In this Update:
Butler County Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebrate Business Dinner
This week, I joined hundreds of Butler County Chamber of Commerce members and business leaders for the Chamber’s annual Celebrate Business Dinner during which they graduated the 2023 Leadership Butler County class and presented the Stan Kosciuszko Leadership Excellence Award, the David L. Lloyd Chamber Champion Award and the William A. Morgan, Jr. Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In addition to the awards, both Sen. Elder Vogel and I were pleased to present each recipient with a Senate citation.
Butler County Commissioner Leslie Osche was honored with the 2023 Stan Kosciuszko Leadership Excellence Award. Commissioner Osche serves our community in a variety of roles such as chairman of the board of the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission, Tri-County Workforce Investment and the Community Development Corporation.
Dr. Paul Keelan was named the William A. Morgan, Jr. Entrepreneur of the Year honoree for starting Keelan Dental in Butler eight years ago and for being an example to others throughout our community of what hard work looks like.
Mars Bank was presented with the David L. Lloyd Chamber Champion Award for their continued commitment to Butler County over the years. Jim Dionise, president and CEO of Mars Bank received a citation on behalf of Mars Bank for all of their great work.
State Budget Implementation Requires Action by the House of Representatives
A week after the Senate convened for session and passed legislation to take additional steps toward finalizing the new state budget, the House of Representatives has yet to come back to session and vote on budget implementation legislation which can help all communities throughout our commonwealth. Right now the House is not scheduled to come back to Harrisburg for session until Sept. 26.
The general appropriations bill was signed into law last month. However, code language passed by the Senate still needs to be advanced by the House in order to drive out critical funding. While the House is currently split at 101 to 101 with an even number of Republicans and Democrats, we cannot let politics stand in the way of doing the right thing for Pennsylvanians. We welcome our colleagues in the House of Representatives to join us in coming back to session immediately to complete the 2023-24 budget.
State Grants Available for Children’s Advocacy Centers
Help is available to children’s advocacy centers (CACs) for their crucial mission coordinating the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency says the funds can be used to help CACs expand, improve or continue the services provided to victims of child sexual abuse and child abuse. Applications and information are listed here under “2023 NCA Member Child Advocacy Centers.”
The Senate Aging and Youth Committee held a hearing last month to gather information about the needs of CACs and the critical roles they play across Pennsylvania.
Scam Threatens Suspension of Health License
Scammers pretending to be from the Pennsylvania Department of State’s health-related licensing boards are calling active and inactive licensees, claiming their licenses are suspended due to allegations of criminal activity. To trick people, the scammers spoof the state board’s phone number and name on caller ID.
Someone who actually represents the state board will not contact you by phone to request a credit card payment, wire transfer or money order. They will never request any payment be made using gift card or that it be wired to a foreign country.
If you receive one of these calls, please hang up and report it to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Tax-Free Savings Accounts for People with Disabilities
Tax-free savings accounts to help people with disabilities save money for disability-related expenses are available through the Pennsylvania Treasury. PA ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts are structured similar to tuition savings accounts.
Family members and friends can contribute up to $17,000 per year; PA ABLE account owners who earn income may contribute additional funds beyond the annual contribution limit. Once the maximum account limit of $511,758 is reached, accounts continue to earn interest.
Withdrawals from the account will be exempt from both state and federal income taxes as long as the funds are used for qualified disability expenses. These include education, housing, transportation, employment support, health prevention and assistive technology. Learn more here.
Remembering the Sept. 11, 2001 Attacks
Monday marks the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on our country, including one that resulted in a plane crash in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It is with a heavy heart that we remember the devastating attacks and wish peace for the families who lost a loved one.
We also recognize the incredible heroes, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as they cared for the innocent victims. Emergency responders and military personnel deserve our deep gratitude.