Senator Chris Gebhard E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Senate Committee Passes Gebhard Bill to Improve Personal Financial Literacy
  • Senate Passes Gebhard Bill to Allow for Energy-Efficient Lighting
  • Bills to Limit Exposure of Sexually Explicit Content in PA Schools Approved by Senate Committee
  • Legislation Preparing Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs Approved by Senate
  • Senate Acts to Reduce PA Lyme Disease Cases
  • Bill to Curb Welfare Abuse Passed by Senate
  • Regional Transportation Projects Open to Review
  • Older Mobile Phone Services Shutting Down
  • National Dairy Month and PA Dairy Farmers
  • Local Events

Senate Committee Passes Gebhard Bill to Improve Personal Financial Literacy

My bill, Senate Bill 1243, was passed by the Senate Education Committee this week.  SB1243 would improve personal financial literacy by requiring completion of a full-credit economics and personal finance course as a high school graduation requirement.

The most recent estimates calculate there are more than 350 million American-owned credit card accounts, and, on average, credit card owners have about four cards apiece. This has led to astonishing levels of debt. As a nation, families in the United States are approaching approximately $1 trillion dollars in credit card debt and more than $15 trillion dollars in debt total.

Far too often, the financial decisions our younger generations are making early in their lives are putting them at a financial disadvantage.  From daily purchases to long-term financial planning, becoming proficient at money management is a critical skill all Pennsylvanians need.  By teaching high school students the financial basics, they will be able to make decisions that position them for lifetime success and financial independence.

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Senate Passes Gebhard Bill to Allow for Energy-Efficient Lighting

My bill, Senate Bill 1093, which would allow outdoor advertisers to use energy-efficient lighting, received unanimous Senate support this week.  SB 1093 would amend the Outdoor Advertising Control Act of 1971 to allow for energy-efficient lighting to be installed on outdoor advertising devices, such as billboards, while maintaining compliance with federal regulations.

By modernizing the Commonwealth’s outdoor advertising rules, advertisers would be able to operate in a more efficient and environmentally friendly manner while still conforming to federal regulations. It would give advertisers the same opportunity to use energy-efficient lighting that so many of us already enjoy.

Having received support in the Senate, the bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Bills to Limit Exposure of Sexually Explicit Content in PA Schools Approved by Senate Committee

Two bills that would give parents a voice in discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in Pennsylvania schools advanced out of the Senate Education Committee.

Senate Bill 1277 would require districts to identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum and materials and notify parents that their child’s coursework includes such content. Senate Bill 1278 would prohibit classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students, consistent with the timeline for when the existing academic standards on general sex education begins in sixth grade.

The proposals are in response to concerns of parents that age-inappropriate conversations about these sensitive topics are occurring prematurely and without parental knowledge in elementary school classrooms around the state.

Information about what Senate Bill 1278 does and does not do, examples of situations that concerned parents have reported from classrooms around the state and other important information can be found here.

Legislation Preparing Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs Approved by Senate

The Senate approved legislation to improve workforce development initiatives and better prepare Pennsylvania students for jobs that will be in demand after they graduate.

House Bill 723 would bring state law in compliance with the federal requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by updating state and local workforce development board membership requirements and making other changes. The state and federal acts work in concert to help train individuals for family sustaining jobs.

This bill also requires the state Department of Labor and Industry to collect data on emerging and projected future employment sectors in Pennsylvania and send it to educational institutions. Schools would be required to use the information to develop career education programs and for providing career guidance to students. The amended bill will return to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Acts to Reduce PA Lyme Disease Cases

With Pennsylvania leading the nation in the incidence of Lyme disease, the Senate approved legislation to require insurance coverage for testing and treatment, and raise awareness of tickborne diseases.

Senate Bill 1188 also requires the Department of Health to work with the Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania at East Stroudsburg University to develop an electronic database to better track possible cases and provide access to the latest research. The measure will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing the persistent symptoms of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Left untreated or improperly treated, Lyme disease can lead to debilitating symptoms, which include fevers, arthritis, joint aches and more. If treated within the first 30 days, 10% or fewer patients will progress to severe symptoms.

Bill to Curb Welfare Abuse Passed by Senate

A bill to halt wasteful spending in the Medical Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) programs was approved by the Senate and sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Bill 1124 requires the Department of Human Services to check death certificates with the Bureau of Vital Statistics so that the payments can be halted immediately when a recipient’s death is recorded.

An audit by former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services paid benefits to 2,324 dead people. In one case, $800 in benefits intended for a woman who passed away was used by another individual for a shopping spree.

Regional Transportation Projects Open to Review

Pennsylvanians have until June 30 to participate in a comment period on the draft 2023 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

The draft 2023 STIP reflects the first four years of the 12-Year Program. It lists prioritized projects identified for federal, state, local and private funding in each federal fiscal year between 2023 and 2027.

The draft 2023 STIP can be viewed on the Talk PA Transportation website. Citizens can view projects by county and comment by filling out the online comment form or emailing RA-PennDOTSTC@pa.gov. You can also call PennDOT at 717-783-2262 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Older Mobile Phone Services Shutting Down

Mobile carriers are shutting down 3G and other older services to make room for 5G and other more advanced network services. 

The Federal Communications Commission says T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS and Sprint 4G LTE services will be shut down by the end of June and Verizon’s 3G by Dec. 31.

If your device uses the 3G wireless spectrum, you will not be able to make 911 calls on the device after the 3G phase out occurs. In addition to older mobile devices, some home security systems, life/medical alert systems, vehicle SOS services, and other tablets that rely on 3G are also impacted. More information and help can be found here.

National Dairy Month and PA Dairy Farmers

Pennsylvania is second only to Wisconsin in the number of dairy farms in America, with 5,200 throughout the state.

The commonwealth’s 474,000 cows produce more than 10 billion pounds of milk annually. Pennsylvania dairy production is critical to our commonwealth and nation, and keeping it strong is a top priority.

Local Events

Thursday, June 23-25 8am-5pm, MGH Summerfest
188 W McKinley Ave, Myerstown
https://visitlebanonvalley.com/tribeevent/mgh-summerfest/

Saturday, June 25 10am Traditional Cherry Fair & Early American Craft Show
Historic Schaefferstown Farm, 213 S Carpenter St, Schaefferstown
https://fb.me/e/5EI3CLfkb

Saturday, June 25 1pm-4pm, 2022 Ephrata Brewfest
Whistle Stop Plaza, 16 E. Main St, Ephrata
https://www.ephratabrewfest.com/

Saturday, June 25 11am-11pm, Javapalooza 2022
Java Ave, Hershey
https://www.facebook.com/javapaloozahershey

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