In this Update:
Gebhard Bill on Personal Finance Class for Students
Earlier this summer, my Senate Bill 1243 passed out of the Senate Education Committee. This was an important step for legislation I believe very strongly in. SB 1243 would require the completion of a full-credit economics and personal finance course as a high school graduation requirement in Pennsylvania.
I recently wrote an op-ed regarding the importance of this legislation. Please take a moment to read here.
Gov. Wolf Sues to Prevent Voters from Deciding Critical Issues
Recently, the General Assembly approved a measure that would put several proposed amendments to the state constitution on the ballot for voters to decide. Unfortunately, Gov. Tom Wolf has filed a lawsuit to keep these crucial questions off the ballot.
His lawsuit seeks to prevent Pennsylvanians from voting on the following:
Given the people have already overridden Gov. Wolf once – restricting his pandemic emergency powers – it comes as no surprise he would use the courts to bypass the people to achieve his goals.
It’s my hope this irresponsible gambit will fail and, if approved again in the 2023-24 legislative session, these critical questions will go before the voters.
In-Person Service Resumes for Unemployment Compensation Claimants
In-person services for Unemployment Compensation (UC) claimants are now available by appointment at all PA CareerLink centers throughout the commonwealth, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.
In-person services are designed to assist individuals who do not have online access or technical skills or have limited English proficiency.
To schedule an appointment, please contact the nearest PA CareerLink site, which can be found at the bottom of the homepage.
Avian Influenza Recovery Grants Available
Recovery assistance is now available for poultry farmers and integrators impacted by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
The grant program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, will provide reimbursement to farms, integrators and allied industries directly impacted by HPAI by suffering demonstrable financial losses due to inclusion in a control or quarantine zone.
The number of farms directly impacted by HPAI is currently limited to 17 in Lancaster and Berks counties, which experienced losses of more than 4.2 million birds. Pennsylvania’s $7.1 billion poultry industry employs 26,600 workers.
Business Owners Targeted with Fraudulent Letters
Business owners should be alert for fraudulent letters trying to trick them into turning over their accounting records.
The fraudulent letters include the Department of Revenue’s name and logo and leads recipients to believe that they are under investigation for “alleged violation of delinquent sales tax liability.” The letter includes contact information for a “Resolution Officer” and urges the business owner to provide accounting records prepared by a licensed professional.
You can find tips on avoiding this scam and verifying information from the state here. If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent notice, please visit the department’s Verifying Contact page for a verified phone number and contact information.
One-Time Bonus for People Qualifying for Rent or Property Tax Assistance
Older Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvanians with disabilities who qualify for a rebate on rent or property taxes paid in 2021 will receive a one-time bonus equal to 70% of their original rebate amount. The total amount a claimant will receive could be as much as $1,657.50, up from the previous maximum of $975.
Eligible claimants of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program who have already filed an application for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2021 do not need to take any further action. Those who have not yet filed an application are encouraged to do so.
Bonus rebates will start being mailed and sent via direct deposit in early September. The processing of rebates and bonus rebates will continue through the end of the year as additional applications are received.
Read more here.
New App Connects Students Experiencing Homelessness with Resources
A new mobile and desktop app is available to help connect students and families experiencing homelessness with local services and resources.
Users can search for and request assistance with services and resources in their current location, local communities and throughout Pennsylvania to connect them with help.
Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness program has a network of eight regional offices to ensure that the educational needs of students experiencing homelessness are met.
Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
This week, I had the chance to ride along with State Game Warden Dustin Stoner while he performed some duck trapping and banding at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. Banding helps the PA Game Commission track and monitor populations of ducks within the State. As a member of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, I appreciated the opportunity to get some first-hand experience.
Did you know that the Middle Creek Management Area is one of just six Globally Important Bird Areas in the state. It consists of 6,000 acres that are managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. They hosts an interactive visitor center, seasonal wildlife tour, twenty miles of hiking trails, and designated hunting areas. They recently opened a conservation heritage museum that I had the chance to tour as well.
For more information on Middle Creek, click here.
Gebhard, Ryan, Diamond to Hold REAL ID Seminar in Lebanon
There is still time to register for the Real ID seminar that 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 https://www.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.
Saturday, August 6, 9am PA National Guard “Hot Mess 5k”
Saturday, August 6, 9am-3pm Lebanon Valley Summer Series/ Craft & Vendor Show
Saturday, August 4-6, Middle Creek Wildlife Art Show
Monday-Saturday, August 8-13, Fuzzy Few Carnival
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