Senator Coleman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Student-Led Center Expands Access to Health Care
  • Join Us at Upcoming Mobile Office Events
  • Bipartisan Committee to Audit Allentown Tax Zone, Study Job Prep Programs
  • Senate Continues Detailed Review of Shapiro’s Budget
  • Scholarship Grants Available for EMS Professionals
  • Find Lost Life Insurance Policies and Annuity Contracts
  • Supporting Agriculture, PA’s Top Industry
  • Celebrating “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Student-Led Center Expands Access to Health Care

I visited the Student-Led Interprofessional Care Center (SLICC) this week, which is housed at the Allentown Recovery Center. SLICC was developed through the Temple University and St. Luke’s School of Medicine as a place where medical students, residents and physicians collaborate to address healthcare inequities in the community by expanding access to health care. I spoke with the medical students about the future of health care in urban communities and throughout the commonwealth.

Join Us at Upcoming Mobile Office Events

You’re invited to attend one of our upcoming mobile office events scheduled through the middle of March in North Whitehall Township, Macungie Borough and Hilltown Township.

These mobile office events will make it easier for people to get help with state government programs and services, including the popular Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. People can’t always make it to one of our offices, so we’re trying to bring the office to them.

Staff will help visitors with state government-related issues, programs and services. They can help residents apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, which offers rebates of up to $1,000 to state residents age 65 or older, widows and widowers age 50 or older, or anyone age 18 and older who is 100% disabled.

Staff also can help visitors with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) cards, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) issues, Pennsylvania Office of the State Treasurer Unclaimed Property program searches and claim requests, state agency issues not related to PennDOT, and other state government concerns.

Mobile office services will be offered on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, March 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Whitehall Municipal Building, 3256 Levans Road, Coplay.
  • Thursday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Macungie Institute, 510 E. Main St., Macungie.
  • Tuesday, March 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hilltown Township Administration Building, 13 W. Creamery Road, Hilltown.

Residents who plan to visit one of the mobile office events are asked to sign up by completing a short form on my website so our staff can adequately prepare to provide help.

Our office will be in several neighborhoods in the 16th Senatorial District. My goal with these mobile office events is to make state government more accessible to the people it’s intended to serve.

Bipartisan Committee to Audit Allentown Tax Zone, Study Job Prep Programs

A bipartisan committee of the Pennsylvania General Assembly agreed this week to produce two reports based on measures I introduced – one that calls for an audit of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) and another analyzing the effectiveness of Pennsylvania workforce development programs.

Citizens need this kind of information to hold accountable their government. People want to know if their tax dollars are being used effectively and efficiently.

The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) will produce the two reports based on resolutions I introduced that were approved by the Senate.

Senate Resolution 110 directs LBFC to conduct a performance audit of the NIZ and Allentown NIZ Development Authority programs administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

Senate Resolution 169 directs the LBFC to study state workforce development programs and make suggestions to improve delivery of services to better help workers and employers.

Learn more about these studies and the information they will provide to the public by reading the rest of this article on my website.

The resolutions give LBFC up to six months to complete the NIZ audit and one year to complete the workforce development study.

Senate Continues Detailed Review of Shapiro’s Budget

Officials struggled to answer questions about Gov. Josh Shapiro’s broad higher education concepts and wide discrepancies in K-12 education funding during the Department of Education hearing with the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. He proposes increasing Basic Education spending by nearly $1.1 billion in his 2024-25 spending plan, but his proposed budget shows no increases in Basic Education funding after this year – raising concerns that the administration cannot pay for the billions of dollars in promised new education spending without raising taxes.

The hearing was one of a series held by the committee to analyze the governor’s proposed $48.3 billion 2024-25 state budget. His plan would boost state spending by more than $3.3 billion above the current year’s budget. It requires thoughtful consideration so tax dollars are spent wisely without eliminating the state’s Rainy Day Fund in five years as projections indicate would happen with Shapiro’s budget.

At the Department of Agriculture budget hearing, discussion included state efforts to combat avian influenza, farming education initiatives and the performance of tax credit programs for PA farmers. Concerns were also raised about Gov. Shapiro’s plan to legalize adult-use marijuana.

At the hearing for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), members discussed how to make the most efficient use of existing resources as both agencies have considerable reserves and the PGC’s budget increased from approximately $130 million in 2019-20 to approximately $350 million in 2024-25.

Thursday’s hearings include the Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Find the hearings schedule, livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at

Scholarship Grants Available for EMS Professionals

To recruit and retain emergency medical services (EMS) professionals, a tuition assistance program offers up to $5,000 for reimbursement of EMS state certification training for permanent Pennsylvania residents.

Up to $300 is available for emergency medical responders, up to $800 for emergency medical technicians, up to $1,000 for advanced emergency medical technicians and up to $5,000 for paramedics.

Pennsylvania-licensed EMS agencies are eligible to receive up to $1,250 of recruitment and retention expenses per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Reimbursement will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted. Learn more.

Find Lost Life Insurance Policies and Annuity Contracts

Individuals who believe they are beneficiaries, executors or legal representatives of a family member or friend can locate lost life insurance policies and annuity contracts through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

When a request is received, the NAIC will give participating companies that have policy information access to respond to you as the designated beneficiary or if you are authorized to receive information. It will also allow participating companies to search their records to determine whether they have a life insurance policy or annuity contract in the name of the deceased person.

Access NAIC’s life insurance policy locator.

Supporting Agriculture, PA’s Top Industry

To bolster agriculture – the state’s top industry – $500,000 in grants is available to help Pennsylvania farms pursue growth opportunities. Funding will be used to benefit economic development, job creation and innovation.

The Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program will help fund professional services for those planning for the future of a farm. The program is designed to enhance the long-term vitality of Pennsylvania’s farms through sound business planning, efficient transitions of farm ownership, strategic farm expansion, diversification of agricultural production and building a team of financial and technical experts as a resource for the state’s farmers.

The maximum grant amount is $7,500 and is limited to 75% of project costs. Learn more about guidelines and how to apply.

Celebrating “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Sunday, March 3, is National Anthem Day. “The Star-Spangled Banner” shares a message of endurance and perseverance. Francis Scott Key originally wrote his poem during a naval attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. That battle was nearly lost.

It wasn’t until March 3, 1931, that President Herbert Hoover signed a law officially making “The Star-Spangled Banner” our country’s national anthem.

Rather than commemorating victory, our national anthem highlights our ability to withstand attack. Today, we continue to raise our flag and refuse to be defeated.


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