Pa. Produce Month spotlights economic, social benefits of local food

(Jul 12, 2017)

August 2017 is Pennsylvania Produce Month. I was proud to vote for the resolution recognizing the commonwealth’s vegetable growers, who continue to serve as national leaders in the production and processing of fruits and vegetables that feed families across the country. Family farms across the state produce nearly 300,000 tons of vegetables a year from approximately 50,000 acres. Late summer is a great time to find tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage and more. More than 4,300 family farms are currently operating in Pennsylvania. With produce ranging from the mushrooms grown in Chester County to the potatoes in Erie and Potter counties, Pennsylvania growers offer a variety of locally grown food items. I hope you will consider visiting a farmers’ market in our region. When you buy local, fresh produce, you’re fueling our local economy and keeping our farmers in business. I encourage you to check out Chester Market each year July to October from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. It’s located at 3117 W. Ninth St., behind the Fare and Square parking lot. The Commonwealth has several programs in place to make sure as many residents as possible have access to fresh produce grown in their communities, regardless of income. The Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides qualified participants with vouchers to purchase Pennsylvania-grown produce at more than 1,130 farmers' markets and farm stands. More than 160,000 Read more


Kirkland, Gateway Health to host free senior health fair Tuesday, May 23

(May 18, 2017)

CHESTER, May 18 – Chester seniors are encouraged to learn more about healthy lifestyles and state programs at state Rep. Brian Kirkland’s Senior Health Day on Tuesday. The free event, in partnership with Gateway Health, will take place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Mt. Olive Church, 2 Pershing Ave. in Linwood. Seniors will have the opportunity to learn more about Property Tax and Rent Rebates, SEPTA KeyCards, state health care programs and more. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, those interested can call (610) 876-6420. Read more


Kirkland to host free Career Counselling and Resume Building Workshop

(Apr 24, 2017)

CHESTER, April 24 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland, D-Delaware, will host a free Career Counselling and Resume Building Workshop from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, May 5 at the Chester Salvation Army, 151 W. 15 th St., 19013. The workshop will provide attendees assistance with drafting a resume, interviewing techniques and career counseling. One-on-one support will be provided with assistance from the Delaware County Phi Beta Sigma Chapter and Pennsylvania CareerLink. “Helping constituents achieve gainful employment is one of my top priorities,” Kirkland said. “I am excited to be able to help ensure people have the resources and skills they need to find work and be a part of building a thriving local economy.” To attend, guests must bring a copy of a current resume and RSVP by calling Kirkland’s office at 610-876-6420 or emailing Malcolm Yates at . Read more


Pa. Tax Amnesty Program runs from April 21 to June 19, 2017

(Apr 13, 2017)

A tax amnesty period for Pennsylvanians will run from April 21, 2017 through June 19, 2017. During this limited 60-day period, the state Department of Revenue will waive all penalties and half of the interest on eligible tax delinquencies for anyone who participates in the 2017 Tax Amnesty Program. For more information, please click here . Read more


Kirkland to host re-entry clinic for ex-offenders March 29

(Mar 21, 2017)

CHESTER, March 21 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland will host a re-entry clinic for ex-offenders from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 at St. Luke’s Christian Church on the corner of Fourth Street and Central Avenue. The orientation will provide evidence-based services built on best practices designed to break the cycle of recidivism. This orientation was created especially for: Men and women recently released from prison looking to live a productive life in the community; Family members of prisoners who will be released in the next few months; Those who rectified past mistakes but consistently have doors shut on them because of those mistakes. Kirkland, D-Chester, and his staff will be on hand to make available a collaboration of government services, faith-based providers and business owners whose goal is to provide resources and options to those re-entering the community. Those with questions can contact Malcom Yates at (610) 876-6420 or . Read more


PA's HealthyWoman program

(Mar 17, 2017)

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is offering a program to provide free breast and cervical cancer screenings to Pennsylvania residents. Early detection is, of course, key in fighting these debilitating diseases, so I strongly encourage anyone who has not had recent testing done to learn more about this opportunity. For those who meet eligibility requirements, HealthyWoman offers clinical breast exams, mammograms, pelvic examinations and Pap smears, and follow-up diagnostic tests for abnormal results. Eligibility is based on age, Pennsylvania residency, income and insurance status. For a full list of eligibility requirements and details on the program, please click here . Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women, and since the risk increases with age, it’s vitally important to schedule regular checkups with your doctor or use the HealthyWoman program. As always, if you had any questions or concerns about any state government-related issue, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. Read more


Kirkland announces free expungement clinic March 9

(Feb 23, 2017)

CHESTER, Feb. 23 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland will hold a free Criminal Record Expungement and Sealing Clinic from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 9 in Chester City Hall, 1 E. 4th St., 19013. “Expungement and criminal-record sealing laws are complex and not everyone will qualify, but my goal is to give interested constituents an overview of recent state laws and resources,” said Kirkland, D-Chester. “Many people who have been convicted of crimes and paid their debts to society are within their right to move beyond their past, and I’m happy to share relevant state law with them.” Only those convicted in Delaware County are eligible to attend this clinic. Qualifications for an expungement include : only non-conviction charges or summary convictions with no arrests in the past five years can be expunged; some second- and third-degree misdemeanor convictions may be sealed if 10 years have passed; must have no current criminal charges; and must not be serving probation time. Read more


