Apr. 06, 2023

Capitol Report
The latest news from the State Capitol
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Messiah Students Visit the Capitol

This week I had the privilege to welcome graduating students from Messiah University in Upper Allen Township to the Capitol. These students are preparing for careers as educators, and many will teach in our local schools. Thanks for visiting and good luck!

Kutz Tours Vitro Architectural Glass

I enjoyed the opportunity to tour Vitro Architectural Glass this week and meet with the leadership team at their South Middleton Township facility. Vitro employs hundreds of residents in our community, and I was glad to meet so many of them this week. We discussed the ongoing skilled labor shortage, their operations and ways to partner with our local communities.

Events Around the 87th District

This week I joined the Cumberland Valley School District administration and board for the annual intergovernmental meeting where we discussed the outlook for the school district.

After the meeting, I was glad to see so many residents who joined us at our joint shredding event along with Sen. Greg Rothman, Rep. Sheryl Delozier, and Silver Spring and Hampden townships. Thank you to everyone who came out and stay tuned for information on a future shredding event later this year!

Later in the week, I hosted my first Toast with Thomas event at Silver Spring Diner. Thank you to all who joined us, and I hope to see you at future events!
PA Farm Bureau Hosts Legislative Luncheon

On Tuesday, I joined hundreds of farmers from across the Commonwealth for a legislative luncheon hosted by the PA Farm Bureau. I also had the opportunity to meet with farmers from Cumberland County before the lunch to discuss the issues facing our agriculture producers and hear from them directly about solutions to these issues.  
You’re Invited to My Upcoming Events

Open Houses
I have two Open Houses remaining. Stop by to chat with me and my team!

Toast with Thomas
I will be providing breakfast at local diners in our community for constituents who wish to come. Breakfast is provided at no cost. Please join me at any of my remaining Toast with Thomas events and stay tuned for more information on upcoming weekend and early-riser Toast with Thomas events as well.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Assistance
My staff will be on hand to help you fill out and file the necessary forms. Please bring your ID, proof of income, and property tax receipts or rent certificate used when filing 2022 tax returns.

The rebate program benefits Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The qualifying income limit stands at $35,000 per year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, with half of Social Security income excluded.

State Budget Hearings Resume Next Week

As lawmakers continue to review the governor’s $46 billion spending proposal for the 2023-24 fiscal year, members of the House Appropriations Committee will hold a final week of budget hearings next week.

The sessions begin on Tuesday, April 11, with the Department of Human Services. As one of the largest segments of the budget, a full day has been allotted for this hearing.

On Wednesday, April 12, the committee will hear from the Department of Labor and Industry in the morning, followed by the Department of Revenue and Office of Inspector General in the afternoon. Thursday, April 13, will feature the Department of Community and Economic Development in the morning and the state employee and school employee retirement systems in the afternoon.

House budget hearings will conclude on Friday, April 14, with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in the morning and the governor’s budget office in the afternoon.

All hearings are streamed live at www.PAHouseGOP.com. For a schedule of upcoming hearings and video of completed hearings, click here. 
Protecting Children from Abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. While state laws have identified people, such as teachers, health care providers and clergy members, who are mandated to report suspected cases of abuse, we all have a role to play in protecting our children.

Signs of potential physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect may include sudden changes in a child’s behavior or school performance; being overly compliant, passive or withdrawn; always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen; and a reluctance to be around a particular person or to return home from school or activities.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call PA ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
Boosting Autism Awareness, Acceptance

April is Autism Acceptance Month, formerly known as Autism Awareness Month. The month is designed to help empower autistic individuals and their families, and to ensure improved support and opportunities in education, employment, accessible housing, affordable health care and long-term support services.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ Office of Developmental Programs works to provide an array of support services for individuals of all ages, as well as their families. The Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training Collaborative (ASERT) is a statewide initiative to provide streamlined access to information for Pennsylvanians living with autism.

To learn more, visit www.paautism.org.
Spotted Lanternflies Hatching Soon

Starting later this month, many of us will encounter spotted lanternflies (SLF), an invasive insect that has now spread through 51 of 67 Pennsylvania counties since its initial discovery in 2014.

SLF feeds on the plant sap of many different plants including grapevines, maples, black walnut and other important plants in PA. If you see SLF, Penn State Extension encourages you to report it online here or call their hotline at 1-888-422-3359.

To learn more about this nuisance pest, including how to identify and manage it, click here.
Happy Easter

I want to wish everyone celebrating Easter this weekend a blessed day surrounded by friends and family.

Please know that my offices will be closed in observance of the holiday on Friday, April 7. We will resume normal business hours on Monday, April 10.