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Senator Pat Browne


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I hope you find this E-newsletter useful and informative. If you would like to be removed from this list, click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page. If you have suggestions for how to make this E-newsletter better or more informative, I welcome your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Senator Pat Browne
Appropriations Committee Chairman
16th Senatorial District


In this Edition of the E-News:

  • Senior Information Fair
  • Basic Education Funding Commission Recommendations
  • Applications for Fire/EMS Grants Available
  • Changes to Notary Public Applications
  • The Browne Report on Trout Stocking & the Trout Nursery

Senator Browne to Hold Senior Information Fair

I will be holding my annual Senior Information Fair at Country Meadows of Allentown in Building 4 on Thursday, October 1, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This FREE event will spotlight the variety of programs and services offered to seniors by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and numerous local organizations. The Fair, which is open to the public, will include light refreshments, door prizes and health screenings. A limited number of free flu shots will be provided by Lehigh Valley Health Network. The Pennsylvania Mobile Veterans’ Outreach Van will be on site to answer questions pertaining to senior Veterans’ benefits.

It is my hope, through this information fair, that seniors and their families will have a better understanding of some of the excellent resources available to them through state and local governments and community organizations. I thank Country Meadows for once again allowing us to hold this senior fair at their wonderful facility. I also want to thank all of the organizations and government agencies that will be participating at the senior information fair and sharing the services and information they can provide to seniors and their families.

Country Meadows of Allentown is located at 410 Krocks Road, Allentown, PA 18106.

For more information, please contact Doris Stearns in my Northern Lehigh County office at 610-769-5566 or visit my website at www.senatorbrowne.com


Basic Education Funding Commission’s Report & Recommendations

The Basic Education Funding Commission recently recommended that the General Assembly adopt a new formula for distributing state funding for basic education to Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts.

The Commission – which was co-chaired by myself and Representative Mike Vereb – undertook an extensive and comprehensive study of a number of factors before arriving ultimately at a consensus on a new formula that will benefit school districts, parents and children.

The Commission determined that allocation of basic education funding needs to allow for accountability, transparency and predictability. The main objective of the new funding formula is to fairly distribute state resources according to various student and school district factors.

The new formula takes into account several student-based factors, including: Student count, which is the average of the most recent three years of Average Daily Membership (ADM), poverty, English language learners and charter school enrollment. The formula assigned weights to each category to help determine the degree to which each factor drives up the cost of educating a student.

The formula also includes three school district-based factors which reflect community differences throughout the 500 Pennsylvania school districts. The three factors are:

  • Sparsity Size Adjustment: Which adjusts for student counts in small rural school districts.
  • Median Household Income Index: Which measures a school district’s median household income compared to the statewide median household income.
  • Tax Effort Capacity Index: Recognizes a school district’s ability to generate local tax-related revenue compared to the statewide median.

The 15-member Commission, created through Act 51 of 2014, held 15 hearings over 11 months and heard from more than 110 individuals including superintendents, school board presidents, business leaders, nonprofit organizations and parents. It also engaged the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) to develop and record the results of a survey sent to a representative sample of school districts across Pennsylvania to determine their costs for various factors to be used as a guide in developing the new formula. The IFO surveyed 125 public schools, with 97 of them returning the survey providing valuable information that assisted the Commission in determining weights for the Commission’s recommended student factors, such as English Language Learners and children in poverty.

While the Commission came to a unanimous conclusion and recommendation on the formula needed to provide a fair distribution of state education dollars, the recommendations of the commission will not go into effect without legislation approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor.

For more information on the report recommended by the Commission, visit the Basic Education Funding Commission’s website at basiceducationfundingcommission.pasenategop.com or my website at www.senatorbrowne.com.


Applications Now Accepted For Fire/EMS Grant Program

Applications for the 2015-16 Fire Company, Volunteer Ambulance Services Grant Program (FCVASGP) are now available, according to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh).

All fire companies, volunteer ambulance services and volunteer rescue squads are eligible for grant funding. The grants may be used for construction or renovation of a unit’s station, the purchase or repair of equipment, training or debt reduction.

Applications will be accepted through October 22, 2015.

The maximum grant amount is $15,000 for fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. A total of $30 million will be awarded through the program.

More information and the online application for these grants are available at: 2015-16 Fire Company, Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program or by visiting the Pennsylvania Fire Commission’s website at www.osfc.pa.gov.

Local fire departments and emergency medical services (EMS) may also contact Matt Szuchyt in Senator Browne’s Allentown Office at 610-821-8468 for more information or to check on an application’s status.


Changes to Notary Public Applications

As of January 5, 2015, individuals applying to become a notary public or to renew their application will no longer need the endorsement of the state Senator who represents the district in which that applicant resides or is employed – including applicants who reside out of state, but work in the Commonwealth.

In an effort to streamline the application and renewal process, while also eliminating paperwork and saving taxpayer dollars, applicants may apply to become a notary public or renew their notary commission through the state’s Online Notary Public Application System. The Online Notary Public Application System will require the same information currently required as part of the paper application. Please note, if you are unable to enter or upload all the required information in one session, your online application data will not be saved. It is important that an applicant has all of the information and documentation listed on the Department of State’s website -  https://www.notaryreg.pa.gov/Pages/Home.aspx - before using the Online Notary Public Application System.


LI’L-LE-HI TROUT NURSERY, TROUT STOCKING WITH THE FISH & BOAT COMMISSION FEATURED ON
THE BROWNE REPORT

Pennsylvania has a rich heritage of trout fishing as a recreational activity throughout the summer months. On this edition of “The Browne Report,” we learn more about that history and get a closer look at the operation of a fish nursery, along with the process for successfully stocking trout in different Pennsylvania waterways.

The first part of the show provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Li’l-Le-Hi Trout Nursery in Allentown as Mike Walck, a volunteer at the nursery, provides a tour of the facility and some history into raising trout and fishing in Pennsylvania.

After leaving the fish nursery, we join Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Waterways Conservation Officer Lee Creyer, along with a group of volunteers, as they make their way up and down the Jordan Creek stocking more than 3,000 trout. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks 10 streams in Lehigh County with over 40,000-50,000 rainbow, brook and brown trout.

The Browne Report can be seen locally on Blue Ridge Communications, Channel 13; RCN, Channel 4; and, Service Electric Cable, Channel 50. Check your local listings for times the show will air.

The show is also available on my website at www.senatorbrowne.com.


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Contact Senator Browne:

On the Web:
www.senatorbrowne.com

Allentown
702 W. Hamilton Street
Suite 101
Allentown 18101
610-821-8468
Toll-Free: 1-800-280-7728
FAX: 610-821-6798
Monday-Friday
9 AM to 5 PM

Harrisburg
281 Main Capitol
Harrisburg 17120
717-787-1349
FAX: 717-772-3458
TTY: 800-364-1581
Monday-Friday
9 AM to 4:30 PM

Western Lehigh County
Upper Macungie Township Building
8330 Schantz Road
Breinigsville 18031
610-366-2327
FAX: 610-366-2329
By Appointment Only

Northern Lehigh County
North Whitehall Township Building
3256 Levans Road
Coplay, PA 18037
610-769-5566
FAX: 610-769-5568
By Appointment Only