PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more
Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more
Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more
In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more
JOHNSTOWN, April 22 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on education funding and property tax reduction at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 28 in the Greater Johnstown High School Auditorium, 222 Central Ave. , Johnstown. The hearing will examine Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget that includes increased education funding and a plan to reduce property taxes. Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will co-chair the hearing, which will feature testimony by local school districts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The current hearing agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 2:10 p.m. Beth Olanoff , director of policy, Pennsylvania Department of Education 2:40 p.m. Panel from local school districts: Amy Arcurio , Freshman Academy principal, Greater Johnstown School District Donald Irwin, Jr. , superintendent/business manager, Westmont Hilltop School District 3:30 p.m. Closing remarks The hearing is open to the public, and media is encouraged to attend. Read more
JOHNSTOWN, April 22 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, announced today the award of nearly $15 million in low-interest state infrastructure investment loans for ongoing sewer improvements in the Johnstown region. The PennVest loans, which are issued at 1 percent interest, will fund improvements in Woodvale, Oakdale and Westmont Borough. Ongoing construction projects in Woodvale and Oakdale will receive loans of $6.7 million and $1.86 million. Ongoing construction projects in Westmont Borough will receive $6.38 million. Read more
As part of the update to the commonwealth's 12-Year Transportation Program , PennDOT is encouraging the public to visit www.Talkpatransportation.com to provide input on what transportation priorities are important to them and to register for an interactive online public meeting scheduled for April 16. The 12-Year Transportation Program is updated every two years and serves as a blueprint of the state's prioritized transportation projects. The online public meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 16. During the meeting, PennDOT Acting Secretary Leslie Richards will provide an update on the state's recently released transportation performance report and the public comment period. The public is encouraged to register for the meeting at www.talkpatransportation.com and questions may be submitted in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org . Through May 29, the public can also submit feedback at their convenience by emailing email@example.com or calling 717-787-2913 to request a printed survey copy or by taking the public survey once it's posted on the website on April 16. Read more
I am pleased to announce the deadline for P ennsylvania's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP , has been extended to May 1. This year's previous deadline was April 3. The federally funded program helps income-eligible households pay for heat during winter months and is administered by the state Department of Human Services. A family of four with an annual income of up to $35,775 can qualify for this assistance. Expansion of this program will allow us to ensure that Pennsylvania families can more easily heat their homes in winter, bringing much relief to the many families who continue to struggle to make ends meet. Please contact my office if you'd like to learn more about the program. You may also apply at your county assistance office or online . Read more
HARRISBURG, March 26 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin testified before the House Appropriations Committee today, calling for better oversight of cyber and charter schools operating in Pennsylvania. He said that the costs associated with a system of more than 170 special-interest schools across the state need to be reined in, as the cost to taxpayers has soared to over $1 billion since the late 1990s. "Only 25 percent of charter students and 10 percent of cyber students are meeting public school standards," said Barbin, D-Cambria. "Instead of pouring more money into charter schools managed by for-profit companies, we need to recognize that charters are failing our students. "A large part of the problem is that the public money being channeled into these programs isn’t expressed as a true line item in the budget. I propose that we break these appropriations out and allow the public to see how our tax dollars are spent on public, cyber and charter schools. "We can save more money by requiring cybers to operate on public school property. We can also use our colleges and universities to save on curriculum costs. There needs to be accountability on everything. "The governor’s budget proposes a cap on cyber spending of $5,900 per student, resulting in an annual savings of $160 million. I think that’s a good start, but we can go further to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed." Read more
JOHNSTOWN, March 10 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, will host an open house at his new constituent service office in Sidman from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday. No RSVP is needed, and light refreshments will be served. "I invite my constituents to meet me and my staff at my new office in Sidman," Barbin said. "After the reapportionment process, I opened the office to better serve the constituents of the eastern part of the 71st Legislative District, including Adams and Richland townships, as well as Summerhill, South Fork, Ehrenfeld, Scalp Level and Paint boroughs.” The new office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Services available at the office include help with PennDOT forms, birth and death certificates, voter registration and absentee ballot applications, Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications and any state-related service. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Bryan Barbin speaks on the House floor commemorating February 19, 2015, as "The Battle of Iwo Jima Remembrance Day" in Pennsylvania, encouraging citizens to honor the memory of those who sacrificed so much. Read more
