In this Update:
Senate Passes Baker, Yudichak Legislation to Protect Children from Lead Poisoning
The Pennsylvania Senate has unanimously passed legislation that takes a significant step forward to protect children from lead poisoning. Senate Bill 522 is bi-partisan legislation that seeks to ensure that all pregnant women and all children in Pennsylvania receive blood tests to detect lead poisoning. Effects of lead poisoning are irreversible and severe, including neurological and developmental disabilities. No level of lead is safe for children, and symptoms may not present themselves until it is too late.
Protecting our children and expectant mothers from the risks of lead exposure will help to create stronger and healthier communities across our Commonwealth. Lead poisoning is entirely preventable, yet currently only one quarter of children in Pennsylvania are being screened. It is hard to imagine the pain and cost to families whose children are affected. Often times these exposures are not from an older home as may be expected, but in some cases are merely from a child’s toy. I’m grateful to my colleague, Senator Yudichak, for joining me in this initiative to proactively invest in lead testing, to better safeguard the health of our children.
Senate Bill 522 has now been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Welcome to Summer Intern Jonathan Raspen
I’m very pleased to have Jonathan Raspen join my team this summer, as an intern in my Dallas District Office. He is majoring in political science and has a great interest in public service. Tuesday was Jonathan’s opportunity to be in Harrisburg to attend various meetings and witness Senate Session from the Gallery.
Before attending the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee meeting, we stopped by the main rotunda to see the American flags proudly hanging from the second floor for Flag Day. On June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress, the United States of America adopted our nations flag. 245 years later, the American flag still stands as a symbol of strength, liberty and freedom.
Senate Acts to Help Local Police Departments Find and Keep Officers
The Senate approved legislation expanding pension benefits for law enforcement officers who want to buy back service. The legislation now advances to the House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 669 gives municipal and regional police officers the option to buy back up to five years of previous part-time or full-time service at another department.
The change could serve as a recruitment tool for police departments. Senate hearings on rising crime in Pennsylvania uncovered a crisis facing local police departments in recruiting and retaining officers.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Application Deadline Extended to Dec. 31
The deadline for older and disabled Pennsylvanians to apply for rebates on rent and property taxes paid in 2021 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2022.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers age 50 and older, and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. You can apply online at mypath.pa.gov.
Under state law, the annual deadline for the program is set as June 30. However, the law requires the Department of Revenue to evaluate the program to determine if funds are available to extend the deadline. To date, funding has been available to allow all who qualify, meaning the deadline can be extended to Dec. 31 for the current year.
College Aid Webinars in June and July
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is holding free webinars covering the two most requested topics during this time of year as families look to achieve an affordable postsecondary education.
Deep Dive into Covering the Gap
This one-hour webinar answers questions that might arise after students receive their first semester bill, such as additional costs to plan for and available loan programs.
Borrowing for Education: Which Loan is Right for Me?
This one-hour webinar covers available loan programs and advantages and disadvantages of each.
You can find more information on these sessions and register here.
Look Out for Texting Scams about Unclaimed Property
The Pennsylvania Treasury Department is warning Pennsylvanians that scammers are using text messages to target potential unclaimed property claimants.
About one in 10 Pennsylvanians is owed some of the more than $4 billion in unclaimed property held by the department, making the subject ripe for exploiting by scammers.
The Treasury Department never reaches out to people about any program, including unclaimed property, via unsolicited text messages. You can search the online database at patreasury.gov/unclaimed-property to see if you have property waiting and start the claim process.
Celebrating Fathers and Fatherhood
To all dads, I hope you enjoy your special day on Sunday, as we celebrate all the unique joys and talents you bring to a family.
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