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In this email update:
Property tax elimination remains key initiative in the legislature
Property tax elimination remains my #1 priority, and last month I met with the grassroots advocacy groups that are pushing for school property tax elimination to select our best options to present to all of the members of the Senate so we can pass this initiative once and for all.
During session last week, Senate President Pro Tempore, Senator Joe Scarnati, provided remarks which highlighted some of the legislature’s key priorities and initiatives for 2018, with school property tax elimination making the list.
You can watch Senator Scarnati’s remarks here.
In addition, WHYY recently published an article reviewing some of the data compiled from IFO reports on school property tax elimination and its impact on homeowners (particularly seniors and renters), as well as the constitutional amendment that was approved by Pennsylvania voters on November 7 to permit the General Assembly to enact legislation to expand the homestead exclusion up to 100 percent.
Read the full WHYY article here.
Reforming the state’s current welfare system
As Chairman of the Senate Majority Policy Committee, one of the biggest issues my colleagues and I continue to tackle is welfare fraud and abuse in Pennsylvania. My goal regarding welfare reform is to end the abuse of the system so that we can save the state money and afford to provide additional assistance to those who are truly needy.
Over in the House of Representatives, Representative Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Dauphin) has been a leader in the fight for welfare reform in Pennsylvania. Earlier this month, Representatives Tobash and his colleagues introduced a package of welfare reform bills aimed at eliminating welfare fraud and abuse, helping individuals and their families become self-sufficient, as well as producing cost savings for Pennsylvania. The welfare reform bills will focus specifically on work requirements and time limits for receiving various public assistance benefits.
You can watch their press conference here.
Read more about the welfare reform package from the Standard-Speaker here.
Berks County Community Foundation scholarships available
The Berks County Community Foundation Scholarship Application System provides students and residents in Berks County with the opportunity to apply for scholarships from several charitable funds.
The scholarships cover a wide array of educational areas including law, music, computer science, math and agricultural science.
Last year, the Berks County Community Foundation provided scholarships to 326 students, with the amount of those awards totaling $799,677.
The majority of applications will be accepted from January 15, 2018 until March 15, 2018.
For more information about available scholarships and deadlines, please click here.
There’s still time to attend the 2018 Farm Show
The Farm Show will run until Saturday, January 13, with doors opening at 8 a.m.
Every morning, afternoon, and evening, the Farm Show will feature daily animal competitions, cow milking contests, cooking demonstrations, and numerous exhibitions, including wood carving, honey extraction, maple syrup production, square dancing, rabbit hopping demonstrations, bluebird nest box building, and much more.
You can review the full schedule of Pennsylvania’s premier annual agriculture show here.
General Admission Tickets and Sponsorship opportunities are available for the PA Preferred Reception.
Admission to the Farm Show is free and parking is $15. Admission prices to the First Frontier Circuit Finals Rodeo range from $5 to $35 depending on the day of the week and available seating.
LIHEAP applications are now being accepted
Eligible Pennsylvanians may choose one of three methods to apply for a 2017-18 cash grant sent directly to the utility company or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.
PennDOT releases latest Winter Service Guide
Key elements of the Guide are broken into categories to assist you with your preparations:
Turn to pages 8-29 for the PennDOT District Tools offering details on the number of snow lane miles, average snowfall, number of municipal agreements, amounts of salt and brine required, as well as the budgeted and actual expenditures to properly maintain snow and ice-covered roadways in your PennDOT Maintenance District.
Along with the contact information listed for each of the Commonwealth’s 12 Highway Maintenance Districts are the number of permanent and temporary operators and mechanics required in each district.
January ranks second in home candle fires
Nearly 40 percent of home candle fires historically begin in the bedroom. However, only 13 percent of candle users most often burn candles in the bedroom.
Candle burning warnings include maintaining a one-foot circle of safety to include bedding, blinds, curtains, and decorations. It is essential that candles are extinguished upon exiting a room and when going to bed. Sleep was a factor in 11 percent of the fires and 21 percent of the candle fire deaths.
The National Fire Protection Association emphasizes the dangers of candles in some emergency situations. Strong emphasis is placed on the use of flashlights versus candles. Never use a candle around flammable liquids, especially when refueling kerosene or gas home heating equipment.