50 buggy and sleigh makers in the late 19th century. The Mifflinburg Buggy Museum occupies five different buildings on the southwestern end of town: four historic structures and a modern one that serves as the museum and visitor center. The museum is centered around the workshop for William A. Heiss’ buggy factory, which was used from 1883-1920.
We had a great night with fellow Lycoming College alumni Paul John ‘85, Eric John ‘90, their family and staff who took time out of their busy schedules to host the Center for Rural Pennsylvania Board of Directors at Rusty Rail Brewing Company in Mifflinburg.
What started as a hobby has become a vocation for Paul and Eric, who also head up Ritz-Craft Corporation and a number of subsidiary companies in the community. From my first visit back in 2015, the RR team continues to exhibit the same energy and enthusiasm, building opportunities, and establishing Mifflinburg as a destination for visitors across the nation.
Thanks for having us!
I stopped by Mary’s birthday celebration, and along with her children, family and friends, presented her with a Senate citation. Mary served this country with honor and distinction as a member of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service reserve of the United States Navy during World War II.
Happy Birthday, Mary and thank you for your service!
This past weekend, the Pennsylvania College of Technology, where I serve as chairman of the Board of Directors, held their December Commencement Ceremony.
Samir Khalid Pringle, a Penn College business management major, served as the 2023 Student Speaker. Earlier in the day, Samir was presented with the President’s Award for his leadership and service to the college.
Congratulations to Samir and to all of this semester’s graduates! Wishing you all the best in your next endeavors.
This past Saturday was National Wreaths Across America Day. Across the country, including here in central PA, wreath laying ceremonies were held to Remember, Honor, and Teach our communities about the ultimate sacrifice made by the members of our Armed Forces.
Each year, veterans’ graves are covered by an evergreen wreath to honor that sacrifice. We remember each veteran by saying their name aloud and thanking them for their service.
Thank you to all who volunteered and participated in these important and moving ceremonies!
Congratulations to Morris Township Supervisor, Robert Thompson, on your retirement! Thank you for your 30 years of dedicated service.
Senate Votes to Preserve Prescription Benefits for Seniors
Legislation to preserve senior citizens’ access to the state’s PACE and PACENET prescription drug benefit plans passed the Senate and is set for enactment.
Senate Bill 607 would continue a law set to expire this year through Dec. 31, 2025 that prevents Social Security cost-of-living increases from making seniors ineligible for PACE and PACENET.
Current income eligibility levels for PACE are set at less than $14,500 for a single person and less than $17,700 for a couple. PACENET, which covers those individuals with incomes exceeding PACE maximums, is open to individuals earning between $14,500 and $33,500 and couples with incomes between $17,700 and $41,500. The minimum age to participate in the programs is 65, and they are funded from proceeds of the Pennsylvania Lottery.
2024 Fishing Licenses, Permits for Sale Now
Fishing licenses, permits and vouchers for 2024 purchased now are valid immediately through Dec. 31, 2024. The price of an annual resident fishing license is $27.97. Multi-year options are also available in increments of three years, five years or 10 years.
They can be purchased through the HuntFishPA online portal on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website, via smartphone by using the FishBoatPA mobile app or by visiting a retail license issuing agent.
Vouchers that can be given as gifts and are redeemable by recipients are also available.
Don’t Get Scammed This Holiday Season
Sadly, just as the holiday season is often a charitable time, there are people hoping to take advantage by scamming others.
From email and text phishing to delivery stealing to credit card skimming and more, there are so many ways to fall prey. Learn more about the common scams criminals use.
Protect yourself and your family by setting up alerts with your credit card company so you know when purchases are made and avoid paying with a prepaid gift card, CashApp or Venmo to buy a gift online. Never use Alexa to find a customer support number and dial for you or click on a hyperlink in an email, social media ad or text message to make a purchase. Instead, go directly to the store’s website.