House Returns to Session to Finish Budget Business
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Weekly News Update


 The latest news from the State Capitol

House Returns to Session to Finish Budget Business
Members of the House will return to voting session at the state Capitol on Monday, Sept. 11, with the goal of finishing up the 2017-18 state budget process.

Among the outstanding items to be resolved is identifying the revenue necessary to fill last year’s budget shortfall. Lawmakers have been standing up for taxpayers by pursuing alternatives to a Senate-approved proposal that seeks to increase taxes on a variety of consumer utility bills and sales taxes on online purchases, among others.

Earlier this week, a group of more than a dozen House members outlined their proposal to make use of taxpayer dollars that appear to be sitting idle in a variety of special government accounts.

The plan is designed to prevent any impacts on jobs, services or agencies while making use of money already collected from taxpayers. The measure also aims to improve transparency regarding how tax dollars are spent.

Other ideas being advanced by the House include further privatization of liquor sales and an expansion of gaming opportunities.

Talks will continue until an agreement is reached.

Bonus Available to Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans
Veterans who served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations, including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, are reminded to apply for the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus.

The bonus pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525 maximum. For personnel whose death was related to illness or injury received in the line of duty in Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, there is an additional $5,000 available to the surviving family. Service members who were declared prisoners of war may also be eligible for an additional $5,000.

To qualify, the service member must have:
• Served with the U.S. Armed Forces, a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Pennsylvania National Guard.
• Served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations during the period from Aug. 2, 1990, to Aug. 31, 1991, and received the Southwest Asia Service Medal.
• Been a legal resident of Pennsylvania at the time of active duty service.
• Been discharged from active duty under honorable conditions, if not currently on active duty.

Since 2008, more than 9,000 Persian Gulf Conflict veterans have applied for and received a bonus for their war efforts. Individuals who received a bonus or similar compensation from any other state are not eligible for the Pennsylvania program.

The deadline to apply for this one-time payment is Aug. 31, 2018. Click here for more information about how to apply.

Don’t Be Scammed by Skimmers
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is warning consumers to be on the lookout for credit or debit card skimmers that steal your information when the card is swiped or inserted.

Often combined with a concealed camera, thieves can also record your Personal Identification Number (PIN). With this information, thieves can withdraw money from your bank account and make unauthorized purchases. Additionally, the thieves may sell this information to others.

To help protect yourself, take the following steps:
• Use ATMs in well-lit, secure locations and avoid using ATMs that are stand-alone units in corners of stores or other out-of-the-way locations.
• Look at the card reader slot and surrounding areas to see if anything looks out of place, mismatched or loose.
• Consider using your credit card instead of your debit card to avoid compromising your PIN and to gain other consumer protections.
• Choose gas pumps that are closer to and within the line of vision of the cashiers.
• Check your bank and credit card statements frequently to watch for fraudulent activity and report any unfamiliar activity immediately.

Read more here.

Never Forget the Victims of Sept. 11, 2001
This Monday will mark the 16th anniversary of one of the worst days in our nation’s history. On Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 men and women were killed in devastating terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The loved ones lost will be honored and remembered in observances across the country, including one at Pennsylvania’s own Flight 93 Memorial, near the site where one of the three planes hijacked that day crashed.

More information about the Flight 93 Memorial and planned observances is available here.

Pennsylvania State Police Troop N to Offer Citizens Police Academy
The Pennsylvania State Police, Troop N Community Services Unit will be hosting a Citizens Police Academy (CPA) at Penn State Hazleton Campus. The program will expand citizens knowledge and understanding of the law and explore police procedure from the perspective of the Pennsylvania State Police.

The Citizens Police Academy involves approximately 20 hours of instruction taught in Two-and-half hour segments. The program is scheduled to begin Oct. 17 and end Dec. 5. Participants meet each Tuesday night for eight weeks from 6-8:30 p.m. Students must attend 75 percent or more of the scheduled classes to be eligible to graduate and receive a certificate.

Class size is limited to 40 community participants to allow greater interaction between students and instructors. Participants are selected from interested applicants. Applicants must be 18 years or older to apply and be a resident of Troop N’s coverage area which includes lower Luzerne County, Columbia County, Carbon County and Monroe County. The Pennsylvania State Police will also conduct a brief background investigation on interested applicants. Applications can be picked up at the PA State Police barracks in Hazleton, Bloomsburg, Fern Ridge, Lehighton and Stroudsburg, or applicants can email or to request an electronic email application. Deadline for application submission is Sept. 30. Questions can be directed to Anthony Petroski, 570-459-3890 ext: 216 or David Peters, 570-459-3890 ext: 269.

Upcoming Events

• A Drug Forum will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Bloomsburg High School from 6-8 p.m.
Outreach hours with Congressman Lou Barletta’s office, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 14, from 1-3 p.m., have been postponed. Stay tuned for a new date and time.
• The Orangeville Fire Department Craft/Vendor show will be held on Saturday, Sept. 16, at the carnival grounds from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• The 162nd Annual Bloomsburg Fair will be held from Friday, Sept. 22, through Saturday, Sept. 30.
• Monthly Radio Address: Thursday, Sept. 28, at 8:30 a.m. on WHLM 94.7 FM.
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904B Orange St., Berwick PA, 18603 | Phone: (570) 759-8734
Market Street Plaza, 1000 Market St. (Suite 39), Bloomsburg, PA 17815 | (570) 387-0246
316 Main Capitol, PO Box 202109, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2109 | Phone: (717) 783-1102
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