Senator Baker E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Higher Property Tax/Rent Rebates Available Next Year
  • Harford Volunteer Fire Company Celebrates 75th Anniversary
  • Celebrating Back to School Month by Brushing Up on School Bus Safety
  • DMAP Permits for State Game Lands on Sale Now
  • Long-Time Penn State Extension Dietitian Honored Upon Retirement
  • Call 988 for Suicide Prevention and Crisis Support
  • Keep Your Pets Safe in the Summer Heat

Higher Property Tax/Rent Rebates Available Next Year

The Senate passed legislation that will increase the amount of rebates for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program and expand the income eligibility for it. The changes will take effect beginning next year.

Because income eligibility limits weren’t raised for 16 years, the number of recipients of the program dropped from about 600,000 individuals to an estimated 398,000 in the current year. The legislation also includes an annual cost of living adjustment so the program will keep pace with inflation and people won’t lose their rebate just because they received a modest increase in their Social Security benefits.

Review the new rebate amounts, available next year, here.

Harford Volunteer Fire Company Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Established as the Harford Township Fire Auxiliary in 1942, the unit has grown to encompass an eight-bay building with office space, a banquet hall, and a generator to help the community during emergencies.  Its dedicated members have faithfully endeavored to preserve and protect the health, safety, and welfare of their fellow citizens, and they have earned the respect and gratitude of all those who have received the benefit of their tireless devotion and duty.

Celebrating Back to School Month by Brushing Up on School Bus Safety

Parents, students and teachers are preparing to head back to school to start the new academic year. Soon, school buses will be transporting students again, and that requires additional caution from all drivers.

Pennsylvania law requires motorists to stop at least 10 feet away from school buses when their red lights are flashing and their stop arm is extended. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety. Read more about school bus safety here.

Penalties for failure to obey school bus safety laws can result in a $250 fine, five points on a driving record and a 60-day license suspension. It is my intention to introduce legislation that will increase financial penalties, establish enhanced penalties for repeat offenders, and generally make the loading and unloading of students safer.  While our vehicles are manufactured with more safety features, working to ensure the operators of these vehicles behave responsibly is the duty of us all.  These changes are designed to enhance the safety of child passengers, bus drivers, and all motorists. 

DMAP Permits for State Game Lands on Sale Now

Permits are on sale now for hunters to harvest antlerless deer – one per tag – on some state game lands through Pennsylvania’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) to enable successful forest management. Overbrowsing by deer is hurting those efforts.

While DMAP has been around for years, it was previously offered only on other public lands and private lands to help landowners achieve land use goals or to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease.

DMAP permits cost $10.97 for Pennsylvania residents and $35.97 for nonresidents. They can be purchased from any license issuing agent or online here. Learn more about the DMAP permit expansion here.

Long-Time Penn State Extension Dietitian Honored Upon Retirement

Mary Ehret of Shavertown recently retired from the Penn State Extension after 33 years of dedicated service. A licensed dietitian nutritionist, she most recently served as the regional coordinator for the Nutrition Links Program, working to improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens. Throughout her career she has striven to adhere to the highest standards of service and has rightly earned the respect and admiration of her many friends and colleagues.

Call 988 for Suicide Prevention and Crisis Support

Pennsylvanians facing mental health challenges need our support. Senate Republicans have dedicated funding to mental health services in schools and more support staff in nursing facilities. The budget passed this year by Senate Republicans, when it becomes law, would provide $100 million for student mental health.

This effort complements other resources. Dialing 988 connects callers considering suicide, self-harm or any behavioral or mental health need with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It can also assist people looking for help for a loved one. Lifeline services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to the caller.

Trained professionals can provide therapeutic interventions, make referrals for outpatient services or transportation for further evaluation and even activate a mobile mental health crisis team to arrive on site. Learn more here.

Keep Your Pets Safe in the Summer Heat

As the dog days of summer drag on, we have to protect our pets from the heat. The American Red Cross has tips to help your pets stay safe:

  • Never leave your pet in a hot vehicle.
  • Limit exercise on hot days.
  • Walk your pet in the grass.
  • Make sure they have access to shade and plenty of water.

Even taking proper precautions, pets can overheat. Heat stroke is a common problem for pets. Learn the signs and what to do if you suspect your pet has heat stroke here.

In addition to elevated temperatures, summer brings other potential safety issues for pets. Swimming in a pool is a great way to stay cool, but it can be dangerous for animals. Never leave your pets unsupervised around a pool. Barbecues can also be unsafe, so keep your pets away from the grill and know what foods can be poisonous to them.


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