Senator Pittman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Platinum Visual Solutions Ribbon Cutting
  • Armstrong County 4-H Achievement Night
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony
  • Smart Saving Upgrades Pennsylvania’s Financial Standing
  • Senate Approves Bill Enabling Better Service in Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Tuition and Loan Assistance for First Responders
  • Comment Period Open on Plan to Expand PA Internet Access
  • Deadline for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31
  • Happy Hanukkah!

Platinum Visual Solutions Ribbon Cutting

I was very pleased to participate in Platinum Visual Solutions ribbon cutting ceremony at a facility on Barr Slope Road in Dixonville. The company is based in California and has been in business for over 60 years as one of the leading manufacturers of classroom display products. The Dixonville site is set to start production in early 2024.

It is great to see new life being brought back to the former Polyvision building in northern Indiana County. It has a long history of manufacturing visual display products, contributing to the tax base and providing family sustaining jobs throughout the region.

Congratulations to Platinum Visual Systems on expanding their operations. I am committed to supporting their long-term success!

Armstrong County 4-H Achievement Night

I enjoyed attending the Armstrong County 4-H Achievement Night and celebrating the accomplishments of our youth and leadership who are involved in this important program! One leader in particular who was recognized, is Ronna Leah Prindible, who is not only a 4-H leader and mentor, but also a member of my staff. Thank you to Penn State Extension for sponsoring this annual event. Congratulations to all who help to make this program a success. I am always proud to support the 4-H program and our youth; they are the future of agriculture.

Wreath Laying Ceremony

I was honored to be invited to participate in the Fr. McNelis Assembly 1481 Knights of Columbus wreath-laying ceremonies. A blessing and laying of a wreath took place at the Veterans’ Memorial Wall located on the lawn of the Indiana County Courthouse, followed by another such ceremony at the foot of the WWI Doughboy Statue located in Memorial Park.

For almost a century, the Knights of Columbus organization has provided for the spiritual and temporal well-being of our servicemen and servicewomen.

During this holiday season, it is important for us to take time out of our busy lives to honor and pay tribute to those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom and our nation.

Smart Saving Upgrades Pennsylvania’s Financial Standing

Because of sound financial management and strong budgetary reserves, one of the nation’s leading credit rating agencies – Fitch Ratings – upgraded the state’s bond rating from AA- to AA. The state hasn’t held the improved rating since 2014.

The upgrade is expected to lead to lower debt service costs, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. This is one of the reasons Senate Republicans have led the efforts to build the state’s Rainy Day Fund to historic highs and resist new recurring spending the state cannot afford.

Earlier this fall, Moody’s Investor Services and S&P Global Ratings both upgraded Pennsylvania’s long-term financial outlook from “stable” to “positive.”

Senate Approves Bill Enabling Better Service in Long-Term Care Facilities

The Senate approved a bill to enhance the availability and quality of service at long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 668 would address the workforce shortage in nursing homes that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and has grown in recent years as health care professionals left the field due to burnout. It would enable certified nurse aids (CNAs) to train to become certified medication aides (CMAs) and deliver common, minimally invasive prescribed medications to residents of nursing facilities. Currently, only registered nurses and licensed practical nurses can administer medications to nursing home residents.

CNAs would be able to complete a certified medication administration program established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. CNAs who complete the program would be registered as CMAs and would be authorized to administer certain prescribed medications in health care facilities.

Tuition and Loan Assistance for First Responders

Because of legislation passed by Senate Republicans, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency established a Tuition and Loan Assistance Program for active volunteer fire and emergency medical service providers.

After a year of service, volunteers are eligible for up to $1,000 of financial assistance per academic year. Volunteers must commit to five years of service following college graduation.

The legislation is designed to combat Pennsylvania’s crisis in attracting volunteer first responders, which has led to many fire and emergency medical service companies reducing services.

Comment Period Open on Plan to Expand PA Internet Access

A strong internet connection powers our economy and supports education, health care and more. Many Pennsylvania communities lack access to high-speed internet.

Development of Pennsylvania’s Digital Equity Plan was funded by federal dollars and aims to make high-speed internet available to more Pennsylvanians. You can review the plan and, until Jan. 8, 2024, take advantage of the public comment period to offer feedback.

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) offers three ways to comment:

The PBDA will also host in-person and virtual Public Comment Sessions on the following dates:

Clearfield County: Dec. 7

Washington County: Dec. 14

Philadelphia: Dec. 16

Deadline for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31

The deadline to apply for the state’s 2022 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31. Applications and no-cost assistance are available from my district office.

Eligible participants can receive a maximum standard rebate of $650, but supplemental rebates can boost rebates to $975. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities.

Claimants who already applied for their rebates may check the status of claims online or by calling 1-888-222-9190.

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival that celebrates the ancient miracle of the oil burning a candle for eight nights, runs from Dec. 7-15. In honor of the holiday, people of the Jewish faith light a candle on their menorahs each evening for eight nights.

As our friends celebrate the rededication of the Holy Temple, we wish them Chag sameach!

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