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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Headline Harrisburg by Rep. Matt Gabler

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Headline Harrisburg
Friday, November 15, 2019 The latest news from the State Capitol

This email includes:
  • Improvements Coming to Winslow Hill Road
  • Remembering a Local Hero
  • Security Grant Program for Nonprofits Now Law
  • Calling Students in Grades 9-12
  • New Education Benefit for PA National Guard Families Available
  • Veterans Trust Fund Grant Program Open for Applications
  • Washington Tax Cuts to Hit Your Utility Bill!

Improvements Coming to Winslow Hill Road

I am pleased to see Benezette Township’s effort to improve Winslow Hill Road is receiving $1 million in funding through the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s (CFAs) Multimodal Transportation program.

The CFA was established in 2004 as an independent agency to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages and investments in the Commonwealth's economic growth.

While Winslow Hill Road is a township road, it has been severely impacted by tourism driven by the state. As the crown jewel of the Pennsylvania Wilds, this infrastructure investment will mitigate the impact on local government, assist local taxpayers, and better serve visitors from out of town.

Remembering a Local Hero

This Monday, Nov. 18, the House Transportation Committee will vote my legislation that would rename the highway bridge on U.S. Routes 219 and 322 in Brady Township as the LCPL Robert Clyde Gontero Bridge. You can watch the meting on my website,, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

“Bobby,” a 1965 graduate of the DuBois Area High School, spent five months in Vietnam with the United States Marine Corps. He was killed in action by gunfire in 1969 while on a search and clear mission in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.

Security Grant Program for Nonprofits Now Law

Faith-based institutions and nonprofit organizations will be eligible for grants to boost security at their facilities under a new law approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor.

Act 83 of 2019 will make funding available to faith-based institutions and nonprofits that serve individuals, groups or institutions listed by the FBI as at risk for hate crime incidents.

Grant awards will range from $5,000 to $150,000. Faith-based institutions and nonprofits could use the money for a variety of security planning, equipment and technology needs, including surveillance cameras, emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, threat assessments and building upgrades.

The program is similar to the School Safety Security Grant Program, which helps schools meet a variety of security needs. It will be administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Applications are expected to become available early next year.

Calling Students in Grades 9-12

PennDOT is sponsoring its third “Innovations Challenge,” which encourages Pennsylvania students in grades 9-12 to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.

This year’s competition challenges students to look at cost-effective technologies and innovative solutions that can be developed in the next five to 10 years to help PennDOT more efficiently, effectively and safely control litter along roadways.

Last year, PennDOT spent nearly $13 million cleaning up roadside litter across Pennsylvania, in addition to cleanup efforts by 5,000 volunteers participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program. These dollars and volunteer hours could have otherwise been spent on delivering a better transportation network.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 20. More information is available by clicking here.

New Education Benefit for PA National Guard Families Available

Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard are encouraged to take advantage of the new Military Family Education Program, or PA GI Bill, which is now open for enrollment.

Under Act 32 of 2019, Guard members who commit to an additional six years of service can receive five years of higher education benefits for their spouses and children. The program will provide 10 semesters of tuition-free education for family member(s).

The benefit must be used at a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency-approved educational institution, and at the tuition rate set by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Previously, Guard members only were eligible for the Education Assistance Program with their initial service obligation of six years that provides a non-transferable educational benefit. The expansion of this program to spouses and children will help more military families succeed.

Interested Guard members can apply through their unit to the PA National Guard Education Office. Tuition benefits will begin for the 2020-21 academic year.

More information about the program is available here.

Veterans Trust Fund Grant Program Open for Applications

The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is now accepting applications for 2019-20 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grants. Up to $800,000 in VTF grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations, veteran service organizations and county directors of veteran affairs across the state.

Up to $150,000 in funding is available for new, innovative or expanded programs or services operated by the county directors of veterans affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. The areas of emphasis for applicants in this category are veterans’ outreach and veterans’ court programs.

Up to $650,000 in funding is available to veteran service organizations with 501(c)(19) status and nonprofit organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans granted 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Code. Funding priorities for applicants in this category are homelessness, behavioral health initiatives and veterans’ courts.

Eligible applicants from either category may also submit applications for programs addressing newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.

Since the grant program began in 2013, 155 grants totaling $3,732,860 have been awarded to organizations providing services to veterans in Pennsylvania.

The deadline to apply is 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18. For more information about the program, click here.

Washington Tax Cuts to Hit Your Utility Bill!

Thanks to the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, you’ll be getting another credit on your utility bill next year.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved PPL’s plan to distribute an additional $44 million in federal tax reform savings to the utility’s customers during calendar year 2020. These savings accumulated between Jan. 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018. PPL proposed to begin returning tax reform savings to consumers in the form of a “negative surcharge” or credit on their monthly utility bills.

PPL proposed returning the savings during the 2020 calendar year – rather than waiting until May of 2021 – to address the Commission’s stated intent to “avoid unreasonable delays in dealing with such funds.”

Please click here for more information.

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