Rep. Brandon Neuman reports that his H.B. 103, which would name the Central Avenue Bridge in Canonsburg as the Officer Scott L. Bashioum Memorial Bridge, now faces consideration by the state Senate after unanimous passage in the House and Senate Transportation Committee. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 10 – The House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee today reported out state Rep. Neal P. Goodman’s legislation that would allow Pennsylvania veterans to participate in prescription drug assistance programs if a state veterans’ benefit or federal disability payment puts them over the income limit. House Bill 673 may now be considered by the full House of Representatives. “Our veterans put their lives on the line for their country, and a stipend or bonus they receive because of their service should not disqualify them from the PACE and PACENET programs,” said Goodman, D-Schuylkill. “I am thankful the committee voted unanimously to advance my legislation, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass the bill out of the House and to the Senate.” Some of the veteran benefit programs addressed by H.B. 673 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. In addition, about 95,000 veterans in Pennsylvania receive federal VA 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 $14,500 and $23,500. For a married couple, combined total income can be between $17,700 Read more
DUNMORE, May 10 – Area veterans, police officers, firefighters, first responders and their families are invited to join state Rep. Kevin Haggerty and his staff for a Memorial Day weekend cookout and informational program. “There are so many people who put their life on the line for their neighbors every day, and some who have paid the ultimate price and lost their life,” Haggerty said. “On this Memorial Day weekend, my staff and I would like to offer a small thank you for their service.” Haggerty said a free cookout of hamburgers and hot dogs with side dishes and drinks will be available from noon until 2 p.m. Saturday, May 27 at his Dunmore office, located at the Dunmore Community Center, 1414 Monroe Ave. No RSVP is required to attend. The state lawmaker said his staff will be on hand with information about various state programs that can benefit veterans, emergency personnel and their families. Representatives of state and county agencies also have been invited. For more information, contact Haggerty’s office at 570-342-2710. Read more
EBENSBURG, May 10 – Continuing his strong commitment to law enforcement, state Rep. Frank Burns today announced that May 14 through 20 will be “National Police Week” in Pennsylvania, per his resolution unanimously approved by the House. Burns’ H.R. 16 also designates May 15 as “Police Officers Memorial Day” in the commonwealth. “It is important that all citizens know and understand the duties, responsibilities, hazards and sacrifices that law enforcement personnel face every day,” said Burns, D-Cambria. “On a daily basis, they serve the people by safeguarding life and property, by protecting them against violence and disorder, and by protecting the innocent from deception and the weak from oppression.” Burns said that in 1962 President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as “Peace Officers Memorial Day” and that week in which that date fell as “Police Week.” Since then, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world participate each year in numerous events to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Beginning in 1982, Burns said, a memorial service began in Senate Park, Washington, D.C., during what is now called “National Police Week.” Burns is the founder of the legislative House Blue Lives Matter Caucus. He is also the prime sponsor of H.B. 158 , the Blue Lives Matter bill that would make Read more
HARRISBURG, May 9 – State Rep. John Galloway announced today that legislation he supported to help expand detoxification beds in health care and other facilities across the state unanimously passed the House of Representatives. Galloway co-sponsored H.B. 118, which would create the Emergency Drug and Alcohol Detoxification program, allowing the Department of Health to provide for detoxification beds in existing, licensed health care facilities and to establish new detoxification facilities. The department would give special priority review to those applying for licensure through the program. Under current law, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs licenses detoxification centers, while the Health Department licenses medical beds. “We have to do more to tackle the opioid epidemic gripping our communities. If someone is reaching out for help, we must make sure they can get it,” Galloway said. “By expanding the Health Department’s ability to establish detoxification beds, we’d increase the options those suffering from addiction have to help them move toward recovery.” The bill was forwarded to the Senate for consideration. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 9 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced that the House Judiciary Committee approved his amendment to H.B.1008 , which would eliminate the mandatory three-day waiting period between when a couple applies for a marriage license and when it can be issued. The committee then voted to send the bill as amended to the full House. The bill would authorize former mayors that leave office for a higher office to maintain their authority to officiate marriages. Petrarca’s amendment adds the elimination of the marriage license waiting period to the scope of the bill. “The waiting period was established when most states, including Pennsylvania, required blood tests before issuing a marriage license,’” Petrarca said. “Pennsylvania dropped the blood test requirement 20 years ago, yet this delay still remains on the books. “In today’s society, with instantaneous processing via computers and without the blood testing requirement, there is no need to delay the process. “My amendment, now part of the bill, would allow the applicants to receive the marriage license upon application or via mail with no delay.” Pennsylvania is one of only 14 states that still require a mandatory waiting period of at least 24 hours between application and receipt of a wedding license. Three states, as well as the District of Columbia, also still require blood tests as part of the license Read more
