Senator Joe Pittman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • The Pennsylvania Senate: Looking Back and Ahead
  • New Guide to PA Unemployment Benefits Available
  • You Can Help Ensure an Accurate PA Broadband Access Map
  • Older Drivers and Safe Driving
  • Friday Deadline for Communities to Apply for Boating Facility Grants
  • Happy New Year

The Pennsylvania Senate: Looking Back and Ahead

The end of the year brings a final look back on the 2021-22 legislative session, when Senate Republicans led the effort to transition Pennsylvania from COVID-19 pandemic response to helping residents and employers get back to normal, productive lives.

On the economic front, Senate-passed budgets not only shielded Pennsylvanians from tax increases, they cut the Corporate Net Income Tax to attract employers to Pennsylvania, modernized expense deductions allowing small business owners more flexibility and tax planning opportunities, and provided tax incentives for small businesses to grow and invest in Pennsylvania.

Recognizing that economic prosperity is threatened in unsafe communities, we held public hearings over the summer of 2022 examining rising crime rates and hearing from law enforcement officers on ways to restore order.

Our schools were greatly impacted by the pandemic and lengthy closures, and some of the more important education measures we passed were those that got students back into the classroom after the pandemic, expanded educational opportunity and better prepared students for success. Read more of the 2021-22 recap here.

It’s the duty of legislators to stand between Pennsylvania families and an overreaching, overtaxing executive branch. I will proudly take up that responsibility in the new session and offer our fellow citizens an alternative vision of freedom and prosperity.

New Guide to PA Unemployment Benefits Available

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has published an updated Unemployment Compensation Handbook, a guide to unemployment benefits.

Unemployment Compensation is a program designed to provide temporary income between jobs to workers who lost their job through no fault of their own: for example, due to a layoff, plant closure or lack of available work.

The handbook was designed to be easier to understand than previous versions and includes links to additional information on the Labor and Industry Department website.

You Can Help Ensure an Accurate PA Broadband Access Map

You can help ensure Pennsylvania receives an accurate level of federal funding for broadband deployment.

Check out your address on the Federal Communications Commission broadband access map to see if the local internet access information is correct. The map shows all U.S. locations where fixed broadband service is or can be installed. Pennsylvania’s federal funding for broadband deployment depends on map accuracy.

Pennsylvanians should submit challenges by Jan. 13, 2023. There are two ways to submit a challenge: by a single location, or in bulk. The location challenge can be completed by individual consumers utilizing the map itself. Bulk challengers will be required to use the Broadband Data Collection platform to submit information to the FCC.

Additional information about the Consumer Challenge Process can be found here, and additional information on the Bulk Challenge Process can be found here. A consumer may also challenge mobile data coverage through the FCC Speed Test App, a free application that can be downloaded from an Apple or Google Play Store.

Older Drivers and Safe Driving

Nearly a quarter of Pennsylvania’s licensed drivers are 65 years of age or older, and resources are available to help with the unique challenges faced by older drivers.

Signs that can indicate it may be time to limit or stop driving altogether include:

  • Feeling uncomfortable, fearful or nervous when driving.
  • Unexplained dents/scrapes on the car, fences, mailboxes or garage doors.
  • Frequently getting lost and frequent “close calls” (i.e. almost crashing).
  • Slower response times, particularly to unexpected situations.
  • Difficulty paying attention to signs or staying in the lane of traffic.
  • Trouble judging gaps at intersections or highway entrance/exit ramps.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Seniors Driving Safely publications help older drivers assess their abilities and offer guidance on next steps if their medical condition is reported to PennDOT. The series also includes a publication designed to guide family and friends of older drivers in what can sometimes be difficult conversations about deciding to stop driving, as well as information for health care providers on PennDOT’s medical reporting program.

Friday Deadline for Communities to Apply for Boating Facility Grants

Friday is the deadline for communities to apply for state grants to help realize the positive social and economic impacts of providing convenient boating access along their local waterways.

The Boating Facility Grant program provides grants for planning, acquisition, development, expansion and rehabilitation of public boating facilities located on the waters of the Commonwealth.   

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission encourages townships, boroughs, and municipal and county governments to apply. Nonprofit groups – including land trusts, conservancies and watershed associations – are also eligible to apply. Private businesses and service clubs are not eligible for direct funding but are encouraged to partner with their local county or municipality.

Happy New Year

As we conclude another eventful year filled with challenges and accomplishments, we look ahead to 2023 with renewed hope and excitement. I wish you and your loved ones the best in the new year.

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