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Happy weekend, all.
October is Blindness Awareness Month in Pennsylvania, a condition affecting many Pennsylvanians, including veterans.
For veterans living with service-connected blindness, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA) administers the Blind Veterans Pension Program.
The program provides eligible veterans with a $150 per-month pension.
“Most veterans transition from service to civilian world with little or no health challenges, but this is not the case for every veteran,” Brig. Gen. (PA) Maureen Weigl said in a statement. “That is where programs like the Blind Veterans Pension play a huge role. Any veteran with service-connected blindness should apply for this benefit and begin receiving the monthly premium they deserve because of their service to our nation.”
Eligibility criteria to receive the pension includes a veteran who:
- Served in the military honorably,
- Was a resident of Pennsylvania upon entering the military and
- Suffered a service-connected injury or incurred a disease that resulted in loss of vision.
“The best place to start the application process is for veterans to contact their County Veterans Affairs Director in the county they reside,” Weigl said. “The county directors are accredited and can help veterans apply for their benefits, at no cost. Veterans never need to pay to apply for their benefits.”
Veterans should have the following documentation when they apply:
- A copy of last military service DD-214
- Proof of Pennsylvania residency upon entering the military
- A United States Department of Veterans Affairs disability claim number
As always, the top 5 stories from this week are below.
State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Philadelphia, was arrested Friday for allegedly violating a protection from abuse order.
He’s been charged with breaking the order and harassment, according to a court document reviewed by the Capital-Star.
Boyle, a six-term state representative from the city’s northeast, has been dealing with personal issues in recent months.
An attorney for Boyle told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Boyle was not accused of violence, and was would receive a mental health evaluation from the District Attorney’s office. The protective order was filed by Boyle’s wife.
The Pennsylvania House voted down an amendment to an already controversial school voucher bill this week that would have allowed parents to send their kids to private school with taxpayer money due to either a COVID-19 outbreak or due to their opposition to mitigation efforts — such as a mask order.
Tuesday’s 94-105 vote, marked a rare defeat for the Republican-controlled chamber’s leadership, which usually does not bring bills to the House floor unless they know they have the votes for them to pass.
Eighteen GOP lawmakers, mostly from the Philadelphia suburbs, voted against the bill, underlining the complicated politics when two heated issues — COVID-19 and school choice — collide.
After spending weeks railing against the Pennsylvania Senate’s top Republican and the chamber’s GOP leadership, a state lawmaker has been barred from attending private meetings of his own party.
Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, will no longer have access to the closed-door caucus meetings, Jason Thompson, a spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, confirmed on Wednesday.
In these meetings, lawmakers discuss their positions on bills and legislative strategy in candid, private conversations.
Pennsylvania Republicans revealed a narrow fall agenda this week focused on overturning Gov. Tom Wolf’s school mask mandate, improving the state’s addiction treatment, and taking a closer look at long-suspended state regulations.
The topics showcase the party’s “thoughtful approach” to policy, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, said during a press conference on Monday morning.
But that same day, a few dozen gun rights advocates, deputized by a hard-line gun rights group, prowled the Capitol looking for a legislative commitment to pass permitless concealed carry into law.
This dynamic, between legislative Republican leadership hoping to craft its own agenda, versus pressure from advocates and interest groups to hold votes on their more hardline conservative priorities, could frequently come up throughout the weeks of fall session.
An alarming 5 percent of Pennsylvania children have elevated levels of lead in their blood at more than two times the national rate, a newly released study has found.
The research, from JAMA Pediatrics, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association, puts Pennsylvania in the company of just six states nationwide with such dangerously high blood levels, according to the Ohio Capital Journal, a sibling site of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, which published the results on Tuesday.
About 5.2 percent of children in the Buckeye State have similarly elevated blood levels, the Capital Journal reported. The other states are: Nebraska (6%), Missouri (4.5%), Michigan (4.5%) and Wisconsin (4.3%).
And that’s the week. See you back here next weekend.
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