Jun. 14, 2019

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Legislative Report
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Deadline Extended
Older adults and Pennsylvanians with disabilities now have until Dec. 31 to apply for the state’s 2018 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.

As specified by law, rebate distributions cannot begin until July 1. After June 30, rebates will be distributed as claims are received and processed. Applications typically take six to eight weeks to process.

Eligibility information and forms are available on my website at repeverett.com or by contacting my office at 570-546-2084. 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.

Pavement Patching on Route 15
A PennDOT maintenance crew in Lycoming County began centerline pavement patching this week on Route 15 from Interstate 180 in Williamsport to the Tioga County line.

The left (passing) lane of Route 15 is now closed in both directions during daylight hours. Work is expected to be completed in about two weeks.

Motorists should be alert and drive with caution through the work zone.

Everett Attends PA State Borough Conference
This week, I attended the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB) 2019 Annual Conference and participated in the Legislative Panel discussion. I enjoyed informing the attendees of the numerous bills moving through the legislature that are important to our boroughs, as well as answering questions from our local leaders.

I was joined on the panel by Senator Tim Kearney, Senator Scott Martin, Senator Lindsey Williams, PA State Rep. Dan Moul and PA State Rep. Robert Freeman.

Learn more about the legislation we discussed HERE.

Bass Season Begins Saturday
Summer fishing opportunities kick into high gear this Saturday, June 15 with the statewide start of bass season!

To fish for bass, anglers must have a Pennsylvania fishing license, which can be purchased at gonefishingpa.com.

Following the annual No Harvest period from April 13 to June 14, anglers may begin to keep a daily limit of smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass on lakes and flowing waterways, depending on regulation. Anglers should note that striped bass and hybrid striped bass are not included in the June 15 opening day and are subject to separate regulations.

For further guidelines, visit the PFBC website HERE.

Attention Hunters! Licenses Go on Sale Monday
Hunting licenses for the 2019-20 hunting season go on sale this Monday, June 17, across the state.

All license buyers will receive a complimentary copy of the 2019-20 Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest. A pocket guide for the upcoming season, including key details about general hunting regulations, hunting hours, fluorescent orange requirements, a map of the Wildlife Management Units and season dates and bag limits, is also available to be printed.

Click here to find a licensing agent near you. Click here to purchase your new license online (on or after June 17).

For more information about hunting seasons, safety and more, visit pgc.pa.gov.

Beware of Financial Aid Scams Targeting Students
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency is warning students and borrowers to be wary of financial aid scams that could expose them to identity theft and significant financial loss.

The most effective way to avoid becoming the victim of a scam is to be alert and vigilant when asked to provide any form of personal information or when engaging in financial transactions.
Recent scams include:

Student loan forgiveness scams in which complete forgiveness is guaranteed in exchange for a fee.

Tuition scams in which someone claiming to work for your school’s administrative office calls to warn you that your tuition is late and you risk being dropped from class unless you pay immediately. Hang up and contact your school directly.

Students and borrowers are also commonly targeted with unnecessary fees for services that can be easily accessed for free.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends the following tips to avoid scams:
• Don’t share your Social Security number, credit card information, or account passwords.
• Never pay up front for a promised prize. It’s a scam if you are told that you must pay fees or taxes to receive a prize or other financial windfall.
• After hearing a sales pitch, take the time to compare prices. Ask for information in writing and read it carefully.
• Too good to be true? Ask yourself why someone is trying so hard to give you a “great deal.” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• Watch out for deals that are only “good today” and pressure you to act quickly. Walk away from high-pressure sales tactics that don’t allow you time to read a contract or get legal advice before signing. Also, don’t fall for the sales pitch that says you need to pay immediately, for example by wiring the money or sending it by courier.
• Put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Go to donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222.

If you believe that you have been targeted or victimized by a scam, please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, the CFPB, or the Federal Trade Commission.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Programs for Farmers
Agriculture and conservation issues at the federal level, along with services offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help producers, were the focus of a roundtable discussion held by the House Majority Policy Committee on Wednesday morning. During the hour-long discussion, USDA officials highlighted many of their programs.

Of particular note were two programs, including the Dairy Margin Coverage Program, which opens Monday and offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

The second is the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program, which helps units of federal, state, local governments protect and restore watersheds up to 250,000 acres. Specifically, it partners with government entities to prevent erosion, floodwater and sediment damage; to further the conservation development, use and disposal of water; and to further the conservation and proper use of land in authorized watersheds.

