In this Update:
Meeting with the Construction Legislative Council of Western PA
I was happy to recently speak with the Construction Legislative Council of Western PA – a multi-discipline coalition of 14 construction industry organizations, representing the interests of thousands of contractors, architects, engineers, owners, and material suppliers from western Pennsylvania.
We had a great legislative discussion, and I look forward to bringing these construction industry priorities back to Harrisburg.
It was interesting touring Covestro this past week!
They’re among the leading suppliers of premium polymers, and their materials and application solutions are found in nearly every area of life.
I’m glad to have this great operation in Allegheny County!
Sewickley Valley YMCA Tour
I enjoyed touring the Sewickley Valley YMCA!
It offers a variety of helpful services to the community, and I encourage local residents to check out the many programs available.
Thanks for being great hosts!
Resources Available to Help Pennsylvanians with Rising Energy Costs
As energy costs continue to rise, please be aware that resources are available to minimize the financial burden and to assist with payments already owed.
Ratepayers can immediately lower their energy bills by switching to a competing electric and natural gas supplier using PAPowerSwitch.com and PAGasSwitch.com. Read all terms thoroughly to understand if the contract includes a fixed or variable rate before making a decision.
Those who are having difficulty paying bills currently should call the utility company to work out a payment plan to avoid additional fees associated with the reconnection of service. Financial assistance is also available for many ratepayers through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). New applicants can apply for the program at www.compass.state.pa.us.
Of course, the most effective way for Pennsylvania to combat rising energy costs is for lawmakers to unleash our state’s energy potential, which is why Senate Republicans are prioritizing the advancement of policies that create greater energy independence.
In addition, the Senate advanced Senate Bill 1, which included a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent the executive branch from imposing onerous regulations like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a regulation that will not only cost 22,000 jobs, but also could nearly quadruple new electricity costs for consumers. While the General Assembly can’t undo this already imposed, costly executive action, it can prevent Pennsylvania from being saddled with similar regulations in the future.
Important Message for Unemployment Compensation Recipients
Several important changes are being made to the way Unemployment Compensation benefits are paid onto prepaid debit cards.
Beginning on or about March 6, Money Network prepaid debit cards will be mailed to UC recipients who receive benefit payments via prepaid debit card. The Money Network prepaid debit card will replace the U.S. Bank card currently in use.
Recipients will need to learn how to activate the new money network prepaid debit card and ensure their address is correct, among other steps. PA Treasury explains the process here and provides an extensive Frequently Asked Questions page here.
Medical Assistance and CHIP Recipients Must Submit for Renewal
Starting April 1, Pennsylvania is required by federal law to review the eligibility of Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) recipients every year, which means recipients must submit a renewal. Important information is posted here.
While the Department of Human Services (DHS) still sent renewal notices during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, most people were not disenrolled from Medicaid or CHIP because of a change in eligibility. DHS is returning to the normal eligibility processes.
No one will lose their health coverage without having an opportunity to complete a renewal, and renewals will be completed over 12 months. Renewals due in March 2023 will be the first affected by the end of continuous coverage. If a person is found ineligible for their current coverage or does not complete their renewal on time, their coverage will end.
Information about when a person’s annual renewal is scheduled can be found on COMPASS or on the myCOMPASS PA mobile app. Anyone can set up a COMPASS account at www.dhs.pa.gov/compass and, if they have a mobile device, can download the myCOMPASS PA mobile app for free.
Scam Warning: “Final Demand for Payment” Letters
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has issued a warning about scams designed to trick people into turning over sensitive data and personal information.
One recurring scam involves phony letters sent to taxpayers through the mail. The “Final Demand for Payment” letters threaten wage garnishment and the seizure of property or assets unless the recipient calls a phone number to satisfy a lien.
If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent notice, visit the department’s webpage for verified contact information. This will help you ensure that you are speaking with a legitimate representative of the department.
And if you believe you are a victim of tax fraud or tax-related identity theft, contact the department’s Bureau of Fraud Detection and Analysis by emailing Raemail@example.com or calling 717-772-9297.
Appointed to Advisory Council for Southwestern Veterans’ Center
As a United States Marine Corps veteran, I am humbled to have the opportunity to ensure American heroes residing at the SWVC are comfortable, happy and supported. I am incredibly honored to receive this appointment and thankful to Sen. Ward for entrusting me to serve on the center’s advisory council.
Established in 1997, the SWVC provides assisted living for veterans and their spouses to reside, along with complete medical services, trained staff, 24-hour nursing, recreational activities, meals, religious services, transportation and more.
Offering Information About Building Trades Careers
A big thank you goes out to Boilermakers Local 154 for hosting a valuable class offered by the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania and Literacy Pittsburgh for those interested in our region’s building trades careers.
If you’re interested in learning more, please contact my office!
WPIAL Rifle Championships
It was such a pleasure to recently attend the WPIAL Rifle Championships!
Several area schools participated, including Bethel Park, which is in my district.
Thank you to Dormont-Mount Lebanon Sportsmen’s Club for hosting such a great event!
National Cancer Prevention Month: Information on Risk and Research
Every family will be touched by cancer at some point. National Cancer Prevention Month is a good time to consider information that could help prevent heartache.
The National Cancer Institute has comprehensive information on cancer prevention, risk factors, the role of genetics, and the latest research into causes and prevention.
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