HARRISBURG, May 9 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that the House has passed his bill that would require state registration for pharmacy technicians. House Bill 454 would require pharmacy technicians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a police background check and complete a board-approved training program before registering with the state. Currently, pharmacy technicians require no formal training and must only be supervised by a licensed pharmacist in order to assist in filling prescriptions. "This is a safety issue," DeLuca said. "We need to be able to guarantee that the people filling our prescriptions and handling dangerous and even addictive drugs on a daily basis are uniformly registered with the commonwealth. Requiring a base level of education, training and background checks will be a positive step in maintaining the safety of the prescription process. “In the real world, pharmacy technicians are the workers who fill the vast majority of the prescriptions at local pharmacies. This bill would ensure a base level of competence we all expect from the people responsible for filling our prescriptions. Errors cost money and can also cost lives.” Currently, 45 states require the registration of pharmacy technicians, including the neighboring states of Maryland and New Jersey. The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration. “I Read more
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution ( H.R. 270 ) sponsored by state Rep. Daniel McNeill, D-Lehigh, designating May 13, 2017 as National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day in Pennsylvania. McNeill said Saturday will mark the 25 th anniversary for Pennsylvania and the nation’s largest single-day food drive. Letter carriers will collect nonperishable food donations as they deliver mail along their postal routes. “These donations provide a critical increase in supplies for food banks, pantries and shelters for the summer months when supplies are low and school lunch programs are not available for children,” McNeill said The drive is led by letter carriers who are represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers, rural letter carriers, other postal employees and other volunteers. The drive has delivered more than 1 billion pounds of food the past 24 hours. “In order to donate people can place a box or can of non-perishable food next to mailboxes before the letter carrier delivers mail this Saturday,” McNeill said. Nearly 1,500 NALC branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands are involved. The National Rural Letter Carriers Association, AFL-CIO, Feeding America, United Way, Valassis and Valpak Direct Marketing Systems are all supporting this year’s Stamp Out Hunger food Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 9 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton will hold her 2017 Community Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 20 at Add B. Anderson Elementary School, 1034 S. 60th St. The event will feature a parade for peace, free health screenings, health and wellness information, children’s activities and main stage entertainment. “This is a wonderful opportunity for me meet with constituents face to face and outline for them the services they may not know they can utilize through my district office,” she said. “It also gives me a chance to discuss with them one-on-one the issues and problems that concern them.” McClinton said she is expecting more than 300 neighbors from the Cobbs Creek and Southwest Philadelphia communities to attend, as well as Mayor Jim Kenney. Elected officials will speak at 1 p.m. “I’m looking forward to enjoying myself, socializing with friends and neighbors and to meeting some new people,” McClinton said. “I’m sure this event will be a success. I hope everyone will come out and spend the day." McClinton and her staff will provide assistance for constituents applying for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 8 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, welcomed more than 300 constituents of the 191 st Legislative District to her shredding event recently to help them properly dispose of papers containing personal information. "Identity theft remains a constant threat in our modern world," McClinton said. "That is why I am pleased to host this event again to offer a convenient way to safely dispose of confidential documents." McClinton said she wanted to thank the Burns Family and the Fresh Grocer for sponsoring the event and The Boys Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council for helping throughout the morning. Constituents shredded documents containing information such as Social Security numbers, credit card or bank account numbers, credit card applications, canceled or unused checks and bank statements, among others. Access photo gallery here . Read more
