New Wave of Unemployment Benefit Fraud

Sep. 28, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) announced this week that due to an alarming spike in suspicious applications for unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, additional anti-fraud and identity verification measures will be put in place.

Watch for Swarms of Spotted Lanternfly

Sep. 21, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

Spotted Lanternfly have grown into adults over the summer and are now beginning to swarm. They hunt for tall structures such as trees and houses in preparation to launch themselves into the wind, look for food and find a safe place to lay their eggs. The Spotted Lanternfly poses no harm to humans; however, they disrupt outdoor activity and feed off several types of trees.

Help Protect Children From Abuse

Sep. 01, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

As vice-chair of the Children and Youth Committee in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, I am reminding everyone it is critical that we help protect children from abuse and neglect during the current COVID-19 public health emergency by being more vigilant.

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.