In this Update:
Wreaths Across America Ceremonies
On Dec. 16, it was my honor to speak at and participate in the Brandon Cemetery Wreaths Across America Ceremony. Wreaths Across America adorns the grave sites of our service members with wreathes. As each wreath is placed upon the site, the name of the service member is spoken aloud to remember and appreciate the sacrifice they made.
Pictured above with me is Joanne Scrip, Venango Chapter DAR Regent, and Debbi Wersonick, Wreaths Across America Location Coordinator and Venango Chapter DAR member.
Also on Dec. 16, I was honored to attend the Wreaths Across America Ceremony at the Marienville North Forest/St. Ann’s Cemetery.
Bill to Combat Package Thefts Signed into Law
The Senate passed legislation to combat porch pirating – the theft of packages delivered to people’s homes – and it was recently signed into law.
Senate Bill 527, now Act 41 of 2023, implements specific penalties for theft of mail, which includes a package, bag or letter. In Pennsylvania, theft of mail is currently charged based solely on the value of the item taken.
According to Forbes, Americans spent $1.7 trillion shopping online since 2020 and nearly eight in 10 Americans have had a package stolen in 2022. Pennsylvania now joins eight other states that have already made porch pirating a felony.
PSAECO Annual Meeting
I recently attended the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials annual meeting, where they swear in their new officers for the upcoming year. As chairman of the Local Government Commission, we often coordinate with those at the county level. Congratulations to the newly elected officers of PSAECO and thank you to all of those who have served the organization!
New Law Gives Young Adults Strong Financial Literacy Foundation
Legislation to provide students with basic money management skills was recently signed into law. Specifically, it requires completion of a half-credit personal finance course to graduate high school.
Recent estimates calculate there are more than 350 million American-owned credit card accounts, and, on average, credit card owners have about four cards apiece. Families in the United States are approaching approximately $1 trillion dollars in credit card debt and more than $15 trillion dollars in debt overall.
The course will give high school students the understanding they need about topics like credit and credit scores; savings and investments; college, home and auto loans; and planning for postsecondary education and retirement.
Sharing the Holiday Spirit with PA Veterans
If you would like to support our veterans and military families this holiday season, making a monetary donation goes a long way toward helping the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs provide members, veterans and their families with essential programs and services that would not be available otherwise.
Donations can be made by mail or online. They are tax-deductible, and gifts of any amount are appreciated. Learn more about making a donation.
Central Electric Cooperative Youth Tour 2024
Central Electric Cooperative (CEC) is accepting applications to participate in its annual Youth Tour, which it sponsors in cooperation with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The program offers current high school juniors the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., for an all-expenses-paid week of fun, learning and sightseeing during the summer before their senior year.
Selected delegates get the chance to meet their congressman, see the U.S. Capitol, and tour national monuments and memorials with more than 1,800 of their peers from across the country. Students participating in the trip typically visit Capitol Hill, the National Zoo, Arlington Cemetery, the Holocaust Museum and the Pentagon Memorial, among other sites.
Applications must be received at CEC by February 2, 2024.
Driving Safely During Inclement Weather
Pennsylvania has nearly 40,000 miles of roads – which translates to 96,000 snow-lane miles – that must be maintained during inclement weather so people can travel safely.
The approximately 2,200 PennDOT-owned and rented plow trucks have in-truck technology that logs and shares data in real time so the public can monitor the routes of their interstate and expressway travels on www.511PA.com.
Of course, drivers should avoid the roads until they have been cleared, if possible. Anyone who must travel is urged to use extra caution by slowing down, increasing their following distance and avoiding distractions. Read more winter driving tips here.
Merry Christmas to You and Yours
This holiday season, I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. May you enjoy the real gifts of love, peace and happiness.
My district office hours may be limited due to the holidays. Please call ahead to be sure my offices are open.
Also, PennDOT Driver License Centers will be closed on Dec. 23 and 25 for Christmas, and on Dec. 30 and Jan. 1 for New Year’s. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website.
For anyone who hasn’t already signed up to receive my e-newsletters, you can get on the mailing list here.