Senator Dush E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Support Students in Failing Schools
  • Higher Property Tax/Rent Rebates Available Next Year
  • Recognizing Excellence in 25th District
  • $190,800 ‘Green Lighted’ to College Township, Centre County for Traffic Safety Upgrades
  • Celebrating Back to School Month by Brushing Up on School Bus Safety
  • DMAP Permits for State Game Lands on Sale Now
  • Keep Your Pets Safe in the Summer Heat

Support Students in Failing Schools

Senate Republicans and Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro compromised on a state budget agreement for the 2023-24 fiscal year. That agreement included an increase of more than half a billion dollars to fund public education in Pennsylvania.

In addition to the substantial public education funding, the budget deal also reflected the reality that many students are trapped in failing public schools. It included $100 million for the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) Program, which would give thousands of students increased educational opportunities.

Unfortunately, after House Democrats pushed back against this bipartisan plan, the governor abandoned his own priority and the agreement he pledged to support. Please make your support known for PASS scholarships by signing the petition here.

Higher Property Tax/Rent Rebates Available Next Year

The Senate passed legislation that will increase the amount of rebates for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program and expand the income eligibility for it. The changes will take effect beginning next year.

Because income eligibility limits weren’t raised for 16 years, the number of recipients of the program dropped from about 600,000 individuals to an estimated 398,000 in the current year. The legislation also includes an annual cost of living adjustment so the program will keep pace with inflation and people won’t lose their rebate just because they received a modest increase in their Social Security benefits.

Review the new rebate amounts, available next year, here.

Recognizing Excellence in 25th District

It is always my honor and privilege to recognize landmark individual achievements and organizational accomplishments all throughout the 25th District.

On Aug. 11, I stopped by Bellefonte Area High School to present several student athletes and coaches of the Red Raider Varsity Baseball Team with an official Senate citation for bringing home the 2023 PIAA Division 4A State Championship.

Congratulations gentlemen on your well-deserved accolades, and best wishes for future success both on and off the diamond.

On Aug. 14, my Smethport district office team presented Phyllis Gallup with an official Senate citation for being recognized with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture 2023 Friend of the Fair Award for her distinguished service to the McKean County Fair.

Any definition of a full and productive life must include service to others. As a dedicated McKean County Fair volunteer for many years, Phyllis serves as Superintendent of the Youth Department for fruit, vegetables and plant exhibits.

She also works in the Irons Exhibit Hall and assists with various tasks, including selling tickets, stocking paper products, working in the booth and pit area and assisting in the office.

In addition, Phyllis assists with maintenance around the fairgrounds, makes homemade meals for workers and drives equipment. Recently, she was involved in disassembling the Grange building to make room for a new building.

As your state senator, I am truly grateful and blessed for the opportunity to serve and represent all of our outstanding District 25 hometown heroes.

$190,800 ‘Green Lighted’ to College Township, Centre County for Traffic Safety Upgrades

Congratulations are also in order for College Township (Centre County) for qualifying to receive a grant to upgrade vehicle detection along Benner Pike (Route 150).

Totaling $190,880, this funding was awarded through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) “Green Light-Go” program.

Green Light-Go grants reimburse municipalities for updates to improve the efficiency and operation of existing traffic signals. They may also be used for LED technology installation and traffic signal retiming.

Statewide, nearly $36 million will be distributed to relieve traffic congestion in 77 municipalities through traffic signal upgrades and other measures to increase safety and mobility.

Celebrating Back to School Month by Brushing Up on School Bus Safety

Parents, students and teachers are preparing to head back to school to start the new academic year. Soon, school buses will be transporting students again, and that requires additional caution from all drivers.

Pennsylvania law requires motorists to 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, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety. Read more about school bus safety here.

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.

DMAP Permits for State Game Lands on Sale Now

Permits are on sale now for hunters to harvest antlerless deer – one per tag – on some state game lands through Pennsylvania’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) to enable successful forest management. Overbrowsing by deer is hurting those efforts.

While DMAP has been around for years, it was previously offered only on other public lands and private lands to help landowners achieve land use goals or to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease.

DMAP permits cost $10.97 for Pennsylvania residents and $35.97 for nonresidents. They can be purchased from any license issuing agent or online here. Learn more about the DMAP permit expansion here.

Keep Your Pets Safe in the Summer Heat

As the dog days of summer drag on, we have to protect our pets from the heat. The American Red Cross has tips to help your pets stay safe:

  • Never leave your pet in a hot vehicle.
  • Limit exercise on hot days.
  • Walk your pet in the grass.
  • Make sure they have access to shade and plenty of water.

Even taking proper precautions, pets can overheat. Heat stroke is a common problem for pets. Learn the signs and what to do if you suspect your pet has heat stroke here.

In addition to elevated temperatures, summer brings other potential safety issues for pets. Swimming in a pool is a great way to stay cool, but it can be dangerous for animals. Never leave your pets unsupervised around a pool. Barbecues can also be unsafe, so keep your pets away from the grill and know what foods can be poisonous to them.


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