Jan. 31, 2022 / Press Release

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#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
Better Access to Treatment Legislation Moves Forward

I am so happy to report House Bill 19 cleared the House Professional Licensure Committee on a unanimous vote Monday. House Bill 19 (the Better Access to Treatment Act) is legislation I introduced to help Pennsylvania in joining more than 30 other states in offering licensure and title protection to applied behavior analysts, who are skilled professionals working with children and adults with a variety of mental health challenges, intellectual disabilities and medical conditions.

My hope is that House Bill 19 reaches a vote before the full House in early February.

Behavior analysts are already highly trained, board-certified providers. A major benefit of providing licensure would be to ensure those purporting to be behavior analysts actually are, in fact, professionals, which could reduce instances of fraud.
New Funding on the Way for PA’s Health Care Heroes

Recognizing the sacrifices our health care workers have been making each and every day throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the House and Senate have advanced legislation calling for a $250 million infusion of funding to help.

The first part of a two-bill package includes $210 million for hospitals and behavioral health care providers to provide recruitment and retention payments to nurses and other employees involved in direct patient care activities, environmental services or clinical care services. Specifically, $100 million is directed to all hospitals while $110 million goes to critical access hospitals, high Medicaid-use facilities and behavioral health providers.

House Bill 253, which passed both chambers this week and was signed into law by the governor, also provides $15 million in funding for the nurse student loan forgiveness through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

The second part of the two-bill package will provide $25 million in funding to fire and emergency medical services providers. That measure is expected to be considered early next month
3G Network Shutdown Underway

Mobile carriers have begun shutting down their 3G networks to make room for more advanced technology services, like 5G. Impacted devices include 3G and certain 4G cellphones that do not support Voice Over LTE, as well as medical alert devices, home security systems and tablets that run off the 3G network.

To learn more about how this change could impact you and a general timeline of when these transitions will take place, click here.
UC Claimants to be Eligible for Free Credit Monitoring

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) is offering free credit-monitoring services to all unemployment compensation (UC) claimants relative to an ongoing investigation of unusual account changes within the UC system.

The issue is part of an FBI and Homeland Security investigation into what appears to be a highly sophisticated, coordinated effort to infiltrate various government systems. At this time, there has been no confirmed data breach.

L&I is encouraging any UC claimant who believes their account has experienced an unusual change to contact the department either online or by calling the PA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-692-7469.

Information about registering for the free credit monitoring services is coming soon.

Additional details are available here.
Attention Students: House Fellowship Program Taking Applications

The Pennsylvania House Fellowship Program is accepting applications for its Summer 2022 session. The 13-week program remains based at Pennsylvania’s Capitol Building in Harrisburg where fellows are placed in committee chair and House leadership offices.

Qualified applicants must be:
  •   Undergraduate juniors and seniors, graduate students or law school students.
  •   Enrolled in a Pennsylvania college/university or a Pennsylvania resident enrolled in an out-of-state institution.
  •   Students of any major with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

For more information or to apply, visit www.pahousefellowship.us. Applications can be submitted via email to pahousefellowship@pabmc.net. The deadline to apply is March 1.
Learn More About PAHAF

The Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund, or PAHAF, is a housing-related program funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to assist Pennsylvania homeowners facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic that began after January 21, 2020, (including a hardship that began before January 21, 2020, and continued after that date). The program will provide financial assistance to homeowners for qualified mortgage and housing-related expenses to avoid delinquency, default, foreclosure, or displacement.

PAHAF will begin accepting applications from eligible Pennsylvania homeowners on Feb. 1, 2022.

You can learn about eligibility and applications at this site.
2021 Property Tax and Rent Rebate Applications Available Now

Forms for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are now available for eligible Pennsylvanians to begin claiming rebates on property taxes or rent paid in 2021.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975. The Revenue Department automatically calculates supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners.

The deadline to apply for a rebate is June 30. Rebates will be distributed beginning July 1, as required by law. Additional information, as well as claim forms, are available here. You can also contact my office to have a form sent to you.