Senator Dan Laughlin E-Newsletter

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In This Update:

  • Senate Leaders Call for PA Secretary of State’s Resignation
  • New Laws Support First Responders, Veterans, and More
  • Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Open Now
  • Open Enrollment in PA Health Exchange is Available Through January 15
  • New Scams Target Pandemic EBT Benefits, Unemployment Compensation
  • Honoring Our Nation’s Heroes on Veterans Day

Senate Leaders Call for PA Secretary of State’s Resignation

Pennsylvania’s election process this year was among the most chaotic in the country, in large part due to the constantly shifting guidance and last-second edicts from the Department of State. Troublingly, many of the changes unilaterally instituted by Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar directly contradicted the clear language in the Election Code, the majority opinion of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and even the Secretary’s own statements before both the state Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court in the past two weeks.

I firmly believe that every vote that was legally submitted by Election Day deserves to be counted, no matter whether those ballots were submitted in person or by mail. However, we cannot have faith in an agency leader who makes the law up as she goes. In light of the Secretary of State’s numerous actions to undermine public confidence in Pennsylvania’s elections, Senate leaders called for her resignation this week.

A statement from Senate leaders detailed many of the actions Secretary Boockvar has taken just this week to damage the integrity and public confidence in our elections, including directives that led to inequal treatment of voters in different counties and prevented ballots received after Election Day from being segregated as requested by the U.S. Supreme Court.

New Laws Support First Responders, Veterans, and More

Several critical measures approved by the Senate recently were signed into law over the past two weeks, including bills to support Pennsylvania’s first responders, veterans and military families, and much more.

The new laws include:

Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Open Now

Pennsylvanians who have a heating emergency or are struggling to pay utility bills can apply now for assistance through the state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The program is open to households earning less than 150 percent of the federal poverty rate.

LIHEAP provides grants to help low-income families pay heating bills during the coldest months of the year. Crisis grants are also available for heating emergencies such as a broken furnace, utility termination or fuel shortage. Eligibility and grant amounts are based on income and the number of people living in a household.

Applications for LIHEAP can be completed online on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services (COMPASS) website at www.compass.state.pa.us. 

Open Enrollment in PA Health Exchange is Available Through January 15

The open enrollment period for Pennsylvania’s new state-based health insurance exchange is open now through January 15. The state exchange – also known as Pennie – was created by lawmakers last year to transition Pennsylvania away from the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, and allow the state to take local control of operations and customer service to reduce costs to consumers.

The Pennie system is designed to help Pennsylvanians shop for quality health insurance and access financial assistance that may be available to them. State residents can learn more and enroll at Pennie.com.

According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, insurers offering coverage through the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange will provide plans in 2021 with a statewide average decrease of 3.3 percent for individual market plans.

New Scams Target Pandemic EBT Benefits, Unemployment Compensation

The departments of Human Services and Labor & Industry are warning Pennsylvanians to be vigilant of new scams targeting Pandemic EBT benefits and Unemployment Compensation payments. Both scams involve individuals receiving unsolicited phone calls asking for personal information such as their Social Security number or account passwords. Neither department will ever contact individuals to request this kind of personal information.

If you have questions about whether a call, text or letter regarding EBT benefits is legitimate, contact the Statewide Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930. More information on how to identify and report fraud related to Unemployment Compensation benefits is available here.

Honoring Our Nation’s Heroes on Veterans Day

Communities throughout the country will join together next week on November 11 to celebrate Veterans Day in honor of the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our nation in the military.

Our nation has paid a dear price to protect freedom and make the world a safer place, and we must never forget the individual and collective sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have endured to protect the principles and values that make America the greatest country in the world.

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