In this Update:
Robinson Bill Passes Senate Unanimously
I was thrilled to see my legislation to create an urban search and rescue task force in Allegheny County unanimously pass the Senate this week. With the size and population of the Pittsburgh region, it is imperative that first responders are properly supported and equipped to respond to disasters such as the Fern Hollow bridge collapse and the East Palestine train derailment.
I am grateful for the support of first responders from around the Commonwealth for their collaboration and support of this legislation. This is a tremendous win for our region, and it would not have been possible without the Pittsburgh Fire Fighters, the Philadelphia Fire Fighters, the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association, Darrin Kelly of the Allegheny Fayette Labor Council, and my colleagues Senator Joe Pittman and President Pro Tempore Kim Ward.
Thank you also to my colleague and co-sponsor Senator Jay Costa for working with me to get this bill approved. The bill now heads to the House for consideration. You can read my press release here.
I had the pleasure to attend the Italian American War Veterans monthly meeting. Thank you all for your service.
I had a great time at the Wild Game Dinner at the Alpine Club! Thank you to everyone who works behind the scenes to put on this fun event.
I’m so proud of my constituents who received the 18 Under Eighteen Award from Junior Achievement! Congratulations to Alekhya, Daniella, Gabriella, Kirsten, Liam, and Prerna on your outstanding accomplishments! These young leaders all have bright futures ahead of them.
Congratulations to The Good Feet Store on their new location in Robinson Township!
Governor Shapiro Delivers Budget Address
Governor Josh Shapiro gave his budget address this week, sharing his proposed 2024-25 state budget.
In the next several weeks, I will be participating in three rounds of budget hearings in Harrisburg as a member of the Appropriations Committee. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues on ensuring that we enact a fiscally responsible budget for our commonwealth that supports families and provides efficient service to my constituents.
A listing of scheduled budget hearings can be found here.
2023 Accomplishments: Cutting Red Tape
As 2024 kicks off, the Senate is continuing our work to cut red tape and improve the experience citizens have when they interact with their government and the agencies intended to help them.
Already this session, we have passed a bill that would improve government efficiency by authorizing the Pennsylvania Treasury Department to return unclaimed property without requiring the owners to search for it. Another legislative measure would ensure Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and Medical Assistance benefits are not spent on the deceased.
For the Pennsylvanians who must apply for a permit, license or certification, another bill would require state agencies to create an accessible website to explain why a permit application was rejected and enable permit applicants to check their application status. It would also deem a permit, license or certification approved if the agency reviewing the application misses its deadline – giving Pennsylvanians far more predictability than they currently have. This change would also help to attract more business to the state and boost our economy by addressing unreasonable permit delays.
Property Tax Relief is Available for Homeowners
Most homes and farms are eligible for property tax reduction under the Homestead Tax Exemption program.
Under a homestead or farmstead property tax exclusion, the assessed value of each homestead or farmstead is reduced by the same amount before the property tax is computed.
To receive school property tax relief for tax years beginning July 1 or Jan. 1, an application for homestead or farmstead exclusions must be filed by the preceding March 1. School districts are required to notify homeowners by Dec. 31 of each year if their property is not approved for the homestead or farmstead exclusion or if their approval is due to expire. Learn more and find an application.
Upcoming Property Tax/Rent Rebate Clinics
Don’t forget, my office will be hosting a property tax/rent rebate clinic with Representative Natalie Mihalek on Monday, February 12th at the Bethel Park Community Center.
My office will host another clinic at the Collier Township Community Center on Wednesday, February 21st and will have open office hours at both district office locations to assist with completing property tax/rent rebate applications. The rebate program is open to state residents 65 and older, widows and widowers 50 or older, or anyone age 18 and over who is disabled. You can find more information here and contact my office with any questions.
Protecting Against Hypothermia and Frostbite
While this winter has been relatively mild so far, colder weather could set in at any time. Brushing up on the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite can help you keep yourself and others safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers detailed information about warning signs and prevention.
Signs of hypothermia include shivering, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and confusion. In severe cases, hypothermia can lead to death. If someone is experiencing hypothermia, give them warm water and replace any wet clothing with dry layers. Seek medical attention if their body temperature is below 95 degrees.
Frostbite is an injury that can permanently damage the body and typically impacts the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. Symptoms include painful, unusually firm or waxy skin. If impacted, warm the affected area but do not apply pressure. Stay a safe distance from heat sources and know when to get medical care.
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