~ A Thanksgiving Message ~
Senate Reconvenes Today at 11 a.m.
With respect to the property tax relief, discussion in the Senate is focused on assuring that school districts do not continue raising taxes without
accountability. One solution is to require school districts to submit all budgets to voter approval. That way the local taxpayers can control spending.
Legislation geared toward preventing distracted and aggressive driving in work zones is heading to the Governor’s desk for signature after unanimous concurrence by the Senate last week.
Senate Bill 887, which originally passed the Senate in June, toughens penalties for drivers who endanger or kill a highway worker or first responder in a construction zone. The bill also broadens the scope of “highway workers” to include emergency personnel, local government and municipal workers, members of the Pennsylvania State Police and law enforcement community, and contractors or utility company workers.
Under the bill, violators could face fines and penalties exceeding $1,000 for irresponsible driving in work zones. More serious offenses involving injuries to highway workers or emergency responders could result in a fine of up to $5,000 and a six-month suspension of the violator’s driver’s license. Drivers causing the death of a worker would pay a fine of up to $10,000 and surrender their license for one year.
Following in the footsteps of 27 other states, Pennsylvania recently took the first step in allowing private sector companies to create their own Veterans
Preference hiring programs.
Senate Bill 1013
was unanimously approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee on Wednesday.
Under the Dome
On November 18th, the state Senate’s Special Committee on Senate Address convened for the third hearing at the state Capitol Building.
During the hearing, testimony was received from senior staff attorneys in the Office of Attorney General including Bruce R. Beemer Esq., First Deputy Attorney General, James A. Donahue, III Esq., Executive Deputy Attorney General, Robert A. Mulle Esq., Executive Deputy Attorney General, and Lawrence Cherba Esq., Executive Deputy Attorney General.
The committee is charged with examining Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s ability to perform the functions of her position with an indefinitely suspended law license, as well as possible other areas that may impact her performance.
A written report will be issued by the Committee with preliminary findings, as well as an outline of procedures that the Committee will utilize should they
elect to move forward. The Committee is also tasked with determining if there is sufficient evidence that warrants notice and a hearing as required under
the PA Constitution before the Special Committee on Senate Address.
Honoring Excellence in Education
On November 19th, Dr. Mark DiRocco, Superintendent of the Lewisburg Area School District (Union County), was recognized by the PA Association of School Administrators as the 2016 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year. It was my honor to provide a Congratulatory Senate Citation, which was presented to Dr. DiRocco, for his outstanding accomplishments and dedication to excellence.
Dr. DiRocco has served as superintendent of the Lewisburg Area School District since 2002. His focus on communication, team leadership, student learning and financial stability have steered the small, rural and increasingly diverse district toward high levels of achievement.
His leadership has resulted in numerous recognitions, including the Tech-Savvy Superintendent's Award from eSchool News, the Victor Skotedis Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Economics, the "Educator of the Year" Award from Economics Pennsylvania, and the 2015 Distinguished Educator Award by the Society of Honors at Mansfield University.
As the Pennsylvania honoree, he and 49 other state honorees will be recognized in February during the AASA National Conference on Education in Phoenix.
Spring graduates are approaching the end of their six-month grace period .
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is reminding federal student loan borrowers who graduated in May or June that the six-month grace period on their student loan is soon ending and repayment will begin.
New graduates typically take advantage of their six-month grace period to find employment and get their finances in order before beginning repayment of their student loans.
Federal student loan repayment plans offer borrowers many benefits, such as Graduated Repayment with payments that are initially lower but increase later, or Income-Driven Repayment with monthly payments based on loan debt, income and the number of people in their household.
Borrowers who are having difficulty securing employment or who have recently lost their job, should contact their servicer to determine if they could qualify for a reduced payment plan or if they are eligible for an economic hardship or unemployment deferment or forbearance which could temporarily suspend their payments until their situation improves.
To read more,
The Commonwealth’s federally-funded Energy Assistance Program has begun taking applications before winter weather arrives, according to the PA Department of Human Services.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides qualified applicants financial help with paying home heating bills and weatherization expenses. Cash grants are sent directly to the utility company, while crisis grants are directed to households in immediate danger of being without heat.
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Senate Box 203023
362 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3023
330 Pine Street
Williamsport, PA 17701
1 Elizabeth Street
Towanda, PA 18848