Food Program Available for Students During COVID-19 Crisis

Jul. 29, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a plan to provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to students who are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals at school through the National School Lunch Program. This program, known as Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), will be temporary and is designed to bridge the gap left by school closings and help families who may have strained resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be Smart When Shopping for Energy Suppliers

Jul. 20, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

With the summer cooling season in full swing, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is reminding consumers of the opportunity to switch energy suppliers to help save money on their monthly electric bills. A quick visit to www.PAPowerSwitch.com allows consumers in most areas of the state to choose who supplies their electricity, based on price or other factors, such as renewable energy.

COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Launched

Jul. 13, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has launched an online early warning monitoring dashboard that provides information on the prevalence of COVID-19 on a statewide and county basis to track increases in the disease in the community. The dashboard can be accessed through the department’s website, www.health.pa.gov.

Planning for Students to Safely Return to School

Jun. 29, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has released guidance to allow elementary and secondary schools in the state’s yellow and green phases to resume in-person instruction and activities this fall under a phased reopening approach that first requires schools to develop health and safety plans based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state Department of Health (DOH).

Beware of Unemployment Benefit Scams

Jun. 16, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) is working closely with state and federal partners to monitor COVID-19 scams across the country that are targeting unemployment benefits programs and their claimants.

Voters Reminded of New Mail-in Voting Options

Mar. 23, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

Pennsylvania voters are reminded that if they have concerns about coronavirus and wish not to vote in their polling place during the April 28 primary election, they can instead request a mail-in ballot, the Commonwealth’s new voting option that allows voters to vote by mail without having to provide a reason.

PHEAA Offers New Student Loan Refinance Option

Mar. 16, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) recently announced an expansion of its PA Forward Student Loan Program, offering borrowers a more streamlined way to manage their debt by combining all their federal and private student loans into a single monthly payment.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Forms Now Available

Feb. 10, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

Application forms for the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are now available at my district office for eligible seniors and people with disabilities to begin claiming rebates for property taxes or rent payments they made last year.

Reforms Proposed for State System Universities

Jan. 29, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

Last week in Harrisburg, a group of legislators joined officials with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) in calling for a series of reforms aimed at updating and improving operations within the system. A package of bills was introduced in the House of Representatives that would implement the changes.

Combatting Human Trafficking in Pennsylvania

Jan. 21, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

Pennsylvania is ranked 10th in the nation for human trafficking, and according to the latest report from 2018, 621 human victims were identified, along with 215 traffickers and 101 trafficking businesses. The numbers are troubling and continue to grow.