State Rep. Daniel McNeil, D-Lehigh, said he is pleased the Pennsylvania House of Representatives adopted H.R.271 that designates May 2017 as Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month in Pennsylvania to show support for victims, families and caretakers of this disease. McNeill said Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain leading to the deterioration of a person’s physical and mental abilities. “I became aware of the disease when a constituent’s wife was stricken with the disease and I thought we needed to continue to raise awareness because there are approximately 30,000 people in the United States who have symptoms of the disease and more than 200,000 people at risk of inheriting the disease,” McNeill said. “The sad part of this disease is that every child of a parent with Huntington’s disease has a 50/50 chance of carrying the faulty gene” McNeill said symptoms of the disease usually appear in individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 and include personality changes, mood swings, depression, forgetfulness, impaired judgement, unsteady gait, involuntary movements, slurred speech, difficulty in swallowing and significant weight loss. The Lehigh County lawmaker said the symptoms are known to worsen over a 10- to 25-year period, eventually making the person totally dependent upon others for his or her care. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 8 – Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, joined the Pennsylvania Psychological Association Monday in pushing for protection for the victims of human trafficking, particularly children. At the news conference, Rozzi discussed his Safe Harbor in Human Trafficking legislation (H.B. 525), which would make the child victims of human trafficking immune from criminal prosecution. “Human trafficking is nothing short of modern day slavery,” Rozzi said. “Children are especially vulnerable as they never had the chance to develop skills to identify, avoid and resist adults who pose as friends.” Children who are the victims of human trafficking are exploited through prostitution and are frequently provided with drugs by adults who manipulate them and control them, psychologically and physically. In many cases, the children end up charged with related criminal offenses. “We must stop treating these children, who find themselves in the most deplorable of situations, as criminals. They are victims,” Rozzi said, adding that sexually exploited children need to be identified and brought to a safe setting – not jail. “They deserve immunity, not re-victimization. We need to provide them services that will help rehabilitate, educate and get them on the path to being a productive member of society.” Rozzi’s bill would have the Department of Human Services work with other agencies to develop a statewide protocol to Read more
HARRISBURG, May 8 – House lawmakers today unanimously adopted a resolution ( H.R. 275 ) sponsored by Democratic Whip Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, to bring attention to a medical procedure needed for many Pennsylvanians struggling with persistent, severe asthma and to urge all Pennsylvania insurance companies to fully cover this life altering procedure. The resolution designates May 8, 2017, as “Bronchial Thermoplasty Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania. Hanna said asthma is a chronic disorder of the airways that is complex and characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, airflow obstruction, bronchial hyper-responsiveness and an underlying inflammation. Approximately 24 million Americans suffer from asthma and nearly 3,400 people die every year. Bronchial Thermoplasty is delivered by the Alair System, the first therapeutic device approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2010 for adult patients with severe asthma that is not well-controlled with medication. Bronchial Thermoplasty targets airway smooth muscles by delivering a controlled specific amount of thermal energy to the airway wall through a dedicated catheter. “Nearly 79 percent of patients who were treated with Bronchial Thermoplasty reported a significant improvement in their asthma-related quality of life,” Hanna said. “Those treated experienced a 32 percent decrease in severe asthma attacks, an 84 percent reduction in asthma-related emergency Read more
HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Rep. Michael Driscoll, D-Phila., said adoption this week by the House of Representatives of the fallen firefighters survivors resolution he introduced recognizes the brave men and women who play one of the most important roles within our communities. “Throughout the Commonwealth, thousands of firefighters put their lives at risk with each emergency response they make. Tragically, not all who respond to such calls make it back to the station alive,” Driscoll said. “It is fitting that we honor them, helping their survivors and recognizing the valuable contribution they make to our lives every day.” House Resolution 194 designates May 8-14 as "Fallen Firefighters Survivors' Week" and May 12 as "Fallen Firefighters Survivors' Day" in Pennsylvania. Driscoll said the resolution also recognizes the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation for being a pioneer in providing support programs and scholarships to the survivors. The organization offers preventative training to fire departments across the country with the goal of reducing line-of-duty firefighter deaths by 25 percent in five years. “I’m proud to honor and thank those who help us, and express our gratitude for all the sacrifices made not only by the firefighters, but the sacrifices made by their families, as well,” he said. Driscoll said it is extremely important to provide support to and empower the survivor Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 8 – State Rep. Jordan A. Harris, D-Phila., announced Friday he joined Gov. Tom Wolf to discuss the governor's executive order to “Ban the Box.” The governor announced he would update state employment applications to no longer ask about criminal history. “Not only do I believe that this is sound public policy in the way of reducing overall rates of recidivism in our Commonwealth, it also provides the perfect opportunity for the public sector to lead by