Helping people navigate state government

One of the biggest and most satisfying facets of my job as a state legislator is helping people navigate the confusing aspects of Pennsylvania government. Whether that’s applying for the Department of Revenue’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, or making it easier for you to deal with the Department of Transportation, my office staff is ready to assist you.

On the second Monday of each month, an APPRISE counselor is available from 10 a.m. to noon at my office to help answer questions about Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap plans, Medicare drug plans, PACE/PACENET prescription-drug coverage and various low-income assistance programs, such as the Medicare Savings Program and Extra Help.

The local APPRISE program is sponsored by the Voluntary Action Center and is funded by the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging.

Area veterans are invited to take part in a monthly support program from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at my office. A representative from the American Legion Service Office Outreach program provides information on services available to veterans and their families. The American Legion representatives are on-hand to discuss education, health care and death benefits.

Legion membership is not required to take advantage of the help.

Because the counselors are only available one day a month for both of these outreach opportunities, appointments are suggested by calling my office at 570-342-4348.

Committee assignments give me clout

For the second legislative session, House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody appointed me to the powerful House Appropriations Committee. I’m also serving on the Consumer Affairs, Insurance and Professional Licensure committees.

The Appropriations Committee is important because it’s where every piece of legislation stops before getting a final vote by the full House of Representatives. This allows us to examine any fiscal impact the bill might have on your state tax dollars. It’s also where the governor’s state budget proposal undergoes extensive scrutiny during three weeks of public hearings, which begin Feb. 11. I’ll be sure to keep you updated in the coming weeks as we delve deeper into the 2019-20 spending request. Please keep in mind this is just the beginning of the budget process. During the next several months, the House and Senate will negotiate the details with the governor’s office and reach an agreement sometime around June 30.

Internally, within the 91-member House Democratic Caucus, I was happy to be named one of the House deputy whips as well as one of several vice chairmen of the House Democratic Policy Committee. These positions allow me to work in consultation with our caucus leadership team to drive a legislative agenda that helps put Pennsylvania families first, over the special interests.

I encourage you to follow important legislative updates on my website, Facebook page and Twitter account @RepFlynn.

If you have any questions or concerns about state government, please stop by my office in Jay’s Commons in Scranton, or give us a call at 570-342-4348. We are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.