Nov. 01, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampShort# The latest news from the State Capitol
Sims Apologizes for Bullying, Harassing, Doxing People Praying for Life

My resolution to have Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) censured has been withdrawn following his apology to the victims he bullied, harassed and doxed at a Philadelphia abortion clinic in May.

It’s sad that it took more than five months for Sims to acknowledge he did something very wrong, but he did finally apologize.

Ashley Garecht, who was with her two daughters and one of their friends praying at the clinic, recently received a card from Sims apologizing for his actions. She said that she forgave him but hopes that he will modify his conduct in the future.

I privately reached out to Sims asking him to apologize to the victims and the member’s of the House of Representatives. He refused to acknowledge my communication.

Sims’ own arrogance led me to call for a censure, but now that he finally acknowledged his wrongdoing, I have asked that the resolution be withdrawn. I hope the Representative learned something from this experience.
Meet My Office Staff

I am blessed to have such a great office staff in Tamaqua. Meet (from left) Wanda Zuber, district constituent outreach specialist; Lauren A. Miller, district office manager;  and Ron Downey, staff assistant. Come in and see us! We are located at 202 E. Broad St. in Tamaqua.
House Advances Key Election Reforms

This week, the governor signed into law a comprehensive election reform bill sent to him by the General Assembly that also aims to relieve some of the financial burden placed on counties when he suddenly decertified all voting machines in the Commonwealth, requiring their replacement in time for the 2020 elections.

Senate Bill 421 was amended by the House to authorize $90 million in borrowing to provide counties with an approximately 60% reimbursement of their expenses related to upgraded voting machines. A similar funding proposal was approved earlier this year but was vetoed by the governor.

In addition to funding for counties, the bill makes the most significant changes to modernize and improve Pennsylvania’s elections since the 1930s. These changes include eliminating the straight-party ticket option from ballots, establishing mail-in voting and giving Pennsylvanians more time to register to vote ahead of elections.

It is important to note that none of the provisions within the legislation will take effect before next Tuesday’s general election.
House Approves Juvenile Detention Center, Alternative Programs Week

My resolution declaring the week of Sept. 30 – Oct. 4, 2019, as Juvenile Detention Centers and Alternative Programs Week in Pennsylvania unanimously passed the House this week.

Pennsylvania has thousands of men and women dedicated to ensuring the proper care and supervision of justice-involved youth and are simultaneously committed to ensuring the protection of the Commonwealth’s communities. The statewide association representing juvenile justice service providers is celebrating 41 years of support for Pennsylvania’s juvenile detention centers and alternative programs that contribute to public safety by providing a stable environment for at-risk youth, including education and programming, and ensuring sufficient opportunities for growth and development.

The resolution recognizes their service and dedication to Pennsylvania’s Balanced and Restorative Justice mission designed to hold justice-involved youth accountable for their actions, engage them in activities to restore victims and communities, and build their competencies to move these youth toward productive citizenship and away from further criminal activity.

Thank you to my colleagues for passing this resolution.
House ‘Helpers and Heroes’ Package Awaits Senate Action

The House continued its commitment to supporting first responders – the “helpers and heroes” of our communities – this week as we completed work on more than a dozen measures designed to boost volunteerism, offer more flexibility in funding and assure better access to training.

These changes are vital to shoring up our public safety infrastructure across the state, as fire and ambulance companies struggle to recruit both volunteers and staff and obtain the necessary financial support to keep their doors open.

Learn more about the full package, which now awaits action in the Senate, here.    
Heating Assistance Program Now Open

Residents who are struggling with their home heating bills can apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.

The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are set at 150% of the federal poverty income level. For example, the income limit for an individual is $18,735; for a couple, the limit is $25,365; and for a family of four, it is $38,625.

Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting the County Assistance Office in their county of residence.

Click here for additional information. 
Turn Those Clocks Back This Weekend

Daylight saving time will end at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3. Be sure to turn your clocks back one hour before going to bed on Saturday night.

It’s also a good time to check or change the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Experts say these items should be replaced every 10 years. They should be located near bedrooms and on each level of the residence.
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202 East Broad Street, Tamaqua, PA 18252 | Phone: 570-668-1240
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