Sep. 05, 2019

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The Rothman Report

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 The latest news from the State Capitol

In the Community
Annual India Day Celebration in Cumberland County!
It was great to be with all my friends from the Asian Indian Community in Central PA at the annual India Day celebration on Aug. 3! This community fair is full of amazing cultural food and live performances. I look forward to this event every summer!

 

Cumberland County’s Newest Eagle Scouts!
Congratulations to the six young men from Cumberland County who were awarded the Boy Scout of America Eagle Scout rank this month! Eagle Scout is the highest rank that a Boy Scout can earn. In order to attain this, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills.

On Sunday, Aug. 11, David Minnich from Troop 180 was honored for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. On Tuesday, Aug. 13, George Caddell, Peter Eshelman and Emmet Lentz from Troop 196 were also recognized for achieving Eagle Scout.

   

Congratulations also to Aidan Wilhem and Tommy Jamieson who were awarded the Eagle Scout rank Aug. 25!
 

Eagle Scouts contribute to the community in many different ways, including litter clean up, food collection and conservation projects. They also have been proven to have higher levels of planning and preparation skills and are more likely to be goal oriented. Earning the Eagle Scout rank is an incredible honor for these Scouts, and I was thankful to have the opportunity to attend their ceremonies.

Next Generation Insurance Academy Visits the Capitol
Students enrolled in the Pennsylvania NextGen Insurance Academy came to the state Capitol for a visit on Aug. 13. The academy is helping these students to prepare for an internship or a career in the insurance industry.

 

Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Event in September
The Cumberland County Planning/Recycling & Waste Department is hosting a hazardous waste disposal event Thursday, Sept. 19, from noon to 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. The disposal rate for accepted materials is 30 cents per pound.

Visit their website or call 717-240-6489 to register.

Find additional details HERE.
 
 
State Government News
Rothman Testifies on Bill to Regulate License Plate Readers
On Aug. 13, during a House Transportation Committee hearing, I had the opportunity to testify on my House Bill 317, which would regulate the use of Automated License Plate Reader Systems (ALPRS) by implementing privacy protections. Read more about my bill HERE.

 
                                   
Law to Eliminate Inheritance Tax for Children
Children age 21 or younger who suffer the loss of a parent will no longer have to pay the state’s 4.5% inheritance tax under a new law taking effect in January.

Act 13 of 2019 reduces the inheritance tax rate to 0% for the transfer of property to or for the use of a child 21 years of age or younger from a natural parent, adoptive parent or a stepparent of the child.

A prior law implemented a 0% tax rate on transfers from a child 21 years of age or younger to his or her parent.

The law will apply to transfers from a decedent who dies after Dec. 31, 2019.

Making PA Schools Safer
Recognizing the importance of ensuring our children feel safe at school, the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in support of investing an additional $60 million in the School Safety and Security Block Grant program.

Now in its second year, the program provides flexible funding that schools may use for a variety of security-related initiatives, including hiring school police officers, school resource officers, counselors and/or mental health counselors; alternative education and diversion programs; violence prevention initiatives; school safety and emergency preparedness plans; or physical upgrades to school buildings and equipment to improve safety.

Based on revisions to the grant funding guidelines, each school entity that submits an application for funding to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will receive a base grant of between $30,000 and $45,000, based on the school’s average daily attendance.

As part of the Public School Code bill that accompanied passage of this year’s budget, lawmakers also are requiring each public school district to create at least one multi-disciplinary threat assessment team to identify students in distress before their behavior escalates to a level that raises concern about safety.

Safe2Say Something Reporting System Gets Results
An anonymous reporting system designed to give students, teachers, parents and community members the ability to anonymously report potential threats and other problems has collected nearly 23,500 tips in its first six months of operation, according to a report from the Office of Attorney General.

The Safe2Say Something program, created by a 2018 law, launched in mid-January to give students a way to share information without fear of repercussions or blame from their peers.

Among the most common issues reported included bullying/cyber bullying; cutting/self-harm; suicide/suicide ideation; depression/anxiety; and drug use/distribution/possession.
To report a possible dangerous or violent situation, individuals can call the state tip line at 844-723-2729. Tips can also be reported to safe2saypa.org or through the Safe2Say app on iPhone and Android devices.

