Senator Dush E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Citizen Input Needed on Plan to Expand High-Speed Internet Access
  • Get Your State and Federal Government Questions Answered on Wednesday, Dec. 13
  • Smart Saving Upgrades Pennsylvania’s Financial Standing
  • Senate Approves Bill Enabling Better Service in Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Tuition and Loan Assistance for First Responders
  • Deadline for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31
  • Happy Hanukkah!

Citizen Input Needed on Plan to Expand High-Speed Internet Access


A strong internet connection powers our economy and supports education, health care and more.

Rural Pennsylvanians, especially the citizens I represent in McKean County and surrounding areas, have been suffering from the total lack of interest by major broadband providers for far too long.

This unfortunate digital divide negatively impacts families, schools, local governments, hospitals, job-creating businesses and numerous properties that are used for various agricultural, forestry, natural gas or utility purposes—all of which are increasing overall demand for affordable and reliable broadband access.

Once again, your input is essential to keeping rural broadband expansion projects moving forward across Northwest Pennsylvania and beyond.

Pennsylvania’s Digital Equity Plan was created by the Shapiro Administration, funded by federal dollars, and aims to make high-speed internet available to more Pennsylvanians. You can review the plan and, until Jan. 8, 2024, and take advantage of the public comment period to offer feedback.

The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) offers three ways to comment:

The PBDA plans to compile and present these public comments as supporting evidence to secure additional federal broadband expansion funding through the Digital Equity Act, which is intended to ensure that all individuals and communities can experience the benefits of the digital economy.

Again, the final deadline for public comment submissions is Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. Click here for more information. 

Get Your State and Federal Government Questions Answered on Wednesday, Dec. 13

Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson and I are pleased to announce our upcoming Cameron County area satellite office hours.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, team members from both offices will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce, 34 East Fourth Street, Emporium, PA 15834.

This is your opportunity to get important state and federal government questions answered at one location.

No appointments are necessary. For further information, contact my Smethport district office at (814)-734-2785 or click here.

Smart Saving Upgrades Pennsylvania’s Financial Standing

Because of sound financial management and strong budgetary reserves, one of the nation’s leading credit rating agencies – Fitch Ratings – upgraded the state’s bond rating from AA- to AA. The state hasn’t held the improved rating since 2014.

The upgrade is expected to lead to lower debt service costs, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. This is one of the reasons Senate Republicans have led the efforts to build the state’s Rainy Day Fund to historic highs and resist new recurring spending the state cannot afford.

Earlier this fall, Moody’s Investor Services and S&P Global Ratings both upgraded Pennsylvania’s long-term financial outlook from “stable” to “positive.”

Senate Approves Bill Enabling Better Service in Long-Term Care Facilities

The Senate approved a bill to enhance the availability and quality of service at long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 668 would enable certified nurse aids (CNAs) to train to become certified medication aides (CMAs) and deliver common, minimally invasive prescribed medications to residents of nursing facilities. Currently, only registered nurses and licensed practical nurses can administer medications to nursing home residents.

CNAs would be able to complete a certified medication administration program established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. CNAs who complete the program would be registered as CMAs and would be authorized to administer certain prescribed medications in health care facilities.

Tuition and Loan Assistance for First Responders

Because of legislation passed by Senate Republicans, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency established a Tuition and Loan Assistance Program for active volunteer fire and emergency medical service providers.

After a year of service, volunteers are eligible for up to $1,000 of financial assistance per academic year. Volunteers must commit to five years of service following college graduation.

The legislation is designed to combat Pennsylvania’s crisis in attracting volunteer first responders, which has led to many fire and emergency medical service companies reducing services.

Deadline for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31

The deadline to apply for the state’s 2022 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31. Applications and no-cost assistance are available from my district office.

Eligible participants can receive a maximum standard rebate of $650, but supplemental rebates can boost rebates to $975. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities.

Claimants who already applied for their rebates may check the status of claims online or by calling 1-888-222-9190.

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival that celebrates the ancient miracle of the oil burning a candle for eight nights, runs from Dec. 7-15. In honor of the holiday, people of the Jewish faith light a candle on their menorahs each evening for eight nights.

As our friends celebrate the rededication of the Holy Temple, we wish them Chag sameach!


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