Feb. 23, 2024

Capitol Report
The latest news from the State Capitol
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My Bill to Address Housing Shortages Advances in the House

Legislation I authored that would encourage municipalities to think creatively about housing solutions advanced in the state House this week.

House Bill 1386 would address housing shortages in growing communities across the Commonwealth by allowing municipalities to apply for a designation as an “Attainable Housing Community” from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. To apply, municipalities demonstrate they are working toward solutions to ease the housing crisis.

Families across the nation and the Commonwealth are facing the effects of rising housing costs, surging interest rates and a shortage of available housing. The housing crisis has made home ownership unachievable for many. This legislation offers a way to encourage the developers and municipality to focus on creative and attainable housing solutions, which will allow more families to plant roots here in Pennsylvania.

I am proud this bill received unanimous support from my colleagues in the Housing and Community Development Committee, and I look forward to its consideration by the full House. We need to work together on solutions like this that would benefit Pennsylvanians who are struggling during this period of economic turbulence.

To read more about my legislation, please click here.

State Budget Hearings

Budget hearings are underway at the Capitol building this week. As a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have been attending budget hearings and asking questions of cabinet secretaries and agency heads relating to the Governor’s budget proposal. This is the first step in the process ahead of budget negotiations and the June 30 budget deadline.

This week, the Department of Revenue confirmed mandated state expenditures continue to increase at a higher rate than expected revenues. Like you, government too must operate within its means and not spend more than it brings in. As the budget hearings continue, I will continue urging state agencies to show a true need for more so we can confidently invest in Pennsylvania’s future. I’ll also continue to advocate for fiscally responsible zero-based budgeting practices, so these agencies show a need for every taxpayer dollar that is spent.

Next week’s hearings kick off on Monday with the Department of Insurance and the Department of Labor and Industry. We will also hear from the departments of State, Health, Drug and Alcohol Programs, Environmental Protection, and Conservation and Natural Resources. Community colleges and state-related universities are also on tap, along with the judiciary.

The budget hearings stream live at PAHouseGOP.com.

For a full schedule, click here.  

You can also visit my website to listen to budget hearing recaps and interviews with state agency leaders.
Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors Hosts Legislative Update Breakfast

On Thursday, I attended the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors’ annual legislative breakfast. I joined colleagues to speak on a panel about education and provide an update on how legislative issues in education are impacting the realty industry. It was great to join members of the community for a discussion about state-related issues and legislation.

Tuition Assistance Program for EMS Professionals

The PA Department of Health has announced a $1 million tuition assistance program to help recruit and retain Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals.

The program is funded by $1 million from the Fireworks Tax Act each year for the next three years. Pennsylvania residents who obtained a Pennsylvania state certification as an emergency medical responder (EMR), emergency medical technician (EMT), advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT), or paramedic after July 1, 2023, are eligible to have a portion of their tuition reimbursed.

In addition, Pennsylvania licensed EMS agencies are eligible to receive reimbursement of expenses related to recruitment and retention efforts, up to $1,250 per fiscal year.

This tuition reimbursement assistance is in addition to the recent increase in mileage rates for ambulance services to help support our EMS workers and first responders.

More information about how to obtain reimbursement is available here.
Veteran Resource Program

Pennsylvania is home to more than 700,000 veterans, the fourth largest veteran population in the country. To help address the challenges of homelessness, employment, mental health, addiction and much more, the Pa VETConnect program was launched in 2019. It is maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).

PA VETConnect works to determine the needs of veterans and their beneficiaries, find resources that meet those needs, and connect veterans with those resources, regardless of the township, county or region where they reside.

If you or someone you know requires assistance, or would like more information about PA VETConnect or other DMVA programs and services, visit www.dmva.pa.gov.
87th District Spotlight: JnS Dairy

This week, the 87th District Spotlight shines on JnS Dairy on the border of Upper Allen and Monroe townships! I had the privilege of speaking with Jason Nailor to learn more about how the milk from his 70 cows is used by local producers like Land O'Lakes and Turkey Hill. Jason also highlighted the need for more processing plants in Pennsylvania, which would help keep milk at a lower price locally and drive up revenue for farmers.

Click here to view video.
Mark Your Calendar for My Upcoming Events

Dedication of the Firefighter Jerome Guise Memorial Bridge


Toast with Thomas

Document Shredding Event


PA Tourism Office Releases 2024 Travel Guide

Suffering with the winter doldrums? Check out the 2024 Pennsylvania Travel Guide and get started on your spring and summer travel plans!

The free guide highlights must-see attractions, kid-focused fun, exciting events and many more great vacation ideas.
Sign up to receive a free hard copy of the guide or click here to view it online. Happy travels!