Can you believe the holidays are right around the corner? I apologize for any inconvenience, but my district office will be closed the week of Christmas to celebrate time with family.
So much has been achieved this year—from raising more money than ever before for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (thank you all for your generous contributions and support), to working closely with Narberth Borough to pass the first plastic ordinance in the state. Also, Senator Stewart Greenleaf and I passed our Safe Harbor bill, which marked an important victory for victims of human trafficking and turned Pennsylvania into one of the most progressive states on the issue.
The year has had both ups and downs, but my office and I are proud of our accomplishments and are deeply excited for 2019. The next legislative session starts in January and I have held several meetings with my team to discuss the legislation we plan to prioritize.
One of our primary efforts will be a bill that combats food waste. Every year, America spends $218 billion growing, processing, transporting, and disposing food that is never eaten. That is 52 million tons of food sent to landfills annually, which is obscene considering current food insecurity.
An additional core focus is an Adult Use Cannabis bill that will bolster communities we have uniquely harmed through cannabis prohibition.
The end of the year is a time to begin looking towards the future, but it is also an opportunity to reflect and give thanks. THANK YOU for your continued support!
Wishing happy holidays to you and yours.
Know About Events
46th Annual Junior Author Contest
The Gladwyne Library League is holding their 46th Annual Junior Author Contest. The contest is open to kids from grades one through five. Entries must be an original work of the child and be submitted by Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at the Gladwyne Library by 5:00 PM. For rules and more information, call 610.639.0584.
Red Cross Blood Drive - December 28, 2018- 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Help save a life and come down to the Norristown Public Library where there will be a Red Cross Blood Drive in the Community Room. Participants will receive a free long sleeve Red Cross t-shirt, while supplies last. For more information, call 610.278.5100.
Know Our Constituent Services
Capitol Christmas Tree Decorations
I’d like to thank the Pre-K children of Miss Joan’s Little School in Blue Bell for helping decorate the capitol tree this year! Students from Miss Joan’s delivered 25 handmade ornaments that now decorate the tree in the Capitol Rotunda. I had a chance to visit the students earlier this month to thank them for their hard work and give them a photo of the finished product!
Toys for Tots
Every year my staff and I run out to the stores in King of Prussia to buy toys for our Toys for Tots drive! The Marine Toys for Tots Program collects new, unopened toys and distributes them to less fortunate children during the holidays. It’s a great cause that’s been making a difference in our communities for more than seven decades.
Who couldn’t use a bit of extra cash this time of year? One in ten residents have unclaimed property waiting for them - do you? The Treasury receives hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed property every year. These funds go missing, often for things as simple as a misspelled name or an out of date address. To find out more information and check if you have unclaimed property, visit: https://www.patreasury.gov/unclaimed/no_records.html
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
Applications for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are due December 31, 2018. 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. To be eligible, the income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. To apply or find out more information, visit https://www.revenue.pa.gov/ or call 1.888.222.9190.
Winter is here and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, is now open for 2018! LIHEAP helps families living on low incomes pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. Crisis grants also are for households in immediate danger of being without heat. With cash grants, a one-time payment is sent directly to the utility company/fuel provider and will be credited on your bill. Cash grants range from $200 to $1,000 based on household size, income, and fuel type. Remember: This is a grant and does not have to be repaid. To see if you are eligible or to apply, visit: http://www.dhs.pa.gov/citizens/heatingassistanceliheap/index.htm
Know Your Legislation
National Popular Vote Bill
The founders created the Electoral College because they theorized that the will of the people would be expressed by their chosen electors, or wise men, who would gather, deliberate, and make the best choice for the most important job in the country. However, once political parties came into existence, and each party had a slate of electors committed to voting for their specific nominee no matter what, the purpose for the Electoral College disappeared. Now, it is just a numbers game that greatly distorts the process of choosing a president.
During the next session, I will re-introduce legislation that will result in the Commonwealth joining the National Popular Vote Compact. The compact is an agreement between states pledging to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote in presidential elections. In addition to simplifying the election of presidents and making the voting process fairer, this reform would make every vote count. The winner of our highest office should be the person who receives the most votes, not the person who most successfully campaigns in certain states.