Senator Mario Scavello E-Newsletter

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In This Update:

  • Your Vote Matters 2020: Voting Resource Page with Everything You Need to Know
  • Fire and EMS Companies Benefit from COVID-19 Relief Funding
  • Committee Explores Ways to Streamline State Government
  • Medicare Open Enrollment Runs Now Through December 7
  • CDL and Commercial Learner’s Permits Extended Through November 29
  • Federal Funding Available for Volunteer Fire Companies
  • October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
  • PHEAA Schedules Informational Financial Aid Events 

Your Vote Matters 2020: Voting Resource Page with Everything You Need to Know

There is still time for Pennsylvanians to register to vote before the November 3 general election. State residents can register online or return a completed voter registration form to their county voter registration office by this Monday, October 19, in order to be eligible to cast their ballot in this year’s election.

Pennsylvania voters will have the option to vote in person or by mail this year. To vote by mail, you must apply online by 5 p.m. on October 27 to receive a mail-in ballot.

Additional details on completing mail-in ballots are available on the “Your Vote Matters” resource page. This new webpage also includes updates on voting resources, mail-in voting, polling place locations, key election dates and other critical election information to make sure your voice is heard at the polls in November.

Fire and EMS Companies Benefit from COVID-19 Relief Funding

With Pennsylvania first responders suffering heavy financial losses due to COVID-19, it was recently announced by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner that $50 million of grant funding was awarded to first responders across the commonwealth to help counterbalance financial shortfalls.

Every day we depend on our first responders who put their lives on the line to assist us in dire situations. During COVID-19 our fire, rescue and EMS organizations have been on the front-lines of the pandemic. These professional men and women give selflessly to support their neighbors and communities. However, this pandemic has taken a toll on these companies as funds have fallen short as fundraisers were forced to be cancelled, while their workload has only increased. Most of these companies operate with community first responder volunteers and heavily depend on local fundraisers to help keep their stations in operation. The purpose of this funding is to provide some much-needed financial assistance to first responders who have found it difficult to keep their operations running due to COVID-19. The grant breakdown for each county in the 40th district is as follows:

Northampton County

  • Allen Township Fire Co. #1 $22,877
  • Bath Vol. Firefighters and Ambulance Corps Inc. $23,562
  • Blue Valley Rescue Squad $22,877
  • Bushkill Township Volunteer Fire Company $23,973
  • Community Fire Company of Forks Township $11,094
  • Diamond Fire Company $24,520
  • East Allen Township Fire Department $23,562
  • East Bangor Volunteer Fire Company $22,740
  • Hecktown Volunteer Fire Company #1 $25,205
  • Klecknersville Rangers Volunteer Fire Company $23,699
  • Lehigh Township Volunteer Fire Company #1 $25,342
  • Lookout Fire Company No. 1 $22,603
  • Lower Mount Bethel/Sandts Eddy Fire Co $22,740
  • Mt Bethel Vol Fire Company Inc $24,520
  • North Bangor Fire Company $23,014
  • Northampton Fire Department $24,110
  • Plainfield Township Volunteer Fire Company $23,973
  • Portland Hook & Ladder Co. #1 $22,603
  • Rescue Fire Co #1 $25,342
  • Second Ward Fire Company $36,842
  • Upper Nazareth Fire Department $24,384
  • Vigilance Hose Co. #1 $11,094
  • Washington Township Volunteer Fire Company $23,699
  • Wind Gap Fire Company $22,877
  • Northampton EMS $5,856
  • Bushkill Township Volunteer Fire Co EMS $15,048
  • Hanover Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 $15,048
  • Klecknersville Rangers Volunteer Fire Company $15,048
  • Nazareth Ambulance Corps Inc $15,048
  • Northampton Regional Emergency Medical $15,048

Monroe County

  • Acme Hose Co. No. 1 $22,877
  • Barrett Twp Vol Fire Co $11,094
  • Blue Ridge Hook & Ladder Fire Company #1 $22,740
  • CHEMICAL COMPANY NO 1 $24,110
  • Delaware Water Gap Chemical & Hose Co No 1 $24,657
  • Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Co $24,110
  • Marshalls Creek Fire Company $23,562
  • PHOENIX FIRE ENGINE & HOSE CO $23,425
  • Pocono Mountain Volunteer Fire Company $25,342
  • Pocono Township Fire Company $22,877
  • Pocono Summit Volunteer Fire Company $11,094
  • Polk Township Volunteer Fire Company $23,562
  • Shawnee Fire Company $22,603
  • Tobyhanna Township Volunteer Fire Company $11,094
  • West End Fire Company if Brodheadsville $26,094
  • Bushkill Emergency Corps $15,048
  • Marshalls Creek Fire Company EMS $15,048
  • Pocono Mountain Regional Emergency Medical Services $15,035

Committee Explores Ways to Streamline State Government

It is critical for lawmakers to continue to explore ways to streamline state government, reduce costs to taxpayers and ensure public dollars are used wisely and efficiently. The Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee held a public hearing last week to review ideas to improve the delivery of government services and the management of government programs by consolidating state agencies.

The hearing included testimony from lawmakers as well as experts in business, industry, government and economic development. The conversation centered on legislation that would consolidate the functions of the Departments of State, Labor & Industry, and Community & Economic Development in order to reduce administrative costs and eliminate redundancies.

Medicare Open Enrollment Runs Now Through December 7

The annual open enrollment period for Medicare allows new beneficiaries to sign up for prescription drug coverage and health plans, and it offers current beneficiaries a chance to review and change coverage to meet their individual health care needs. The open enrollment period is open now through December 7.

Medicare-eligible individuals can receive free, objective advice and information on coverage options through the APPRISE Program by calling the APPRISE Helpline at 1-800-783-7067 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Counselors are available to provide information on eligibility, enrollment, prescription benefits, financial assistance and more.

CDL and Commercial Learner’s Permits Extended Through November 29

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently extended the expiration dates for commercial driver licenses (CDL), commercial learner’s permits and hazardous materials endorsements through November 29. Previous deadlines that were extended for non-commercial driver licenses, photo ID cards and camera cards during the COVID-19 pandemic expired on August 31.

A list of driver license and photo licenses centers is available at www.dmv.pa.gov.

Federal Funding Available for Volunteer Fire Companies

Volunteer fire departments can apply now for a new round of federal funding designed to assist with the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other related supplies. Applications for the second round of grants from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant – COVID-19 Supplemental Program must be submitted by November 13 at 5 p.m.

Preference will be given to applicants requesting reimbursement or immediate use of PPE. The program is also open to combination career/volunteer fire companies.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is designated as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in order to draw attention to the importance of staying secure online and understanding the dangers of cyberthreats. The U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offers educational materials and tips to help everyone remain vigilant of potential threats.

CISA resources include guidance on telework, cybersecurity best practices, election security, mitigating risks to infrastructure and much more. The Senate approved legislation earlier this month that would strengthen, secure and consolidate state government IT systems while saving taxpayer dollars, and a bill approved by the Senate in September would help minimize the damage caused by data breaches.

PHEAA Schedules Informational Financial Aid Events

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has scheduled a series of free informational webinars in October and November for students and families to learn more about financial planning and aid options for students.

The hour-long webinars cover two main subject areas: understanding financial aid offers, and covering the gap in aid. The full list of available webinars is available here under the PA Forward Student Loan heading.

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