example in the way of espousing the virtue of compassion and extending a true second chance to our formerly convicted citizens,” Harris said. The Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards Ordinance, more commonly known as “Ban the Box," serves as a public policy to remove the initial screening question that asks criminal history information from an employment application. It does not remove the question of criminal history from the hiring process, but instead defers the question until the first interview is conducted. The governing or legislative body seeking to adopt such a "Ban the Box" policy has the prerogative to exempt certain sensitive positions from this policy (e.g., law enforcement positions, positions dealing with vulnerable populations). Harris co-sponsored H.R. 296 that was introduced earlier this year, urging the Office of Administration to adopt a “Ban the Box” policy relating to certain state agency employment Read more
HARRISBURG, May 8 – Hoping to weaken the link between prescription drugs and opioid addiction , state Rep. Frank Burns today announced progress on his resolution seeking to pressure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reverse its decision to allow OxyContin to be prescribed for 11- to 16-year-olds. Burns’ H.R. 17 cleared the House Human Services Committee unanimously and now heads to the full House for consideration. Burns noted that despite its status as an extended-release version of the opioid oxydocone, OxyContin was approved by the FDA in 2015 for prescribing to children as a pain management medication. “In recent years, we’ve all become aware that the highly addictive nature of opioids means that many adults are ‘hooked’ on legally prescribed medicines, then turn to illicit and more dangerous drugs like heroin to maintain their habits,” Burns said. “Given what we know, I ask you: Does it make sense to prescribe opioids to an 11-year-old?” While the state legislature has no direct say in the decisions of a federal government agency, Burns said his goal is to use the legislature’s bully pulpit to help convince federal rule-makers that they should reverse course. “Four out of five new heroin users started out misusing prescription pain medication, which resulted in heroin overdose deaths nearly quadrupling from 2000 to 2013 – and it’s only gotten worse since then,” Burns Read more
SCRANTON, May 8 – A staff member from state Rep. Marty Flynn's office will provide outreach assistance from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 17 at the Clarks Green Borough Building, 104 N. Abington Road. The monthly outreach visits alternate on the third Wednesday of every month between Clarks Green and South Abington Township. Next month’s visit will be June 21 at the South Abington Township Building, 2nd floor meeting room, 104 Shady Lane Road, Chinchilla. Flynn's staff can help with PennDOT paperwork, unemployment compensation, workers' compensation, PACE/PACENET prescription-drug coverage, unclaimed property searches and any other state-related matter. His main office – in Jay's Commons, 409 N. Main Ave. – is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 570-342-4348. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, has introduced legislation that would expand E-Verify requirements first signed into law in 2012 in order to ensure employers verify the legal status of their current and future employees. House Bill 1340 would require Pennsylvania employers in the private construction industry to verify that current employees are legally permitted to work in the United States through the use of the Social Security Number Verification System (NVS) and verify new hires through the E-Verify Program (EVP), while establishing penalties for those found in violation of this requirement. “This bill is an important next step towards ensuring private construction industry employers hire only individuals who are authorized to work in this country,” Galloway said. “With some surveys showing about 110,000 unauthorized immigrants in Pennsylvania’s labor force, we must take every step possible to prevent their exploitation and ensure these jobs go to people authorized to work in the United States.” If passed, Galloway’s bill would subject employers found in violation of these new requirements to non-monetary penalties that affect licensing and debarment for willful violations. “This legislation is carefully crafted to provide Pennsylvania an effective tool that complies with federal law and builds on the successes we have seen from the use of E-Verify for public works projects,” Galloway Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 5 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila., is hosting a free shredding event for the community to destroy unwanted confidential documents from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20, in front of his district office at 7801 Hasbrook Ave. The event will allow people to protect themselves from identity theft by disposing of unwanted documents that contain personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers. Residents may bring up to four plastic shopping bags of documents to shred. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 5 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila., will host a senior lunch and expo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, May 18 at the Fox Chase Recreation Center, 7901 Ridgeway St., 19111. Parking will be available at the Fox Chase Elementary School, the entrance is on Rhawn Street. Boyle said there will be entertainment, giveaways, an opportunity for seniors to get a SEPTA Key Card and information about state and local programs that may benefit them. Seniors looking to attend must RSVP by calling Boyle’s district office at (215) 695-1016. Read more
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