Aug. 04, 2023

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#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
In this Edition:
  •   PennDOT, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Seek Young Ambassadors
  •   Replacing Pennsylvanian’s Stolen SNAP Benefits
  •   Attention Farmers: Tax Credits Available to Support Water, Soil Quality Improvements
  •   Financial Relief Grants Available to Eligible Veterans
  •   Virtual Listening Sessions Set for PA Master Plan for Older Adults
  •   You’re Invited to Tea with Tom
  •   Out and About Photos – National Night Out
PennDOT, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Seek Young Ambassadors

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful are inviting 10th -12th grade students from around the state to help keep Pennsylvania clean and beautiful through the Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania program.

The program seeks to build community stewards and civic leaders by inspiring, engaging, and empowering young Pennsylvanians to not only keep their communities clean and beautiful but also to become ambassadors in their community for a shared vision of a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Applicants should be passionate about the environment and committed to making Pennsylvania the best place to live, work and play through volunteerism and leadership.

The Young Ambassadors program provides opportunities for high school students to train and network with industry leaders, state agencies, local media and the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful network to increase leadership and problem solving skills and prepare them to continue to make differences in their communities and beyond.

“Young people across the Commonwealth are instrumental in the effort to curb litter and environmental degradation, now and in the future,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “It’s inspiring to see the rising stewards of Pennsylvania’s environment taking on such an active role in clean-up efforts around the state.”

Chosen candidates will commit to serve as an Ambassador from October 2023 through May 2024 and represent and uphold the mission and values of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

Other responsibilities include:
  •   attending 6 mandatory virtual education sessions;
  •   conducting a community assessment and creating a summary presentation;
  •   organizing and participating in at least one community cleanup event through pick up Pennsylvania and conducting one community education event or activity.

There will also be non-mandatory education sessions from a variety of topics.

The Young Ambassadors program was recommended in the commonwealth’s Litter Action Plan announced by the Governor’s Office in November 2021 and is funded by PennDOT.

Applications are being accepted August 1 through September 14. Students will be chosen through a competitive application process. Students interested in applying should visit and choose Programs, Education then Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania or contact Kylie McCutcheon at 724-836-4121 x114 or

Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has worked with hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state to pick up nearly 155 million pounds of trash from Pennsylvania's roadways, waterways, greenways, vacant lots, forestlands and other community spaces. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s core programming focuses on litter and illegal dump prevention, cleanup, community greening, and proper waste handling and sustainable practices.
Replacing Pennsylvanian’s Stolen SNAP Benefits

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) announced last week that recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) who have had their benefits electronically stolen are now able to have those benefits replaced. Provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, those eligible recipients whose benefits were electronically stolen on or after October 1, 2022, will be able to replace their stolen SNAP benefits through federal funds.

“SNAP is the nation’s most important food security program, helping more than 1.9 million Pennsylvanians put food on their tables to help them stay safe, healthy, and fed. But too often, bad actors attempt to take advantage of SNAP recipients by engaging in scams and theft of these benefits,” said DHS Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh. “I am incredibly pleased that we can now restore these benefits to the people who need them most. I encourage anyone who may qualify to reach out to DHS right away so you can restore the benefits you’re entitled to.”

SNAP recipients who have had their benefits electronically stolen can fill out a Benefit Theft Claim Form and submit it online or provide it to DHS through COMPASS, by calling the Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930 or at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia clients, or by visiting a County Assistance Office (CAO). Reports of electronic benefit theft must be reported within 60 calendar days of the discovery of the theft.

SNAP benefits are eligible for replacement if they were stolen due to electronic fraudulent activity, such as:

  •   Skimming: The use of electronic equipment to take someone’s information without their knowledge.
  •   Card Cloning: Copying stolen electronic benefits transfer (EBT) information to a new card.
  •   Phishing scams: When scammers use fraudulent text messages or phone calls to obtain EBT card numbers and PINs to steal SNAP benefits.
  •   Scamming: Falsely convincing a SNAP recipient to give their EBT and/or personal information to someone else.

DHS cannot replace benefits if the client gave their physical EBT card and PIN to someone who then stole the benefits, or if a physical EBT card was lost or stolen.

The maximum amount a household can receive in a single reimbursement is up to two months’ worth of their regular SNAP payment or the amount that was stolen, whichever is less. Benefits lost to electronic fraud cannot be replaced more than two times in a federal fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30.
Attention Farmers: Tax Credits Available to Support Water, Soil Quality Improvements

Pennsylvania farmers are encouraged to apply for a share of $13 million in tax credits available to support their efforts to improve soil health and water quality. The application period opens Monday, Aug. 7.

Tax credits through Pennsylvania's innovative conservation financing program, Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP), can be combined with other state funding to help pay for on-farm enhancements that protect the environment and boost farm sustainability.

Tax credits are available to agricultural producers who implement best management practices or purchase equipment to reduce nutrient and sediment runoff, enhance soil health and improve the quality of Pennsylvania's waterways.

REAP applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Baseline eligibility includes compliance with the PA Clean Streams Law and the Pennsylvania Nutrient and Odor Management Law.

More information about REAP, including the 2023-24 application packet, program guidelines and sponsorship process, is available here.

The deadline to submit applications is Oct. 31. Funds may run out before the deadline.
Financial Relief Grants Available to Eligible Veterans

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is reminding veterans who may be facing an unexpected financial hardship that help is available.

The DMVA oversees the Veterans Temporary Assistance (VTA) program, which provides eligible Pennsylvania veterans and their beneficiaries with financial relief for life’s basic needs, including food, shelter, fuel and clothing.

Eligible veterans or their beneficiaries can qualify for up to $1,600 in a 12-month period. Eligibility requirements include those who served in the Armed Forces of the United States (discharged under honorable conditions), died in service or killed in action, or suffered a service-connected disability.

For more information about the program’s criteria, eligibility and needed documentation, go to Veterans Temporary Assistance. To apply, eligible veterans should contact the county Veterans Affairs directors in the county in which they reside.
Virtual Listening Sessions Set for PA Master Plan for Older Adults

The Department of Aging will host a series of virtual listening sessions during the month of August to discuss and gather input on Pennsylvania's Master Plan for Older Adults – a 10-year, state-led and stakeholder-driven strategic plan designed to help transform the infrastructure and coordination of services for older Pennsylvanians.

During the virtual listening sessions, the department will present an overview of the plan with a concentration on AARP's 8 Domains of Livability for Age-Friendly Communities on the following dates:

  •   Tuesday, Aug. 8, 3-4:30 p.m.
  •   Thursday, Aug. 17, 3-4:30 p.m.
  •   Tuesday, Aug. 22, 10-11:30 a.m.
  •   Friday, Aug. 25, 8:30-10 a.m.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. Click here to sign up.  

For more information about the plan and how to participate, visit
You’re Invited to Tea with Tom

Couples who have been together for 30 years or longer are invited to join me on Thursday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. to noon at the South Hanover Township municipal building, 161 Patriot Way in Hershey. During the event we will enjoy tea and other light refreshments, celebrate your marital milestones, and discuss state programs and services available to those in attendance. Reservations are required due to limited seating. Please call 717-534-1323.
Out and About Photos – National Night Out

National Night Out was held August 1st and the police departments throughout the 106th District did a wonderful job yet again hosting a night of fun for the communities they serve. I was happy to support each of the four locations: Hummelstown Borough, the townships of Derry, Lower Swatara, and a combined event from all three Hanover townships, held jointly in South Hanover.