The Senate Game and Fisheries Committee today voted to amend state Rep. Neal P. Goodman’s legislation that would expand Pennsylvania’s mentored youth hunting program to 12- to 17-year-olds into another bill advancing through that chamber. Read more
Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more
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
HARRISBURG, Feb. 4 – State Reps. Neal P. Goodman and Keith Gillespie are preparing to introduce legislation that would expand Pennsylvania’s mentored youth hunting program to people ages 12 to 17. The Pennsylvania Game Commission offers mentored hunting programs, but they are open only to children younger than 12 and those who are older than 18. It introduces them to hunting through the one-on-one guidance of an experienced hunter without committing to taking the hunter/trapper safety education course or buying a license. Goodman, a Schuylkill County Democrat and an avid hunter, said it makes sense to expand the program to people ages 12 to 17. "The enjoyment of hunting is often contagious – you want to continue to participate in the sport once you are exposed to it," Goodman said. "I’m sure that if we allow more young people to try hunting before they make significant commitments of time and money, more of them will become life-long enthusiasts and continue this great Pennsylvania tradition." Goodman and House Bill 1840’s other prime sponsor, state Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-York, are seeking co-sponsors for their legislation. “Rep. Goodman’s legislation would allow us to further grow the sport we love,” said Gillespie, majority chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee. “Some activities take time to appreciate, and expanding learning opportunities in this way would expose the outdoors 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
HARRISBURG, Jan. 21 – State Rep. Neal P. Goodman and state Sen. David G. Argall announced that the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority has awarded the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority a $6.4 million low-interest loan. The authority will use the loan to repair three deteriorating water storage tanks – two in Pottsville and one in New Castle Township. It also will replace 10,000 aging water meters in all 22 municipalities it serves with modern meters that can be read remotely and have improved ability to detect leaks. “I’m pleased that the state is providing financial assistance for this project, which is necessary for the authority to continue to provide safe, reliable drinking water to its customers,” said Goodman, D-Schuylkill. “This loan will allow for necessary upgrades to improve the quality of water for local residents,” said Argall, R-Schuylkill/Berks. The authority serves about 11,600 households. The Pennvest loan carries an interest rate of 1 percent for the first five years, and 1.74 percent for the remainder of the term. Pennvest was created by the General Assembly in 1988 and is an independent state agency offering low-interest loans and grants to communities through Pennsylvania to fund sewer, storm water and drinking water maintenance and improvement projects. 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
HARRISBURG, Dec. 15 – State Rep. Neal P. Goodman today introduced legislation that would add trail cameras to a section of the state’s Game Code that addresses theft or destruction of hunting property, such as tree stands, blinds and decoys. In addition, H.B. 1764 would increase penalties for violations of this section of the Game Code from a second-degree summary to a first-degree summary. A first-degree summary violation is punishable by a fine of $1,000 to $1,500, and a possible jail sentence of up to three months. “As trail cameras have become more popular, there has been a spike in the amount of them being stolen,” said Goodman, a Schuylkill County Democrat and avid outdoorsman. “Hunters spend a significant amount of money on trail cameras and other equipment, and the goal of my legislation is to help protect their investment.” As an additional deterrent, the bill also would require any licensed hunter found guilty of this section of the Game Code to lose their hunting and trapping privileges for a year. Goodman also introduced legislation, H.B. 1765, that would require any hunter who had their hunting privileges suspended to take a remedial hunter education and safety course before receiving a new license. “I believe the fact that a hunter’s license has been suspended is proof enough that they are in need of the additional education and attention provided by the remedial hunter education course,” Goodman Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 24 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today passed state Rep. Neal P. Goodman’s legislation that would allow state veterans to participate in a prescription drug assistance program if a state veterans benefit or federal disability payment puts them over the income limit. “Our veterans should not be excluded from PACE and PACENET just because they receive a small stipend or bonus as a result of their service to our country,” said Goodman, D-Schuylkill. Goodman thanked his colleagues for supporting H.B. 493, and said he’s hopeful the state Senate will take up the legislation soon. Some of the veteran benefit programs addressed by Goodman’s bill include the Blind Veterans Pension and the Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans Pension, both of which provide a maximum of $1,800 to a veteran per year. The Persian Gulf Veteran’s Bonus Program, which provides a one-time stipend of up to $525 to veterans of the first Gulf War, also is addressed in the legislation. That program was recently extended until 2018 through a law Goodman authored. Goodman also noted about 95,000 veterans receive federal Veterans Administration disability payments. PACE and PACENET provide prescription assistance to Pennsylvanians 65 or older. The income limits for PACE eligibility are $14,500 for a single person and $17,700 for a married couple. PACENET income limits are slightly higher. For a single person, total income can be between Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 24 – State Rep. Neal P. Goodman has introduced legislation that would put into law current regulations that limit the number of antlerless deer licenses a hunter may receive to three per year, unless the state Game Commission needs to issue more to reduce the herd in a local area. The commission’s regulations currently permit hunters to receive one regular antlerless license and two unsold antlerless licenses. The commission also has the ability to issue more licenses for special regulation areas to help with aggressive deer management efforts. "My bill would simply put the Game Commission’s current practices into law," said Goodman, D-Schuylkill. "Codifying the three-license limit and retaining the commission’s flexibility to issue more licenses to target an area where the herd needs to be thinned would eliminate confusion and misconceptions about these licenses." Goodman said the confusion stems from stories of hunters receiving up to 40 licenses in some areas. House Bill 1710 has been referred to the House Game and Fisheries Committee. Read more
