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Friday, October 26, 2018

News from Harrisburg

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Capitol Update
Friday, October 26, 2018 The latest news from the State Capitol

It’s official -- Route 44 in Potter County is now known as the Highway to the Stars! Local photographer Curt Weinhold came up with the idea to help draw more attention to Cherry Springs State Park and I was happy to sponsor the law, Act 70 of 2018, to make the designation. Pictured at the park last week, from left: Lori Copp, executive director of Visit Potter-Tioga; Curt Weinhold; Potter County commissioners Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover; Chuck Dillon of Sen. Joe Scarnati’s office; me; Scott Morgan, assistant park manager; Ben Stone, park manager; and Marissa Galeotti, environmental education specialist. 

Congratulations to Bob and Gloria Galentine of Turtlepoint, who were married 50 years ago today (Oct. 26)! I was honored to present them with a House citation in recognition of this milestone last weekend.

Outreach Hours Set for Nov. 1
To help ensure access to state government information and services, I will hold outreach office hours at the following locations on Thursday, Nov. 1:
  • Emporium Borough Office – 9-10 a.m.
  • Port Allegany Borough Office – 11 a.m. to noon.
Services available include assistance with any state-related issues or concerns, driver license and vehicle registration applications, and applications for various state programs, such as the senior citizen Property Tax/Rent Rebate and PACE/PACENET prescription drug assistance programs.

As always, you are welcome to stop by my offices in Bradford (78 Main St., first floor), Coudersport (107 S. Main St., Room 1) or Kane (55 Fraley St.) Monday through Friday, or visit my website at or my Facebook page at for the latest news from state government.

Veterans Assistance Available
Melissa Davis of the American Legion will be available to meet with veterans at the Kane office, 55 Fraley St., on Monday, Nov. 5, from 1-4 p.m. Appointments may be made by calling the office at 814-837-0880.

Davis offers assistance with issues such as compensation, education, pension, health care and death benefits. Veterans need not be a member of the American Legion to take advantage of the services.

Veterans service hours in Bradford are canceled in November due to the Veterans Day holiday, and all appointments are booked in Coudersport. Davis will next visit those offices on Monday, Dec. 10, and Thursday, Dec. 6, respectively. She will also be available again in Kane on Monday, Dec. 3.

Appointments may be made by contacting the appropriate office:
  • Bradford – 814-362-4400.
  • Coudersport – 814-274-9769.
  • Kane – 814-837-0880.

Heating Assistance Program to Open Next Week

Residents who are struggling with their home heating bills can apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Thursday, Nov. 1.

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 percent of the federal poverty income level. For example, the income limit for an individual is $18,210; for a couple, the limit is $24,690; and for a family of four, it is $37,650.

Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting the County Assistance Office in their county of residence:
  • Cameron County, 411 Chestnut St., Emporium, 1-877-855-1824.
  • McKean County, 68 Chestnut St., Suite B, Bradford, 1-800-822-1108.
  • Potter County, 269 Route 6 West, Room 1, Coudersport, 1-800-446-9896.
More information is available here.

Fighting Back Against Food Stamp Fraud

Working to protect taxpayer dollars, a new law aims to help prevent food stamp fraud by imposing tougher penalties for the illegal trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Senate Bill 1127, now Act 160 of 2018, creates a new penalty for the fraudulent trafficking of SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500. Violators will be required to pay restitution of up to three times the amount of fraud they committed. Under prior law, the recipient who sold the benefits and the merchant who created the illegal market for and traffics in those benefits are treated the same.

The legislation stems from a case uncovered last year by the Office of State Inspector General in which a Harrisburg restaurant traded drugs for electronic benefit transaction (EBT) cards and bought thousands of dollars of supplies from a food wholesale club to be resold for profit. This serious problem across Pennsylvania takes food from our most vulnerable citizens.

Veterans Organizations Can Apply for Trust Fund Grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is accepting applications for the 2018-19 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grant cycle. Up to $800,000 in VTF grant funding will be competitively awarded for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans.

The VTF is funded by Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs or motor vehicle registrations; purchasing Honoring Our Veterans license plates; or making private donations.

To learn more about the VTF and the grant application process, visit or follow DMVA on Facebook at

Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veteran population in the nation, with nearly 800,000 veterans.

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