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ACA Event

The open enrollment period to sign up for health care ends on 15 December. Apply now at Assistance is available to complete an application. Plans can be as low as zero dollars monthly. The deadline is near, so make sure you and your family are insured.

I hosted a free enrollment event in November, and I have another coming up this on December 9.

  • December 9, 6 – 8pm at the Pittsburgh Fire Fighters Union Hall, 120 Flowers Avenue, Pittsburgh

If you’re planning to attend an event, please bring W2 or Pay Stub and Photo ID.

Affordable Care Act enrollment event

Legislative Updates from Harrisburg

Last month in Harrisburg, we moved several very important pieces of legislation.

In the Senate, we voted to increase the state’s minimum wage to $9.50 per hour over a period of two years. The bill is now in the House and I hope to see them take action on it during December. Pennsylvania lags behind every one of our neighboring states with our federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

We were also able to pass, and have signed into law, changes to Pennsylvania’s handling of child sexual assault. We eliminated the criminal statute of limitations for child victims of sex crimes; started the process of creating a 2-year civil window to revive expired civil claims via constitutional amendment, which will have to be passed again in the 2021-22 legislative session and brought to the voters; clarified penalties for failure to report suspected child abuse; and prohibited non-disclosure agreements from allowing an individual to cooperate with law enforcement. These were the four recommendations made by a grand jury following a major investigation into clergy sex abuse several years ago.

Another major change coming to state law is the legal age to smoke. The legal age to buy tobacco products will rise from 18 to 21 in Pennsylvania, unless a person meets the military service exception. The higher age takes effect next July 1. This will also include vaping products.

Avoiding Holiday Scams

The holidays can be a dangerous time for online scams. The Department of Revenue offered a few tips to help you protect yourself this season as you shop for gifts for your loved ones:

  • holiday scamsShop at websites where the web address begins “https” – the “s” is for secure communications.
  • Don’t shop on unsecured public Wi-Fi in malls or hotels, where thieves can tap in.
  • Secure your home Wi-Fi with a password.
  • Use security software for computers and mobile phones; keep it updated.
  • Protect your personal information; don’t hand it out to just anyone.
  • Use strong and unique passwords for your accounts.
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Back up your files on computers and mobile phones.

Watch out for scam emails during holidays, tax season

Email ScamThe most common way thieves steal identities or account passwords is simply by asking for it through phishing emails. Remember, don’t take the bait. Recognize and avoid phishing emails. These tricky scams often involve:

  • Identity thieves posing as companies or government agencies you know and trust. That includes the IRS and the Department of Revenue.
  • Emails telling an urgent story to trick you into opening a link or an attachment. Doing this can add a virus or spyware onto your computer.

And, no, that’s not the IRS or the Department of Revenue calling to demand a tax payment on a gift card. Remember:

  • The IRS and the Department of Revenue do not call demanding immediate payment and making threats of jail or lawsuits.
  • The IRS and the Department of Revenue will not demand payment via gift or debit cards. 
  • The IRS and the Department of Revenue do not send unsolicited emails about refunds or payments, requesting your login credentials, Social Security numbers or other sensitive information.

Steps to follow if you are a victim of a scam

The Department of Revenue reminds taxpayers that it has a Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit dedicated to assisting victims of identity theft and combating tax refund fraud.

If you are a victim of identity theft or discover a fraudulent Pennsylvania personal income tax return was filed using your identity, please contact the Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit at 717-772-9297 or [email protected].

2020 Census

Census 2020The 2020 U.S. Census is coming up. Complete the Census to get federal government money for our communities. The Census website provides more information on why completing the Census matters.

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people nationwide to work on the 2020 Census count. Call 1-855-562-2020 for more information.

In The 43rd In the 43rd

Are you keeping up with our biweekly episodes of In The 43rd? I hope that you’re enjoying them and learning a little bit more about our great region.

If you have suggestions for where we should go next, let me know on my website or social media!

Facebook/Twitter Facebook Twitter Instagram Stay Connected

If you haven’t visited my Facebook page, join the conversation by ‘liking’ the page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Plenty of information is available on these pages about community events and issues affecting our friends and neighbors.  If you have questions or concerns, send me a direct message or post you thoughts.

Offices to Serve You

  Forest Hills
1501 Ardmore Blvd. | Suite 403
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Phone: (412) 241-6690
Fax: (412) 731-2332
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
2306 Brownsville Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
Phone: (412) 884-8308
Fax: (412) 886-2080
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
314 E. Eighth Ave.
Homestead, PA 15120
Phone: (412) 462-4204
Fax: (412) 462-4543
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203043
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: (717) 787-7683
Fax: (717) 783-5976
8:30 am – 5:00 pm