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today passed state Rep. Neal P. Goodman’s legislation that would allow state veterans to participate in a prescription drug assistance program if a state veterans benefit or federal disability payment puts them over the income limit. Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 18 – The House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee today voted out state Rep. Neal P. Goodman’s legislation that would allow Pennsylvania veterans to participate in the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program if a state veterans benefit puts them over the income cutoff. “Many Pennsylvania veterans, including those who were blinded, lost a limb or were paralyzed as a result of their service, receive small stipends from the state that could push them over the income limit for this popular program,” said Goodman, D-Schuylkill. “It’s unfair to exclude them simply because they are receiving a few extra dollars because of their service to our country.” Goodman said he learned that the law needed to be fixed after finding out that veterans’ benefit payments put one of his constituents over the PTRR income limit. Goodman thanked committee members for advancing House Bill 493, and said he looks forward to a vote by the full state House. Some of the veteran benefit programs addressed by Goodman’s bill include the Blind Veterans Pension and the Amputee and Paralyzed Veteran Pension, both of which provide a maximum of $1,800 to a veteran per year. The Persian Gulf Veteran’s Bonus Program, which provides a one-time stipend of up to $525 to veterans of the first Gulf War, also is addressed in the legislation. That program was recently extended until 2018 through a law Goodman authored. The Property Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 16 – State Rep. Neal P. Goodman has introduced legislation that would make it easier to identify the funding source for advertisements independent organizations use to influence the outcome of an election or a political dispute, such as the ongoing budget impasse. House Bill 1695 would require 501(c) and 527 groups that engage in electioneering and issue-advocacy activities to file campaign finance reports detailing their spending if it exceeds $1,000, as well as the names of donors contributing $100 or more. These groups are sometimes called “dark money” groups because of their lack of disclosure. Goodman’s legislation also would require these advertisements to include a statement informing voters of the organization paying for the advertisement and where they can review its campaign finance reports. “During the past several years, Pennsylvanians have been bombarded with ads from these groups,” Goodman said. “Our residents should know the identity of groups that seek to shape public opinion, and, more importantly, where their money comes from.” Goodman said that this is an issue that concerns both Democrats and Republicans. State Sen. Dominic Pileggi, a Chester County Republican, has introduced the same legislation in his chamber. Both bills are modeled after a 2013 Delaware law, Delaware’s Election Disclosure Act, which was upheld after being challenged in federal courts. Goodman said Read more
They watch over people who engaged in dangerous and addictive behaviors, and work to reform and rehabilitate them. They educate the illiterate and unskilled. They diagnose and treat the mentally ill.
Most importantly, they keep our communities safe and secure.
State Rep. Neal P. Goodman’s legislation that would extend the Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program for three more years passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday. The program, which provides a small, one-time stipend to veterans of the first Gulf War, is set to expire on Aug. 31.
To encourage women to take care of their health, the state House this week adopted my resolution that recognizes May 10-16 as National Women's Health Week in Pennsylvania. Read more
Legislation amended by state Rep. Neal P. Goodman to ensure benefits veterans receive from Pennsylvania do not disqualify them from participating in the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program today passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 16 – About $500,000 remains in a fund that provides a small stipend to veterans from Pennsylvania who served in the Persian Gulf, and state Rep. Neal P. Goodman wants to ensure those eligible to benefit from it receive their share. Goodman, D-Schuylkill, has introduced H.B. 175 to extend the deadline to apply to the state’s Persian Gulf Veterans' Bonus Program to Aug. 31, 2018. The program is scheduled to end Aug. 31 this year. “The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs receives about 60 new applications to the program every month,” said Goodman, who is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “I do not want to risk denying these benefits to eligible veterans when we can simply extend the deadline. This is a small thank you to the brave men and women who have risked their lives serving our country in the Persian Gulf War.” Goodman wrote the law that led to a November 2006 referendum asking Pennsylvania if the state should create the program. The referendum was overwhelmingly approved. “I will do all I can to ensure the money in the program is used as Pennsylvanians intended – to help as many Persian Gulf War veterans as possible,” Goodman said. The maximum bonus is $525 under the program. Since the enactment of the law, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has processed nearly 11,000 claims totaling more than $3.5 million. The Read more
June will be here before we know it, and many graduating seniors and their parents are thinking about college applications and, more importantly, how to pay tuition bills. I’m urging college-bound high school seniors and their families to consider applying as soon as possible for financial assistance by submitting the FAFSA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is a must for determining eligibility for most need- and income-based financial assistance, including the Pennsylvania State Grant , Pell grants and other federal student loans, work-study programs and various scholarships. The FAFSA may be completed online at www.fafsa.gov . The form is also available on my website by clcking on the education tab under Help & Services. Read more
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