Aug. 25, 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.”


Another School Year Begins!
 
I want to wish all of our students and their families a wonderful and productive school year! Take the back-to-school opportunity as a reminder to speak to your children about their school day and activities daily.
 
 
Save for Higher Education with State 529 Plan

 
For families looking to plan for higher education, the Pennsylvania Treasury offers two savings programs: the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP), in which growth is tied to the rate of tuition inflation, and the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP), in which investment returns are determined by financial markets.

Contributions to PA 529 plans are deductible from Pennsylvania income taxes, grow tax free, and, when used for qualified educational expenses, are federal and state tax exempt. Both plans provide flexibility to pay for higher education expenses at most higher education institutions across the country, including colleges and universities, as well as many technical and career schools. The money may also be used to pay for tuition expenses up to $10,000 at elementary or secondary public, private or religious schools.

The PA 529 GSP is offering free enrollment – a $50 savings – for all new accounts opened before Aug. 31. Sign up at PA529.com and use code “SUMMERGSP” when prompted.

The PA 529 IP features low fees and more than a dozen conservative and aggressive investment options. No enrollment fee is charged for the PA 529 IP.

Information about both programs is available here
 
 
Local Seniors Invited to Our Annual Pike County Senior Expo

 
Rep. Mike Peifer and I invite local senior citizens, along with their families and caregivers, to attend the annual Pike County Senior Expo on Friday, Sept. 6.

The free event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Dingman Township Fire Hall, 680 Log Tavern Road, Milford (off Route 739).

Our seniors contribute so much to our community. I want to ensure they have access to quality, reputable services that can make aspects of their lives better.

The expo will feature more than 50 exhibitors offering information about health care, insurance, nutrition and exercise, fire safety, financial planning, fraud protection, government services, hunting and fishing, and personal safety. Additionally, several vendors will be offering health screenings, CVS Pharmacy will provide free flu shots and the Pike County Sheriff’s Office will offer a prescription drug take-back service. Door prizes will be awarded, and light refreshments will be served.

Pike County Transportation is again offering convenient, free transportation to this year’s expo for Pike County residents age 65 and over. People must register in advance for this service by calling 570-296-3408 or 866-681-4947 no later than Sept. 2.
 
For more information, you can call my office at 570-420-8301.
 
 
Making PA Schools Safer

 
Recognizing the importance of ensuring our children feel safe at school, the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in support of investing an additional $60 million in the School Safety and Security Block Grant program.

Now in its second year, the program provides flexible funding that schools may use for a variety of security-related initiatives, including hiring school police officers, school resource officers, counselors and/or mental health counselors; alternative education and diversion programs; violence prevention initiatives; school safety and emergency preparedness plans; or physical upgrades to school buildings and equipment to improve safety.

Based on revisions to the grant funding guidelines, each school entity that submits an application for funding to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will receive a base grant of between $30,000 and $45,000, based on the school’s average daily attendance.

As part of the Public School Code bill that accompanied passage of this year’s budget, lawmakers also are requiring each public school district to create at least one multi-disciplinary threat assessment team to identify students in distress before their behavior escalates to a level that raises concern about safety.
 

Safe2Say Something Reporting System Gets Results

An anonymous reporting system designed to give students, teachers, parents and community members the ability to anonymously report potential threats and other problems has collected nearly 23,500 tips in its first six months of operation, according to a report from the Office of Attorney General.

The Safe2Say Something program, created by a 2018 law, launched in mid-January to give students a way to share information without fear of repercussions or blame from their peers.

Among the most common issues reported included bullying/cyber bullying; cutting/self-harm; suicide/suicide ideation; depression/anxiety; and drug use/distribution/possession.

To report a possible dangerous or violent situation, individuals can call the state tip line at 844-723-2729. Tips can also be reported to safe2saypa.org or through the Safe2Say app on iPhone and Android devices.
 
 
Slow Down for School Buses, Pedestrians

In the next few weeks, students will head back to class. Motorists, parents and children are encouraged to refresh their memories about how to share the road safely with school buses and other school transportation vehicles.

Pennsylvania law requires motorists stop at least 10 feet away from school buses when their red lights are flashing and their stop arm is extended. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.
 
Penalties for failure to obey school bus safety laws can result in a $250 fine, five points on a driving record and a 60-day license suspension.

Parents are reminded to ensure that their children are at the bus stop early to avoid rushing. Students should stay where the bus driver can see them while boarding or exiting the bus.

Click here for more information and tips on school bus safety.
 
 
Blue Star Museums Offer Free Admission to Active-Duty Military

 
Active-duty military personnel and their families have free access to dozens of museums in Pennsylvania – and thousands nationwide – through the Blue Star Museums initiative.

The initiative is a joint effort of the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums nationwide.

The program concludes on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2.

To find participating museums, click here.
 
 
Middle Smithfield Historical Committee Hosted 15th Annual “Memory Makers” Event

 
Recently, the Middle Smithfield Historical Committee hosted its 15th annual “Memory Makers” event. This year’s topic was: Middle Smithfield Elementary School. As a previous student, they asked me to share some memories. It was truly an honor to recount stories from an amazing school, filled with dedicated teachers and a great administration. I have fond memories of that school and feel fortunate to have attended it.

Thank you to Middle Smithfield Township for your commitment to the community. This event is a fantastic way to remember and admire the past.
 

Another Successful Year at the West End Fair

   
Yesterday wrapped up another great year at the West End Fair! It is always great to enjoy some good fair food, listen to local bands perform and have the opportunity to speak with area residents.
 
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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