Senator Pittman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Finalizes 2023-24 State Budget
  • Senate Votes to Preserve Prescription Benefits for Seniors
  • Antisemitism Has No Place in Pennsylvania
  • Offering the Senate Session Opening Prayer
  • Bill to Safeguard Transit Operators Passes Senate
  • 2024 Fishing Licenses, Permits for Sale Now
  • Don’t Get Scammed This Holiday Season
  • Celebrating Bill of Rights Day

Senate Finalizes 2023-24 State Budget

The Senate on Wednesday finalized the 2023-24 state budget by approving two major bipartisan budget implementation bills, which have now been enacted into law.

A large portion of the 2023-24 state budget was completed in August with enactment of the General Appropriations Act. However, several important components still required additional budget implementation language to be passed by both the Senate and House and signed by the governor.

House Bill 1300 (Fiscal Code amendments) and House Bill 301 (School Code amendments) make major investments in the future of Pennsylvania and achieve many of the principles and priorities identified by Senate Republicans as a focus in March.

House Bill 1300 includes several important and time-sensitive measures, including reauthorization of funding for county 911 systems, expansion of a tax credit helping parents seek and maintain employment and allocation of funding for an additional 100 Pennsylvania State Police troopers to help make our communities safer. House Bill 301 includes many provisions to expand education empowerment and access and increase school safety. Read more.

Senate Votes to Preserve Prescription Benefits for Seniors

Legislation to preserve senior citizens’ access to the state’s PACE and PACENET prescription drug benefit plans passed the Senate and is set for enactment.

Senate Bill 607 would continue a law set to expire this year through Dec. 31, 2025 that prevents Social Security cost-of-living increases from making seniors ineligible for PACE and PACENET.

Current income eligibility levels for PACE are set at less than $14,500 for a single person and less than $17,700 for a couple. PACENET, which covers those individuals with incomes exceeding PACE maximums, is open to individuals earning between $14,500 and $33,500 and couples with incomes between $17,700 and $41,500. The minimum age to participate in the programs is 65, and they are funded from proceeds of the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Antisemitism Has No Place in Pennsylvania

The protest we saw last Sunday in Harrisburg about the war between Israel and Hamas serves as a reminder of the fear and hatred being spread throughout the world.

The protesters’ march to the Governor’s Residence and targeting of Gov. Josh Shapiro was extremely troubling. Despite our political differences, I stand with the governor, his family, the Jewish community of Pennsylvania and the people of Israel.

Antisemitism has no place here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in our nation or anywhere in the world.

Offering the Senate Session Opening Prayer

This past week, I was deeply honored to serve as the guest chaplain and offer the opening prayer for our Wednesday session day. 

The world is divided. We see this division throughout our nation, across our commonwealth and in the Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg. 

As we work to meet the needs of all our constituents and tackle many significant issues, I continue to ask for blessings and prayers that we may come together for the greater good of our commonwealth.

Bill to Safeguard Transit Operators Passes Senate

The Senate passed legislation to safeguard transit operators against assault.

Senate Bill 977 would make it a felony of the third degree to interfere with and cause bodily injury to an operator of any public transit vehicle. The offense would be steepened to a felony of the first degree if the intrusion causes serious bodily injury or death.

Passage of the legislation is part of Senate Republicans’ ongoing effort to invest in infrastructure and increase public safety.

2024 Fishing Licenses, Permits for Sale Now

Fishing licenses, permits and vouchers for 2024 purchased now are valid immediately through Dec. 31, 2024. The price of an annual resident fishing license is $27.97. Multi-year options are also available in increments of three years, five years or 10 years.

They can be purchased through the HuntFishPA online portal on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website, via smartphone by using the FishBoatPA mobile app or by visiting a retail license issuing agent.

Vouchers that can be given as gifts and are redeemable by recipients are also available.

Don’t Get Scammed This Holiday Season

Sadly, just as the holiday season is often a charitable time, there are people hoping to take advantage by scamming others.

From email and text phishing to delivery stealing to credit card skimming and more, there are so many ways to fall prey. Learn more about the common scams criminals use.

Protect yourself and your family by setting up alerts with your credit card company so you know when purchases are made and avoid paying with a prepaid gift card, CashApp or Venmo to buy a gift online. Never use Alexa to find a customer support number and dial for you or click on a hyperlink in an email, social media ad or text message to make a purchase. Instead, go directly to the store’s website.

Celebrating Bill of Rights Day

Friday, Dec. 15, is Bill of Rights Day, when we recognize the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. For 232 years, these amendments have protected our right to speak our mind, defend our families and worship as we see fit.

We hold those liberties – and the others that make up the Bill of Rights – dear and cherish how they impact our daily life as the true framework of our society.

Bill of Rights Day was first observed on the document’s 150th anniversary when former President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation dedicating Dec. 15 as the day to recognize our God-given rights.

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