Seeking Investigation of PA’s Parole Processes
Responding to a series of murders committed by people recently paroled from the state prison system, the House Judiciary Committee is calling for an investigation of the state’s parole procedures by Inspector General Bruce Beemer.

While the Department of Corrections is rightfully conducting an internal review of these cases to determine if improvements can be made to prevent such tragedies, it is also vital to conduct an independent investigation to ensure every effort is being made to protect public safety.

In a letter to the inspector general, Judiciary Committee Chairman Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin) pointed to the stabbing deaths of three children and a woman, the strangulation of a domestic partner, and the shooting death of a police officer committed by state parolees as evidence of the need for an investigation.

Welcome, Interns
During the 2019-20 school year, my district office is excited to welcome three interns: Ava Spitzer, Eli Spots, and Adrena Keeton. These students will spend the school year working side-by-side with me and my staff.

Ava is a senior at Camp Hill High School. She is the president of Camp Hill’s class of 2020 and Key Club. Ava participates in Mini-Thon as entertainment captain and is a part of the soccer and track teams. She is looking forward to learning more about how the government works and hopes to gain insight on future career paths.

Eli is a senior at Camp Hill High School and is part of both the cross country and track and field teams. He also participates in the Key Club and class council. In college, Eli plans to major in political science. He is excited about the opportunity to get real world experience in government.

Adrena is a senior at Camp Hill High School. In college, she plans to study international politics and hopes to study abroad. She is part of Camp Hill’s Key Club and practices martial arts. Adrena hopes to gain a better understanding of how the government works to aid in her future endeavors.

Have an Issue or Concern?

If you are a resident of the 87th District and need assistance with a state agency, please feel free to contact my Camp Hill office at 717-975-2235. One of my staff members will be more than happy to assist you.

Programs, Services, Opportunities
Slow Down for School Buses, Pedestrians
Students are now back in school in Cumberland County! Motorists, parents, and children are encouraged to refresh their memories about how to share the road safely with school buses and other school transportation vehicles.

Pennsylvania law requires motorists stop at least 10 feet away from school buses when their red lights are flashing and their stop arm is extended. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.

Penalties for failure to obey school bus safety laws can result in a $250 fine, five points on a driving record, and a 60-day license suspension.
Parents are reminded to ensure that their children are at the bus stop early to avoid rushing. Students should stay where the bus driver can see them while boarding or exiting the bus.

Click here for more information and tips on school bus safety.

Save for Higher Education with State 529 Plan

For families looking to plan for higher education, the Pennsylvania Treasury offers two savings programs: the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP), in which growth is tied to the rate of tuition inflation, and the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP), in which investment returns are determined by financial markets.

Contributions to PA 529 plans are deductible from Pennsylvania income taxes, grow tax free, and, when used for qualified educational expenses, are federal and state tax exempt. Both plans provide flexibility to pay for higher education expenses at most higher education institutions across the country. This includes most colleges and universities, as well as many technical and career schools. The money may also be used to pay for tuition expenses up to $10,000 at elementary or secondary public, private or religious schools.

The PA 529 IP features low fees and more than a dozen conservative and aggressive investment options. No enrollment fee is charged for the PA 529 IP.

Information about both programs is available here.

Get the Facts About Concussions
With many student athletes gearing up for fall sports practice, students, parents, and coaches are reminded about ways to prevent, recognize and manage concussions.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or from a fall or blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Concussions can have serious short-term and long-term impacts, especially on young people whose brains are still developing.
To protect students, the 2011 Safety in Youth Sports Act was passed to require all school entities to develop return-to-play policies for student athletes with concussions, as well as to require related training for coaches.

Visit the Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov and search for “Traumatic Brain Injury” for approved curricula for coaches and other school personnel, along with frequently asked questions about the law and many other state-related resources.

Most importantly, if you think your child has a concussion, seek medical attention, discuss the injury with the coach and don’t allow the athlete to return to play without permission from a health care professional.

Hotline to Assist Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
A new hotline to help connect thousands of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren to the resources and programs available to them is now live.

The KinConnector hotline was established through Act 89 of 2018 to address the growing number of grandparents who have become primary caregivers to their grandchildren in the Commonwealth. It is a situation that has skyrocketed in recent years as a result of the state’s opioid epidemic. An estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania.

