Jan. 30, 2017

In the Community

101st Farm Show

The 101st Pennsylvania Farm Show was held this year from Jan. 7-14. The Farm Show is designed to showcase the very best in agriculture that the Commonwealth has to offer. This year, the event featured 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors that emphasized the importance of agriculture in the daily life of Pennsylvanians. The Farm Show highlighted the latest in agricultural technology and advancements and offered attractions for all ages.

 I enjoyed a milk toast with Reps. Mark Keller and Kristen Phillips-Hill to celebrate National Milk Day.

New Federal Regulations Could Affect Local Families

 I listened to the viewpoints presented by John Reardon, executive director of the Arc of Cumberland and Perry Counties, and other panel members.

I attended a meeting on Jan. 10 at the Pollock Center for Industrial Training with more than 200 advocates and parents of individuals with disabilities. I listened to the concerns regarding the Commonwealth’s efforts to comply with the home and community based services federal regulations. These proposed regulations would severely alter the day-to-day lives of individuals with disabilities by requiring them to spend 75 percent of their time receiving service in the community by 2019.

It is crucial that the particular circumstances of each person and their family be considered within Pennsylvania’s delivery of these regulations. The immense impact of the potential regulations on individuals prompted me to send a letter of comment to the deputy secretary of the Office of Developmental Programs. I have requested that implementation of these regulations should be paused pending guidance from the new federal secretary of Health and Human Services.

Defense Meeting

The Cumberland York Area Local Defense Group held its final meeting of a three-part military value assessment, which gauged the value of the U.S. Department of Defense presence to the Cumberland York area, as well as the value of the region to the Department of Defense’s mission. I am happy to support area Department of Defense operations and look forward to addressing any concerns or needs in the future.

Open House

 State Sen. Mike Regan joined my staff and me at our district office Open House

We opened our district office doors in December to constituents for our annual Open House. Constituents and employees from throughout the 87th District joined us in our Camp Hill office to learn about state programs and services. The district office is staffed with highly trained constituent outreach specialists who are available Monday through Friday to offer assistance to all constituents in the 87th District from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

What my district office can do for you:
• Obtain copies of birth and death certificates.
• Answer questions about Pennsylvania income tax issues, senior citizen property tax and rent rebate applications, and financial aid to students.
• Provide assistance with motor vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses.
• Follow-up on licensing applications, unemployment compensation problems, welfare applications and income tax rebates.
• Assist in arranging community improvement programs through state assistance.
• Provide copies of House and Senate legislation.
• Dispute applications for higher education grants and various professional programs.

My district office is located at 1200 Camp Hill By-Pass, Suite 202, Camp Hill, and can be reached by phone at 717-975-2235.

Learn about the Opioid Crisis


Camp Hill School District hosted Disrupting the Opioid Epidemic: A Camp Hill Community Conversation on Jan. 19. More than 100 individuals from the Camp Hill community attended the event. The panel, which included Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed and a host of other highly qualified professionals, highlighted the need for preventative measures and funds for treatment centers to combat the opioid abuse epidemic. The disease of addiction has run rampant in Pennsylvania during the past several years, with 10 individuals dying per day in Pennsylvania from heroin. We are assessing all legislative options for eliminating this problem.

A telephone town hall meeting will be held Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. by A Commonwealth Crisis for the Southeast region of Pennsylvania. Constituents will have the opportunity to speak live with a panel of experts as they discuss the heroin and opioid epidemic facing the state

You may participate in one of three ways:
1. You may sign up on the website by entering your cell or land line phone number and email.
2. You may text the keyword “talkheroin” (be sure to enter as one word, with no space) to the number 828282.
3. You may listen to the live streaming at https://vekeo.com/a-commonwealth-crisis/.  

Honoring His Dream


I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday this month in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and took a moment to reflect on the vision of unity he outlined for our country.

State News

New Legislative Session Begins


I was honored on Jan. 3 to take the oath of office to serve a new, two-year term in the state House of Representatives. I was proud to have my wife, Porsha, and daughter, Eleanor, with me at the ceremony. I will continue to work hard for the people of the 87th Legislative District in the upcoming years.

