Aug. 18, 2019

 
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The latest news from PA State Representative Rosemary Brown


District of Character
The “District of Character” is an initiative I created to enhance character development and promote daily reminders for residents of the 189th District about how we can create a stronger community without policy changes. No one is perfect, but we can always work to improve our character daily.
August word of the month is “Honorable.”

“To be fair, honest and worthy of respect.”

 
FCC Takes Next Step in Battle Against Robocalls, Spoofing

Recognizing the frustration and potential danger posed by spam calls and spoofing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced new rules this week that will ban malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and foreign calls.

The rules are designed to close a loophole in existing law that prevented the agency from pursuing scammers sending spoofed text messages and international bad actors making spoofed calls to Americans.

Earlier this summer, the FCC approved rules that could make it easier for AT&T, Verizon and other telecom giants to block suspected spam calls on behalf of their subscribers. It allows the companies to enroll consumers in their call-blocking services by default, as opposed to waiting for customers to sign up for such tools on their own.

While these changes are important steps in the fight against robocalls and spoofing, no one expects they will result in their elimination. Protect yourself by using some of the following tips provided by the FCC: don’t answer calls from unknown numbers; due to spoofing, don’t assume when the caller ID shows a local number that the caller is actually local; if you answer and the caller asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls or asks you to say “yes” in response to a question, hang up to prevent your response from being used for unauthorized charges; and if a caller claims to be from a legitimate company or organization, hang up and call them back using a valid number found online or a recent bill if you do business with the organization.
                       
If you have lost money because of a scam call, notify your local law enforcement agency. If you receive a spam call, file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center.
 
 
Join Us for Our Annual Pike County Senior Expo

I am co-hosting the 2019 Senior Citizens Expo with Rep. Mike Peifer on Friday, Sept. 6, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Dingman Township Fire Hall, 680 Log Tavern Road in Milford, off State Route 739. The expo will feature more than 50 exhibitors. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be offered. Free flu shots will be provided by CVS Pharmacy. Prescription Drug Take-Back will be provided by the Pike County Sheriff’s Office. Pike County Transportation is offering convenient, free transportation to this year’s expo for Pike County residents age 65 and over. You must register in advance for this service by calling 570-296-3408 or 866-681-4947 by Sept. 2. For more information, please contact my district office at 570-420-8301 or Rep. Peifer’s office at 570-226-5959.
 
 
Fire, EMS Grant Program to Open First Week of September

Fire companies and ambulance services throughout Pennsylvania are encouraged to apply for the 2019-20 Fire Company, Emergency Medical Services Companies Grant Program from the Office of State Fire Commissioner.

The application period will open the first week of September and remain open for 45 days. Exact dates will be listed at osfc.pa.gov closer to the grant application period opening.

Organizations may apply for a grant in up to two of six eligible funding categories. Those categories include: construction or renovation of a unit’s facility and purchase or repair of necessary fixtures and furnishings; purchase or repair of firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment, including fuel for company vehicles; debt reduction related to the above categories; training and certification of members; training and education materials about fire prevention for the general public; and, for career fire departments only, overtime costs associated with backfilling positions while firefighters are attending training.

The maximum grant amount is $15,000 for fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. A total of $30 million will be awarded through the program, which is funded by state gaming proceeds.

For more information about the program, click here.
 

Law to Eliminate Inheritance Tax for Children

Children age 21 or younger who suffer the loss of a parent will no longer have to pay the state’s 4.5% inheritance tax under a new law taking effect in January.

Act 13 of 2019 reduces the inheritance tax rate to 0% for the transfer of property to or for the use of a child 21 years of age or younger from a natural parent, adoptive parent or a stepparent of the child.

A prior law implemented a 0% tax rate on transfers from a child 21 years of age or younger to his or her parent.
                       
The law will apply to transfers from a decedent who dies after Dec. 31, 2019.

 
Hotline to Assist Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

A new hotline to help connect thousands of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren to the resources and programs available to them is now live.

The KinConnector hotline was established through Act 89 of 2018 to address the growing number of grandparents who have become primary caregivers to their grandchildren in the Commonwealth. It is a situation that has skyrocketed in recent years as a result of the state’s opioid epidemic. An estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania.

KinConnector can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). The KinConnector helpline is staffed by social service professionals prepared to help families understand and access local, state and federal resources. A website of resources will also be available in the near future.

 
Salt of the Earth Ministries Hosted a Local Community Day and Bac-Pac Event

 
Last Sunday, I stopped at the Community Day and “Bac-Pac” event hosted by Salt of the Earth Ministries in Stroudsburg led by Bishop Robert L. Williams Jr. The event fostered food, fun, fellowship and of course kids’ backpacks donated and filled.
Salt of the Earth Ministries also has a food pantry if you know those in need. More information can be found on their website here: saltoftheearthministries.org
 

Congratulations Lucas and Daniel on Achieving Rank of Eagle Scout

 
Recently, I stopped to congratulate Lucas Schwartz and his parents, Robert & Sheila, at his home on his achievement of the rank of Eagle Scout. Lucas also headed off to college last week to major in mechanical engineering. Another wonderful, focused and accomplished young man in our district doing great things! All the best of success and happiness Lucas – great work!

 
Daniel Maslin of Troop 174 was honored last week for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout! Wonderful job Daniel and thank you for committing to developing your best self – we look forward to your leadership in our world. Daniel was heading off to college last week as well!
 
Just a reminder: If you are encountering an issue with state government, please feel free to contact my district office. We are here to help you with the following services:      
 
 - Driver’s license and vehicle registration applications and renewals. 
 - Assistance with PennDOT paperwork (lost cards, changes, corrections, special registration plates, vanity plates, and temporary placards for disabled persons).                         
 - PACE and PACENET applications for seniors.                         
 - State Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Work.
 - Voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications.                         
 - State tax forms.                         
 - Student aid applications.                         
 - Free state maps, state park information, and PA Vacation Guides.                         
 - Copies of legislation and tours of the State Capitol.                         
 - Referrals to agencies to resolve state-related matters. 
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Office Locations
143 Seven Bridge Road, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301 | Phone: (570) 420-8301
210 Ryan Office Building, PO Box 202189, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2189 | Phone: (717) 260-6171
Email: rbrown@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614
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