Veterans Appreciation Picnic Next Month
8/25/2017
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Legislative Report

#Listrak\DateStampLong#   The latest news from the State Capitol

Veterans Appreciation Picnic Next Month
All military veterans or surviving family members of veterans residing in the 57th Legislative District are invited to my Veterans Appreciation Picnic on Thursday, Sept. 14, from 4-7 p.m., at Youngwood Park and Pool, 801 S. 10th St., Youngwood. To register or for more information, please contact my district office at 724-834-6400.
                                    

State Reduces Mandated Testing for Students
Last week, the governor and Pennsylvania Department of Education announced a plan to revise and reduce the length of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests. This was one of my legislative goals for this legislative session, and I am pleased the bipartisan effort to do this is taking shape.

Although these tests are required to meet a federal mandate, educators and administrators agreed the three-week-long testing was interfering with a shared goal of increasing classroom instructional time. I have been meeting with our local school administrators, the PSEA and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to move this effort forward.

In a win for Pennsylvania students and educators, mandated tests that are part of the PSSAs will be reduced by 20 percent for the upcoming 2017-18 academic year. This will allow teachers more time to instruct their students in specific subjects rather than increasing the amount of classroom time preparing for mandated exams.

This change impacts students and teachers in grades three through eight. Specifically, two sections will be removed in the exam which could eliminate up to two full testing days for some schools. Sections in math and English/language arts as well as some additional questions from the science section will be eliminated.
 

$1 Fishing Licenses to be Offered on Labor Day
To encourage the love of fishing, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is offering two special fishing opportunities to fish on Labor Day, Sept. 4.

The first is a $1 license for adult residents and non-residents good for Labor Day only.

The second opportunity is the Mentored Youth Panfish Day. This provides youth anglers, who have obtained a free mentored youth permit or have purchased a voluntary youth license, an opportunity to fish on 19 Panfish Enhancement lakes. Panfish include bluegill, pumpkinseed and redear sunfish, which are collectively called sunfish; black and white crappies; and yellow perch.

The 19 lakes will be open to all anglers all day, but only mentored youth participants (adults and kids) may keep fish under the minimum size. The lakes included in the program in Westmoreland County are Bridgeport Reservoir, Indian Lake, Lower Twin Lake, Northmoreland Lake and Upper Twin Lake. More information is available here.

To participate in the mentored youth program, adult anglers (16 years or older) must have a valid Pennsylvania fishing license and be accompanied by a youth. Accompanying youth anglers must have either a free PFBC-issued permit or purchase a voluntary youth fishing license. Both permits and licenses can be obtained at GoneFishingPA.com.
 

Save for College with State 529 Plan
 
For families looking to plan for higher education, the Pennsylvania Treasury offers the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP), in which growth is tied to the rate of college tuition inflation, and the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP), which offers 15 investment options by The Vanguard Group.

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.

The PA 529 GSP is designed to enable your savings to help keep pace with the rising costs of higher education. The PA 529 GSP contributions grow at the rate of tuition inflation but are subject to fees and premiums.

The PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) is offering free enrollment – a $50 savings – for all new accounts opened before Sept. 30, at PA529.com. Use code “NELSON” or “SUMMER2017” when prompted.

Pennsylvania also offers a second 529 plan, the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP), which features low fees and more than a dozen conservative and aggressive investment options from The Vanguard Group. No enrollment fee is charged for the PA 529 IP.

Families may also enter for a chance to win $529 to get started at PA529.com/contest until Sept. 30.
 

Fire, EMS Grant Program to Open Sept. 6
Fire companies and ambulance services throughout Pennsylvania are encouraged to apply for this year’s grant program from the Office of State Fire Commissioner. The application period will open on Sept. 6 and close on Oct. 20.

Grants may be used for construction or renovation of a unit’s station, the purchase or repair of equipment, training or debt reduction. The maximum grant amount is $15,000 for fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. Career ambulance companies can apply for the grants, so long as they are designated as a municipality’s primary EMS provider.

A total of $30 million will be awarded through the program, which is funded through state gaming proceeds.

For more information about the program, click here
 
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Office Locations
101 Ehalt Street, Suite 105, The Train Station, Greensburg, PA 15601-2300 | Phone: (724) 834-6400
Youngwood Borough Bldg, 17 South 6th Street, Youngwood, PA 15697 | Phone: (724) 925-5490                                  
117B East Wing, House Box 202057, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2057 | Phone: (717) 260-6146
Email: mailto:enelson@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614