Senator Laughlin E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Congratulations to Daniel Barker              
  • Congressional House Ways and Means Subcommittee Visits Erie
  • Seneca High School JROTC Program Honors Local Veterans
  • Diverse Erie Awards
  • Senate Passes Bills to Help Veterans
  • Job Seekers and Employers Can Connect on Free Job Board
  • Fish for Free on Sunday, May 26
  • Unemployment Compensation Hints for School Bus Drivers
  • Win Money for Your Child’s Education

Congratulations to Daniel Barker

Congratulations to Daniel Barker, one of my constituent service specialists, on earning his Master of Arts in Public Policy from Liberty University. 

Daniel joined my office last summer and has been a valuable addition to the staff. Despite working full-time, he successfully completed his master’s degree, making it look easy!  Great job, Daniel!

Congressional House Ways and Means Subcommittee Visits Erie

Earlier this week, I attended a House Ways and Means Subcommittee field hearing at the Warner Theater, hosted by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly.

The hearing focused on the impact of Federal Opportunity Zones on our community in Erie. I am proud to have contributed to Erie receiving the Opportunity Zones designation. It was truly a team effort involving local, state, and federal leaders that brought eight Opportunity Zones to Erie.

Today, we are beginning to see the benefits of these designations and the promising future they hold for our city!

Seneca High School JROTC Program Honors Local Veterans

I had the privilege of speaking at Seneca High School’s JROTC event on Friday, where we honored our service members, past and present.

It was great to see these dedicated high schoolers organize and fund the entire event themselves. Their commitment to honoring our veterans is a testament to the strong values they carry. Great job to everyone involved!

I’m proud to see such initiative in our young people and am grateful for the chance to celebrate our heroes together.

Diverse Erie Awards

Earlier this week, I was happy to attend Diverse Erie’s grant awardee event.

Over $290,000 was handed out to some amazing small business owners. Congrats to all 25 awardees and best of luck in your endeavors!

I’m glad to see the community backing our local businesses.

Senate Passes Bills to Help Veterans

On Memorial Day – which is Monday, May 27 – we will pay tribute to the fallen warriors who fought to preserve our American ideals. Let us say a prayer in gratitude and remembrance. The Senate has also focused on helping living veterans by passing bills to award them with new benefits and make sure their families are aware of benefits that have already been granted. Both bills await consideration from the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 973 would provide Korean Americans who served in the Vietnam War with the same state veterans benefits as their U.S. counterparts. There are more than 3,000 naturalized Korean American citizens who served in the Vietnam War as a part of the Korean Armed Forces, including hundreds who now call Pennsylvania home.

Senate Bill 1139 would help grieving families of deceased U.S. military veterans access their federal Department of Veterans Affairs burial benefits. Funeral directors, funeral parlors or cemetery companies would be required to notify the director of the county veterans assistance office when a veteran living in the county passes. They would also have to provide the deceased veteran’s family with contact information for the county director.

Job Seekers and Employers Can Connect on Free Job Board

Veterans, National Guard members and military family members can use a free job board that has nearly 10,000 employment and internship postings. While it is Pennsylvania-centric, there are listings in dozens of other states.

It’s easy to manage your job search process with application history and saved jobs. The system even allows applicants to store multiple versions of their resume for flexibility when applying to different jobs. The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations’ job board also offers employers the opportunity to post jobs, search the resume database and create resume alerts.

‘Fish for Free’ on Sunday, May 26

On Sunday, May 26, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will host a “Fish for Free” day to allow anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish on all Pennsylvania waterways. No license is required, but all other fishing regulations will still apply.

This is the first of two dates set by the PFBC to enhance fishing opportunities. The next day is Independence Day, Thursday, July 4.

This is a great way to expose the next generation of anglers to the outdoors.

Unemployment Compensation Hints for School Bus Drivers

It continues to be challenging to find bus drivers so children can safely and reliably travel between home and school each day. When the problem is bad enough, it can even shorten the school day and limit the learning students can accomplish.

To avoid impacts to students’ education, it’s important to retain as many bus drivers as possible. Of course, they are not needed in the summer and aren’t able to collect a paycheck during that time. Unemployment compensation (UC) helps to bridge the gap until the school year begins so bus drivers aren’t forced to abandon their critical roles to pay their bills.

Information is available to help school bus drivers who will be laid off during the summer successfully claim their unemployment compensation. First, it’s crucial to claim during the correct week: the first week in which they are actually unemployed. Second, understand that UC and workers’ compensation are different when filling out the UC claim form. Please reach out to my office if you still have issues with your claim.

Win Money for Your Child’s Education

In honor of PA 529 Day on May 29, new PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) accounts opened between May 1 and May 31 with at least $10 in contributions are eligible for a chance to win $5,529 or $2,529. Current PA 529 GSP account owners are also eligible to win $5,529 if they had a balance of at least $10 as of April 30 and receive a contribution of at least $10 in May.

The PA 529 GSP helps families save for future college and career education expenses by keeping pace with rising college tuition. They offer tax-advantaged savings and the flexibility to pay for a wide variety of education expenses, including at any qualified educational institution, from K-12 to college and career training programs. Funds can also be used for room and board, tuition and books.

Anyone – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends – can contribute to a PA 529 plan. Saving with a PA 529 plan does not impact a student’s eligibility for Pennsylvania state financial aid.


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