In this Update:
Strengthening the Integrity of Pennsylvania’s Elections
Most Pennsylvanians say they are dissatisfied with the way elections are conducted in the state, according to a recent poll. To address this, the General Assembly passed one of the most significant election integrity packages in America.
The General Assembly passed two proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution addressing elections. If approved again in the 2023-24 legislative session, the questions will be put on the ballot for voters to decide.
One of these amendments would require all voters to present a valid form of identification prior to voting in person or by mail. Seventy-four percent of Pennsylvanians support requiring voters to present identification to vote.
A separate proposed amendment would require the General Assembly to provide for audits of elections, including the administration of elections and the results. This crucial work would be performed by the state Auditor General.
In addition to moving these constitutional questions one step closer to voters, the General Assembly passed Act 88 of 2022 to get private money out of the administration of our elections. The legislation was created after certain counties received millions of dollars from a group funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg during the 2020 Election.
The new law creates grants for counties to cover costs such as hiring and training staff, printing ballots and managing voting machines and tabulation equipment. In return, counties who accept the money are required to take several critical steps to ensure the integrity of the process.
Pennsylvanians have advocated for real and meaningful changes that will promote confidence in the fairness of our election system. As elected officials, it is our responsibility to ensure every part of our voting system is above reproach.
Lebanon Area Fair 2022
This week’s Lebanon Area Fair has kicked off to a great start. I was happy to be able to speak at the opening ceremony this year and meet with the new Lebanon Area Fair Queen, Chloe Bomgardner. On Tuesday, I attended the Farm-City Committee breakfast at the Fair, sponsored by the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce. The update from Larisa Miller, the President of Keystone Farm Future, on their company’s innovative way to produce beef directly for Karns was very interesting. If you have not had the chance to make it to the fair yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. For more information on the schedule of events and things to do there, you can visit https://www.lebanonareafair.com/.
Special Education Additional School Year Notification Deadline is Monday
The General Assembly recently passed a proposal to provide an additional year of instruction to special education students who reached the age of 21 during the 2021-22 school year or before the 2022-23 school year starts.
Due to COVID-19, many of these students suffered immense learning loss and need a bridge before aging out of the public school system.
Information about this provision is available here. Parents must submit the Act 55 of 2022 Student Enrollment Notification Form to their school district by this Monday, Aug. 1.
New Law Improves Access to Home Health Care Services
Legislation recently passed by the General Assembly and enacted into law will help improve access to home health care services by making permanent two regulations waived during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, non-physician practitioners were unable to order or oversee orders for home health care services. Additionally, registered nurses were not able to perform remote visits to patients in need of home health care services.
Due to great need, those regulations were waived during the pandemic. Act 30 of 2022 makes these exceptions permanent, so health care services are more accessible to those individuals who cannot leave their homes to obtain care or treatment.
Help for Veterans and Beneficiaries Facing Unexpected Hardships
Pennsylvania veterans and beneficiaries facing a crisis can receive financial relief for necessities of life such as food, shelter, fuel and clothing through the Veterans Temporary Assistance program.
Eligible veterans or their beneficiaries can qualify for up to $1,600 in a 12-month period. Eligibility requirements include: a person who served in the U.S. Armed Forces (discharged under honorable conditions), died in service or was killed in action, or suffered a service-connected disability.
To apply, contact the County Veterans Affairs Director in your county.
Watch Out for Energy Marketing Scams
Consumers should be alert for potential energy marketing scams, especially unsolicited telemarketing calls requesting immediate action and promising far-reaching savings on energy bills.
One type of misleading solicitation involves robocalls from unidentified sources making vague and potentially misleading statements about customer discounts, refunds, rebates and bonuses if the customer acts now. The calls often appear as a local telephone number on recipients’ caller ID, which is often fake or “spoofed,” or the calls fail to display any number at all.
According to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, if the sales agent fails to immediately identify themselves and the reason for the call, the consumer should end the call. Find out more about scammers and how to avoid them here.
Please Support Local Independent Retailers
Local, independent retailers reinvest more of their revenues than chain retailers and much more of their revenues than Amazon. Shopping local and supporting independent retailers contributes to the health and prosperity of our communities. I hope you give them a chance to earn your business year-round.
Gebhard, Ryan, Diamond to Hold REAL ID Seminar in Lebanon
I will be joining Rep. Ryan and Diamond in hosting a REAL ID seminar in Lebanon to inform constituents about the REAL ID law and the process for obtaining a REAL ID before next spring. Enforcement of the REAL ID Act will begin May 3, 2023.
While residents are not specifically required to obtain a REAL ID, a federally accepted form of identification will be necessary to board commercial domestic flights or visit a secure federal building after that date. Federally accepted identification includes a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a U.S. passport or passport card or a military ID. It is important to gather your official documents early to ensure you are able to secure your REAL ID before the enforcement deadline.
The Real ID seminar will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 10, from 5-7 p.m. at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center, 80 Rocherty Road, Lebanon. Register online at RepFrankRyan.com/events or by calling the senator’s office at 717-274-6735.
A PennDOT representative will be on hand to explain the new federal ID requirements, the documents needed to obtain a Pennsylvania REAL ID, and how and where to apply.
Friday, July 22-30 7-7pm, Lebanon Area Fair
Saturday, July 23-31 Noon-9pm, York State Fair
Saturday, July 30-31, 4th Annual Schaeffer Farm WWII Weekend
Saturday, July 30, 12-4pm, Summer Carshow & Craftshow
Tuesday, August 2, National Night Out
Saturday, August 6, PA National Guard “Hot Mess 5k”
To subscribe to Senator Gebhard’s newsletter click here. Follow on him on Facebook, Twitter, or visit https://senatorgebhard48.com/
If you do not wish to receive this email, click here to unsubscribe.