Senator Gebhard E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Honoring the 80th Anniversary of D-Day
  • Reading Airport Receives $1.5 Million Grant
  • Legislation Giving Disabled Veterans Financial Relief Receives Senate Support
  • Taiwan Ambassador Visits the Pennsylvania Senate
  • Damaged License Plate? Replace It For Free At Our Drive-Thru Event
  • Visiting the Triangle Therapeutic Riding Center
  • Good Luck Emilee Koch in Miss Pennsylvania Teen!
  • Respecting Taxpayers Remains a Top Priority in State Budget Negotiations
  • New Distracted Driving Law Bans Use of Handheld Devices
  • Senate Approves Bills to Reverse Nursing Home Worker Shortage
  • Senate Acts to Modernize Rules for Electronic Commerce
  • Celebrating the Contributions of PA Dairy Farmers
  • Local Events

Honoring the 80th Anniversary of D-Day

On June 6th, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops, 73,000 of which were American, stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest naval invasion in history.

June 6th is not only a day to remember, but also to celebrate those that risked everything to fight for liberty and freedom with the Allies during WWII.

I was extremely proud to join my constituent Scott Delewski of Hamburg who donated a plaque to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. This plaque stands under the shade of a large red oak on the northern side of the Capitol Building that was planted on this day as a commemoration 40 years ago.

You can watch the full commemoration below.

Reading Airport Receives $1.5 Million Grant

The Reading Regional/Carl A. Spaatz Field Airport will receive $1.5 million of state funds to construct a hangar and office building for the fixed based operator at the airport.

The airport originally served as an Army Air Force training airfield. In addition to military activity, it also supports corporate and business activity, air charter, training, aerial inspection and pipeline patrol, and recreational flights to Orlando via Southwest Airlines. Additionally, it provides a base of operation for Quest Diagnostic and its 24 aircrafts that are used for transporting medical specimens.

I am proud that my efforts to advocate for this funding paid off because the airport provides convenience and good-paying jobs to the region. The funding will be used to jumpstart construction of a hangar that can house corporate aircraft and grow the customer base of the new facilities.

Pennsylvania’s aviation industry employs more than 226,000 people, provides nearly $12.5 billion in payroll and employment benefits and has a $34 billion annual economic impact. In addition to providing travel options, airports also facilitate services such as air cargo and freight, police and law enforcement, emergency medical services, firefighting, and disaster and emergency response.

The project will be funded by the state capital budget through the Aviation Transportation Assistance Program, which is supported by bonds.

Legislation Giving Disabled Veterans Financial Relief Receives Senate Support

To provide financial relief to more disabled veterans, the Senate passed Senate Bill 194 to exclude U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Attendance benefits as income when calculating eligibility for Pennsylvania’s 100% Disabled Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption.

Federal Aid and Attendance benefits provide monthly payments to disabled veterans who are housebound or need help with daily activities. Without the exclusion of this federal benefit, some disabled veterans are prevented from qualifying for property tax reductions.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Taiwan Ambassador Visits the Pennsylvania Senate

I was grateful for the chance to speak with Taiwan Ambassador James K.J. Lee this week. Since 2005 Pennsylvania has had a trade and investment office in Taiwan resulting in the exportation of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of PA products including chemicals, electronics, and machinery – making them one of the largest foreign markets for our state.

Our shared commitment to human rights, the rule of law, and a free-market economy have served as the cornerstone for US-Taiwan relations. I look forward to seeing this enduring and mutually beneficial partnership that facilitates economic and cultural exchanges continue to thrive for many years to come.

Damaged License Plate? Replace It For Free At Our Drive-Thru Event

Damaged plates have loss of reflectivity, peeling, blistering, or discoloration, and are unreadable from 50 feet away. Stop by our drive-thru event on July 9th from 4:30-6:30pm at the Lebanon Valley Exposition Center & Fairgrounds to have your license plate checked. The police will determine if the plate needs replacement and help with appropriate paperwork. There is no fee for this service.

Once submitted to PennDOT, the new replacement plate will arrive to our district office for pick up. Please contact our District Office at 717-274-6735 for more details or to pre-register. Please bring your vehicle registration card.

Visiting the Triangle Therapeutic Riding Center

I was grateful to be able to tour Triangle Therapeutic Riding Center located at Stony Run Fields Farms this week. Thank you to Liz Ackerman, the Executive Director of the Northern Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce for organizing the event showcasing a wonderful facility.

Triangle Therapeutic Riding has seen amazing results with equine therapy for children and adults with special needs. I look forward to hearing more success stories from Lisa for years to come!

Good Luck Emilee Koch in Miss Pennsylvania Teen!

It was great to meet Emilee Koch, who is Miss Philadelphia’s Teen 2024. Emilee is a junior at Wilson High School and a resident of Wernersville. Her platform is BEE-lieve in Pollinators and is focused on educating the community about the importance of pollinators.  

Recently, she established the BEE-Inspiring Foundaction, Inc., where she can continue her advocacy work. She told me she would like to one day work as the White-House Press Secretary, I replied that she is lucky: she is still young enough to reconsider a job in politics.

