In this Update:
Latest from the Legislative Reapportionment Commission
On July 29, the commission held a public hearing featuring presentations from representatives of National Conference of State Legislatures, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, and the Legislative Data Processing Center. You can view the hearing and access written testimony here.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, the panel heard feedback from PA citizens regarding the reapportionment process as a whole and specific issues that may exist in their districts. You can see what citizens had to say here and here.
While the Legislative Reapportionment Commission draws new lines for the state House of Representatives and Senate following the census, congressional maps are drawn by the General Assembly. On Wednesday, the Senate State Government Committee held a public hearing on congressional redistricting. You can find testimony and hearing video here.
Annual PennDOT Highway Safety Survey
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking motorists’ input on traffic safety and driving behaviors through its annual online Highway Safety Survey. The survey is available through August 23 and should take about five minutes to complete. All responses, including the “comments” fields, are anonymous.
Nearly 8,000 people responded to last year’s survey, answering questions about safety habits such as seat belt use, impaired driving, speeding and distracted driving. Notably, nearly 91% of respondents said they always wear a seat belt and approximately 88% said they never drive while impaired. When asked how often they choose to exceed the posted speed limit, nearly 84% said they speed at least some of the time.
COVID-19 Vaccines Coming to the County Fair
Residents heading to the county fairs for corn dogs, funnel cakes and fried pickles can now add the COVID-19 vaccine and educational resources to their list of things to find at the fair. The state Department of Health is partnering with the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs to offer free, walk-up vaccinations and educational materials.
Every Pennsylvania resident age 12 and older is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Use Vaccine Finder to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
August is ABLE to Save Month
Thanks to the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 and the Pennsylvania ABLE Act of 2016, Pennsylvanians with disabilities and their families now have the tools they need to save for the future without losing critical benefits they rely on like Supplemental Security Income or medical assistance.
PA ABLE offers various savings options including an interest-bearing checking account with an accompanying debit card. All of the options come with generous tax benefits including no federal or state income tax on savings growth or withdrawals for qualified expenses, state income tax deductions for contributions up to $15,000, and exemption from state inheritance tax.
Pennsylvanians with disabilities and their families have opened more than 5,000 accounts and saved nearly $60 million since the program opened in 2017. Pennsylvanians with disabilities can save for costly expenses such as assistive technology or modified vehicles – or for necessary day-to-day needs like groceries and housing. Families can also use PA ABLE to save for their loved one’s future care.
For more information about eligibility for PA ABLE, qualified expenses and savings options, visit paable.gov or call 855-529-2253.
Saturday is Purple Heart Day
The Purple Heart, awarded to those killed or wounded while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members.
To shed blood for one’s country is a price few would pay, and to die on behalf of fellow citizens is the ultimate sacrifice. On August 7, please think of those killed and wounded in defense of this great and decent nation.
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