Kirkland to host office grand opening Friday, March 3

(Feb 21, 2017)

CHESTER, Feb. 21 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland will hold an official grand opening of his district constituent service office, from noon to 3 p.m. Friday, March 3. His district office, which is open now, is located at 401 Avenue of the States in Chester, 19103. Constituents of the 159 th Legislative District are invited to the free event. There will be door prizes, refreshments, music and opportunities to meet with Kirkland and his office staff regarding legislation and state services. There is no need to RSVP. “It’s really exciting to officially announce our open doors, services and staff here in Chester and for the surrounding region,” Kirkland said. “We’re here to serve people first, and I look forward to meeting as many constituents as possible.” Read more


Kirkland office offers SEPTA Key services for seniors

(Feb 07, 2017)

CHESTER, Feb. 6 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland, D-Delaware, announced today that older residents can obtain their SEPTA Key photo ID card at his district office. SEPTA Key is the modern fare payment and collection system being used by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. It offers seniors an alternative to using their Pennsylvania driver’s license or state-issued ID card. "Seniors rely on SEPTA to take them shopping, to appointments, and visit loved ones, so I want to help make their trips easier," Kirkland said. "My staff and I look forward to assisting our residents in getting their ID card." The new Key cards have contactless chips, so all riders will have to do is pass it across the face of the validator to pay for their ride. Kirkland said seniors should call his office at (610) 876-6420 to make an appointment to get their picture taken and get their ID card. The office is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 401 Avenue of the States in Chester. Read more


Chester receives $1 million to help reduce stormwater runoff

(Jan 25, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 25 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland, D-Delaware, announced today that the Stormwater Authority of the City of Chester has been awarded a $1 million grant to improve the quality of stormwater and reduce runoff. The grant, approved by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, will be used to design and engineer a new stormwater collection system, serving 12,068 low-income households. "Stormwater runoff contributes to erosion and introduces surface-driven pollutants, such as heavy metals and bacteria, into Ridley and Chester creeks and the Delaware River. This Pennvest award will mean improved water quality for residents, as the project will help reduce flooding and water runoff that can be hazardous to our health," Kirkland said. The project involves using what is known as green infrastructure, which involves planting trees and restoring wetlands, a more natural method of water management, rather than relying on something that is built. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils and other elements and practices to restore some of the natural processes for managing water, which helps create healthier environments. An independent agency, Pennvest funds sewer, stormwater and drinking water projects throughout the state. These projects contribute to improving Pennsylvania's environment and the health of residents, as well as provide opportunities for economic growth and jobs Read more


Summer interns for PennDOT government services sought

(Jan 24, 2017)

As in years past, PennDOT will sponsor an extensive Summer Employment Program (SEP), which includes Government Services Interns. The program runs April through August 2017 to supplement the permanent workforce. The Government Services Interns are utilized primarily for summer maintenance and sign upgrade services, and they perform laboring duties in maintenance organizations as well as worksites along the highway. In order to be eligible for consideration, candidates must be enrolled as a full-time college student for Fall 2017 and have a valid Pennsylvania Driver’s License. The hourly rate is $12.97. Interested parties must apply online by Friday, February 10 th at under the Student Summer Employment Positions category. The technical support line is (717) 787-5703. Read more


Pa. granted extension on REAL ID compliance

(Jan 20, 2017)

Pennsylvania received a limited extension through June 6 to update driver’s licenses to meet requirements under the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, but the General Assembly must still act quickly to comply. Without action, Pennsylvanians could be denied access to federal facilities and eventually even airline travel. Specifically, Pennsylvanians will need federally approved ID for air travel beginning Jan. 22, 2018, and with the limited extension we will need a federally approved ID to access federal buildings, nuclear power plants and military bases beginning June 7, 2017. Rest assured, I am following this issue very closely and am doing everything possible to ensure that we pass comprehensive changes to comply with the federal government. Please visit for the most up to date information on the requirements and remember that my office can help you obtain a birth certificate or driver’s license. Read more


License Your Dog in PA

(Dec 22, 2016)

All dogs three months or older must be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs. An annual license is $8.50 and a lifetime license is $51.50. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.50 and lifetime is $31.50. Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities. The small license fee helps the millions of dogs in the state by funding the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Dog licenses are available from your local county treasurer and other licensing agents. Reasons for dog licensing: It’s the law. All dogs three months or older must have a current license. If your dog gets lost, a license is the best way to get him back. A license helps animal control and shelters identify your dog and get him back home safely. The cost of a license is less than the penalty for being caught without one. Owners who fail to license their dogs could face a fine of up to $300 for each unlicensed dog. License fees support animal control. The annual fee you pay to license your dog helps keep shelters running and supports the work of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, which is responsible for ensuring the welfare of dogs, regulating dangerous dogs and overseeing annual licensing and rabies vaccinations. Read more


myCOMPASS Mobile App available now

(Dec 13, 2016)

