Contact Information 
District Office
Carriage House Square
2785 Route 115, Suite 103
Effort, PA 18330
Phone: (570) 620-4341
Fax: (570) 620-4349

Tobyhanna Township Building
105 Government Center Way
Pocono Pines, PA 18350
Phone: (570) 643-7683

Capitol Office

Room 423, Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202176
Harrisburg PA 17120-2176
Phone: (717) 787-7732
New Law Could Save Local Taxpayers Money
10/26/2018
Leaf Collection Mandate Relief Bill Signed Into Law

 
Local taxpayers are poised to save some money after a bill I introduced was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Tom Wolf. The new law enables certain municipalities to opt out of expensive leaf collection programs.

This new law is about removing a costly mandate in order to save taxpayers money. The law I ushered through the legislative process will give municipalities the flexibility to determine if expensive leaf collection programs are practical in their communities.

Act 101 – formerly House Bill 927 – exempts municipalities from the state law mandating leaf waste collection programs if they meet a certain population density requirement. Municipalities with fewer than 500 people per square mile will now be exempt from the state mandate. The exemption is only available if the municipality has an ordinance prohibiting the burning of leaf waste.

Leaf waste collection programs can require municipalities to purchase expensive equipment with limited taxpayer dollars. Rural communities with sparsely populated areas may find the equipment and programs to be expensive and impractical.

The state House in June 2017 approved my bill and the Senate last week passed the bill with bipartisan support.

This is a commonsense reform intended to give municipalities flexibility and provide taxpayers with some relief. This law is the result of bipartisan cooperation at the state level and an understanding that state government needs to work with local governments to better serve taxpayers and residents. I worked with local elected officials to identify this issue and my colleagues in Harrisburg to remedy it in a way that will benefit taxpayers across the Commonwealth.

The new law takes effect in 60 days.
 
 
Fourth Annual Fall Wellness Festival Drew a Large Crowd


 
 Pictured with me is Denise Doremes from the Pocono Mountain Regional EMS.

I co-hosted on Saturday with the Lehigh Valley Health Network the fourth annual Fall Wellness Festival at Northampton Community College’s Monroe Campus. The large crowd that attended the event was able to meet and talk with vendors from our community who provide health and wellness-related products and services.

The event featured a drug take-back program. Read the article below to learn about additional opportunities tomorrow to safely dispose of outdated and unwanted prescription medications.

We, for the first time this year, also offered pet wellness information for animal lovers in our community.

Visit my Facebook page.
 
 
Got Expired Drugs? Dispose of Them Safely on Oct. 27


To help keep prescription medications out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, the U.S. Department of Justice, working with local law enforcement, will hold a prescription drug take-back event in our area on Saturday, Oct. 27. This event allows residents to drop off unwanted or expired prescription medications free of charge for safe and convenient disposal.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents can drop their medications off at local sites. Visit the Diversion Control Division’s website or the Drug Enforcement Agency’s website to locate a site near you. In Monroe County sites include the St. Luke’s Hospital in Bartonsville and the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department building in Pocono Summit. More sites are being added daily.

Since the twice-a-year disposal events began in the fall of 2010, the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA has reached 9,964,714 pounds, or 4,982 tons. 

Several communities in our area also have permanent collection sites. Click here for those.
 
 
RSVP of Monroe County Recognizes Volunteers


 

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Monroe County took time this week to thank all of its volunteers at its annual luncheon. Thank you to all the volunteers for the countless hours of hard work that all of you put in every year bettering our community.
 
 
Special Assistance Available to Military Veterans

 
An American Legion service officer will be available on a rotating basis at my Effort or Pocono Pines district offices each month on the third Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to answer questions about veterans benefits and help file claims for veterans and their dependents.

Upcoming dates and locations: 

 

Effort District Office
Tuesday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pocono Pines District Office

Tuesday, Dec. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Space is limited, so please call to schedule an appointment. Veterans do not need to be a member of the American Legion to take advantage of this service.
 

 
Fighting Back Against Food Stamp Fraud


Legislation was signed into law this week to help prevent food stamp fraud by imposing tougher penalties for the illegal trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Act 160 – formerly Senate Bill 1127 – creates a new penalty for the fraudulent trafficking of SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500. Violators will be required to pay restitution of up to three times the amount of fraud they commit. Under current law, the recipient who sells the benefits and the merchant who creates the illegal market for and trafficks in those benefits are treated the same.

The legislation stems from a case uncovered last year by the Office of State Inspector General in which a Harrisburg restaurant traded drugs for electronic benefit transaction (EBT) cards and bought thousands of dollars of supplies from a food wholesale club to be resold for profit. This serious problem across Pennsylvania takes food from our most vulnerable citizens.
 
 
Heating Assistance Program to Open Next Week


Residents who are struggling with their home heating bills can apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Thursday, Nov. 1.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.

The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are set at 150 percent of the federal poverty income level. For example, the income limit for an individual is $18,210; for a couple, the limit is $24,690; and for a family of four, it is $37,650.

Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting the County Assistance Office in their county of residence.
 
 
Veterans Organizations Can Apply for Trust Fund Grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is accepting applications for the 2018-19 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grant cycle. Up to $800,000 in VTF grant funding will be competitively awarded for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans.

The VTF is funded by Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs or motor vehicle registrations; purchasing Honoring Our Veterans license plates; or making private donations.

To learn more about the VTF and the grant application process, visit vtf.pa.gov or follow DMVA on Facebook at facebook.com/padmva.

Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veteran population in the nation, with nearly 800,000 veterans.
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