As we enter the height of tax season, please remain vigilant as the opportunities to fall victim to identity theft and related crimes increase this time of year. The Pa. Department of Revenue encourages taxpayers who used Internet-based tax filing programs last year to access their online accounts and determine whether returns they did not file are shown as filed under their Social Security numbers. If a taxpayer discovers he or she is a victim of identity theft impacting a Pennsylvania tax return, he or she should take all of the following steps: Report the incident to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at 717-787-8201. Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or by calling 1-877-438-4338. File a report with the local police. Report the incident to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by calling 1-800-441-2555. File an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) with the Internal Revenue Service. Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax : www.equifax.com, 1-800-525-6285 Experian : www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742 TransUnion : www.transunion.com, 1-800-680-7289 Close any accounts that have been affected. If a taxpayer suspects a notice or call concerning tax records is a scam, he or she may call the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (717-787-8201) or IRS (1-800-829-1040) to validate the contact. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 22 – As part of the state House reorganization Wednesday, Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, was appointed to the Transportation, Environmental Resources and Energy, Judiciary, and Veterans and Emergency Preparedness committees for the 2015-16 Legislative Session. In December, Barbin was also appointed to the Aggregate Advisory Board, which will assist the state Department of Environmental Protection on all matters pertaining to non-coal surface mining, conservation and reclamation. Barbin announced that his East Hills constituent service office has been relocated to Adams Township. The new address is P.O. Box 339, 125 Mary Drive, Suite B, Sidman, PA 15955. The phone numbers are 814-487-4041 and 814-487-4042. The fax number is 814-487-4043 Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – Johnstown and Westmont Borough today received approval for Pennvest loans to improve sewers, said state Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset. Johnstown received a $10.9 million low-interest loan for the sixth phase of sewer improvements in the Moxham area of the city, and Westmont received a $9.3 million low-interest loan to rehabilitate sewer lining, manholes and lateral inspection ports in the first phase of a two-phase project. “The project will help reduce wet-weather sewage overflows from the city and Westmont that flow into Stony Creek and rehabilitate 80- to 90-year-old pipelines,” Barbin said. “The improvements are much needed and will benefit the area for generations to come.” User rates in Johnstown will not be affected by the loan, while user rates in Westmont are expected to rise. Barbin said the low-interest rate offered by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority helps minimize the rate increase. Forty jobs are expected to be created by the improvements. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria, was sworn in to the House of Representatives today, beginning his fourth term as a legislator. Today’s swearing-in ceremony marks the beginning of the 2015-16 legislative session and the 199th of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. "The Johnstown area needs strong, experienced leadership in Harrisburg. In the face of another tough budget year and the challenges that come with it, I will remain committed to finding solutions to problems such as crime, drug addiction and dwindling education resources while advancing sound ideas and real projects that create jobs and encourage economic growth for the region," Barbin said.In his last term, Barbin helped shepherd millions in state resources to improve sewer infrastructure, clean area waterways, fund commerce improvements, and support natural gas, among others. Residents are encouraged to sign up for periodic e-mail updates from Barbin on state issues by visiting his website, www.pahouse.com/Barbin, and clicking on the "Contact" tab. He also provides updates online at www.facebook.com/RepBryanBarbin. Read more
Pennsylvania's children have a new protection thanks to Hannah's Law, named after Hannah Ginion of Bristol Township, who suffered from the rare genetic disorder called Krabbe disease. Hannah passed away on Dec. 28, 2014. Read more
Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed.
Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed.
Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you.
Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote.
The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses.
House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session.
According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission. Read more
As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more
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