The myCOMPASS PA online app is now available for download on the Apple and Google Play app stores for use on iPhones and Android smartphones. Among other features, myCOMPASS PA will allow individuals to take photos of necessary documents and upload them directly to their case files through a secure, safe environment. Other key features include: Users will be able to view benefits details after logging in to their myCOMPASS account; Individuals can view their processing status of their applications; and Update case-related information such as address, phone number, email address, and voter registration. In the two weeks after it launched in the Apple store, 4,669 users downloaded the app with 13,680 clients viewing the status of their benefits, 1,568 documents were uploaded, and the app received a 5-star rating. myCOMPASS PA is estimated to save an average of $3.2 million per year by reducing mail processing time, manual information entry, call center calls, postage and printing. Read more


PA Power Switch: Ask the right questions

(Dec 01, 2016)

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. All Pennsylvania residents have the right to choose their electric supplier, but your ability to switch depends on where you live. Competitive offers may not be available in all areas. PAPowerSwitch provides much of the information that you need. Before approving any agreement with a supplier, you should always read the contract thoroughly and understand the product you are purchasing, its price, when the contract ends, cancellation or other fees, and any other terms and conditions that apply, including if and when the price might change. As always, if you need more help or have questions about your situation, please contact my office . Read more


Pa. Treasury could be holding your unclaimed property

(Nov 30, 2016)

Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Unclaimed property may include: Closed bank accounts; Uncashed checks, including paychecks; Lost stocks and bonds; Contents of safe deposit boxes; Proceeds from the demutualization of insurance companies; Expired gift cards/gift certificates. To find out if you have unclaimed property, search your name in the Unclaimed Property database at , call 1-800-222-2046, or contact my office . There is NO CHARGE to claim your unclaimed property. Read more


Sign up for the Do-Not-Call list

(Nov 30, 2016)

To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit Pennsylvania's Do-Not-Call list or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. If you continue to receive unwanted telemarketing phone calls, complaints can be filed with the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the state Attorney General's Office by calling 1-800-441-2555. Violation of the law carries a civil penalty of up to $1,000 and as high as $3,000 if the person contacted is 60 or older. Please keep in mind that existing law does not prevent telemarketers from calling those with whom they had an established business relationship within 12 months preceding the call, or telemarketers calling on behalf of charities, political parties or candidates. Read more


Beware IRS phone scams

(Nov 29, 2016)

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. Additionally, it is important for you to know that the IRS: Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone; Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations; Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies. Consider the other characteristics of a scam. Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves. Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number. Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling. Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims Read more


Weatherizing your home saves you money on energy bills

(Nov 29, 2016)

If you choose to have a professional home-energy audit and meet the requirements, you might qualify for the Pennsylvania’s Weatherization Assistance Program . Last year’s bitterly cold winter left many people struggling to pay higher-than-normal home energy bills. As we head toward the coldest months of the year, there are ways you can winterize your home to keep heat in, cold air out, and money in your pocket. Many businesses offer professional home energy audits, but you can perform your own by inspecting areas where heat escapes and cold air leaks in. One easy way to start is by locating air leaks. Common air leak locations include gaps along baseboards and doors to the outside, along with windows and junctures of the walls and ceiling. These leaks can sometimes be fixed by caulking holes and gaps or by applying weather stripping to doors and windows. It’s also easy to lose heat through poor insulation. Especially in older homes, insulation in attics and garages can wear down over time or simply not be adequate by today’s standards. Inspecting the quality and type of insulation you have and replacing it if necessary could keep your home much warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer. The type of light bulb you use can also save money on energy bills. Consider replacing inefficient bulbs with energy-saving incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). If you choose to have a professional Read more


CHIP offers kids protection and parents peace of mind

(Nov 28, 2016)

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. What does CHIP cover? Immunizations Routine Check-ups Diagnostic Testing Prescriptions Dental, Vision, Hearing Services Emergency Care Maternity Care Mental Health Benefits Up to 90 Days Hospitalization in any Year Durable Medical Equipment Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Partial Hospitalization for Mental Health Rehabilitation Therapy Home Health Care Does my family qualify? The following factors are considered for a child's eligibility for CHIP: Must not be eligible for Medicaid or have any other health insurance. Must be under age 19. Must be a U.S. citizen or lawful alien. Must be a Pennsylvania resident for at least 30 days, except for a newborn. The family's income is below the following levels: Income guidelines: Family Size Free CHIP Subsidized CHIP* 2 $31,020 $31,021 - $46,530 3 $39,060 $39,061 - $58,590 4 $47,100 $47,101 - $70,650 5 $55,140 $55,141 - $82,710 6 $63,180 $63,181 - $94,770 7 $71,220 $71,221 - $106,830 8 $79,260 Read more