In this Update:
Join Me for My Veterans Appreciation Breakfast
On Friday, April 21st, I’ll be holding a veterans appreciation breakfast to honor all the veterans of the 49th Senatorial District.
The breakfast will start at 8 a.m. in the Zem Zem Shrine Club, located at 2525 West 38th Street in Erie.
Our keynote speaker for the event will be Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity, who is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve.
Seating will be limited, so please be sure to register before Friday, April 14. You can register, along with one guest, by calling 814-453-2515 or by going to my website, www.senatorlaughlin.com.
I look forward to seeing all of you at the veterans breakfast on April 21st at the Zem Zem Shrine Club.
This Week’s Hot Jobs in Erie County
Check out Erie County Hot Job listings at PA CareerLink. For more information on the postings below, type in the job number at: https://www.pacareerlink.pa.gov/jponline/
Mercy Center for Women
Earlier in the week, I toured Mercy Centers for Women’s new Mercy Anchor Community Center. The Community Center is a one-stop shop for housing and services to Erie’s homeless community. It stays true to the Mercy Centers’ commitment to enhancing the dignity of each person they serve by healing the mind, body, and spirit. There are over 20 different organizations offering services not only to the center’s residents but to the entire community.
Presque Isle State Park Spring Walk
I recently took part in the Presque Isle State Parks spring beach walk. The walk is done annually to assess how the beach weathered the winter months and what to expect in preparation for the busy summer season. A lot of work is done in the park to keep the sandy beaches clean for visitors and maintain unique habitats that house a variety of species.
Communicate with Your Utility Companies to Avoid Disconnection
As the annual winter termination moratorium effectively ended on Monday, it is more important than ever for consumers with high or past-due balances on their utility bills to call their provider to discuss options to remain connected.
Utilities are reaching out to customers who are at risk of utility shutoffs and sending bill reminders, letters, termination notices and Public Utility Commission (PUC)-approved shutoff forms. If a customer’s service is shut off, the utility must provide a notice indicating why the service was shut off and what steps the customer can take to restore service.
Utilities can help enroll consumers in assistance programs, guide them to other available resources and discuss new payment plan options to address overdue balances. If a consumer is unable to resolve an issue or obtain needed information from the utility, they may contact the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services toll free at 1-800-692-7380.
New Military Themed License Plates Now Available
Because of legislation passed by the General Assembly, new military themed license plates will be available throughout the commonwealth. Two of these new plates – the Air Medal license plate and the Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans license plate – recognize veterans’ special contributions during their service. The third is the Blue Star Family license plate for family members of an active-duty, Reserve or National Guard service member.
All three are available for passenger cars or trucks with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds for a fee of $23.
More information, including eligibility requirements and images of license plates, is available here.
Treasury’s Transparency Portal Now Shows Additional Data
Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced a new feature on Treasury’s Transparency Portal that gives the public easy access to county- and state-level data about Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property program, the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program, Keystone Scholars and the PA ABLE Savings Program.
The new feature includes four interactive maps displaying data for unclaimed property, PA 529, Keystone Scholars and PA ABLE. Users can now see county-by-county details such as:
Statewide data is also available, and the data will be updated quarterly. Information about all of Treasury’s consumer programs can be found here.
Summer Internship Opportunity with the Office of Open Records
The Office of Open Records is offering a paid summer internship opportunity in Harrisburg to undergraduate students and recent graduates who are interested in government accountability and transparency. Interns may work from home on Mondays and Thursdays, but full-time telework will not be approved.
The office was established to create a free, simple method for citizens to appeal a public records denial by a local or state government agency. Decisions made by the Office of Open Records have an enormous impact that can lead to changes at all levels of government in Pennsylvania.
Email a resume and cover letter that includes your preferred start and end date to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. Learn more, including internship requirements, here.
Complete an Annual Renewal to Maintain Insurance Coverage
All Medical Assistance (MA) and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) recipients must complete an annual renewal to keep coverage. Pennie, Pennsylvania’s state-affiliated health insurance marketplace, offers financial assistance to lower the cost of health and dental coverage. It can help ensure continuous coverage for Pennsylvanians who have lost or are losing MA benefits.
Approximately 30-45 days before Medicaid recipients’ renewal date, they will receive their renewal packet in the mail. This must be completed and returned as soon as possible. They can also complete their renewal online via COMPASS or over the phone.
People who are no longer eligible for Medicaid may have options for coverage available through Pennie and CHIP.
Happy Easter and Passover to You and Your Family
This week, we celebrate two holy holidays: Easter and Passover. No matter what or how you celebrate, may you and your family enjoy happy, heartwarming time together. Warmest wishes for many blessings.
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