Oct. 27, 2023

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#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
In this Edition:
  •   Tuesday is Deadline to Apply for Mail-in Ballot
  •   Bridge Replacement in Hershey
  •   Sign-up for Tea with Tom
  •   A Lifeline for EMS Companies
  •   Streamlining EMS Licensing for Veterans
  •   PennDOT Announces ‘Innovations Challenge’ for High School Students
  •   Nominate Your Favorite Trail
  •   October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
  •   Out and About Photos
Tuesday is Deadline to Apply for Mail-in Ballot

Eligible Pennsylvanians who wish to vote by mail rather than in person at the upcoming Nov. 7 municipal election must apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot no later than 5 p.m. this Tuesday, Oct. 31.

You may apply for the ballot at your county Elections Office or by clicking here. Absentee and mail-in ballots must be received no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Bridge Replacement in Hershey

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that a bridge replacement project is scheduled to begin on Laudermilch Road in Dauphin County. The bridge spans Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks between East Derry Road and Hershey Park Drive in Derry Township.

Weather permitting, work will begin Tuesday, Nov. 7. The bridge will be closed, and a detour will be in place using East Derry Road, Route 422, North Lingle Avenue and Hershey Park Drive.

All work is expected to be completed by July 11, 2025.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com.
Sign-up for 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.
A Lifeline for EMS Companies

Emergency medical services (EMS) companies across the Commonwealth will see a significant and much-needed boost in reimbursement rates under legislation I supported in the House that has now been signed into law.

Act 15 of 2023 ties the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rates to federal Medicare rates, and pays whichever amount is higher for services such as basic life support and advanced life support ambulance trips.

The new law also ensures EMS agencies are reimbursed by Medicaid for 100% of the miles they travel with a patient on board receiving care or transport, finally removing the current exemption for the first 20 miles traveled.

Medicare currently reimburses at a rate of more than $8 per mile in both urban and rural areas and $13 for the first 17 miles in super rural areas. Medicaid reimburses at a rate of $4 per mile after the first 20 miles.

The increased reimbursement takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.
Streamlining EMS Licensing for Veterans

The General Assembly has adopted, and the governor signed, on Oct. 23 a new law to streamline the professional licensing process for veterans seeking a civilian emergency medical services career in the Commonwealth.

Act 13 of 2023 will ensure that a service member’s military education and training are taken into consideration for the purpose of fulfilling requirements for professional credentials related to emergency medical services providers, including emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics.

State law already requires certain Commonwealth agencies to strongly consider a veteran’s military education, training and experience for the purpose of fulfilling requirements for professional credentials. The new law will add the Department of Health, which certifies EMTs and paramedics throughout the Commonwealth, to the list. The new law will also add the Department of Agriculture, which has licensure requirements for such professions as food handlers or inspectors.

The law takes effect 60 days after enactment.
PennDOT Announces ‘Innovations Challenge’ for High School Students

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is once again inviting high school students from around the state to participate in the seventh annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge.

The Innovations Challenge is open to all students in grades 9-12 and encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.

For this year’s challenge, students are asked to develop a plan for the replacement of an aging multi-lane roadway that will reconnect previously separated neighborhoods and incorporates community needs, such as accommodating bicycle and pedestrian traffic, allowing for new business development and ensuring the smooth flow of traffic. The proposed solution should also consider additional costs to restore the affected community.

For complete Innovations Challenge details, click here. The submission deadline is Jan. 26, 2024.
Nominate Your Favorite Trail

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is seeking nominations for its 2024 Trail of the Year contest.

If you know of a trail that provides unique opportunities, encourages and celebrates diverse user groups, or enhances your community, please nominate it!

Each year, the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee (PTAC), designates a Trail of the Year to help build enthusiasm and support for trails and raise public awareness about the value of Pennsylvania’s Trail network. The winning trail will be recognized in a news release by DCNR, a commemorative poster for statewide distribution, a trailhead marker along the trail, and a grant for educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection on the trail.

To nominate your favorite trail, click here. The deadline for nomination is Friday, Nov. 10.
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, which is a time to celebrate our friends with Down syndrome and make others aware of their many abilities and accomplishments.

Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition, which is associated with delays in physical growth, characteristic facial features and intellectual disability. Approximately 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome — a 1 in 700 chance – each year. However, due to improved research and medical treatments, children born with Down syndrome can live happy, long, productive lives.  
Out and About Photos

Royalton Borough pump station

When Royalton Borough Authority broke ground this afternoon for a new pump station, it did so with an eye on the future. The existing pump station has neared the end of its life. The new one, which will be built through May 2024, will increase sewer capacity, reduce the likelihood of overflows, and ensure the system meets the borough's needs for years to come. The project received more than $730,000 in state grant funding.

Middletown Volunteer Fire Department fundraising

Last weekend, I joined the Middletown Volunteer Fire Department fund raiser. It was a great time and I drew the first ticket! It's always great to see people come out and support our local first responders.

South Hanover Fall Festival

Last weekend, I had a blast at the South Hanover Township Fall Festival! It was great to hangout with Prairie Fire Farms.

Welcoming new House Sergeants-at-Arms

I had the honor of joining colleagues in welcoming new officers at the swearing-in of House Sergeants-at-Arms. Thank you in advance for your service in protecting employees of the Capitol and preserving the peace and security here in Harrisburg.