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Friday, May 18, 2018

Capitol Update by Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, May 18, 2018 The latest news from the State Capitol
                          
Paving the Way for Rural Broadband Deployment

Working to bring broadband infrastructure and connectivity to rural communities locally and across the Northern Tier, I have introduced legislation to establish the Rural Pennsylvania Broadband Deployment Act.

Access to high-speed internet is not a luxury but a necessity for our students and teachers, our farmers and business owners, and our doctors and patients. With the issue finally getting the attention it deserves, both the president and the governor have pledged funding to address broadband infrastructure, and we need to make sure those dollars are invested in communities like ours where they are needed the most.

House Bill 2293 would establish a new fund within the State Treasury into which federal, state and other funding can be deposited to use for deployment of rural broadband/high-speed internet services. The legislation would also create an advisory board within the Department of Community and Economic Development to not only investigate and make recommendations for the improved deployment of these services, but also to solicit, review and recommend proposals to use the funding.

It is important to have the fund and advisory board in place to ensure dollars dedicated to rural broadband deployment are directed to the most underserved areas of the Commonwealth.

The bill has been referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for consideration. It is one of several measures before the General Assembly to address rural broadband needs.
                
         
Reminder: Denton Hill Update Meeting Wednesday

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) will hold an informational meeting about a master plan for Denton Hill State Park on Wednesday, May 23, from 6-8 p.m. at the lodge in the park.

According to DCNR State Parks Director John Hallas, the agency has worked to develop a plan that will provide infrastructure improvements to the ski area, and position a concessionaire and the park to grow recreational opportunities in all four seasons.

The park first opened as a ski area in 1958 and was operated by the Commonwealth until 1979. In 1983, DCNR signed a 35-year concession lease agreement with Denton Hill Family and Ski Resort Inc. The concessionaire notified DCNR in November 2014 that it would no longer be able to operate, and ski operations have been closed since that time.
                  
         
Are You Owed Unclaimed Property?

The Pennsylvania Treasury Department is currently holding more than $3.2 billion in unclaimed property, with about one in 10 residents eligible to recoup that property.

Unclaimed property is any financial asset that has been left inactive by the owner for a period of three years or more. The most common kinds of unclaimed property include savings and checking accounts, uncashed checks, unclaimed insurance benefits and items abandoned in forgotten safe deposit boxes. The amounts can range from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars.

The Treasury is required to advertise the names and addresses of unclaimed property owners in their last known county of residence, but only if the property is valued in excess of $250. The names and addresses of unclaimed property owners appear in the newspaper only once per year, even though they may be owed multiple pieces of property. State officials are also cautioning individuals to be wary of services or “finders” that charge costly fees to help locate unclaimed property.

There is no need to pay a private service to submit a claim when there is a FREE and more effective way to conveniently determine if the state is holding some of your money.

To search Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property online database, go to the Treasury Department’s website, www.patreasury.gov, and follow the simple instructions.                   
         
Veterans: Applying for Benefits Should Never Come with a Fee

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) reminds veterans and their dependents that they should never have to pay for help to apply for veterans’ benefits.

Under both state and federal law, accredited veterans service organizations are authorized to provide free advice and assistance to veterans as they apply for veterans’ benefits.

My offices in Bradford, Coudersport and Kane host monthly veterans service hours to help veterans and their family members with issues such as compensation, education, pension, health care and death benefits.

To learn more about veterans benefits, visit the DMVA online at www.dmva.pa.gov and click on Veterans Affairs
                                                      
         
Taking Care of New, Expectant Moms

A new law to take effect soon will help improve health outcomes for expectant and new mothers by establishing a Maternal Mortality Review Committee within the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

In the United States, more women die from pregnancy complications than in any other developed country. Causes of death for expectant mothers include preventable conditions like preeclampsia and obstetric hemorrhage. Mental health conditions, including suicide and overdose, are also becoming the leading cause of maternal mortality in a number of states.

A Maternal Mortality Review Committee will better identify pregnancy-related deaths, oversee the review of these deaths, recommend actions to help prevent future deaths and publish review results. This information will help clinicians and public health professionals better understand circumstances surrounding pregnancy-related deaths and enable them to take appropriate actions to prevent them. No cost will be associated with the committee since the department can absorb any administrative costs within its existing funding.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) monitors maternal mortality on a national level. Pennsylvania now becomes the 33rd state to have maternal mortality review committees either in operation or in development.

In states where such committees already exist, there has been a significant decline in maternal mortality, as well as improvements in infant health with more babies making it to full term.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Verizon's enhanced high speed internet in Smethport is only 3.0 mbps for $60 per month.
It certainly is not high speed!