2017-18 Legislative Session

Thus far in the 2017-18 legislative session, I plan to put forth three pieces of legislation and a resolution:

  • Veterans and Reservists Entrepreneurial Training and Support Program: Formerly House Bill 2265, this legislation would create a program within the state Department of Community and Economic Development that would empower Pennsylvania veterans and reservists to become entrepreneurs.
  • Amending the Real Estate Licensing Law: Formerly House Bill 2347, this legislation would amend the Real Estate Licensing Law by altering pre-licensure educational requirements.
  • Economically Significant Regulations: This legislation addresses the cost associated with new regulations on our economy by requiring any economically significant regulation to be approved by the General Assembly.
  • John Glenn resolution:  This resolution would honor the life and achievements of John Glenn.  I plan to introduce this with my colleague, Rep. Francis Ryan (R-Lebanon).
I look forward to receiving input from constituents of the 87th District about these and other forthcoming pieces of legislation. This term I will be sitting on the House Transportation, Urban Affairs, Children and Youth, and Liquor Control committees.

REAL ID Update

Federal authorities granted Pennsylvania an extension for compliance with the federal REAL ID Act, which requires that state driver’s licenses comply with the federal standard. Pennsylvania now has until June 5 to comply with the REAL ID Act, unless another extension is granted. Legislators sent a letter to President Donald Trump, Sen. Pat Toomey, Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Scott Perry requesting an exemption for Pennsylvania from the law. Barring an exemption, the letter asks state lawmakers to review and potentially repeal the REAL ID Act or provide waivers for compliance to all states.
Programs, Services and Opportunities

House of Representatives Scholarship Program


The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship Program is now open to applicants. It was developed to provide educational opportunities for graduating seniors who reside in Pennsylvania. The program is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities and provides a four-year scholarship to two high school students per year. Students must maintain eligibility criteria in all four years of higher education in order to receive the ongoing award.

The deadline for the application and other materials is March 1.

In order to be eligible, applicants must:
  • Be a graduating high school senior.
  • Have legal residency in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student.
  • Maintain an academic achievement level (minimum 3.0 cumulative high school GPA).
  • Display a commitment to community and leadership qualities.
  • Engage in extracurricular activities.
  • Show financial need.
The application and other information is available on the Foundation for Enhancing Communities website.

Summer Employment for College Students at PennDOT

As in years past, PennDOT will sponsor an extensive Summer Employment Program (SEP), which includes government services interns. The program runs April through August 2017 to supplement the permanent workforce. Government services interns primarily perform summer maintenance, sign upgrade services, and/or engage in labor duties in maintenance organizations, as well as worksites along the highway.

Candidates must be enrolled as a full-time college student for fall 2017 and have a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license.

The hourly rate is $12.97. Please contact our district office at 975-2235 by Feb. 10 if interested in this summer employment opportunity. Note that interested students must also submit an application online under the student summer employment positions category.

Preparing for a Winter Emergency

We are now in the throes of winter, and so far the weather has been relatively mild. However, we must continue to be prepared for winter storms and the difficulties they entail. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) offers many tips for Pennsylvanians about how best to handle a winter storm. Being prepared for a major winter storm can save your family both money and heartache. Here are some tips on how you can prepare:

• Always keep at least three days’ worth of water and non-perishable food in your home for your family, including pets. Keep in mind any special dietary needs, such as infant formula or baby food.
• Double-check your family’s emergency supply kit and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather: rock salt to melt ice on walkways, sand to improve traction, snow shovels and other snow removal equipment, portable or hand-cranked cellphone charger, battery-operated or hand-crank lights and radios in the event power goes out, and adequate clothing and blankets to keep you and your family safe and warm.
• Make an emergency plan for your family, and review it with all family members.

Carbon Monoxide

With the arrival of cold weather, residents are encouraged to take steps to ensure there are no carbon monoxide (CO) accidents in their homes. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that is a by-product of the incomplete combustion of fuels such as wood, charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, oil, natural gas and propane. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal and symptoms of CO poisoning can include: headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness.

All homes should have a working carbon monoxide detector, located appropriately in each level of a home, including one in each sleeping area. Residents also are encouraged to ensure that internal and external combustion air vents are clear of obstructions, as a blockage could allow exhaust gas, including CO, to enter a home or workplace. Heating professionals also can be contacted to have equipment, chimneys and flues checked.

Clogged furnace filters also can impede normal furnace operation, so filters should be changed regularly. Filters should also be the proper size and shape for a heating system’s efficient operation.