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Friday, December 16, 2016

Capitol Update

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Capitol Update
Friday, December 16, 2016 The latest news from the State Capitol
                                      
 
                         
Best wishes to Chief Dan Songer as he retires from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Police Department in early January! It was an honor to present to him a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, honoring his decades of dedicated service to our community. He is the longest-serving police officer in McKean County, having started his career in Foster Township in 1974, and the longest-serving police chief in the University of Pittsburgh system, having started his service there in 1984. Thank you, Chief Songer, for a job well done!!
                                                                              
                                      
 
Changes Help Cover More Kids
                                 
As a result of legislative changes made to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), more children than ever are covered by the program according to a report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).

Over the last year, CHIP enrollment increased from 150,985 in December 2015 to 168,238 in November 2016.

The main change, Act 84 of 2015, better coordinated services, especially for families whose income levels fluctuate and children transition between CHIP and Medicaid. The new law also identified more children who would benefit from coverage.

Created in 1992, CHIP provides health insurance to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance. More than 650 children in Cameron, McKean and Potter counties are covered by the program. More information is available online at www.CHIPCoversPAKids.com.
                                 
                                                             
 
Tech Ed, Career Readiness Report Unveiled
                      
Many of the Commonwealth’s higher-paying, in-demand jobs do not require a traditional four-year degree, and the House Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness unveiled recommendations recently to ensure that Pennsylvania has programs, policies and partnerships in place to help workers of all ages reach their career potential.

The subcommittee reviewed existing technical and career preparation programs and business partnerships that aim to better develop future generations for the workforce, which will serve to improve Pennsylvania’s economy while also ensuring good-paying manufacturing jobs stay in the state. The report is the result of seven hearings with testimony from more than 60 business and education leaders.

The recommendations focus on continuing oversight of career and technical education initiatives, addressing business and industry demands, strengthening partnerships with business and industry, increasing access to career and technical education programs, and confronting misperceptions about career and technical education. The recommendations will then be developed into legislation for the 2017-18 session.
                            
                              
 
Pennsylvania Offers Tax Amnesty to Eligible Taxpayers
                                      
Pennsylvania is offering a tax amnesty period next year, from April 21 to June 19. Individuals and businesses with past-due taxes who choose to pay up during the amnesty period will see all penalties and half of the interest owed waived.

Tax amnesty is open to nearly all state taxes and most individuals and businesses with past-due taxes at the end of 2015 are eligible. After the amnesty period, an additional 5 percent penalty will be added to eligible taxpayers who do not participate, and interest will keep accumulating. Taxpayers who participated in the 2010 tax amnesty are ineligible.

In the meantime, individuals and businesses can check if back-taxes are owed. Interest calculators are available for businesses and individuals as well. Application instructions will be announced closer to the start of the amnesty program. More information is available at revenue.pa.gov, including a tax amnesty fact sheet, webinar, guidelines and FAQs.
                           
                                    
 
Drive Safely During Winter Weather
                              
Several parts of Pennsylvania have already felt Mother Nature’s fury, and PennDOT urges drivers to use extra caution while driving during inclement weather conditions.

This winter, all of the 2,200-plus PennDOT-owned and rented plow trucks will be equipped with technology allowing the public to view the trucks on interstates and expressways at www.511PA.com.

When winter weather hits, PennDOT’s primary focus is on interstates and expressways, and equipment may be redirected to those routes during significant winter events. The more traffic a roadway has, the more attention it will receive from plows, so motorists may find deeper accumulations on less-traveled routes and should adjust their driving for those conditions.

Motorists encountering snow or ice-covered roads should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions. Tires should also be checked often for the correct level of air pressure and adequate tire-tread depth to perform on ice and snow.

For more information on PennDOT’s winter preparations and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, click here.
                                           
                        
 
                         
Sending warmest wishes to you and your loved ones for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

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