Jun. 14, 2019


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 The latest news from the State Capitol

Ensuring Sexual Harassment is not Hidden

To help address the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, the House approved legislation this week to help prevent these offenses – and the offenders – from being hidden and dealt with.

House Bill 849 would prohibit employers from requiring employees and prospective employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement related to sexual harassment as a condition of employment.

This would ensure workers who face sexual harassment in the workplace can exercise their voice to report such egregious offenses they may suffer at the hands of a co-worker or superior. Employees and employers would still be able to voluntarily enter into such agreements.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Lowering Health Insurance Costs

Pennsylvanians who buy their health insurance on the federal exchange could see lower prices under legislation adopted by the House this week.

House Bill 3 would establish a state-based health insurance exchange and reinsurance program, an option offered by the Trump administration and supported by the Wolf administration as a means for helping make health care more affordable for Commonwealth citizens.

The proposal is also expected to save taxpayer money, as the cost of the state running its own exchange is expected to be about half the cost of fees currently being paid to the federal government to run it for us.

The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Extended to Dec. 31

Older adults and Pennsylvanians with disabilities now have until Dec. 31 to apply for the state’s 2018 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. The original deadline was June 30.

The rebate program benefits eligible residents 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. The maximum standard rebate is $650.

Eligibility information and forms are available on my website at RepBoback.com or by contacting one of my district offices, where assistance in filling out the applications is available free of charge. There is no need to pay a private firm for help. Learn more about the rebate program here.  
State Program Provides Free Produce to Seniors

Area seniors are encouraged to take advantage of a state program that provides vouchers worth $20 that can be used to purchase produce at participating farmers markets and roadside stands.

Vouchers are provided on a first-come, first-served basis by the Area Agency on Aging for Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. Four $5 vouchers will be handed out per person. Learn more here about eligibility requirements.

Vouchers will be distributed at the following dates, times and locations during the months of June and July:
  • Thursday, June 27, Dallas Active Adult Center, 1158 Twin Stacks Drive, Dallas, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Monday, July 8, Wyoming County Active Adult Center, 101 Dymond Terrace, Tunkhannock, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 9, Church of Christ (Sweet Valley Area), 5439 Main Road, Sweet Valley, from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Wednesday, July 10, Falls Active Adult Center, 2813 Sullivan’s Trail, Falls, from 10 a.m. to noon.
In the District

Last Saturday, I had the honor of presenting a House citation to Max and Mary Lou Bowman on the occasion of their 70th wedding anniversary. Congratulations!!!

The Nicholson Fire Company’s annual Wine Festival was well attended last Saturday. Thanks to all our volunteer firefighters for what they do to keep us safe! I’m joined by President Bill Irion, Chief Glenn Ball and other members of the fire company.

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Lake Silkworth Volunteer Fire Department’s new fire station. Established in 1943, the company has been steadfast in providing service for Lake Silkworth and surrounding areas. Sen. Lisa Baker also took part.

Congratulations and thanks to MOM-n-PA for another successful dental clinic in Wilkes-Barre last weekend. The organization provides free dental services to those who can’t afford dental care. I joined Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (at podium) in presenting MOM-n-PA with a House citation in recognition of its free program.

While I was in legislative session in Harrisburg, Leslie Cadden from my Tunkhannock office (flowered dress), presented certificates of congratulations to the graduates of this year’s Leadership Wyoming program. They learned how to become stronger leaders to help build a better Wyoming County.
Beware of Financial Aid Scams Targeting Unsuspecting Students and Borrowers

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is warning students and borrowers to be wary of financial aid scams that could expose them to identity theft and significant financial loss.

The most effective way to avoid becoming the victim of a scam is to be alert and vigilant when asked to provide any form of personal information or when engaging in financial transactions.

Recent scams include:
  • Student loan forgiveness scams in which complete forgiveness is guaranteed in exchange for a fee.
  • Tuition scams in which someone claiming to work for your school’s administrative office calls to warn you that your tuition is late and you risk being dropped from class unless you pay immediately. Hang up and contact your school directly.
  • Students and borrowers are also commonly targeted with unnecessary fees for services that can be easily accessed for free.
Wilkes University Event

Wilkes University recently honored outgoing president, Patrick Leahy, at its Founder’s Gala. Joining me were (from left) Sen. Lisa Baker; Vice President of Student Affairs Paul Adams; and Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski.
NEPA Alliance to Host Tax Credit Workshops

NEPA Alliance is hosting two New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) workshops on Tuesday, June 18, at Wilkes University and the University of Scranton to provide an overview of NMTC and educate attendees on the eligibility, uses and intake process of NMTC through NEPA Alliance.

The morning workshop at Wilkes University will run from 9-11 a.m. in the library, Farley 002. The afternoon workshop at the University of Scranton’s DeNaples Center will run from 1-3 p.m. on the fourth floor, room 405.

To learn more or to register, click here.
Fish with a WCO

Are you interested in improving your fishing skills or introducing a young person to the activity? Then make plans to attend the “Fish with a Waterways Conservation Officer (WCO)” event at Lackawanna State Park on Saturday, June 22, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To learn more or to register, click here.
Penn State Extension to Provide Free Drinking Water Testing

Have you ever had the drinking water from your well, spring or cistern tested for lead and other health-related pollutants? If not, here is your chance.

Penn State Extension has received funding to provide no-cost drinking water testing to a limited number of homeowners using private water wells, springs or cisterns in Luzerne County. The testing is for private water supplies that are actively being used for drinking water in the household. Camps or seasonal households that are not continuously used are not eligible for this program. The commercial value of this water testing would be $100.

This testing is limited to the first 40 households using a private well, spring or cistern that register at here, where additional information is also available.
Mark Your Calendar for Our Spotted Lanternfly Seminar

On Wednesday, July 17, I will be hosting an awareness seminar focusing on the spotted lanternfly at 6 p.m. at Back Mountain Regional EMA, 3593 State Route 118 in Lehman Township.

Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties have yet to report an official sighting of this destructive insect. Nearby Carbon and Monroe counties, however, are on the quarantine list, and we’re trying to be proactive due to the potential damage that can be inflicted by the spotted lanternfly on more than 70 varieties of plants, including hardwood trees, grapes, apples, peaches and hops.

This event is contingent on sufficient pre-registration. If you plan to attend, please reserve your seat by contacting our Dallas district office at 570-675-6000.

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Office Locations
105 Lieutenant Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas, PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 West Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657| Phone: (570) 836-4777
41-B East Wing, Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117
Email: kboback@pahousegop.com