Jun. 13, 2018

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Extended Until Dec. 31
Older adults and Pennsylvanians with disabilities now have until Dec. 31, 2018, to apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. The original deadline was June 30.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975.

Eligibility information and forms are available on my website at RepFritz.com or by contacting my offices at (570) 253-5533 in Honesdale or (570) 278-3374 in Montrose. Residents are reminded that assistance in filling out the applications is available free of charge at my district office. There is no need to pay a private firm for help.

Claimants who already applied for rebates may check the status of claims online at revenue.pa.gov by clicking on the “Where’s My Property Tax/Rent Rebate?” link. Claimants may also call, toll-free, 1-888-PATAXES to check the status of their rebates.

                      Penn State Alumni Dinner

I was honored to attend the recent Wayne/Pike County Penn State Alumni Annual Dinner, where we congratulated this year's scholarship recipients, along with Steve Guccini, the 2018 Alumnus of the Year.

I’m pictured with Penn State football team lineman Charlie Schuman and board member Maureen Beilman.

We Are…!

Discussions over Breakfast

I enjoyed discussing state topics of interest at the Susquehanna County Conservation District Legislative Breakfast last week. Pictured with me (from left) are Ray Warriner, Susquehanna County Conservation District board chairman; Jim Garner, Conservation District manager; Gregg Hostetter, deputy secretary of the Dept. of Ag.; Tom Yoniski, with Sen. Lisa Baker’s office; Rep. Tina Pickett; Lillian Theophanis; Susquehanna County Conservation District associate director; Bill Bayne, Susquehanna County Conservation District director; and Curt Hepler, Susquehanna County Conservation District director.

Strong Moms Lead to Strong Babies

Bipartisan legislation seeking to help mothers who may suffer from postpartum depression unanimously passed the state House this week and is going to the Senate for review.

Under House Bill 200, infants whose mothers screen at risk for depression would automatically qualify for early intervention assessment, tracking and – if necessary – ongoing in-home services. The legislation also has the added, proven benefit of connecting mothers with depression to mental health care.

This would allow infants and their mothers who suffer from this condition to have access to the services that are already in place in our Pennsylvania communities to support healthy child development.

Studies show that one in seven women can experience depression in the year following giving birth and the results can be debilitating and devastating. Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months, and can cause emotional and behavioral problems, such as sleeping and eating difficulties, excessive crying, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the children and their parents.

Making Waymart Proud!

Last week, I honored Mike Minor in the state House in recognition of him earning both a gold medal and a bronze medal at the 2018 Paralympics Games. I want to take the opportunity to emphasize that Mike Minor is a proud Waymart native and a 2008 graduate of Western Wayne High School. It was our pleasure to host him at the Capitol on Monday, June 4. Best wishes, Mike, on your future endeavors.

Keeping Vaping Products Out of Minors’ Hands
Two bills that would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes, e-cigars, JUULs and other related vaping products to minors (House Bill 2226) and make it illegal to possess the devices in Pennsylvania schools and on school buses (House Bill 2268) unanimously passed the state House this week.

E-cigarettes, sometimes known as vape pens, are used to deliver nicotine and other substances into the body in the form of a vapor. The products come in a variety of flavors and generally resemble the size and shape of traditional cigarettes, which may increase their appeal to minors.

Every day in the United States, about 2,300 children try their first cigarette and another 350 become regular daily smokers, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. And, in recent years, the use of other nicotine-based products, such as electronic cigarettes, has increased such that today nearly three in five high school students use e-cigarettes, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

“Juuling” is the latest craze among teens that is also raising serious health concerns. Named after the vaping device, the JUUL also delivers nicotine and looks like a flash drive. In fact, the product can actually be placed into the USB port of a computer to be charged, making it even easier for young people to conceal their underage use.

Both bills now advance to the state Senate for consideration.

Be Aware of Elder Abuse
This Friday, June 15, is Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Pennsylvania and House Resolution 970, which passed the House this week, encourages the public to be more aware of the well-being of our state’s elderly population.

Approximately 28,600 reports were made to the Department of Aging in FY 2016-17. It is assumed the number is drastically underestimated, given the fact many cases of elder abuse go unreported in the Commonwealth.

Elder abuse comes in many forms including physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, neglect of care, abandonment and financial exploitation.

If you suspect a senior citizen in your family or community is a victim, the Statewide Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-490-8505 is open 24 hours a day.

Attention Hunters: Internet Update Could Block Online License Purchases
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is cautioning hunters who purchase their licenses online that an upcoming internet security update may prevent internet-based sales.

The update affects all purchasing websites – not just the Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System – and users of older-model computers are impacted most because many of these systems will be unable to make online purchases of any kind once the update is complete. Newer computers largely won’t be affected, though users might need to install updated versions of operating systems and web browsers.

According to the Game Commission, the easiest way to determine whether your computer will be capable of making internet purchases once the update is complete is by clicking here to test your system. If your machine passes the test, it should be good to go in making future online purchases, including buying a hunting license.

Licenses for the 2018-19 license year go on sale Monday, June 18. The licenses become valid July 1 and, after that date, all who hunt, trap or who want to apply for an antlerless deer license must have an up-to-date 2018-19 license to do so.

A complete list of licensing requirements can be found at pgc.pa.gov.

Veterans Assistance Offered in Montrose, Honesdale
In order to help area veterans and their family members navigate the VA system and answer any questions they may have about benefits and services available to them, my district offices in Montrose and Honesdale are offering appointments with a veterans outreach specialist on select Fridays each month.

Some of the services available to veterans and their dependents include assistance with compensation, pension, death benefits, education and health care, as well as any issues pertaining to veterans benefits.

The Montrose office, located at 16501 Route 706, Suite 2, offers veterans assistance hours on the first Tuesday of each month. To schedule an appointment, call the office at (570) 278-3374.

The Honesdale office, located at 32 Commercial St., Suite 300, offers veterans assistance hours on the fourth Friday of each month. To schedule an appointment at that office, call (570) 253-5533.
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Office Locations
16501 State Route 706, Suite 2, Montrose, PA 18801 | Phone: 570-278-3374 
32 Commercial Street, Suite 300, Honesdale, PA 18431 | 570-253-5533
414 Irvis Office, PO Box 202111, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2111
Email Address: JFritz@pahousegop.com