Senator Gebhard E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senators Condemn Lancaster City Council Decision That Threatens Safety of Lancaster County Residents
  • Panel Discussion on Economic and Personal Education in Our Nation’s Schools
  • You’re Invited: 2024 Tax Seminar
  • Senate Continues Detailed Review of Shapiro’s Budget
  • Scholarship Grants Available for EMS Professionals
  • Find Lost Life Insurance Policies and Annuity Contracts
  • Supporting Agriculture, PA’s Top Industry
  • Celebrating “The Star-Spangled Banner”
  • Local Events

Senators Condemn Lancaster City Council Decision That Threatens Safety of Lancaster County Residents

This week, Lancaster City Council unanimously passed the Lancaster Trust Act that officially terminates the city’s cooperation with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) other than when court orders or certain crimes are involved.

Sens. Ryan Aument (R-36), Scott Martin (R-13), and I issued the following statement regarding Tuesday’s vote that codified the policy into law:

“We are extremely alarmed at the Lancaster City Council’s decision to not cooperate with a federal law enforcement agency. Make no mistake, they are breaking the law and compromising the safety of Lancaster County residents.

“Additionally, we know that weak border security creates an easy avenue for cartels to force more innocent people, including children, into human trafficking. Just this week, the vice president of the National Border Patrol Council union warned that human trafficking could become as big as fentanyl in the United States through increased illegal immigration.

“Yesterday’s decision by the council undermines the great work being done by the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office and groups like ZOE International and North Star Initiative to lead the way in combatting human trafficking, a heinous crime that is disproportionately prevalent right here in our county.

“While the historic crisis at the border is largely due to President Biden’s failed immigration policies, this decision by the council only exacerbates the issue locally. It is tone deaf, dangerous, and worsens an already severe emergency.

“The unprecedented increase in the number of undocumented immigrants crossing our borders daily is not only problematic, but it puts a strain on all our community’s resources from public education to housing to food. There’s a difference between compassion and breaking the law to the detriment of Lancaster County residents.

“We strongly urge the council to rescind their decision and instead prioritize the safety and wellbeing of Lancaster County residents.”

Panel Discussion on Economic and Personal Education in Our Nation’s Schools

On Monday, I traveled to New York City to participate in the Council for Economic Education’s Survey of the States.  I joined legislators from around the country to discuss economic and personal education in our nation’s schools. 

This past year, my legislation was signed into law that would make completion of a half-credit personal finance course a high school graduation requirement. Pennsylvania is one of three states that passed similar legislation this year.

I was happy to share my experience and thoughts on getting Senate Bill 647 across the finish line.  Although it took two years to pass and some political challenges, I felt strongly that this should be a requirement and a stand-alone class. By working across the aisle and hashing out the issues with all stakeholders we were able to accomplish this goal.

Recent estimates calculate there are more than 350 million American-owned credit card accounts, and, on average, credit card owners have about four cards apiece. Families in the United States are approaching approximately $1 trillion dollars in credit card debt and more than $15 trillion dollars in debt overall.

I feel strongly that this course will help our younger generation with financial decisions and will make them well rounded students.

You can watch the full panel discission here.

You’re Invited: 2024 Tax Seminar

Join us for an informative seminar on federal, state, and local taxes!

𝐖𝐇𝐄𝐑𝐄: The Lebanon Expo Center, 80 Rocherty Rd, Lebanon

𝐖𝐇𝐄𝐍: Wednesday, March 27, 1 pm – 4 pm

Please RSVP for the seminar by Friday, March 22, online at or by calling 717-274-6735.

Senate Continues Detailed Review of Shapiro’s Budget

Officials struggled to answer questions about Gov. Josh Shapiro’s broad higher education concepts and wide discrepancies in K-12 education funding during the Department of Education hearing with the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. He proposes increasing Basic Education spending by nearly $1.1 billion in his 2024-25 spending plan, but his proposed budget shows no increases in Basic Education funding after this year – raising concerns that the administration cannot pay for the billions of dollars in promised new education spending without raising taxes.

The hearing was one of a series held by the committee to analyze the governor’s proposed $48.3 billion 2024-25 state budget. His plan would boost state spending by more than $3.3 billion above the current year’s budget. It requires thoughtful consideration so tax dollars are spent wisely without eliminating the state’s Rainy Day Fund in five years as projections indicate would happen with Shapiro’s budget.

At the Department of Agriculture budget hearing, discussion included state efforts to combat avian influenza, farming education initiatives and the performance of tax credit programs for PA farmers. Concerns were also raised about Gov. Shapiro’s plan to legalize adult-use marijuana.

At the hearing for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), members discussed how to make the most efficient use of existing resources as both agencies have considerable reserves and the PGC’s budget increased from approximately $130 million in 2019-20 to approximately $350 million in 2024-25.

Thursday’s hearings include the Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Find the hearings schedule, livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at

Scholarship Grants Available for EMS Professionals

To recruit and retain emergency medical services (EMS) professionals, a tuition assistance program offers up to $5,000 for reimbursement of EMS state certification training for permanent Pennsylvania residents.

Up to $300 is available for emergency medical responders, up to $800 for emergency medical technicians, up to $1,000 for advanced emergency medical technicians and up to $5,000 for paramedics.

Pennsylvania-licensed EMS agencies are eligible to receive up to $1,250 of recruitment and retention expenses per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Reimbursement will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted. Learn more.

Find Lost Life Insurance Policies and Annuity Contracts

Individuals who believe they are beneficiaries, executors or legal representatives of a family member or friend can locate lost life insurance policies and annuity contracts through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

When a request is received, the NAIC will give participating companies that have policy information access to respond to you as the designated beneficiary or if you are authorized to receive information. It will also allow participating companies to search their records to determine whether they have a life insurance policy or annuity contract in the name of the deceased person.

Access NAIC’s life insurance policy locator.

Supporting Agriculture, PA’s Top Industry

To bolster agriculture – the state’s top industry – $500,000 in grants is available to help Pennsylvania farms pursue growth opportunities. Funding will be used to benefit economic development, job creation and innovation.

The Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program will help fund professional services for those planning for the future of a farm. The program is designed to enhance the long-term vitality of Pennsylvania’s farms through sound business planning, efficient transitions of farm ownership, strategic farm expansion, diversification of agricultural production and building a team of financial and technical experts as a resource for the state’s farmers.

The maximum grant amount is $7,500 and is limited to 75% of project costs. Learn more about guidelines and how to apply.

Celebrating “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Sunday, March 3, is National Anthem Day. “The Star-Spangled Banner” shares a message of endurance and perseverance. Francis Scott Key originally wrote his poem during a naval attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. That battle was nearly lost.

It wasn’t until March 3, 1931, that President Herbert Hoover signed a law officially making “The Star-Spangled Banner” our country’s national anthem.

Rather than commemorating victory, our national anthem highlights our ability to withstand attack. Today, we continue to raise our flag and refuse to be defeated.

Local Events

Saturday, March 2, 11am-2pm: Chicken Pot Pie Sale
Ono Fire Company (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Saturday, March 2, 9am-3pm: Lebanon Valley Spring Spectacular
Lebanon Expo Center (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Saturday, March 2, 9am-12pm: Disability Health and Wellness Resource Fair
710 Maple St, Lebanon (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Sunday, March 3, 7am-2pm: Leesport Automotive Swap Meet
Leesport Farmers Market (Berks, PA)
Click here

Saturday, March 2, 9am: Lancaster Fly Fishing Show
Lancaster Convention Center (Lancaster, PA)
Click here


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