News for Constituents

Votes PA Available to Help Educate PA Voters

Pennsylvania voters have a new resource to prepare to go to the polls on April 28.  Votes PA offers information on how to register to vote, an online application for mail-in and absentee ballots, information on newly implemented election reforms made by Act 77 of 2019 and a webpage for each county’s new voting system.

The webpages for each county’s voting system includes a description of the voting system, along with photos and videos that guide voters through a step-by-step process of how to use the system.  The webpages also include accessibility information for voters with disabilities and contact information for county election offices if voters have additional questions.

2020 Census

On April 1, the U.S. Census Bureau will be counting all residents living in the United States.  Everyone counts, regardless of age, gender or citizenship status.  The census makes note of demographic changes and reports the statistics.  The information is used to determine how many seats each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives.  State officials use the statistics to redraw U.S. congressional and state legislative districts.

Census data are also used to decide how $675 billion in federal public funding is spent every year.  Pennsylvania gets $26.8 billion annually through 16 of the largest federally funded programs.  That is about $2,000 per Pennsylvanian each year.  These numbers may change based on the 2020 Census data.  Federal funding supports many programs and services for Pennsylvanians, including healthcare, food security, education, transportation, housing, community development, support for families, and more.  Your response matters!

Learn more about the 2020 Census, your role as a resident, and explore ideas and downloadable materials you can use to help spread the word about the upcoming census.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Accepting Applications for Grants to Reduce Underage and Dangerous Drinking

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) is now accepting applications for grants to fund programs that discourage and reduce underage and dangerous drinking, and promote a message of responsible alcohol consumption by those of legal drinking age.

Eligible grant applicants include school districts, institutions of higher education, community organizations, municipal police departments, municipal officials, and non-profit organizations.  Grant funded initiatives have included increased police patrols, social norms campaigns, “Parents Who Host, Lose the Most” campaigns, college alcohol assessment surveys, online alcohol education programs, peer training, and more.

The deadline to apply is noon on Friday, March 20.  The grant application and guidelines can be found on the grants page of the PLCB website.

Pennsylvania 529 College and Career Savings Program

The Pennsylvania 529 College and Career Savings Program provides a smart, tax advantaged way for families to save for education.  Administered by the Pennsylvania Treasury, PA 529 offers two plans:  the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan, in which growth is tied to the rate of college tuition inflation, and the PA 529 Investment Plan, in which investment returns are determined by financial markets.

Not only are contributions deductible from your Pennsylvania state income tax, the entire value of your account is exempt from Pennsylvania inheritance tax.  Assets held in a PA 529 plan are not counted when determining state financial aid for college.  Pennsylvanians can now also send state tax refunds directly to a PA 529 College and Career Savings account.

Senate Back to Session after Three Weeks of Budget Hearings

The Senate will reconvene at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, March 16 after three weeks of budget hearings.  If you missed the hearings, you can access the Budget Hearings Recap including video of the hearing and a summary with key issues on the PA Senate GOP’s website.

Keep up with what is going on in the Senate at www.pasen.gov.  At this page, you can access the Senate Calendar, recent roll call votes, a schedule of upcoming committee meetings, a link to watch Session live and more.  You can also search for bills and resolutions, legislation enacted, amendments via the advanced search page.

Penn State University’s THON Raises Nearly $11.7 Million to Fight Pediatric Cancer

Penn State University’s IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, or THON, concluded on February 23 and raised $11,696,942 to fight pediatric cancer.  This 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon is held annually, and is the largest student-run philanthropic endeavor in the world, in both revenue and volunteer participation.

Recently the Senate adopted Senate Resolution 293 recognizing “THON Week” in Pennsylvania.  THON’s mission is to provide emotional and financial support, spread awareness and ensure funding for critical research in pursuit of a cure.  It’s all “For the Kids!”

In November, the Senate passed Senate Bill 74 sponsored by Senator Scott Martin to create a pediatric cancer research tax credit in Pennsylvania.  The proposed legislation passed the Senate unanimously and awaits consideration in the House of Representatives.