Redistricting Reform in Pennsylvania
There has been much discussion recently about changing the manner in which congressional and state legislative districts are created in Pennsylvania.
Every ten years after the federal government conducts the United States Census, districts are reconfigured to account for changes in the population.
Currently, after the U.S. Census is completed, the Pennsylvania General Assembly sends legislation to the Governor to create our congressional districts. In addition, Pennsylvania has a Reapportionment Commission comprised of designees from the Legislature that creates our state House and Senate districts.
I am a cosponsor of Senate Bill 22. This legislation would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to allow for the creation of an 11-member independent commission to redraw our congressional and state legislative districts. Senate Bill 22 would empower citizens to guide redistricting in Pennsylvania, a process that is working well in other states.
I will continue to support Senate Bill 22 and redistricting reform in Harrisburg.
Assistance for Veterans Available
I have begun a partnership with the Pennsylvania American Legion to assist veterans at my Brookhaven office, located at 4110 Edgmont Avenue. A representative from this organization will be at my office on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
I would like to encourage veterans and their families who have questions about benefits and programs to schedule an appointment for these assistance hours. Appointments can be made by contacting the office at (610) 447 – 3163. This service will be offered the fourth Wednesday of each month.
SEPTA Key Senior ID Card Available
Seniors age 65 or older can obtain a free SEPTA Key Senior Photo ID card any weekday between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in my district offices.
SEPTA is in the process of transitioning to electronic key cards for all of its services, including the Seniors Ride Free program, which allows seniors to ride free at all times on buses, trolleys and subways, pay $1 on regional rail for travel within Pennsylvania and pay 50 percent of the weekday fare for travel to and from New Jersey and Delaware.
Seniors should bring a state-issued proof of birthdate (such as a photo driver’s license or Pennsylvania non-driver’s photo ID) to the office. An application will be submitted online along with a photograph, which is taken in the office. SEPTA will mail the completed key card directly to the applicant when it is ready.
PA Business One-Stop Shop
I am pleased to see the state has launched a new website, PA Business One-Stop Shop, with the intent of making the process of starting a business in the Commonwealth much easier.
The website will allow a small business owner or entrepreneur to find useful information all in one place about the new business start-up process, as well as detailed information for existing businesses.
I am hopeful this will greatly benefit small businesses and entrepreneurs by highlighting all the resources that are available, including planning, permitting, hiring employees, technical assistance and more.
The process for creating the PA Business One-Stop Shop was an interagency state government collaboration between the Department of Community and Economic Development, Department of State, Department of Labor & Industry, Department of Revenue and Office of Administration. The Governor made mention of this in his budget address on February 6th, however, the website went live just recently.
Student Loan Forgiveness Program Open to Veterinarians Who Practice in PA’s Shortage Areas
This week, Pennsylvania State Veterinarian Dr. David Wolfgang encouraged eligible veterinarians to consider spending three years practicing in Pennsylvania in exchange for educational loan forgiveness.
Dr. Wolfgang recently stated, “We have areas in PA where we lack sufficient veterinary coverage, but the harsh reality is that paying off student debt keeps many graduates from working in public or rural practices. Loan forgiveness can be a tremendous tool in addressing our workforce shortage.”
In the past, I have proudly supported reinstating funding in the state budget for the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. This institution and the New Bolton Center play important roles in the 9th Senatorial District and around Pennsylvania.
I will also continue to support this educational loan forgiveness program that helps provide access to higher education and reduce financial barriers for all Pennsylvania residents.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average educational debt for 2016 veterinary school graduates was $143,757. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced the availability of funding to qualified veterinarians who apply to practice in six areas of Pennsylvania that have been identified as having significant shortages of veterinarians.
The six open positions eligible for loan forgiveness are:
Applications, instructions for applying, and details of open positions can be found on the USDA’s site. Veterinarians may apply for one opening, so details of the open positions should be reviewed before submitting. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website is agriculture.pa.gov.
How I Can Help
My offices provide many services to families in our area. Here are some of the ways we can help.
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