Mar. 03, 2017

 
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The latest news from PA State Representative Rosemary Brown

 
District of Character Word of the Month:
Tolerance
“A fair, objective and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own.”
Learn more here.  
 
 
Recognizing National Women’s History Month

As the celebration of Black History Month in February comes to a close and we begin to welcome Women’s History Month in March, I want to bring to your attention a special American woman – Madam C.J. Walker – a civil rights activist, philanthropist and entrepreneur who created specialized hair products for African-American hair, and was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire. She lost her hair after a medical condition and then invented her line of hair care products in 1905. From there, she marketed her products across the country and became a very successful business woman. Click here to read more from the biography.com page, in which I’ve summarized from above. 
 
 
American Red Cross of the Poconos Telethon

Click here to Watch
Please tune in this Sunday, March 5, from 3-8 p.m. to the annual American Red Cross of the Poconos Telethon on Blue Ridge Channel 13.

The American Red Cross Pocono Mountains Chapter continues to serve hundreds of individuals affected by natural disasters and victims of catastrophic incidents within our community.

House Resolution 95, of which I am a co-sponsor, designates March 2017 as “American Red Cross Month” in Pennsylvania. In existence since 1900, the resolution recognizes the Red Cross as a humanitarian organization led by volunteers that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Over 7,000 volunteers statewide donated time and energy to their communities through the Red Cross. 
 
 
Applications Available for Valley Forge Military College Legislative Scholarship

 
A single $12,000 annual scholarship to Valley Forge Military College is available for a student residing in the 189th District. Students seeking participation in the Valley Forge Military College Legislative Appointment Initiative must have a minimum SAT score of 1,000 or a 17 on the ACT and an overall grade point average of 2.5. Extracurricular activities, community service and leadership will also be considered.
Prospective applicants should contact my district office in East Stroudsburg at 570-420-8301. Candidates who have questions about the program, the college or the completion of the application should contact the Valley Forge Military College by calling 610-989-1402. The deadline for students to apply to my office is Friday, March 17.

The scholarship is funded by the college and no state allocations are made to the program. Any student is eligible for the scholarship, not just those with previous affiliation with the Armed Forces. Applicants are cautioned not to submit their application through the college’s website if they are seeking consideration for this scholarship. Visit VFMAC.edu for more information.
 
 
Recognizing a New Business Owner

I recently stopped at Rosé Rosá, a new jewelry store that opened in Monroe County last week. I am pictured here with owner Miriam Morazan. Congratulations on your grand opening, and for becoming a member of the Greater Pocono Chamber of Commerce. I wish you tremendous success! 
 
 
Mark Your Calendars: 40th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The 40th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Sunday, March 19, in Stroudsburg, beginning at 1:30 p.m. I invite you to attend this fun, festive community event. The parade will begin at the Stroudsburg High School and end at the East Stroudsburg Borough Building on Crystal Street. This parade is organized and produced by the Pocono Irish American Club. Crowds along the parade route are estimated to be 30,000-40,000. 
 
 
Perfect Attendance

I was recently acknowledged for my dedicated service to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the people of the 189th District, as evidenced by not missing a single day of legislative session during my third term. I take my responsibility to the people of our district very seriously, and it is an honor to represent all of you in the state House. 
 
 
Area Boy Scouts’ Blue and Gold Banquet

On Feb. 25, Joshua from our district office (pictured in center) attended Cub Scout Pack 1003’s Blue and Gold Banquet on my behalf. Joshua is also an Eagle Scout. The purpose of the banquet was to celebrate the pack’s anniversary, and thank the pack leaders and community leaders who support scouting in Pike County. There was also a father/scout cake competition. Some of the beautiful and creative cakes are pictured on right. Special certificates were presented from my office to Cubmaster Gary Albaugh, who was inducted into the Eagle Scout Hall of Fame; Den Leader Dominic Agron; District Tiger Den Leader of the Year; and Committee Chairperson Misty Albaugh, District Committee Chairperson of the Year. Thank you to all the volunteers for their dedication to Scouting!
 
 
Budget Hearings Look into Potential Mergers

 
Members of the House Appropriations Committee had a first chance to ask department officials about the governor’s two proposed mergers within his budget proposal – combining the departments of Health, Human Services, Aging, and Drug and Alcohol Programs into a Department of Health and Human Services; and the Department of Corrections and Board of Probation and Parole into a Department of Criminal Justice – during budget hearings this week.

Questions focused on cost savings, current programs and services, and the potential loss of attention to seniors and the opioid epidemic. Gov. Tom Wolf estimated the proposed mergers would save tax dollars by eliminating redundant programs and streamlining services. A specific plan, including placement of personnel, has not yet been given to lawmakers, but estimates reveal a savings of about $90 million.

Also appearing before the committee this week were the departments of Environmental Protection, Conservation and Natural Resources, Agriculture, General Services, Military and Veterans Affairs, and Community and Economic Development; along with the judiciary; Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency; Liquor Control Board; Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology; and the Public Utility Commission.

The final round of hearings is set for next week. To view the upcoming schedule or watch past hearings, click here.
 
 
Committee Questions Status of Unemployment Comp System

 
Members of the House Labor and Industry Committee questioned Secretary of Labor and Industry Kathy Manderino about the impact of furloughs in the Unemployment Compensation (UC) bureau and expected computer system upgrades that were supposed to have been completed years ago. Since the furloughs and three UC center closures two months ago, residents seeking to submit claims or obtain information from the bureau have experienced lengthy delays or lack of response.

The Wolf administration furloughed staff when an extension of state funding was not approved by the Senate last year, and is now operating solely on federal funding. Subsequent reports revealed that errors made at the department caused the state to lose millions in federal funding. The administration is trying to recoup those funds. The committee was seeking information from the secretary to explore what short- and/or long-term plans may be necessary in order to meet the needs of those currently waiting for service, as well as to ensure greater accountability and more efficient services within the UC system going forward. To watch a recording of the hearing, click here
 
 
Act 89 Invests More in Local Roads

PennDOT announced this week that municipalities will receive nearly $466.2 million from liquid fuels revenue to invest in local roads, marking a 5 percent increase, or $20.9 million, over last year. This funding will allow municipalities to help pay for expenses such as snow removal and road repaving. More than 60 percent of public roads in Pennsylvania are maintained by local governments. The formula for payments is based on a municipality’s population and miles of locally owned roads.

The additional funding is made possible by Act 89 and was distributed to certified municipalities on March 1. Before Act 89 was enacted, municipalities received $320.8 million in liquid fuels payments. For the complete list of local payments, visit the “Municipal Liquid Fuels Program” page at penndot.gov under the “Doing Business” Local Government page.
 
 
Program Offers Assistance with Septic Systems

 
The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST), together with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, offers a program with low-interest loans to homeowners to cover the costs associated with repairing or replacing on-lot septic systems. Assistance is available to eligible homeowners who need to repair or replace their individual on-lot septic system or to connect for the first time to a public sewer system. More information can be found here.
 
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
164A East Wing, PO Box 202189, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2189 | Phone: (717) 260-6171
Email: rbrown@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614
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