Aug. 09, 2019


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News You Can Use

 The latest news from the State Capitol

Hotline to Assist Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

A new hotline to help connect thousands of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren to the resources and programs available to them is now live. The KinConnector hotline was established through Act 89 of 2018, which I co-sponsored in the House, to address the growing number of grandparents who have become primary caregivers to their grandchildren in the Commonwealth. It is a situation that has skyrocketed in recent years as a result of the state’s opioid epidemic. An estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania. KinConnector can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). The KinConnector helpline is staffed by social service professionals prepared to help families understand and access local, state and federal resources. A website of resources will also be available in the near future.
FCC Takes Next Step in Battle Against Robocalls, Spoofing

Recognizing the frustration and potential danger posed by spam calls and spoofing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced new rules this week that will ban malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and foreign calls. The rules are designed to close a loophole in existing law that prevented the agency from pursuing scammers sending spoofed text messages and international bad actors making spoofed calls to Americans. Earlier this summer, the FCC approved rules that could make it easier for AT&T, Verizon and other telecom giants to block suspected spam calls on behalf of their subscribers. It allows the companies to enroll consumers in their call-blocking services by default, as opposed to waiting for customers to sign up for such tools on their own. While these changes are important steps in the fight against robocalls and spoofing, no one expects they will result in their elimination.

This has been an issue of great importance to me for several years, and I authored legislation in the House to make false caller identification information display a crime in Pennsylvania with enforceable penalties. House Bill 485 is awaiting consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.

If you receive a spam call, you can file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center.
Bringing State Government to You

The Mobile Vet Center will be in the Ace Hardware-Brady and Cavany Store parking lot in Eaton Township on Monday, Aug. 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some of the services available for veterans and their dependents include individual, group, family and bereavement counseling; medical referrals; assistance in applying for Veterans Affairs benefits; employment counseling; guidance and referrals; and alcohol and drug assessments.

On Tuesday, Aug. 13, a member of my staff will be holding satellite office hours from 9-11 a.m. at the Hunlock Township Building, located at 33 Village Drive, Hunlock Creek.

On Wednesday, Aug. 14, my staff will be available from 10 a.m. to noon for satellite hours at the Windham Township Municipal Building, located at 149 Palen St., Mehoopany.
In the District

I recently joined Congressman Fred Keller for a visit with the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce at Shadowbrook Resort to discuss the state of business and economic development in our region.

Triton Hose Company’s annual carnival kicked off last week with the fireman’s parade, and I was pleased to participate alongside Congressman Fred Keller and Sen. Lisa Baker. I am pictured above with local Scouts and members of the American Legion Post 457. A big thanks to the hundreds of volunteers that helped make the parade and the carnival a success!

I recently had the privilege of presenting Maryan Daily, founder of the Dallas Alzheimer’s Support Group, with a House citation recognizing the group’s 15th anniversary. It has made immeasurable contributions to families in our community thanks to the work of its dedicated leaders and members. The support group meets on the first Thursday of every month at the Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to share empathy and helpful tips to keep loved ones’ lives manageable.
Law to Eliminate Inheritance Tax for Children

Children age 21 or younger who suffer the loss of a parent will no longer have to pay the state’s 4.5% inheritance tax under a new law taking effect in January. Act 13 of 2019 reduces the inheritance tax rate to 0% for the transfer of property to or for the use of a child 21 years of age or younger from a natural parent, adoptive parent or a stepparent of the child. A prior law implemented a 0% tax rate on transfers from a child 21 years of age or younger to his or her parent. The law will apply to transfers from a decedent who dies after Dec. 31, 2019.
Hunter-Trapper Education Courses Available

State law requires all first-time hunters and trappers, regardless of age, to successfully complete Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE) training before they can buy a Pennsylvania hunting or trapping license. Prospective hunters age 16 years or older may complete the study course entirely online. Or you may sign up for one of the classes being offered near you. For a searchable database of classes currently scheduled, click here.
Fire, EMS Grant Program to Open First Week of September

Fire companies and ambulance services throughout Pennsylvania are encouraged to apply for the 2019-20 Fire Company, Emergency Medical Services Companies Grant Program from the Office of State Fire Commissioner. The application period will open the first week of September and remain open for 45 days. Exact dates will be listed at closer to the grant application period opening. Organizations may apply for a grant in up to two of six eligible funding categories. Those categories include: construction or renovation of a unit’s facility and purchase or repair of necessary fixtures and furnishings; purchase or repair of firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment, including fuel for company vehicles; debt reduction related to the above categories; training and certification of members; training and education materials about fire prevention for the general public; and, for career fire departments only, overtime costs associated with backfilling positions while firefighters are attending training. The maximum grant amount is $15,000 for fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. A total of $30 million will be awarded through the program, which is funded by state gaming proceeds. For more information about the program, click here.

Our District

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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