In this Update:
Kittanning Senior Expo
Thank you to all who attended as well as the vendors who provided information about their services and donated wonderful door prizes.
I enjoyed seeing a lot of familiar faces and chatting with many folks! A special thank you to the Kittanning Township Volunteer Fire Department for use of their facilities.
Senate to Reconvene to Work on Finalizing State Budget
Next week, the Senate will return to session to work toward finalizing the 2023-24 state budget. Because the budget bill itself has been passed, the focus will be on legislation necessary to implement the budget. I hope the House of Representatives will also reconvene before its scheduled return on Sept. 26.
Decisions we make now will have a big financial impact for years to come, so we are committed to taking the responsible long-term approach. Doing so will provide certainty for Pennsylvanians in uncertain times.
Watch session live here on Wednesday, Aug. 30, at 1 p.m.
Century Farm Recognition – Armstrong County
It was a pleasure to present a Senate citation to Roger and Sandy Kromer in honor of their family farm being recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture as a Century Farm.
The Kromer farm was established in 1923 by Sandy Kromer’s grandparents and operates as a Black Angus beef farm. A granary and wooden corn crib from the original farm are still in use. Roger, Jr. and Danielle Kromer are raising their children on the farm.
The Century Farm designation can be earned by any farm that has been owned by the same family for one hundred consecutive years, consists of at least ten acres of the original holding or grosses more than one thousand dollars annually from the sale of farm products and has a family member residing on the farm on a permanent basis.
Century Farms represent durability and love of the land upon which this commonwealth was built. The recognition is an honor that provides distinction for lands with legacies.
Armstrong County is home to 60 Century Farms and five Bicentennial Farms!
Upcoming Illegible License Plate Event
Does your license plate have one or more numbers or letters that cannot be recognized from 50 feet away? Is your license plate blistered, peeling, discolored or lost its reflectivity? If so you should have your license plate replaced.
Good news – I am teaming up with state Reps. Donna Oberlander (R-63) and Abby Major (R-60), as well as local police to host a free illegible license plate event from 3-5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at the Kittanning Township Volunteer Fire Department, 13126 State Route 422, Kittanning.
When you arrive, the police will determine if the plate is illegible, and if so, we will help drivers fill out the appropriate paperwork. A new standard replacement plate should arrive in a few weeks to the vehicle owner’s home address.
Information about illegible plates can be found here. For questions, please call my Kittanning District Office at (724) 543-3026.
Citation Presentation – Vietnam Veteran
Mr. John Kellner served our country with honor and distinction as a member of the United States Navy from 1967 to 1971. It was an honor to recently join state Rep Abby Major (R-60) to present Mr. Kellner with citation from the Pennsylvania General Assembly in recognition of his achievement in winning first place in the Archery, Adaptive Fitness and Bowling events during the 2023 PVA National Veterans Wheelchair Games.
At the age of seventy-three he won seven medals in the 2023 PVA National Veterans Wheelchair Games. To his great credit, Mr. Kellner won first place in the Archery, Adaptive Fitness and Bowling events, second place in the 9-Ball event and third place in the Table Tennis, Bocce Ball and Shot Put events.
He has participated in the games for ten years and has won a total of forty-seven medals. We thank Mr. Kellner for his service during the Vietnam War and applaud his continued commitment to personal and athletic success!
New Website Reports Cost and Quality of Hospital Care
Pennsylvanians have a new tool to research the cost and quality of health care in their area.
The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, an independent state government agency, redesigned its website to better showcase its quality-related reports. It offers data to help people compare hospitals by procedure, condition, specialty and cost.
View the free public reports and browse the data here.
PA 529 Fees Waived Again
In addition to the usual state and federal tax advantages, people who use PA 529 plans to save to attend a technical school, community college or four-year college – or enter an apprenticeship – will also enjoy reduced fees for the second year in a row.
Asset-based fees will again be waived for PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) owners. Fee waivers will be funded by PA 529 GSP surplus earnings.
State fees will decrease by 0.5 basis points effective Sept. 1 for PA 529 Investment Plan (IP) account owners. This reduction and one announced last month will result in a savings of more than $800,000 for account holders throughout this fiscal year.
New CDL Skills Test Intended to Attract More School Bus Drivers
Beginning Monday, Aug. 28, a modernized commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test will be implemented at all Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) driver license centers that offer CDL skills tests and at all third party CDL driving skill testers.
Applicants who will take the test after Aug. 28 are encouraged to review updated materials here.
As some schools are already back in session and others are scheduled to start soon, there is a pressing need to ensure the availability of school bus drivers. According to PennDOT, these measures will streamline the school bus endorsement process and hopefully attract new drivers – alleviating Pennsylvania’s school bus driver shortage.
Recognizing International Overdose Awareness Day
Sadly, the opioid epidemic still impacts communities all across our state. It affects people regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status and gender – threatening our families and the safe communities we all want to enjoy.
As International Overdose Awareness Day approaches on Aug. 31, Senate Republicans remain committed to fighting the epidemic. The Senate unanimously passed legislation allowing EMS providers to leave life-saving naloxone, or Narcan, with the on-scene caregiver of a patient who overdosed on opioids but was revived.
Senate Republicans also passed a bill banning official “injection sites,” which do not help to overcome addiction and instead encourage the continued use of illegal and often deadly drugs. Injection sites normalize drug use and send a powerful, dangerous and incorrect message from government that illegal drugs can be used safely.
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