I wish her the best of luck in the Miss Pennsylvania Teen competition next week!

Respecting Taxpayers Remains a Top Priority in State Budget Negotiations

In Pennsylvania, the state budget is to be completed by June 30 of each year. As we work to reach consensus, Senate Republicans are continuing to fight for a budget that respects taxpayers and makes the best use of the state’s resources.

In February, Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed a massive $3.2 billion increase in state spending. Last month, Senate Republicans unveiled an alternative approach that would reduce taxes by approximately $3 billion annually. Instead of growing government bureaucracy and picking winners and losers, our plan would allow Pennsylvanians to decide how their money should be spent. These historic tax cuts would provide relief to every Pennsylvanian who earns a paycheck by reducing the personal income tax rate from 3.07% to 2.8%, and every person paying an electric bill by eliminating the Gross Receipts Tax on energy.

Learn more about the process of enacting the 2024-25 state budget and watch the Senate in session here.

New Distracted Driving Law Bans Use of Handheld Devices

A new law prohibits the use of handheld cellular and other devices while operating a vehicle on a Pennsylvania highway or traffic way. Drivers may still use their phone if they are using hands-free technology, such as a docking station, Bluetooth or speaker technology.

For the first year, only warnings will be issued for violations. After that, there will be a $50 fine.

Distracted driving fatalities in Pennsylvania surged to a decade high in 2022, claiming 80 lives. The AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index found that the majority of drivers believe distracted driving has outpaced all other traffic-related issues as a growing safety concern. All of Pennsylvania’s border states and 28 others have enacted hands-free laws.

Senate Approves Bills to Reverse Nursing Home Worker Shortage

With the number of older Pennsylvanians rising and nursing homes struggling to find qualified workers, the Senate passed two bills this week to reverse the worker shortage. Both bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Bill 1102 would increase the number of nursing home workers by streamlining the training and certification process and removing barriers that prevent people from entering the health care workforce in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1104 would further increase the nursing home workforce by enabling high school juniors and seniors to earn up to two elective credits for working or volunteering at a nursing home, personal care home or assisted living facility. Schools would establish program guidelines and procedures to allow students to earn one elective credit for each 250 hours of paid or volunteer work at a qualifying facility.

Senate Acts to Modernize Rules for Electronic Commerce

The Senate passed legislation to modernize the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), updating rules that govern digital asset transactions to ensure security, consistency and confidence. It now advances to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The UCC has provided consistency for commercial law and interstate commerce since 1954, when Pennsylvania led the initiative to adopt it. Since then, it has been adopted by all states and gives Americans legal confidence when transacting business across state lines. The last major revisions to the UCC took effect in 2001. In the two decades since, electronic property, or digital assets, have become much more prevalent in commercial transactions.

Senate Bill 1084 would bring the law into the 21st century by establishing guidelines to cover digital asset transactions involving virtual currencies, non-fungible tokens, electronic accounts and other forms of electronic commerce. It would also make other needed technical updates to the UCC.

Celebrating the Contributions of PA Dairy Farmers

Agriculture is Pennsylvania’s top industry, and dairy products play a significant role by generating $11.8 billion in economic revenue and supporting 47,000 jobs statewide. Of the nearly 5,000 dairy farms in the state, 99% are family-owned with many being handed down generation after generation.

Our dairy farmers work tirelessly each day to provide families everywhere with nutrient-rich foods. Dairy products contain nine essential nutrients that help to manage weight and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers. The nutrient powerhouse also helps build and repair muscle tissue and maintain healthy skin.

Celebrate National Dairy Month by raising a glass of milk or enjoying some delicious ice cream. Pennsylvania has an Ice Cream Trail that boasts great creameries all across the state.

Local Events

Friday, June 7, June 8, June 9: WWII Weekend 2024
2501 Bernville Rd, Reading (Berks, PA)
Click here

Saturday, June 8, 11am-12pm: Old Annville Day
Downtown Annville (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Saturday, June 8, 10am-3pm: Strawberry Festival
2395 Covered Bridge Drive (Lancaster, PA)
Click here

Saturday, June 8, 12pm-9pm: Spinstock Flow Arts Festival
Coleman Memorial Park (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Saturday, June 8, 11:30am-5:30pm: 2024 Taste of Kutztown Wine & Beer Festival
Kutztown Park (Berks, PA)
Click here

Saturday, June 8, 6:30am – 5pm: Tour de Lebanon Valley
Fairfield Inn & Suites Lebanon Near Expo Center, 100 Springwood Dr (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Saturday, June 8, 9am: Community Clean-Up
Monument Park, 8th & Lehman St, Lebanon (Lebanon, PA)
Click here

Sunday, June 9, 2pm-6pm: Annual Ice Cream Sundae Day
409 Cocalico St, Ephrata (Lancaster, PA)
Click here

Sunday, June 9, 1pm-2:30pm: Intro to Kayaking at Memorial Lake State Park
Memorial Lake State Park, Annville (Lebanon, PA)
Click here


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