The agency’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Information (NASS) conducts hundreds of surveys every year and prepares reports covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture. Production and supplies of food and fiber, prices paid and received by farmers, farm labor and wages, farm finances, chemical use, and changes in the demographics of U.S. producers are only a few examples.

The agency emphasized that one of its greatest challenges is ensuring that farmers, agriculture producers and governments know about the vast variety of programs to help rural areas.

Bills Introduced that Create Another Tax to Fund State Police
Rep. Michael Sturla (D-Lancaster) and Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) introduced legislation (House Bill 959 and Senate Bill 741) that would implement Governor Tom Wolf’s proposal to create an additional fund for the State Police through “municipal fees.” The “municipal fee,” or tax on Pennsylvanians who live in municipalities that don’t provide any local police coverage, is estimated at $104 million.

The legislation is opposed by the PA State Association of Township Supervisors and I will not be voting in favor of it in the House. The legislation is not expected to garner enough support to pass the General Assembly.

Everett Supports Parity in Interscholastic Athletics Act
Rep. Aaron Bernstine’s House Bill 1600 seeks to put student athletes first and promote fairness in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) by creating a public and private school champion for team sports with statistical disparities, which will then meet for a final state championship.

This legislation will eliminate the inconsistently interpreted and enforced transfer rule and increase parity on the PIAA’s District Committees by ensuring each district accurately reflects the makeup of schools in that given area.

This legislation is the result of months of negotiation with the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the public school superintendent-led PA Athletic Equity Steering Committee. These groups ensured that the legislation would lead to a more open and beneficial system for our students.

I am a proud supporter and co-sponsor of HB1600 and look forward to voting in support of the legislation in the House.

Lowering Health Insurance Costs
Pennsylvanians who buy their health insurance on the federal exchange could see lower prices under legislation adopted by the House this week.

House Bill 3 would establish a state-based health insurance exchange and reinsurance program, an option offered by the Trump administration and supported by the Wolf administration as a means for helping make health care more affordable for Commonwealth citizens.

The proposal is also expected to save taxpayer money, as the cost of the state running its own exchange is expected to be about half the cost of fees currently being paid to the federal government to run it for us.

The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

Bill to Help Prevent Infant Choking Deaths
This week, the House passed legislation authored by Rep. Jim Marshall (R-Beaver/Butler) which would establish the infant CPR and Choking Education and Prevention Program.

Under House Bill 783, the program would provide information to expectant and new mothers on appropriate measures in response to an infant needing CPR and what to do if an infant experiences a choking situation.

The purpose of this act is to educate expectant mothers and mothers of newborn babies in proper infant CPR techniques and infant Heimlich procedures in the event a little one should experience such a need.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Everett Keystone Tree Fund Bill Passes House
I am pleased to report that my bill, House Bill 374, which establishes the “Keystone Tree Fund” as a means to fund a TreeVitalize program and a riparian forest buffer grant program, passed the House with unanimous support this week.

The bill allows a person to make a $3 contribution to the fund when electronically renewing a driver’s license, ID card or vehicle registration through PennDOT’s website.

It now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

Veterans Outreach Hours at My Office
I want to remind the veterans in the 84th District that Natalie Steppe of the Lycoming County Office of Veterans Affairs is available at my Muncy office to meet with them. Natalie stops by every fourth Tuesday of the month, or by appointment.

Call (570) 546-2084 to schedule an appointment in advance.

Veterans in the 84th Legislative District can also contact Natalie Steppe at the Lycoming County Office of Veterans Affairs at (570) 320-2101 or (570) 327-2365. In Union County, contact Director J.D. Kerstetter, Union County Office of Veterans Affairs at, (570) 524-8677.

Services to veterans and their dependents include assistance with:
• Compensation, pension, and death benefits.
• Education and health care.
• Veterans benefits.

Veterans do not need to be a member of the American Legion to receive services.

Have an Issue or Concern?
If you are a resident of the 84th District and need assistance with a state agency, please feel free to contact my Muncy office at 570-546-2084. One of my staff members will be more than happy to assist you.

Stay in Touch with Me on Social Media

You can stay up to date on my latest news and activities by visiting my House website, repeverett.com, or my official Facebook page. You can watch my House floor speeches and press interviews at my YouTube channel HERE
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Office Locations
Penn Hills Plaza, Halls Station, 21 Kristi Road, Suite 1, Muncy, PA 17756 | Phone: (570) 546-2084
Tiadaghton Valley Mall, Room 105, 701 Allegheny Street, Box 4. Jersey Shore, PA 17740 | Phone: (570) 398-4476               
401 Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202084, Harrisburg PA 17120-2084 | Phone: (717) 787-5270
Email: geverett@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614