Subscribe to E-news. April 1, 2016
Northeast Notes
Work on Community Protection Paying Off

As a former prosecutor, I try to keep a focus in Harrisburg on ways we can better protect our homes and our families.  This week, that work has shown signs of paying off.

The Senate unanimously passed two bills that I co-authored, with the cooperation of our friends in law enforcement, that will target those who target our communities.

The first bill, Senate Bill 1156, is aimed at bolstering Pennsylvania’s child-protection statutes. It clarifies changes that were made to Pennsylvania law in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case, to ensure that health-care workers who have contact with children are subject to background checks.  To read more about this bill, click here.

The second bill deals with the surge in home invasion robberies in my district. Senate Bill 1062, co-authored by Sen. John Rafferty, a Republican who represents parts of several southeastern counties, will expand the maximum penalty for home invasions, giving judges the option of sentencing perpetrators to up to 40 years in prison.

The legislation creates a distinction for home invasion - a robbery committed with the intent to inflict bodily harm - and gives judges discretion by expanding sentencing parameters. Sen. Rafferty and I worked along with the PA District Attorneys Association as well as the PA Commission on Sentencing to provide harsher penalties for those who commit these crimes.  To read more about this bill, click here.

The Saint Hubert’s High School Cheerleading Squad won first place in the “Large Junior Varsity” division at the National High School Cheerleading Championships. The competition took place at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando back in February. On April 11, the squad was honored at the Capitol as my special guests.

Catholic League Three-Peat

Archbishop Ryan’s Catholic League Champion Girls Softball team visited the Capitol recently.   On May 25, the team won their third consecutive title. Players and coaches visited me in my office before touring the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and the Senate floor.  For more photos, click here.

Backing Teachers in the Fight for Equity in Education

In May, I spoke with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers at the Disston Elementary School, expressing to them my support for those who are drawing attention to the lack of adequate funding for our Philly public schools.

In Harrisburg, lawmakers from the majority party want to consistently blame teachers for Pennsylvania’s declining school performance. But the real equation is obvious: reduced funding = reduced performance. 

Deadline Extended for Tax/Rent Rebates

Pennsylvania’s Revenue Department has extended the deadline for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate program, and I’m urging residents to double-check their eligibility.

Although this program can significantly ease the financial pressures on low-income seniors, many who qualify fail to apply. It’s important to get the word out to all seniors to check whether they are eligible under the income guidelines.

The deadline has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31.

Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits those eligible age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit for the program is $35,000 per year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded.

Funded through the Pennsylvania Lottery and slots gaming revenue, the maximum standard rebate is $650 however supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can bolster rebates to $975. Since the beginning of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program in 1971, eligible Pennsylvanians have received more than $5.9 billion in property tax and rent relief.

For more information click here, or call toll-free 1-888-222-9190.


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Offices to Serve You

  District Office
8016 Bustleton Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19152
Phone: (215) 695-1020
Fax: (215) 695-1027
District Office
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Philadelphia, PA 19154
Phone: (215) 281-2539
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Harrisburg, PA 17120-3005
Phone: (717) 787-9608
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