In this update:
Senate passes new funding for hospitals, health care workers
The Senate this week approved critical funding for hospitals and frontline health care workers who continue to keep Pennsylvanians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill was sent to the governor for enactment.
It allocates a total of $225 million to hospitals and their employees. The additional dollars will be allocated as follows:
The legislation requires the funding to be directed to retention and recruitment programs for staff.
Hospital executives and administration, contracted staff and physicians would not be eligible for payments.
Welcoming Spring Grove Rocket State Champs to the Senate
It was truly an honor to host the 2021 State Champion Rockets along with Senator Mike Regan at the state Capitol this week.
The Spring Grove Rockets claimed the state title at the 2021 PIAA Class 3A Girls’ Volleyball Championships.
Furthermore, Laila Campbell took home not one, but two gold medals at the 2021 PIAA 3A State Track and Field Championships in the 100- and 200-meter dash.
You can watch my introduction of the Rocket Girls’ volleyball team below.
You can watch my introduction of Laila Campbell below.
Christian Snouffer of Troop 69 earns Eagle Scout
It was an honor to present Christian Snouffer of Troop 69 in Jacobus with a congratulatory citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania on behalf of the residents of the 28th Senatorial District on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.
Christian, the son of Jackie and Bradley Snouffer, created a safe, fun place for children 6 years old and younger to learn and play at Salem Lutheran Church in Jacobus. The playground project included a gaga pit, a large vinyl play set, benches, fencing, a toy box filled with toys, a trash can, exterior lighting and outlets, mulch and a basketball area.
Christian is one of the most decorated Eagle Scouts in the nation. Last year, Christian was one of seven scouts across the country who won the William T. Hornaday Silver Medal Award.
Meet Shadow Bryan Caraballo
Dallastown Area High School Junior Bryan Carballo job shadowed me for the day in Harrisburg on Monday. Bryan is the son of Sally and Rene Caraballo. Bryan told me that his favorite classes are AP Government with Mr. Koons and AP Environmental Science with Mr. Tapp.
He is a distinguished honor roll student. Bryan spends most of his time playing music as a member of the Dallastown marching band, as well as the wind and jazz ensemble and the orchestra pit for Dallastown’s musicals.
You can watch my introduction of Bryan below.
3G service coming to an end
Residents with older cell phones are being urged by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Pennsylvania State Police to prepare for the phase-out of 3G cellular networks and service, which could come as early as next month.
If your mobile phone is more than a few years old, you may need to upgrade your device before your provider shuts down its 3G network and you lose service – including the ability to call 911. You should contact your cellular service provider to determine if your devices are compliant to ensure you don’t lose connectivity.
The nation’s three major wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) have announced plans to shut down their 3G networks to accommodate more advanced services, including 5G, as early as February. That will cause many older phones to be unable to make or receive calls and text messages or use data services. It could also affect other devices that rely on 3G connectivity, such as medical alert devices, tablets, smart watches, home security systems, and in-vehicle safety, security and roadside assistance systems.
Low-income individuals concerned their 911-only phones will no longer be supported can apply for service through the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program.
Senate acts to improve PA National Guard health care
Legislation to increase the number of health care providers in the Pennsylvania National Guard was approved by the Senate. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The legislation improves the Medical Officer or Health Officer Incentive Program, which was created in 2014 to provide an education stipend to those who qualified through their time in the armed services.
This incentive program began to address the lack of health care providers within the Guard. However, some health professionals, such as dentists and physician assistants, were inadvertently left out of the program.
Senate Bill 927 would establish a broader definition of “health professional” to capture those left out of the original program. It would also create education stipend tiers based on the participant’s education level, so that physicians and physician assistants would get a higher reimbursement to help pay down their higher tuition debt.
Airville Rev. Dr. Moore serves as guest chaplain of Senate of Pennsylvania
I was grateful that Rev. Dr. Daniel Moore of Guinston Presbyterian Church in Airville would serve as Senate guest chaplain on Monday. Rev. Moore was joined by his daughters, Marilla and Cora.
You can watch Rev. Moore’s thoughtful opening prayer below.
Congressional redistricting map created by “hero” citizen approved by General Assembly, vetoed by Gov. Wolf
Legislation to redraw the boundaries of Pennsylvania congressional districts to reflect changes in population was approved by the Senate and sent to the governor. The map was the genesis of Amanda Holt, who was hailed as a hero a few years ago for her efforts in redistricting reform, but it drew the ink from the Governor Wolf’s veto pen.
The U.S. Constitution requires congressional redistricting following the updated census count every 10 years.
The preliminary congressional map was developed after a series of public hearings held by the state Senate and House of Representatives.
Rep. Grove, who sponsored the citizen-led map, had this to say about Gov. Wolf’s veto:
“We went from a redistricting process that was open to every Pennsylvanian, took into account feedback from countless residents and a Legislature-approved map drawn by a citizen to the Wolf way of having a few select members of the judiciary decide which map will be used.”
You can read Rep. Grove’s full statement here.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications being accepted
Older and disabled Pennsylvanians can apply now for rebates on property taxes or rent paid in 2021.
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.
After checking eligibility requirements, you can file your rebate application online by visiting mypath.pa.gov. Submitting your application online does not require you to sign up for an account. You can check the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program instruction booklet to learn which information you will need to complete the process.
If you have any issues or questions, please contact our local office.
On the front of property tax issues, please know that in addition to supporting a proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate school property taxes, I am also calling for all new gaming revenue to be dedicated to school property tax relief. These measures are much needed and long overdue.
We remember International Holocaust Remembrance Day
On Thursday, the entire global community paused to remember International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Together, we remember the past to build a better and brighter future for all.
Have an opinion on proposed constitutional amendments? Please take my latest survey. Results will be shared next week!
Thank you to everyone who has already participated in my latest legislative survey. I plan to share the feedback with you next week.
If you are interested, my latest survey is seeking YOUR feedback on various proposed constitutional amendments included in Senate Bill 106. The issues range from enacting a voter identification requirement to addressing the growth of executive orders over the last several years. If you have an opinion, please take a few minutes, and share your thoughts with me here. If you have friends or neighbors who reside in the 28th District, please forward the survey to them, as well!
I appreciate as many comments as possible on this critical issue.
Take my survey here.
If you missed my latest podcast episode, Sen. Ryan Aument and I sat down to discuss a few of the proposed constitutional amendments included in Senate Bill 106. Sen. Aument is the sponsor of these proposed changes. You can listen to our conversation here. Subscribe to my podcast and listen to past episodes here.
Local job openings
PA CareerLink shared with me its latest list of local job openings, which you can view below. You can also find job postings shared with the York County Economic Alliance here.