In this Update:
Senate Votes to Block Wolf Administration’s Attempt to Over Regulate Charter Schools
The Senate voted to block Gov. Tom Wolf’s overreaching charter school regulations after his administration misused the regulatory process to avoid brokering an agreement with lawmakers.
The vote on House Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution 1 comes after the administration didn’t adequately address concerns raised during the public comment process and instead committed to final regulations that run contrary to the intent of existing charter school law.
The Department of Education’s proposed list of wide-ranging policy changes through the regulatory process could, in effect, jeopardize the educational futures of thousands of low-income, minority and special education students through burdensome, unfunded mandates.
Many of these regulations serve as backdoor attempts to implement some of the administration’s own policy preferences, including enrollment caps, onerous application standards and one-size-fits-all health benefit requirements that will shutter operations for many smaller charters. This is egregious considering the vulnerable students these schools primarily serve.
There is bipartisan interest in making reforms to our current charter laws. Frustration over the process does not justify circumventing the legislature.
Senate Passes Gebhard’s Motor Carrier Safety Legislation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show motor carriers contribute to 13% of highway deaths nationally despite only accounting for 3% of vehicles on the road. My bill, SB1094, which improves highway safety regarding large motor carriers (including heavy trucks, public transit buses and coach buses) passed the Senate on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 1094 expands the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC), which was established in Act 21 of 2001. MCSAC analyzed Act 21 and made multiple recommendations like updating the membership composition and implementing enhanced education programs for first- and second-year CDLs.
Visit here to view my full press release: https://www.pasenategop.com/blog/senate-passes-gebhard-bill-to-improve-motor-carrier-safety/
Be on the Look Out for Poison Hemlock this Summer
This invasive and toxic plant is aggressively blooming in Central Pennsylvania. It can easily be confused with Queen Anne’s Lace, Parsley, or other species. Poison Hemlock can grow taller with white flowers and purple spotted stems. Please keep an eye out for this dangerous plant when outside with pets and children.
See the following links below from the Penn State Extension for more information:
Poison Hemlock Identification Video: https://extension.psu.edu/poison-hemlock-identification#:~:text=Poison%20hemlock%20commonly%20grows%20along,of%20leaves%20along%20the%20ground.
Poison Hemlock Identification and Management Resources: https://extension.psu.edu/poison-hemlock-identification-and-management-resources
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.
History of Juneteenth
Senate offices will be closed Friday to observe the Juneteenth holiday.
The June 19 holiday honors the end of slavery by commemorating the date in 1865 when Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced to enslaved African Americans that the Civil War had ended, and they were free. Granger’s proclamation came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
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.
Saturday – June 18 1:00pm: 100th Lebanon County Firefighters Convention Parade (Neptune Fire Co. Richland, PA) https://lebtown.com/2022/04/28/neptune-fire-co-of-richland-will-host-100th-firefighters-convention-in-june/
Saturday & Sunday – June 18 & 19 3:00pm-10:00pm: St. Paul’s Summer Bazaar (Annville, PA)
Saturday – June 18 11:00am-7:00pm: Art on the Avenue Festival (West Reading, PA) https://www.eventeny.com/events/art-on-the-avenue-2022-2864/
Sunday – June 19 7:00pm-8:30pm Springettsbury Township Park Free Concert Amphitheater
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