KinConnector can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). The KinConnector helpline is staffed by social service professionals prepared to help families understand and access local, state, and federal resources. A website of resources will also be available in the near future.

Savings Program to Support People with Disabilities Experiences Rapid Growth
A state program designed to help people with qualified disabilities save for future disability-related expenses has more than doubled its assets in just one year, reflecting the high level of popularity and need for this savings option.

PA ABLE provides a tax-advantaged way for Pennsylvanians with disabilities and their families to save.

Participation does not jeopardize access to state and federal programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (savings up to $100,000) and Medical Assistance. It does allow for savings to be used to pay for any qualified disability-related expense including housing, education, health care and assistive technology to improve quality of life.

Administered by the State Treasury, the program has more than $18.4 million in assets, up from $8.6 million in July 2018. More than 2,500 PA ABLE accounts have been opened since the program launched in 2017.

For more information, visit PAABLE.gov or call 1-855-529-ABLE (2253).                                   

FCC Takes Next Step in Battle Against Robocalls, Spoofing
Recognizing the frustration and potential danger posed by spam calls and spoofing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced new rules this week that will ban malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and foreign calls.

The rules are designed to close a loophole in existing law that prevented the agency from pursuing scammers sending spoofed text messages and international bad actors making spoofed calls to Americans.

Earlier this summer, the FCC approved rules that could make it easier for AT&T, Verizon and other telecom giants to block suspected spam calls on behalf of their subscribers. It allows the companies to enroll consumers in their call-blocking services by default, as opposed to waiting for customers to sign up for such tools on their own.

While these changes are important steps in the fight against robocalls and spoofing, no one expects it will result in their elimination. Protect yourself by using some of the following tips provided by the FCC: don’t answer calls from unknown numbers; due to spoofing, don’t assume when the caller ID shows a local number that the caller is actually local; if you answer and the caller asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls or asks you to say “yes” in response to a question, hang up to prevent your response from being used for unauthorized charges; and if a caller claims to be from a legitimate company or organization, hang up and call them back using a valid number found online or a recent bill if you do business with the organization.

If you have lost money because of a scam call, notify your local law enforcement agency. If you receive a spam call, file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center.

Fire, EMS Grant Program to Open First Week of September
Fire companies and ambulance services throughout Pennsylvania are encouraged to apply for the 2019-20 Fire Company, Emergency Medical Services Companies Grant Program from the Office of State Fire Commissioner.

The application period will open the first week of September and remain open for 45 days. Exact dates will be listed at www.osfc.pa.gov closer to the grant application period opening.

Organizations may apply for a grant in up to two of six eligible funding categories. Those categories include: construction or renovation of a unit’s facility and purchase or repair of necessary fixtures and furnishings; purchase or repair of firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment, including fuel for company vehicles; debt reduction related to the above categories; training and certification of members; training and education materials about fire prevention for the general public; and, for career fire departments only, overtime costs associated with backfilling positions while firefighters are attending training.

The maximum grant amount is $15,000 for fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. A total of $30 million will be awarded through the program, which is funded by state gaming proceeds.

For more information about the program, click here.
                                   
Protecting PA Wildlife
The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) recently announced formation of the Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program, a new partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) that will take a more active stance against diseases that impact wildlife in the Commonwealth.

These illnesses include chronic wasting disease (CWD), which poses a serious threat to Pennsylvania’s economy and the sport of deer hunting by negatively impacting the deer population; and West Nile Virus, the mosquito-borne disease that threatens human health and has endangered Pennsylvania’s state bird, the ruffed grouse.

With regard to CWD, the goal of the partnership is to quickly process deer samples submitted for testing by hunters. It currently takes weeks to months to obtain test results.

The program will have 12 employees, one of which will work at PGC headquarters in Harrisburg. The others will be based in Chester County at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center.
 

Stay in Touch with Me on Social Media
You can stay up to date on my latest news and activities by visiting my House website, reprothman.com, or my official Facebook page or my official Instagram account. You can watch my House floor speeches and press interviews at my YouTube channel HERE.
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Office Locations
1200 Camp Hill Bypass, Suite 202, Camp Hill, PA 17011 | Phone: 717-975-2235
163A East Wing, Capitol Complex, PO Box 202087, Harrisburg, PA 17120 | Phone: 717-783-2063
TTY: 855-282-0614
 
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