Oct. 13, 2023

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Mehaffie Message
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
In this Edition:
  •   Sign-up for my Upcoming Events
  •   Scam Alert! Beware the ‘Phantom Hacker’
  •   Dauphin County Conservation Grants
  •   Bill Criminalizing Illicit Xylazine Possession Passes House
  •   My Voter I.D. Amendment
  •   Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 15
  •   Veterans’ Trust Fund Grant Applications Now Open
  •   Security Funding Available for Organizations Targeted by Hate Crimes
  •   Fire Prevention Week Highlights Cooking Safety
  •   Out and About Photos
Sign-up for my Upcoming Events

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.

Veterans’ Breakfast:


Mark your calendar for my veterans’ appreciation breakfast on Friday, Nov. 3, from 8-10 a.m. at the Lower Swatara Fire Department, 1350 Fulling Mill Road, Middletown. This event is open to active-duty military personnel and veterans. Accommodations can be made for disabled attendees requiring assistance.

Seating is limited and registration is required online at RepMehaffie.com or by calling the district office at 717-534-1323.

At the event, we will be collecting worn, torn and defaced U.S. flags for proper disposal. The Dauphin County Veterans Affairs Office is also scheduled to be on-hand to answer any questions, and the Dauphin County Recorder of Deeds office will be on-site to register discharge papers, DD214s, and issue cards for the county’s Veteran ID Discount Card program.
Scam Alert! Beware the ‘Phantom Hacker’

Senior citizens and all Pennsylvanians are being warned to be on the lookout for a new scam called “The Phantom Hacker,” which involves convincing victims that their financial accounts have been hacked.

According to the FBI, perpetrators of the Phantom Hacker scheme gain the trust of victims in three phases: First, they pose as a tech support representative and convince the victim to download a piece of software. Then they call a second time, pretending to be from the victim’s bank or another financial institution. Finally, they claim to be an employee of a federal agency.

The goal of the scam is to convince people to move their money into an “alias” account, where the scammers can steal it. The scam can include emails, texts, phone calls and even letters sent via the U.S. Postal Service.

All Pennsylvanians should be extremely cautious when receiving unsolicited texts, phone calls or emails which could lead scammers straight to your bank account. Think twice before providing any personal information. If you are at all suspicious, call your financial institution directly using a phone number you know to be affiliated with the institution.

Victims are urged to report any fraudulent or suspicious activities to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov. Suspected fraud can also be reported at www.ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Dauphin County Conservation Grants

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Community Conservation Partnerships Program has awarded grants to a number of conservations efforts in Dauphin County.

Manada Conservancy received a $45,300 for the acquisition of approximately 1.5 acres along Valley Lane in South Hanover Township for an addition to ClawsonVanDeHei Preserve and access to the Swatara Creek.

Middletown Borough received a $131,500 grant for the rehabilitation of Overdeer Park in the borough for the construction of pedestrian walkways, and ADA access; the installation of play equipment with the required safety surfacing; landscaping, and other related site improvements.

The DCNR Community Conservation Partnerships Program is funded with a variety of state and federal funding sources including: the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key); the Environmental Stewardship Fund (ESF); the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) subject to National Park Service approval; the federal Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Program (PRT); and the Pennsylvania Heritage Area Program (HA).
Bill Criminalizing Illicit Xylazine Possession Passes House

In an ongoing effort to combat drug misuse and abuse, the state House has passed legislation that would criminalize illicit possession of xylazine.

The bill recognizes the dangers of the drug, which is increasingly being found in mixtures of other illicit substances. But it also recognizes xylazine, a prescription-only animal sedative, plays an important role in large animal management and thus creates an exemption in the law for proper use of the drug.

House Bill 1661 now heads to the Senate for consideration.
My Voter I.D. Amendment

Last week, I proposed a bi-partisan amendment to Senate Bill 224, which would add Voter I.D. to the election process. Under the amendment, voters would use their driver’s license or any legal form of identification accepted by the language of the amendment. The amendment passed the House and was added to Senate Bill 224.

You can watch my comments on the amendment here.
Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 15

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging is reminding older adults the annual open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries begins this Sunday, Oct. 15, and continues through Thursday, Dec. 7. Any new coverage selected or changes to existing benefits will take effect Jan. 1, 2024.

During open enrollment, new Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for Medicare prescription drug coverage and health plans to complement Medicare, and current Medicare beneficiaries can review and join, switch or drop Medicare Advantage or prescription drug coverage so it better meets their needs.

To help Medicare beneficiaries understand their options, the department offers free, objective health benefits counseling through Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI). Available at Pennsylvania's 52 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), PA MEDI counselors can assist Medicare beneficiaries with plan comparisons, help with enrollment in a new plan, and evaluate eligibility for any of Pennsylvania's Medicare cost-savings programs.

To learn more about PA MEDI assistance, click here. PA MEDI can also be reached at 1-800-783-7067 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Older adults may also call their local Area Agency on Aging for assistance. Click here for a link to contact information.
Veterans’ Trust Fund Grant Applications Now Open

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is inviting grant applications for the 2023-24 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF).

Grants are available to nonprofit organizations, veteran service organizations and county directors of veterans affairs across the state. The funding supports services such as transportation, food insecurity, housing insecurity, behavioral health/mental health/suicide prevention initiatives and legal assistance, among others.

Grant applications must be received no later than 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Click here for more information about the program and how to apply.  
Security Funding Available for Organizations Targeted by Hate Crimes

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is now accepting applications for funding through its Nonprofit Security Grant Program. The funds may be used to support security enhancement projects for nonprofit organizations that may be targeted by hate crimes.

The grant program was created in 2019 in response to the tragic shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, which claimed the lives of 11 people.

Grant awards can range from $5,000 to $150,000 for a wide variety of eligible items, including safety and security planning and training; purchase of safety and security equipment and technology; upgrades to existing structures that enhance safety and security; and vulnerability and threat assessments.

Applications are due by Monday, Oct. 30. Additional information about eligibility and applications is available here.
Fire Prevention Week Highlights Cooking Safety

National Fire Prevention Week, an annual event to help raise awareness about how to prevent fires and fire-related injuries, comes to an end this Saturday, Oct. 14, but it’s important to pay attention to fire safety and prevention every day.

This year’s theme is “Cooking safety starts with YOU.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires and deaths. Use the following tips to help prevent cooking fires:
  •   Watch what you heat. Always keep a close eye on what you are cooking. Set a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  •   Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Always keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner.
  •   Have a “kid- and pet-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove or grill and anywhere else hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
Out and About Photos

Derry Township Police Department


It was my great honor, along with House security, to recognize special guests from the Derry Township Police Department in the House chamber earlier this week.

Walk in Penn’s Woods – Weiser State Forest

Recently, state Rep. Joe Kerwin and I joined the annual Walk in Penn's Woods in the Weiser State Forest! You can join in on the first Sunday of October next year and enjoy some of our Commonwealth's beautiful nature.

Thanks to Manada Conservancy and the Dauphin County Woodland Owners Association for putting on the event and to DCNR Forester Andy Brought for leading the walk!

Eshleman-Pankake-Wolf Post 9639

I joined the Eshleman-Pankake-Wolf Post 9639 Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary in East Hanover Township, and presented them with a House citation, celebrating their 75 years of service to veterans, youth, and the greater community since 1948!