Senator Chris Gebhard E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • PUC Alerts Consumers of June 1 Price Increases for Electric Generation
  • Where to Vote on May 17
  • Clearing Up Questions About Local Option Small Games of Chance Law
  • Gypsy/Spongy Moth Spraying on State Game Lands
  • Avoiding Lyme Disease in a State Where It’s Prevalent
  • Congratulations to Lebanon Valley College on School of Nursing Groundbreaking
  • Community Walk on May 18 to Support Homeless Veterans
  • Local Events

PUC Alerts Consumers of June 1 Price Increases for Electric Generation

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is alerting consumers that most utilities will be adjusting their prices for electric generation on June 1. Many non-shopping (default service) customers will see sharp increases in energy costs, ranging between 6% and 45%, depending on their electric utility.

This increase is even before Gov. Tom Wolf’s carbon tax kicks in, which could nearly quadruple new electricity costs for consumers. The carbon tax is part of Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which was enacted by Gov. Wolf without legislative approval.

According to the PUC, one option consumers may want to explore immediately is their utility’s voluntary Standard Offer Program – which is another alternative for default service customers not participating in the competitive electricity market. Consumers and small businesses can also use the PUC’s PAPowerSwitch energy shopping website to explore and compare other offers from competitive energy suppliers which may provide savings compared to their utility’s default service rate.

Where to Vote on May 17

The May 17 primary election is approaching, and if you’re not sure where to vote, the polling place search tool can help.

Enter your address information in the drop-down menus and the tool will locate your polling place. It can also provide directions from your residence to the site.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. Mail ballots must be received by your county board of elections by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Clearing Up Questions About Local Option Small Games of Chance Law

Questions are being raised by volunteer fire companies and other clubs regarding the Local Option Small Games of Chance (SGOC) law.  Many of these groups are under the mistaken impression that a state law exists allowing clubs to conduct online fundraising during the pandemic. 

Two bills (Senate Bill 243 and House Bill 290) to authorize online SGOC and raffles during the emergency declaration and for one year afterward, or through May 1, 2022, have been introduced in both chambers of the General Assembly. While both bills have advanced through one of those chambers, they have not received final approval from both chambers.

In 2020, the General Assembly did enact Act 118, which allows SGOC licensees to forgo their annual donation requirement (SGOC law requires that licensees donate 60% of their SGOC revenue to charity, leaving them with 40% for their own operating expenses) so that, presently, clubs may use 100% of their SGOC revenue for operating expenses.

However, that authorization is set to expire on June 10, 2022. Senate Bill 1159 has been introduced to extend Act 118 through Dec. 31, 2022.

Gypsy/Spongy Moth Spraying on State Game Lands

The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced plans to spray more than 62,000 acres of state game lands this spring to protect against spongy moths, previously known by the common name gypsy moth.

Spraying will occur on 27 different state game lands – 62,934 acres in all – and will begin as soon as leaf-out occurs and spongy moth egg masses hatch, likely in late April and May.

The insecticide to be used is Mimic 2LV, the active ingredient of which is tebufenozide. This agent generally is considered safe to humans. As with any chemical, it may cause eye or skin irritation if exposed, and it is recommended to wash any affected area if irritation occurs.

More information on spongy moths and the Game Commission’s spraying program, including a map updating the status of this year’s spraying, is available on the commission’s interactive web page.

Avoiding Lyme Disease in a State Where It’s Prevalent

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted by the bite of a blacklegged tick or deer tick. It can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash in the early stages, but can progress to arthritic, neurologic and cardiac symptoms if it is not treated.

Pennsylvania led the nation with 6,763 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2019, the most recent year reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Find out how you can prevent getting Lyme disease, how to spot symptoms and more here.

Congratulations to Lebanon Valley College on School of Nursing Groundbreaking

In honor of National Nurses Week, I was happy to join Congressman Dan Meuser and PA State Rep. Russ Diamond at the groundbreaking ceremony for Lebanon Valley College’s new School of Nursing building.  The three-story building is expected to be completed July of 2023, while nursing students will be able to start in the fall. 

I was proud to have assisted with funding for this project through a State RACP grant.  The need for highly skilled nurses continues to grow, especially in Central Pennsylvania.  Congratulations to Lebanon Valley College on this great additional to their school!

Community Walk on May 18 to Support Homeless Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s 12th annual VA2K Walk & Roll event is back with goals of moving the body in support of your whole health and well-being, while also helping homeless veterans. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18, at the Lebanon VAMC located at 1700 S. Lincoln Ave., Lebanon, PA 17042 starting at 11 a.m.

The community is invited to participate in the VA2K event, which includes a short two-kilometer walk (1.24 miles). The event is free, and it is suggested that participants be at the front of building 1, near the Whole Health Tent, 15 minutes prior to the start.

To help area homeless Veterans, participants are encouraged to bring a voluntary donation such as clothing, toiletries, packaged food, or bottled water. These donations will be collected and distributed to local homeless veterans. Donations are not required to participate.

Community groups that are interested in participating in the event should contact the local VA2K coordinator, Michelle Ayers at 717-272-6621 x 5596 or via email at mailto:michelle.ayers@va.gov.

Local Events

Saturday, May 14 10am-May 15 at 3pm, 2nd Annual Spring Soapen House & Artisan Showcase
16 Albright Ln, Jonestown
https://www.facebook.com/events/579773926617027/?_rdr

Saturday, May 14 11am-6pm, TruckTrek Central PA Food Truck & Arts Fest
100-400 West Cherry St, Palmyra
https://www.facebook.com/TruckTrekPA/

Saturday, May 21 & 22, 10am to 6pm, 32st Annual Union Canal Days-2022
Union Canal Tunnel Park, Lebanon
https://lebanoncountyhistory.org/canal-tunnel/canal-days

Saturday, May 21, 6pm-9pm, Myerstown Vitality Partnership, GATSBY Gala and Silent Auction
Willow Springs Park, Myerstown
https://www.facebook.com/events/331542055563450

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