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This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
"Someone is praying for the things you take for granted.”
Loyalsock Township High School Teacher Recognized by Senate
Pictured: [L to R: Dr. Matthew Reitz, LTHS Principal; Zachary Wahl; Jennifer Wahl; Sen. Gene Yaw and Gerald L. McLaughlin, LTHS Superintendent]
On January 22nd, I had the opportunity to recognize Jennifer R. Wahl, a teacher at Loyalsock Township High School, as the “2018 Teacher of the Year” during a ceremony at the State Capitol Building.
In December, Jennifer was named Teacher of the Year by Pennsylvania Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera during the SAS Institute, the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s annual professional development conference.
Jennifer, who has taught at Loyalsock Township High School for 11 years, was one of 12 Teacher of the Year finalists. Nominations for the Teacher of the Year were submitted by students, parents, peers, and members of the community wishing to honor and recognize educator achievements both inside and outside of the classroom.
To read more, click here.
Senate Reconvenes January 29th at 1 pm
WATCH SESSION LIVE:
The Senate convened this week, sending a number of legislative measures to the House of Representatives for consideration. A few of the bills include:
Senate Bill 373, legislation that would direct insurance companies to pay a dentist directly for services rendered to a patient. This concept is known as assignment-of-benefits.
Specifically, this bill would allow a patient to authorize payment of insurance benefits directly to the dental service provider in accordance with the provisions of their insurance policy. Payment to the dental service provider from the insurer may not exceed the amount that the insurer would otherwise have paid without the assignment of payment.
Senate Bill 851, legislation that will hold negligent property owners, not the taxpayer, accountable for properties that are in the delinquent tax sale process. The bill amends the Real Estate Tax Sale Law to clarify ownership of these properties, many of which have code violations pending against them.
Senate Bill 978, legislation allowing hospice workers to properly dispose of unused drugs. Currently, a member of the patient’s household may dispose of the patient’s pharmaceutical controlled substances, but the home hospice provider cannot do so unless otherwise authorized by (state) law to dispose of the decedent’s personal property.
Senate Bill 977, legislation which will provide additional legislative oversight of the regulatory review process.
The Senate also amended House Bill 1448, legislation that will charge the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) with creating a comparison tool on its website which would allow students, parents, or anyone interested in the data, to search through a myriad of factors which may be important to them. Such factors will include average tuition, graduation and transfer rates, percentage of students receiving federal aid, average borrowing amount, among others.
Get a Jump on Tax Season Preparation
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is encouraging you to prepare now to file your 2017 personal income tax returns.
Familiarize yourself with E-filing options which reduce paperwork, decrease errors, instantly confirm the filing, facilitate faster refunding, and expedite direct depositing.
Electronic Filing Options in 2018 for the 2017 tax year will include Padirectfile, E-filing for Free, and E-filing for a Fee through paid tax preparers and commercial tax preparation software providers. If you received more than $33 in total gross taxable income during 2017, your PA personal income tax return must be filed no later than midnight Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
2018 PML Capitol Conference Held
On January 23rd, the Pennsylvania Municipal League (PML), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1900 as an advocate for Pennsylvania’s 3rd class cities, hosted a panel discussion on the state’s opioid epidemic.
I was pleased to join state Representative Gene DiGirolamo, Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste and Jason Snyder, Special Assistant to the Secretary at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to update PML’s membership on what county/state legislators and the Wolf Administration are doing to combat this disease that now claims more lives each year than those lost to traffic accidents.
District Non-Profit Organizations Receive Education Improvement Tax Credit Donations
In December, Waste Management announced four Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program grantees within the 23rd District.
First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania (Williamsport), Community Foundation of Endless Mountains (Montrose), The Green Dragon Foundation (Lewisburg), and Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport) all received grants to improve education in Pennsylvania, totaling $22,000.
Created in 2001, the EITC Program provides tax credits to businesses that contribute to scholarship organizations, educational improvement organizations, or Pre-Kindergarten scholarship organizations. The Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development determines eligible businesses and organizations through an application process located on their website.
For more information,
Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera Visits Lycoming College
On January 18th, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera visited Lycoming College where he met with local educators and held a community discussion for the public. Secretary Rivera was joined by Deputy Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education Noe Ortega.
During their visit, Secretary Rivera and Deputy Secretary Ortega met with local superintendents from Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga counties.
Secretary Rivera discussed the challenges Pennsylvania is facing in education, including career and college preparedness, safety in schools, and providing additional funding for the school system. During his visit, Secretary Rivera also recognized the 2018 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, Jennifer R. Wahl, a teacher at Loyalsock Township High School.
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Accepting Applications for Grant Requests
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will be accepting applications for technical and grant assistance through the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation for community projects that plan, acquire, and develop parks, recreation facilities, trails, and conserve conservation areas and watersheds.
Applications will be open from January 22nd to April 11th at 4:00pm. Through the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, additional resources may be available for conservation, recreation, and heritage projects.
The Pennsylvania Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan has established the following areas as priorities for grant funding: Community Parks & Recreation; Land Conservation/Watershed Protection; Watershed Restoration/Rivers Implementation; and Trails.
For additional information regarding DCNR grants, click here.