Mon Valley Moment: Student Involvement Initiative Update
Legislative Report 
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Mon Valley Moment: Student Involvement Initiative Update

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The latest edition of the Mon Valley Moment features an update on our Student Involvement Initiative.

The Student Involvement Initiative is specifically designed to get our young people actively involved in the operations of their local government and invested in the revitalization of their local communities, so that they will want to stay and live in the Mon Valley for years to come.

On Jan. 25, our future leaders had the opportunity to define their vision for their school districts and local communities.

For two hours, community and business leaders listened to presentations from students representing five local school districts! Websites and video inventories of our assets, attractions and activities were presented. The rich history of our region was also part of many presentations.

I’ve never been more proud of our students!

We will now take this information and continue to build our Assets, Attractions and Activities regional data base to promote our river districts, the Mon and the Yough!
Online Learners Now Eligible for State Grants

A new law will soon allow college students who take more than half of their classes online to have permanent access to financial aid.

Act 5 of 2018, formerly House Bill 1653, expands a successful pilot program created in 2013 that permitted students who take more than 50 percent of their credits online from a college or university headquartered and located in the Commonwealth to receive state grants through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

During the 2014-15 grant award year, more than 5,900 students received grant awards, totaling $8.52 million because of the pilot program.

The new law will take effect with the 2018-19 academic year.

More information about college financial aid is available at
Save the Date for Belle Vernon Town Hall Meeting

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I want to invite concerned citizens from the Belle Vernon Area School District and all other stakeholders to join me on Thursday, March 8, for my next Town Hall Meeting.

This informational meeting will be held at the Washington Township Fire Hall,
1314 Axton St., Belle Vernon, PA 15012, beginning at 6 p.m.

The purpose of this Town Hall is not to discuss what has been done, but most importantly what can be done in terms of major quality of life initiatives and job creation throughout the 49th Legislative District.

Come on out and learn about what’s going on at the local level and throughout our state, ask questions, share ideas and leave with answers!

Interested individuals should register for this FREE event as soon as possible by calling my Bentleyville district office at (724) 669-2242.

I hope to see everyone there on March 8, so be sure to tell your friends and neighbors.
Protecting Honest Hunters

A new law seeks to protect and encourage honest hunters by addressing situations in which hunters may erroneously harvest an animal and turn the animal into the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Presently, a hunter who harvests a deer or turkey of the wrong sex or accidentally takes two can turn the animals into a wildlife conservation officer and receive a new tag, pay a small fine and suffer no license revocation. Act 3 of 2018, formerly House Bill 359, expands that protection to the other two big game animals, bear and elk.

The new law does not change any of the other penalties hunters face for illegal out-of-season kills, except for the elimination of license revocations in those instances where the hunter self-reports and surrenders the animal.

Restitution for mistakenly killing bear or elk has been set at $100 for each animal killed. Violators who are on a payment plan to repay penalties and who are making on-time payments, may not have their hunting or trapping privileges suspended for failure to pay penalties.
Don’t Miss Out on Free Property Tax/Rent Rebate Assistance

My district office staff will be available to provide FREE application assistance for the state’s 2017 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program at the following dates, times and locations:
  • Thursday, March 1, from 9 a.m. to noon, Donora Borough Building, 603 Meldon Ave., Donora, PA 15033.

  • Thursday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to noon, New Eagle Borough Building, 157 Main St., New Eagle, PA 15067.

  • Tuesday, March 20, from 9 a.m. to noon, West Pike Run Township Borough Building, 238 Pike Run Drive, Daisytown, PA 15427.

  • Tuesday, March 27, from 9 a.m. to noon, Franklin Township Building, 353 Town & Country Road, Vanderbilt, PA 15486.

Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2017. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities.

The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. Applications are due by June 30.

Residents are reminded to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately.

Copies of the forms, as well as FREE assistance with filing them, are also available by contacting my Bentleyville district office at (724) 669-2242 and online at

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