In this Update:
Happy New Year!
These past twelve months in Harrisburg have been challenging but also very rewarding. My team and I were able to accomplish some of our top goals we set out to achieve this year despite having a fractured and divided General Assembly.
My legislation to require completion of a half-credit personal finance course to graduate high school is now law. Across the district, I heard from constituents, teachers, and school board members alike who believed in this idea. It has become abundantly clear, that now, more than ever before, we need to get our future generations on the right financial footing as they enter adulthood.
Also, we were able to overcome a very contentious budget process and deliver a product that respects taxpayers while addressing the needs of all Pennsylvanians. The budget prioritized reducing the tax burden, ensuring healthy and safe communities, providing mental and behavioral health support, expanding workforce development and job opportunities, and providing education empowerment and access. We must learn from this past year’s mistakes as we strive to make the upcoming budget process more transparent, evenhanded and most importantly, on time.
As the newly appointed chairman of the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, we recently approved a bill to modernize the small games of chance law to help our community civic and social organizations. It was also exciting to help pass bills: establishing tourism improvement districts (TID) in Pennsylvania, starting a Veteran Owned business loan program, and a bill to establish Safe Exchange Zones for goods purchased online and child custody exchanges. As chair I am focused on improving businesses regulations, finding ways to make Pennsylvania more attractive for economic development and promoting our Commonwealth’s great tourism industry.
We also opened new offices in the boroughs of Wernersville and Hamburg, in addition to the Lebanon city office, to provide greater access to constituent services for residents in Berks and Lancaster Counties. I’ve heard tremendous feedback from the multiple workshops we’ve held on state services, concealed carry, hunter safety and grant application seminars. I am excited to schedule more opportunities like these and of course there will be more town halls next year throughout the district.
I look forward to a new year and continuing to serve as your State Senator in the 48th District. I wish you all a very successful and happy new year!
Legislation to Fund Emergency Services Now Law
The Senate passed legislation that is now law to preserve the availability of life-saving services for Pennsylvanians. It supports the 911 emergency communications service by reauthorizing a fee assessed to wireless lines.
Costs for equipment, operations and new technology continue to rise, threatening the availability of these critical services. The reauthorization helps to offset operation and maintenance costs associated with the state’s emergency response infrastructure.
The law has been extended until Jan. 31, 2029.
PA Farm Show Runs Jan. 6-13
As a state where agriculture is one of the top industries, Pennsylvania is proud to host the largest indoor agricultural exposition under one roof in the nation. The 108th Pennsylvania Farm Show runs from Jan. 6-13 in Harrisburg.
The Farm Show features nearly 6,000 animals and more than 10,000 exhibits. There are also thousands of competitions and educational and entertaining events – and of course the famed Food Court, offering Farm Show milkshakes, fried cheese and so much more. Admission is free, and parking is $15 per car. Make the most of your trip with the visitor’s guide.
Agriculture in PA employs nearly half a million people and contributes $132.5 billion to the state’s economy annually.
Mature Drivers: Take a Course, Save on Insurance
Mature drivers who would like to brush up on their driving skills and save money on car insurance are invited to take a Basic or Refresher Mature Driver Improvement course.
The approved courses provide information about how aging affects driving abilities and insight into driving on today’s roadways. There are no written or practical driving tests.
By completing the Basic Mature Driver Improvement Course, drivers are eligible for a 5% discount on their vehicle insurance. Check course fees and availability here.
Resources to Help Quit Using Tobacco
As we approach the New Year, many people are thinking about changes they can make in 2024. If one of your resolutions is to stop smoking – or to give up tobacco use in any form – resources are available.
Learning tobacco-free coping skills is safe and achievable; improves physical and mental health; and aids long-term success. Access free online resources.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers a free support hotline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Sunday, December 31, 10pm-12am Lebanon City New Year’s Eve Bologna Drop
Sunday, December 31, 10pm City of Reading New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Sunday, December 31, 9:30pm-12am Ephrata New Year’s Celebration
Please do not reply to this email, as that mailbox is unattended. To better serve the constituents of the 48th District, I have set up a contact form on my website. Please click here if you would like to send me a message. To subscribe to Senator Gebhard’s newsletter click here. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or visit https://senatorgebhard48.com/